Planning: Special Needs/Disabilities
From the 2008 Experiencing Study Abroad Photo Contest: "Grazing" - Casey Sanborn.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the law in the US that defines what constitutes a disability, and it is the law that insures that reasonable and appropriate accommodations are made for a disability. ADA does NOT apply outside of the US. It is a US law, and it only has clout within the boundaries of the US. If you are planning to study abroad, it is important to understand that the laws pertaining to disabilities and accommodations vary significantly from country to country. For instance, the disability law of Australia is quite similar to our ADA. However, in Britain there are some key differences; amongst them being that a student is obliged to disclose a disability at the point of seeking admission to a program. In the US, ADA expressly forbids the issue of having a disability be a factor in rendering a decision about admission, but in Britain the decision to admit is linked directly with the university's ability to accommodate the student's disability. Of course, opinions will vary about the merits or unfairness of different countries' ways of treating people with disabilities, but the bottom line is: US law is US law and another country's law is the law you must accept. Accordingly, if you have a disability for which you have an accommodation, you will need in the process of considering a specific study abroad program to explore carefully that program's website to get a good idea of what its disability policy and procedures are. It is also important that you discuss your need for accommodation with Donna Mancini, the dean at the College who administers and oversees international study programs, prior to making your application to the program. ODS will be glad to forward to the study program you choose any documentation you provided to Haverford which pertains to your accommodations here at Haverford.
Coordinator, Office of Disabilities Services