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Transition Handbook




Otherwise Qualified

Someone is considered to be otherwise qualified if, with or without reasonable accommodation, they meet the same standards -- academic, professional, technical, and behavioral standards -- as do others. Successful pursuit of a field of study is dependent on whether the individual with a disability meets all the same standards required for others. Schools do not compromise on the standards of excellence and performance that they demand of students to successfully complete their programs.

The law is clear that technical standards can be applied to persons with disabilities, even if those standards involve physical requirements that may be impossible for someone with certain disabilities to meet. It is also clear, however, that those criteria/standards must reflect successful completion of the necessary skills for a graduate of their program and must not focus on being or not being disabled.

All interested and qualified students are encouraged to attempt to meet the standards of any program they choose. Academic accommodations are provided to students with disabilities so that they will have full access to the information and the classroom setting. Everyone, however, must meet the same requirements in the end.

For example, inability to regularly attend a class in which attendance is a critical component of the essential nature of the curriculum might make you "not otherwise qualified" to take that class. The inability to run might make you "not otherwise qualified" to join the track team.