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Address:
702 W. Johnson Street, Suite 2104
Madison, WI 53715-1007

Main Office Numbers: 608-263-2741(voice)
608-225-7956 (text)
608-265-2998 (fax)

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Office Hours:
8:00 am - 4:30 pm, M-F



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McBurney Disability Resource Center

McBurney Disability Resource Center

Frequently Asked Questions

Index of Questions:



What does the McBurney Disability Resource Center do?

The McBurney Disability Resource Center provides services to students with disabilities to insure accessibility to university programs. McBurney offers accommodations counseling, evaluation referral, disability-related information, adaptive technology counseling and equipment, and interpreter services for academically related purposes. McBurney does not offer disability evaluation and/or testing, tutoring, personal expenses, or attendants.

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What constitutes a disability?

A disability is defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. Learning is an example of a major life activity. If you have a mental or physical condition, a history of such a condition, or a condition which may be considered by others as substantially limiting, you may have a legally defined disability. (http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm)

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What does substantially limiting mean?

According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, substantially limiting is defined as being unable to perform a major life activity, or significantly restricted as to the condition, manner, or duration under which a major life activity can be performed, in comparison to the average person or to most people.

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What is a major life activity?

According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a major life activity is defined as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

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What are academic adjustments?

Appropriate academic adjustments create equal access to education, as long as they don't require a substantial change in an essential element of the curriculum. The institution determines this. Such modifications may include an adjustment in the amount of time allowed to complete a degree, substitution of degree requirements, and adaptation of the manner in which specific courses are conducted.

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What should I do if I suspect I have a disability and want to receive accommodations?

If you suspect you have a disability you will need to provide documentation of that disability to McBurney. A qualified professional who is licensed or certified to diagnose the disability in question must supply this documentation. An appointment should be scheduled with an accommodations specialist at McBurney to review the documentation and the need for services. See the Disability Documentation Policies

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Are there any campus services that could assist me with determining if I have a disability?

Current UW-Madison students who suspect they may have a disability but have never been diagnosed should contact McBurney to schedule a 30-minute consultation appointment with an accommodations specialist who will direct you to the appropriate assessment resource.

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What kinds of accommodations are available?

Academic accommodations include, but are not limited to, testing accommodations, interpreting, captioning, notetaker services, document conversion services (e.g., books in digital audio and electronic formats), and registration assistance. Although not accommodations, McBurney assists students with issues and situations related to advocacy, accessibility, on-campus housing, transportation services, and attendant care. McBurney is a resource for information including, but not limited to, tutoring services, study skills and time management, community resources, disability awareness, and various university services.

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I received accommodations in high school or I had an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). Can I use the IEP as documentation?

The IEP is a valuable resource of information, but it cannot be used as documentation of the disability.

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What role do my parents play in the process?

Students who are 18 years old or older are legally recognized as adults. In this case, the student is responsible for their own accommodation requests and disability-related decisions. However, students are encouraged to have an open dialogue with their parents. Parents can be a great source of support.

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I have a physical disability and have trouble getting around. What types of accommodations are geared just for me?

Students with physical disabilities are encouraged to register with McBurney so that a McBurney accommodations specialist can help them assess physical access needs for courses and other university activities. The department of Facilities, Planning and Management has an Accessibility Specialist who works closely with McBurney staff in solving barrier-related access issues. Paratransit services are available through Madison Metro, the city transit service.

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I have a disability and I wasn't required to take a foreign language in high school. Do I have to take one in college?

There are several factors taken into account before consideration is given for a foreign language substitution. At this time, only two colleges within the university, the College of Letters and Sciences and the School of Business, require a foreign language to graduate. Students should refer to the their individual policies and procedures for specific information and/or speak with a McBurney counselor.

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Are there any sources of funding for college expenses that are specifically for students with disabilities?

We recommend you check out 3 sources of possible funding:

  1. Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR): VR is a federal program designed to "obtain, maintain, and improve employment for people with disabilities". To be eligible for funding through VR, you need to "have a disability which is severe enough that you have problems getting or keeping a job specifically because of your disability". VR must also agree that college is needed to increase your ability to obtain employment. For more information: Wisconsin Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.
  2. McBurney Scholarship Program: McBurney has several scholarships specifically for UW-Madison students with disabilities.
  3. Other Financial Aid / Scholarship Opportunities: For other funding opportunities, go to http://www.finaid.org/otheraid/disabled.phtml or contact UW-Madison's Office of Student Financial Aid.
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Do you have interpreters and other services for students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing?

We have interpreters on staff and we employ hourly interpreters as needed. We employ certified interpreters who are able to offer sign language interpreting in ASL, PSE, and ENGLISH; we also offer ORAL interpreting and captioning.

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How can I obtain a permit for accessible parking?

Refer to Accessible Parking for Students with Permanent Disabilities.

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How do I file an appeal or complaint if I have been denied an accommodation or discriminated against on the basis of disability?

You can refer to the university's student appeal and complaint process.

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I broke my wrist skiing last week. Can McBurney help me?

Please review the information and resources for students with temporary impairments.

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I am an employee of the UW, can you assist me with getting accommodations from my department?

Accommodating employees is ultimately a departmental responsibility. The university's Office of Equity and Diversity employs a Disability Specialist to assist departments and employees with identifying appropriate work-related accommodations.

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File last updated: February 24, 2016. 17:23:16 pm
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