Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

As a public entity, FSU is required by Title II of the ADA to make all of its activities, programs and services equally available to persons with disabilities. FSU has many resources available to students, faculty, staff, and visitors who have disabilities, which help ensure a quality, educational and work environment.

FSU embraces the value of increasing knowledge and awareness through diversity, which includes compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Passed in 1990, the ADA ensures that 51 million Americans with disabilities are able to participate in the mainstream of life including higher education. For example, FSU's unique Football Disabled Parking Program provides accessible parking, golf cart service and Assisted Listening Devices to people with disabilities to enhance their enjoyment level of home football games. This is one among several ways the University ensures accessibility in its delivery of programs, services and activities.

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable Accommodations are for the purpose of structural or procedural modifications that remove barriers which prohibit an employee with a disability from enjoying the same rights and privileges as those who are not disabled.

Such modifications may be in, but are not limited to, three forms:

  1. Modification of a particular job assignment that enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential function of the job without causing undue hardship to the University.
  2. Modifications that allow employees with disabilities equal access to all privileges and benefits of employment.
  3. Modification to the employment process that allow applicants with disabilities equal opportunity to apply for jobs.

Reasonable Accommodation Request Form

For further information contact Dana Norton at 850-645-1458 or

Disabled Parking Program for FSU Football

Football Fans who require Disabled Parking may contact Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS) at (850) 644.5278, or Football Game Day Parking | Transportation & Parking Services (

Disability Etiquette: Did You Know?

Interacting with Students with Disabilities

The first step in interacting with students with disabilities seems obvious: treat them as you would any other student. Students with disabilities come to college for the same reasons others do. They bring with them the same range of backgrounds, intelligence and academic skills. 

Disability vs. Handicap

A disability is a condition caused by an accident, trauma, genetics or disease which may limit a person's mobility, hearing, vision, speech or mental function.

A handicap is a physical or attitudinal constraint that is imposed upon a person, regardless of whether that person has a disability. Webster's Dictionary defines handicap as to put at a disadvantage.

People with Disabilities

First and foremost, people with disabilities are people - they are not conditions or diseases. For example, a person is not an epileptic but rather a person with epilepsy. Each person is an individual human being - only secondarily do they have one or more disabling conditions.

Avoid making statements such as "the disabled." The word "disabled" as a noun implies separateness or total disability. "The disabled" should not be used to set a group apart from the rest of society. Rather, in any story, article, announcement or advertisement, "people with disabilities" or "individuals with disabilities" should be used. 

Reception Etiquette

When introduced to a person with a disability, it is appropriate to offer a handshake. People with limited hand use or who wear artificial limbs can usually shake hands. Shaking hands with the left hand is also an acceptable greeting. For those who cannot shake hands, touch the person on the shoulder or arm to welcome and acknowledge their presence.

Mobility Impairments

Treat adults as adults. Never patronize people using wheelchairs by patting them on the head or shoulder. When addressing a person who uses a wheelchair, never lean on the person's wheelchair - the chair is part of the body space of the person who uses it. When talking with a person who has a disability, look at and speak directly to that person, rather than through a companion who may be along. When talking with a person in a wheelchair for more than a few minutes, please sit down in order to place yourself at the person's eye level.

Deaf and Hearing Impairments

To get the attention of a person with a hearing loss, tap the person on the shoulder or wave your hand.

Look directly at the person and speak clearly and slowly. Speak directly to the person, not the interpreter if interpreter services are provided. Always maintain eye contact with the person with the disability, not the interpreter.

Show consideration by placing yourself facing the light source and keeping your hands away from your mouth when speaking. Keep mustaches well trimmed. Don't chew gum or otherwise block the area around your mouth in such a way as to prohibit lip reading.

Use short sentences and don't exaggerate lip movements. Use a normal tone of voice. Do not raise your voice unless requested.

Do not hesitate to ask the hearing impaired person to repeat if you do not understand him/her. If that doesn't work, then use a pen and paper.

Visual Impairments

When greeting a person with a severe loss of vision, always identify yourself and others who may be with you. Speak in a normal tone of voice, indicate in advance when you will be moving from one place to another and let it be known when the conversation is at an end.
Relax. Don't be embarrassed if you happen to use common expressions such as "see you later" or "got to be running along." People with disabilities use these expressions also.
Offer assistance with sensitivity and respect. If the offer to help is declined, do not insist. If the offer is accepted, listen to or ask for instructions (e.g. allow the person with a visual impairment to take your arm at or above the elbow so that you can guide rather than propel the person). 

Persons with Speech Impairments

Listen attentively when talking with a person who has a speech impairment and keep your manner encouraging rather than correcting. When necessary, ask short questions that require short answers. Never pretend to understand if you are having difficulty doing so. Ask the person to repeat themselves, if you cannot understand them.

Service Animals

Over 12,000 people with disabilities use service animals. Although the most familiar types of service animals are guide dogs used by people who are blind, service animals are assisting persons with other disabilities as well. Many disabling conditions are invisible. Therefore, every person who is accompanied by a service animal may not "look" disabled. A service animal is not required to have any special certification.

According to the ADA, a service animal that has been individually trained to provide assistance or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability can accompany the person in all places of public access.

A service animal is not a pet. Do not touch the service animal, or the person it assists, without permission. Do not make noises at the service animal because it may distract the animal from doing its job. Do not feed the service animal because it may disrupt his/her schedule.

General Concerns

Be careful not to patronize any person with a disability. Avoid making sympathetic comments such as "Oh isn't it terrible she can't see anything?"

Emphasize the uniqueness and worth of all persons rather than the differences between people. Avoid referring to a person with a disability as "one of them" rather than "one of us."

Do not exclude persons with disabilities from participating in any group, work-related, academic or social event because you think it may be too difficult for them to participate.

When you are expecting new persons with disabilities to visit your campus, know where accessible restrooms, drinking fountains and telephones are located. If such facilities are not available, be ready to offer alternatives.

A Final Word

"Live and learn." Most of us have heard that phrase. We all make mistakes. It's a fact of life that nobody is perfect. The beauty of making mistakes is that we can learn from them. We can always improve how we interact with others. We hope this information will help you develop comfortable interactions with persons with disabilities. Our ultimate goal is ensure that faculty, staff, students and visitors with disabilities are included in the mainstream of University life.

Interviewing Tips For Specific Disabilities

For Applicants with Specific Disabilities

When Interviewing an Applicant Who Uses a Wheelchair

  • Don't lean on the wheelchair.
  • Get on the same eye level with the applicant if the conversation lasts more than a minute or so.
  • Don't push the wheelchair unless you are asked to do so.
  • Keep accessibility in mind. Is that chair in the middle of your office a barrier to a wheelchair user? If so, move it aside.
  • Don't be embarrassed to use such phrases as "Let's walk over."

When Interviewing an Applicant Who has an Intellectual or Cognitive Disability

  • Use simple, concrete language, but don't use baby talk.
  • When giving instructions or directions, proceed slowly.
  • Be patient, and repeat directions if necessary.
  • Ask the applicant to summarize the information you have given to make sure it was understood.
  • Give positive feedback whenever possible and appropriate.

When Interviewing an Applicant Who is Blind

  • Immediately identify yourself and others present; cue a handshake verbally or physically.
  • Use verbal cues; be descriptive in giving directions. (The table is about five steps to your left.)
  • Verbalize chair location, or place the persons hand on the back of the chair, but do not place the person in the chair.
  • Don't be embarrassed to use such phrases as "Do you see what I mean."
  • Don't shout.
  • Keep doors either open or closed; a half-open door is a serious hazard.
  • Offer assistance with mobility; let the applicant grasp your left arm, usually just above the elbow. Again, ask first, and do not be surprised if assistance is refused.
  • Do not touch an applicant's cane. Do not touch a guide dog when in a harness. In fact, resist the temptation to pet a guide dog.

When Interviewing an Applicant Who is Deaf

  • You may need to use a physical signal to get the applicants attention.
  • If the applicant is lip reading, enunciate clearly, keep your mouth clear of obstructions, and place yourself where there is ample lighting. Keep in mind that an accomplished lip reader will be able to clearly understand only 30-35% of what you are saying.
  • The best method to communicate is to use a combination of gestures and facial expressions. You may also want to learn how to fingerspell, or, if you are more ambitious, take a course in American Sign Language.
  • Don't shout.
  • If you don't understand what the applicant is telling you, don't pretend you did. Ask the candidate to repeat the sentence(s).
  • If necessary, use a sign language interpreter. But keep in mind that the interpreter's job is to translate, not to get involved in any other way. Therefore, always face and speak directly to the applicant, not the interpreter. Don't say to the interpreter, "Tell her..."

***The above information and more can be found at:

The Power Of Words

Positive language empowers. When writing or speaking about people with disabilities, it is important to put the person first. Group designations such as "the blind," "the retarded," or "the disabled" are inappropriate because they do not reflect the individuality, equality or dignity of people with disabilities. Further, words like "normal person' imply that the person with a disability isn't normal, whereas "person without a disability" is descriptive but not negative. The following are examples of positive and negative phrases.

Affirmative Phrases

  • person with an intellectual, cognitive, developmental disability
  • person who is blind, person who is visually impaired
  • person with a disability
  • person who is deaf
  • person who is hard of hearing
  • person who has multiple sclerosis
  • person with cerebral palsy
  • person with epilepsy, person with seizure disorder
  • person who uses a wheelchair
  • person who has muscular dystrophy
  • person with a physical disability, physically disabled
  • unable to speak, uses synthetic speech
  • person with psychiatric disability
  • person who is successful, productive

Negative Phrases

  • retarded; mentally defective
  • the blind
  • the disabled; handicapped
  • the deaf; deaf and dumb
  • suffers a hearing loss
  • afflicted by MS
  • CP victim
  • epileptic
  • confined or restricted to a wheelchair
  • stricken by MD
  • crippled; lame; deformed
  • dumb; mute
  • crazy; nuts
  • has outcome his/her disability; is courageous (when it implies the person has courage because of having a disability)


The Office of Accessibility Services

For assistance with academic accommodations please contact the Office of Accessibility Services.

Accessible Map