The definition of an "individual with a disability" according to the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) is someone who "has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits a major life activity". Application of this definition is no problem in situations where the disability is evident in a visible or highly obvious way. For instance, impairment of a limb or blindness is usually easily discerned, and these disabilities clearly limit a person's activities in life.
"Nonvisible" disabilities, a description which pertains to psychological and psychiatric disabilities, also may affect major life activities, even if not the ones typically considered. Psychological and psychiatric problems, for instance, may affect individuals' ability to sleep, to interact with others, and to concentrate, all of these thus affecting their ability to learn and to work (which are two "major life activities" specifically noted in the ADA).
The difficulty in determining psychological and psychiatric disabilities, of course, is that they usually cannot be verified in simple and direct ways. Unlike a person who is motorically challenged and where simple observation is usually sufficient to establish this fact, with psychological and psychiatric disabilities the waters can be quite muddy. This being so, the College usually seeks to have "testing" evaluation data whenever possible to document psychological/psychiatric disabilities so that appropriate accommodations can be determined.
Evaluation reports should be sent to:
Richard E. Webb, Ph.D.
Director, Psychological Services
Coordinator, Disabilities Services
370 W. Lancaster Ave.
Haverford, PA 19041-1392
610-896-1290 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org