Disability Services

It is the policy and practice of Boston Conservatory at Berklee to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, other federal mandates, and state and local requirements regarding individuals with disabilities.

Students with disabilities are protected under these laws and may request reasonable accommodations for their disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are determined on an individual basis and made available to the extent that it meets the student's needs and does not compromise the academic integrity of the Conservatory program.

Boston Conservatory at Berklee offers support services that help eliminate the competitive disadvantages created by a disability. To receive services, a student must voluntarily request to register his or her disability-related needs by contacting Stacy Hill, director of wellness services, and also by providing appropriate diagnostic documentation of the disability. The director of wellness services will then make appropriate determinations of reasonable accommodations for students based on the diagnostic documentation.

Requests for accommodations should be made to the director of wellness services as early in the semester as possible.

Transitioning to Higher Education

Boston Conservatory at Berklee facilitates services and accommodations for students who have impairments and conditions, including, but not limited to, learning disabilities, mobility impairments, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders, visual impairments, hearing impairments, chronic health disorders, and/or psychological impairments.

Disability laws through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on the post-secondary level are very different from those in elementary, middle, and high school through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This can cause some confusion for both students and parents.

The major difference students notice is the greater level of student responsibility, new documentation requirements, and the need to communicate with the Wellness/Disability Services Office on an ongoing basis.

Below are some of the differences between IDEA and the ADA/Rehabilitation Act.
Please contact Counseling and Wellness for more information.

topic idea ada/rehabilitation act
BASIS Based on student SUCCESS Based on student ACCESS
POPULATION SERVED Birth to 21/high-school graduation Post high school (or 504 plans in public education)
IDENTIFICATION State or school district has the duty to locate, evaluate, and identify children who are suspected of being in need of special education. Institution must provide notice of the services and how to obtain them (web, handbook, letter, etc.). Student must be the one to disclose their disability.
ELIGIBILITY Evaluation of an impairment that falls within one or more of 14 categories that “adversely affects educational performance” to such a degree as to warrant the provision of special education. Eligibility often linked to a student’s potential. Physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Eligibility is based upon comparison to the average person.
EVALUATION School district assesses the student at least every three years. A team, including the parent, evaluates and determines eligibility. Post-secondary institutions have the right to require documentation meeting professional guidelines. The institution evaluates and determines eligibility.
PURPOSE Goal is to provide support and services to enable the student to meet the state standards and to maximize potential. Goal is to provide reasonable accommodations to allow access to programs, activities, services, and benefits. No outcome expectations.
MONITORING School is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the accommodations. Student is obligated to request specific accommodations, supported by documentation, and has the responsibility to identify any implementation issues.
STANDARDS Schools may be required to modify the curriculum and lower standards. Students must meet academic and technical standards. The institution need not fundamentally alter the program or lower standards.
SERVICES OFFERED Schools provide specially designed instruction to meet the student's individual needs, evaluations, transportation, physical therapy, speech therapy, counseling, nursing services, paraprofessional assistance, etc. Institution provides reasonable modifications to policies and procedures and offers services to enable equal access to what the institution provides. No personal services are provided. Boston Conservatory provides free counseling and tutoring for all students, but these are not considered accommodations. Some accommodation requests may place “undue burden” on the institution and therefore do not have to be implemented.
BEHAVIORAL SUPPORTS School may put a Behavioral Intervention Plan in place and create strategies to support student’s behavior. None specified. Changing the student conduct code is not recognized as reasonable.
IMPLEMENTATION School and teachers are responsible for implementing accommodations. Student is responsible for requesting accommodations, receiving approval, and notifying faculty when accommodations are necessary. Students must provide at least one month’s notice of the need for an accommodation.
COURSEWORK School may modify curriculum, decrease coursework expectations, or decrease number of assignments, etc. Students are expected to complete all coursework and to attend all classes. Unlimited time to complete assignments or exams is “unreasonable.”