How Is "Disability" Defined?

A disability, as defined under Title III of the "Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990" (ADA) as amended by the "ADA Amendments Act of 2008", and Section 504 of the "Rehabilitation Act of 1973", is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Disabilities interfere significantly with learning or with access to, or participation in, classes and campus activities.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • physical disabilities, such as those affecting mobility
  • learning disabilities (LD)
  • traumatic brain injuries
  • attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • low vision or blindness
  • chronic health conditions; chronic pain
  • psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder
  • deafness*

* Gallaudet University is a signing community, where American Sign Language (ASL) is the common language for teaching classes and other communications on campus. OSWD does accommodate deaf students when additional disabilities are present or special consideration is warranted; deaf students needing ASL accommodations will be referred by OSWD.