Student Services

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What we Provide...

Consultation with Instructors

DSS staff members are available to consult with students and instructors regarding appropriate academic accommodations and adaptations for students with disabilities. Upon request, faculty may receive special training in communication and alternative instruction techniques that may help students with disabilities.


Note Takers

Increasingly, faculty members are able to provide notes for students either on the web or utilizing smart classroom technology. When faculty members are unable to provide notes, DSS can loan students a Livescribe Smartpen so they can take notes and playback parts of the lecture from their notes.  DSS also recruits individual note takers, ideally other students in the classes. Faculty are notified of students' eligibility for note takers in the form of Accommodation cards, which students deliver. Requests for this service must be supported by appropriate, professional and reasonably current documentation.

DSS does not share information about students' disabilities with note takers. They do need to know who you are prior to providing notes. Students must make their own arrangements to acquire course notes and materials during absences. If you need an alternative arrangement, including receipt of note taker services without disclosing your identity to a peer, see DSS staff.


Test Proctoring

Students are encouraged to discuss testing arrangements with their instructors during the first week of the semester. Faculty are notified of students' eligibility for testing accommodations in the form of Accommodation cards, which students deliver. Students must follow testing procedures and methods of faculty notification. Faculty may revise testing procedures when doing so is consistent with their fundamental objectives for the course.

Typical accommodations include:

  • Use of computers
  • Extended exam time
  • Proctors
  • Enlarged print tests | Electronic tests | Brailled tests
  • Reading or writing assistance
  • JAWS, Dragon Naturally Speaking, Kurzweil, ZoomText, and other computer software

Text Conversion & Accessible Course Materials

Students with visual impairments, mobility impairments, learning disabilities and/or Attention Deficit Disorder might be eligible for textbooks and other course materials to be provided in an alternative format such as electronic/audio text, enlarged text, Braille and raised graphics.

Since this process requires advance planning, students should register for classes at least three months before the semester starting date. This allows DSS sufficient time to order textbooks through Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D), order from publishing companies or convert them to an alternative format. DSS has Victor stream for MP3 Files and Victor Readers for RFB&D disks available for loan to students.

For DSS to assist in the acquisition of alternative materials, students must be eligible for this service and bring their books to the office as soon as possible, consistent with text conversion procedures. Procedures are listed on the DSS website at: http://disabilityservices.siuc.edu/text_conversion.html

DSS employs text conversion staff to adapt textbooks not available from other sources. Students who are physically able to manipulate textbooks and computers will receive training on how to convert their own materials. This training is designed to promote independence in both academic and future vocational settings.


Lab Assistants

Students with mobility or visual impairments might be eligible for lab assistants to assist with physically manipulating equipment and projects in lab settings. Requests for this service must be supported by appropriate, professional and reasonably current documentation.


Tutorial Referral

The University has extensive tutorial services available. DSS will make appropriate referrals as necessary. If students wish to hire tutors in addition to the free services offered, usually either students or their state/federal vocational rehabilitation agency must pay tutor fees, which can range from minimum wage to several dollars more per hour depending on the course and the tutor's qualifications.


Advocacy and Counseling

DSS staff provides short-term, informal, supportive counseling services. Staff refers students for specific clinical counseling, as needed, to the campus Counseling or Clinical Centers. Staff will problem-solve with students and advocate for them when necessary and appropriate.


Housing Assessments

DSS coordinates with University Housing to recommend accessible housing for students choosing to live on campus. Students should list all accessibility or other housing needs on their housing applications.

Many students with mobility impairments who require modified on-campus housing live in the Thompson Point area. Modified rooms there meet standards for accessibility. The University's newest Housing option, Wall & Grand Apartments, are fully accessible.

Students with visual or hearing impairments who need visual fire alarms, visual door knockers, Braille signage or other modifications to their residence hall rooms should list those needs when completing their Housing Contract. Additional requests for modifications or special provisions, such as single rooms, are addressed on an individual basis. Only a limited number of single residence hall rooms are available on campus.

Students needing modifications still make their own room selections during appropriate room reservation periods, but University Housing closely monitors them to assure compliance with DSS recommendations. More information on University Housing can be found at http://www.housing.siu.edu/residence-halls/room/accessibility


Liaison Services

The DSS office can help in arranging for support services offered through other campus offices and community agencies. Staff can refer students for:

  • Planning visits to campus
  • Arranging for early registration or academic advisement
  • Seeking financial assistance
  • Seeking career or personal counseling
  • Working with Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS)