Disability Disclosure and Confidentiality
Guiding the conversation if/when a student, faculty, or staff member discloses a disability
There may be times when a person, feeling comfortable with a particular Faculty, Staff member or Administrator, may disclose that they have a disability. A best practice in this situation is to let the person lead the conversation. They should not be asked to divulge any information that is not shared voluntarily. If the person is requesting any disability-related accommodation or modification, that would not already be provided to all other people, they should be referred (in writing) to the Center for Disability Resources (CDR).
In the event that you feel the information being shared by the person contains too much detail or feel discomfort with the conversation, it is appropriate to politely re-direct the conversation. For example, a statement like the following could be used: “Thank you for sharing this with me, in order to make the best use of your time I want to ensure we are able to talk about the Center for Disability Resources. I strongly encourage you to contact them; they are a valuable resource for people with disabilities on campus. I am going to send you their contact information in an email.”
The Center for Disability Resources (CDR) and Delaware State University are extremely sensitive to the issue of confidentiality and are guided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Amendments Act (ADAAA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in protecting privacy rights. All disability files are housed securely in the CDR.
While the CDR communicates with Faculty and Administration on an as needed basis regarding a person’s accommodation requests and accommodation facilitation, it does not share confidential information without that person’s expressed written consent or, in the instance of a verifiable need to know. Similarly, Faculty, Staff, and Administration should treat any disability information shared with them as confidential and only discuss that information with the Center for Disability Resources. In the event that a person feels they should share this information with others, it is encouraged that they consult with the CDR prior to sharing the information.
It would never be appropriate to ask a person if they have a disability, treat them differently, isolate them from their peers because of their disability, or request more information about their disability.