What is the Disability Support Services (DSS)?

The office of Disability Support Services coordinates and ensures services and accommodations for registered students with any type of disabilities (including temporary) are provided, as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. These services provide equal educational opportunities to students by minimizing the impact of functional limitations upon their academic and non-academic lives. The office of DSS also helps with guidance and information related to disabilities.

Who is responsible for determining reasonable accommodations?

The DSS is the only office on campus that is able to determine appropriate accommodations for students. The decisions regarding the approval of any accommodation(s) are based on documentation provided by the student with a disability/medical condition (including temporary), as well as the student’s functional limitations.

Are all students with disabilities registered with the DSS office?

No. It is possible that a student with a disability has chosen not to register with the DSS office, or he/she may not have met the eligibility criteria in order to receive services.

How do I know if a student is registered with the DSS?

Students registered with the office of DSS will present you with a current letter of approved accommodations each term. The student may elect which accommodation he/she would like to use in a given class after discussing the framework of the class with the professor.

What is my responsibility if a student’s accommodation is extended time on tests/exams?

If a student has extended time as an accommodation, you must provide the designated extra time delineated on their accommodation letter. If you have any questions regarding this specific accommodation, please contact us and we will be more than happy to assist you.

When is a student required to notify me of a need for accommodations?

The office of DSS encourages but does not require registered students to meet with you at the beginning of each semester to discuss his/her Letter of Accommodations. However, a student can register with the DSS or present their Letter of Accommodations to you at any time during the semester.

Am I allowed to request documentation from the student for any reason?

No. Documentation stating and describing a student’s disability or medical condition is considered confidential information. However, please call the DSS if you have concerns about a student in your class.

I have a student in class who provided me a letter of accommodations but has never used them. What is my responsibility in this situation?

You are only responsible to provide accommodations when a DSS registered student chooses to use their approved accommodations.

I have a student in class who provided me with a letter of accommodations but has never used them. The student then comes to me at the end of the semester right before finals, and tells me he/she is failing and asks for the requested accommodations now. What do I do?

The student has ultimate responsibility to make use of the accommodations that have been identified as reasonable. You are not expected to retroactively make adjustments on academic work prior to student use of their accommodations. If they request to use their accommodations, you must provide them the opportunity to do so. You are to provide accommodations from that point on.

Do I have any recourse if I disagree with the requested accommodations?

Yes. You can contact the DSS to discuss your concerns with the DSS Director.

If a student informs me that he has a disability and would like an accommodation such as extended time for an exam or assignments but does not have a letter from the DSS stating his/her accommodations, am I required to provide accommodations?

No. You are not required to provide any requested accommodations unless you have been presented with a current Letter of Accommodations. A student must be registered with the DSS before accommodations can be provided.

Am I required to lower the standards of a required assignment because the student has a disability?

No. The standards should be the same for all students. However, students with disabilities may exhibit their knowledge, production of comprehension or mastery of material differently than their peers. Accommodations are designed to address those differences, but the quality of the end result should be the same.

I have a student who is having difficulty in my class. I think this student may have a disability. What should I do to help the student?

Do not assume that the student’s difficulties are a result of a disability. Talk privately with the student to discuss your observations. If after a thorough discussion with the student, you believe the student may be in need of other assistance, you may refer the student to any of the campus resources that might be appropriate. You can offer options to the student such as the Student Support Services Center (which also helps with tutoring), the Counseling Center, as well as the DSS office. If the student discloses that he or she does have a disability or believes he/she has a disability, you might suggest that the student contact the DSS to explore options for accommodations.

I have a student with a disability who is getting behind in his/her schoolwork. The student is missing a number of classes and has not handed in several assignments. Although he/she has taken a midterm and used accommodations, his/her grade is about a D. At this point he/she is not passing the class. Do I have a right to fail a student with a disability?

Provision of accommodations is no guarantee of academic success. The student with a disability has the same right to fail as anyone else and the work produced by the student should be equivalent to his peers.