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Disabilities: Services, Resources, and Information

An overview of services, resources, and information on disability, accommodations, and national and state level organizations.

On This Page

An Introduction

ADA, IDEA and 504

Defining Disability

Reasonable Accommodation


Self-Advocacy Student Responsibility


Reference Librarian

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Kit Hartman
L313, ICC East Peoria Library
(309) 694-5620

a banner with a grey background with the colors of the disability pride flag, red, yellow, white, blue, and green in stripes across one corner.  There is text on the banner which reads "An Introduction."


Using the Guide

Welcome!  This guide is intended to help students, staff, and faculty find resources to find information and resources to support their own or others' needs.  It is divided into four distinct sections: this introduction, a summary of services offered at ICC, services, resources, and associations available at the local and national level, and a selection of library sources.  This is by no means an exhaustive guide and is intended to be a starting point or touchstone on getting you to where you want to go. 

Covering the Basics

On this page, we'll go over some key concepts and guidelines that will help you understand the three landmark laws which cover disability access and rights in the united states, how those laws define disability, what reasonable accommodation is, a general look at what documentation you may need, and expectations of self-advocacy and student responsibilities.

A small icon of a person in a wheel chair being held up by two hands.ADA, IDEA and Section 504

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act are three major pieces of legislation which offer support and protection for people with disabilities.  

Section 504 (1973) is a civil rights law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, but only applies to institutions and programs which receive federal financial assistance.  

IDEA (1975) is an education act which extends federal financial assistance to guarantee special education and/or related services to children with disabilities at state and local education institutions. 

ADA (1990, amended 2008)is a civil rights law which prohibits discrimination solely on the basis of disability.  This extends beyond federally funded institutions to include employment and public services.

a small icon of a pink book with a green book mark and a-z written on the cover to indicate a dictionaryDefining Disability  

Disability can sometimes be tricky to define, and the field of Disability Studies has outlined multiple models of how people think about and interact with disability.  For our purposes here, the definition under the ADA is the most important.  “The ADA defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity” (“What is the definition of disability under the ADA?”, ADA National Network).    

a small icon of four hands grasping each other's wrists to form a circle to indicate teamworkReasonable Accommodations

According to the ADA, an accommodation is any change to the school or classroom environment which helps a person with a disability to have equal access to the space and content of the course.  A Reasonable Accommodation is an accommodation that does "not create undue hardship or a direct threat" (Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace, ADA National Network).  Providing reasonable accommodations is a constant process.  It can look different for each person and each unique environment they find themselves in, as well as being constrained by time, budget, and pre-existing spaces.

A small icon of a blue paper with lines to indicate text and a red seal with a white checkmark placed at the bottom right corner of the paper.Documentation 

When setting up your accommodation plan with your consular, advisors, teachers, and employers, it's important to have documentation of your disability and accommodation needs.  This will help your accommodations team figure out what they can offer within their means and what they may need from you.

Commonly, this will be documentation from your healthcare providers or other disability assessors which gives your support team an overview of how your disability affects you and how it may impact your access to necessary resources, information, and spaces.  If you have an Individual Education Plan (IEP), a Section 504 plan, or a Summary of Performance (SOP), these will help you request your accommodations.          

a small icon of two speech bubbles overlapping, one is cloud shaped with three dots to indicate silence or listening and the other is round and yellow with three lines to indicate speech or text.Self-Advocacy and Student Responsibilities

Students are expected to take initiative in setting up their accommodations and support systems and to advocate for themselves.  Self-advocacy is knowing what you need, what supports and accommodations have worked in the past and what might be of use in the present or future, and communicating your needs and desired supports and accommodations to those around you.  You will be expected to initiate contact with the Office of Access Services, Counseling Services, and/or the Academic Support Center and to communicate with your instructors.