Disclosure, telling others about one’s disability, is voluntary. It is a personal decision, usually made with a specific purpose in mind, and it should be an informed choice based on disability laws, legal rights, and legal responsibilities. There is no requirement to disclose a disability but disclosure is required to receive accommodations and/or services.
Why Might a Person Disclose?
- to request and receive necessary accommodations and/or services
- to receive legal protection from discrimination (ADA/504)
- to maintain or improve relationships with employers, coworkers, instructors, peers, etc
- to reduce stress by being open and honest
- to allow self-advocacy
Why Might a Person Not Disclose?
- accommodations and/or services are not needed in this environment
- performance and/or relationships are not compromised
- person may be unaware that accommodations and/or services are available
- fear of discrimination, negative attitudes, exclusion, etc.
- may increase stress because of embarrassment, anxiety, etc.
What Should a Person Disclose?
- how disability and limitations affect performance
- current difficulties
- solutions that will allow improved functioning and success
To Whom Should the Person Disclose?
- to those who have a need to know to provide accommodations and/or services
- at NC State, a person who has a disability should disclose to the Disability Services Office
It is recommended that disclosure be written down, edited, rehearsed, and committed to memory. The disclosure script should be brief, free of technical, clinical, or medical terms. It should emphasize abilities, solutions, and success. Modified versions can be used in different settings. A disclosure script can allow easy, consistent, and relaxed disclosure. It can give the impression that the person who has a disability is responsible, prepared, and capable.
The disclosure script should include:
- a brief description of the disability. There is no need to include diagnosis but functional limitations should be included if observable or expected to reduce functioning.
- strengths, skills and abilities. Include specific solutions used to improve functioning and achieve success.
- requested accommodations and/or services.
- The University keeps documentation concerning disabilities and medical conditions in the DSO file and separate from other records such as: the student's general academic file and the general employment record.
- Student documentation is subject to FERPA and only shared with University staff and faculty on a need-to-know basis.
- Accommodations will not appear on the academic transcript. There is no “flag” on the transcript to indicate that a student is registered with the DSO.
- While supervisors and the ADA Coordinator will know the functional limitations of an employee and the ADA Coordinator will have access to medical documentation regarding an employee's diagnosis, the information will be kept confidential and only revealed to others on a “need to know” basis.
- Faculty and supervisors are advised that the person’s identity, as well as information regarding him/her, is to be kept confidential and may not be released to anyone unless permissible by law. In addition, we ask instructors and supervisors not to point out or discuss accommodations in the presence of others.