Jun 21, 2021  
2020-21 University Student Handbook 
2020-21 University Student Handbook

Learning & Disability Resources

Learning & Disability Resources (LADR) provides advising and services to ATSU students who want to enhance their learning and academic performance. In addition, LADR coordinates academic adjustments (accommodations) for ATSU students with disabilities.

LADR provides one-on-one, confidential learning advisement sessions tailored to individual learning preferences and challenges. Periodically throughout the academic year, seminars and/or workshops are offered on specific learning techniques. Guidance is also available for board exam preparation. Peer tutors are recruited and coordinated through our department as well.

We encourage every student to visit our office at least once to receive a personalized learning advisement session, and students are welcome to return as often as desired for additional support and guidance.

Learning advisement

Individual learning advisement consultations are available to enable students to achieve academic success. Tailored to each student’s learning preferences and particular challenges, learning advisement sessions may address a variety of needs including: effective learning techniques, efficient time management, improving long-term recall, various note-taking styles, test-taking strategies, and developing a board exam study plan.


ATSU provides tutorial services for on-campus program students if they wish to improve their academic performance. The tutoring program provides students with the opportunity to be assigned an individual peer tutor at no cost. Tutors are selected with the recommendation and/or assistance of faculty.

Should a student want to utilize a tutor or sign-up to become a tutor, please contact or stop by Learning & Disability Resources.

Disability-Related Academic Adjustments (Accommodations)

In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Amendments Act of 2008, Learning & Disability Resources supports ATSU students with disabilities by determining eligibility and providing necessary academic adjustments, while maintaining the standards of the University. Academic adjustments are provided for qualified students with disabilities, to ensure that academic requirements do not have discriminating effects.

Any student seeking academic adjustments to accommodate limitations due to a documented disability is required to register with Learning & Disability Resources. Requests for academic adjustments must be made in writing and should be submitted to disabilityresources@atsu.edu.

To read the entire Academic Adjustments Policy, please see Appendix G.

Disability-Related Assistance Animals

Students are generally prohibited from bringing animals into any ATSU buildings. However, exceptions may be made for assistance animals required due to disability, as defined below.


Service Animal – A dog (or a miniature horse, in limited circumstances) that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The work or task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability.

Emotional Support Animal (ESA) – An animal that provides therapeutic emotional support or alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of a person’s psychological disability. ESAs do not qualify as service animals.

Service Animals

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) governs the use of service animals by individuals with disabilities.  A service animal is generally permitted to be on ATSU property in any place where the animal’s handler is permitted to be. There may be individual exceptions in places where the presence of the service animal may compromise safety or a sterile environment, and/or alter the fundamental nature of the activity being conducted. There are some University facilities that may not be safe for use or presence of service animals (e.g., cadaver lab or research lab). Potential exceptions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the appropriate department representative(s) in collaboration with Learning & Disability Resources.

Service animals must be harnessed, leashed (traditional, not electronic), or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In such a case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls. An individual with a service animal may be asked to remove the animal from the premises if:  the animal is out of control, aggressive to others, or significantly disruptive and the handler does not take effective action to control it; or, the animal is not housebroken.

ATSU is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal. Individuals with service animals are responsible for the direct control and care of their animals at all time, including feeding, grooming, veterinary care, and toileting, ensuring immediate clean-up and proper disposal of all animal waste. Service animal handlers are solely responsible for any damage to persons or property caused by their animals, and must comply with state and local laws concerning animals, including registration, vaccinations, and tags.

Students are not required to notify ATSU prior to bringing a service animal onto University property, except in residence in ATSU Housing. However, students are welcome to voluntarily register their service animal with the University. Voluntary registration ensures that emergency staff (campus security) know to look for service animals during an emergency evacuation process. Learning & Disability Resources will also support students with disabilities who use service animals by informing appropriate staff and/or faculty of a service animal’s legitimacy, thereby eliminating or reducing situations in which a service animal’s presence is challenged. For service animals that are voluntarily registered with the University, the owners agree to keep information in the registry updated (animal licensure, emergency contact information, etc.). To voluntarily register a service animal, students should contact Learning & Disability Resources (disabilityresources@atsu.edu).

Service Animals in Residence in ATSU Housing

If a student with a service animal plans to reside in ATSU Housing, the student must provide sufficient notice to the University in advance of beginning residence with the animal, so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Such students should contact Learning & Disability Resources (disabilityresources@atsu.edu). Individuals with service animals residing in ATSU Housing are subject to the ATSU Approved Animal Handler Agreement (Appendix I).

Service Animals in Training

Because applicable state laws do not provide specificity, it is the policy of ATSU (in agreement with Assistance Dogs International, Inc.) that state laws which give access rights to service animal trainers do not apply to an individual who is rearing/socializing a puppy (less than 12 months old) that may someday grow up to enter formal training to become a service animal.  A service animal in training is an adult dog, accompanied by its trainer, which is undergoing individual training to provide specific disability-related work or service for an individual with a disability. Such task-specific training is undertaken with an adult dog, following a period of socialization and obedience training.

In accordance with Arizona law, a trainer or individual with a disability may take a dog being trained as a service animal to public events on the ATSU Mesa campus, for purposes of training. In accordance with Missouri law, a trainer (from a recognized training center) of a guide dog, hearing assistance dog, or service dog shall have the right to be accompanied by such dog at public events on the ATSU Missouri campus, while engaged in the training of the dog. 

However, service animals in training are not allowed in spaces designated only for students and registered guests, such as classrooms, labs, study areas, libraries, cafeterias, clinical training sites, or ATSU Housing. Service animals in training must be registered with Learning & Disability Resources, and trainers must provide reliable information about the training agency.

Emotional Support Animals

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) governs the use of ESAs by individuals with psychological disabilities in ATSU Housing. Animals that are approved as ESAs within ATSU Housing under this policy are not permitted inside other ATSU buildings and facilities, except where the animal has been approved as an academic adjustment for a psychological disability in accordance with ATSU’s Academic Adjustments Policy (Appendix G).

Learning & Disability Resources, in consultation with Student Life as necessary, will determine on a case-by-case basis whether an ESA is a reasonable accommodation in ATSU Housing. A student with a psychological disability who wishes to request an ESA accommodation in ATSU Housing must submit a request to Learning & Disability Resources (disabilityresources@atsu.edu).

No ESA may be kept in ATSU Housing at any time prior to a student receiving official approval of accommodation, pursuant to this policy. Failure to abide by this will result in a Code of Behavioral Standards charge against the student.

ATSU will accept and consider requests for accommodation in ATSU Housing at any time. A request should be submitted as soon as practically possible before moving into ATSU Housing. If the need for the accommodation arises when a student already resides in ATSU Housing, the request should be submitted as soon as practically possible. The process of evaluating an accommodation request may take up to three (3) weeks.

ATSU may ask students to submit sufficient documentation of their psychological disability and their disability-related need for the animal, provided by a reliable third party. Sufficient documentation establishes that a student has a psychological disability under the law, the animal in question provides therapeutic emotional support that alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of the psychological disability, and the animal is necessary to afford the disabled student an equal opportunity to use and enjoy ATSU Housing. A reliable third party would be a licensed/certified professional trained specifically in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders. ATSU does not consider the following to be reliable sources of information, and they will not be accepted:  documentation obtained from an online service, documentation from an individual who does not have personal therapeutic/treatment knowledge of the requestor, or documentation from an individual related to the requestor.

Generally, the presence of only one ESA per student will be approved, to fulfill the intent of the FHA requirements to provide support to an individual with a psychological disability. Additionally, the University has determined that the ATSU Housing setting, in most cases, is not an appropriate environment in which to raise a puppy. Generally, dogs must be at least 12 months of age before they can reside in ATSU Housing.

Students seeking an ESA accommodation in ATSU Housing must submit a request for review for each lease period of residence, typically annually. The approval of an ESA accommodation request is animal-specific and is not transferable to another animal.

Procedure for Requesting an ESA in ATSU Housing

  1. Requestor contacts Learning & Disability Resources (disabilityresources@atsu.edu), self-identifying as an individual with a psychological disability requesting an ESA accommodation in ATSU Housing.
  2. Learning & Disability Resources conducts an interview with requestor, provides required forms, and requests documentation of disability and disability-related need for animal, if needed.
  3. Requestor submits completed forms, proof of animal’s up-to-date rabies vaccination, current photo of animal, and any additional documentation requested by Learning & Disability Resources.
  4. Learning & Disability Resources, in consultation with Student Life as necessary, conducts an individualized review to determine if the requested accommodation is necessary and reasonable, considering any or all of the following:
    1. Does the requestor meet the definition of psychologically disabled, per the ADA (having a mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities)?
    2. Does the requestor have a disability-related need for the animal in ATSU Housing?
    3. Is there an evident link between the disability and the emotional support the animal provides?
    4. Is the space needed for the animal too large for available housing space?
    5. Would the animal’s presence force another individual from housing (e.g., serious allergies)?
    6. Would the animal’s presence otherwise violate individuals’ right to peace and quiet enjoyment?
    7. Is the animal housebroken and able to live with others in a reasonable manner?
    8. Are the animal’s vaccinations up-to-date?
    9. Does the animal pose, or has it posed in the past, a direct threat to the health or safety of persons or other animals? This includes concerns such as aggressive behavior, injury, or potential transmission of zoonotic diseases.
    10. Will the animal cause, or has it caused in the past, excessive damage to housing beyond reasonable wear and tear?
  5. Learning & Disability Resources will provide written notice to requestor and ATSU Student Life regarding the outcome of the above determination within three (3) weeks of submission of all required forms and requested documentation.

Individuals with approved ESAs residing in ATSU Housing are subject to the ATSU Approved Animal Handler Agreement (Appendix I).

ATSU reserves the right to modify the above policies, as needed, at any time. For additional information concerning the use of an assistance animal, or other disability-related accommodations and services, please contact Learning & Disability Resources (disabilityresources@atsu.edu).

Contact Learning & Disability Resources

Jennifer McNeely, MA
Director - Learning & Disability Resources

E-mail: jmcneely@atsu.edu
Telephone: 660.626.2774

Schedule an appointment online at: https://www.atsu.edu/department-of-student-affairs/learning-resources#schedule-appointment

Connect with Learning & Disability Resources