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Contact UsDisability Support Services
Student Health Center 220
Mail Code 4705
374 East Grand Avenue
Carbondale, Illinois 62901
618-453-5738 | F: 618-453-5700
Welcome, prospective Salukis! We are pleased that you are considering Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
We understand that selecting a university which offers appropriate accommodations to meet your needs can be an important factor in your decision. You may have questions about this as you consider all that SIU Carbondale as to offer. Contact us any time, catch us at an Open House, or see us during your Campus Visit.
- Call us: 618-453-5738 or VP 618-615-4492
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- In person: Student Health Center, Room 220
New DSS Students
- If you are an SIU student and you have a disability, DSS can provide accommodations and services so you will have an equal educational opportunity. If you are unsure if you qualify for disability services, it is best to contact us for an appointment to meet with a DSS staff member.
- Meetings are usually conducted before the term begins, but you can do this at any time during the semester. However, it may take time to implement certain accommodations.
To request accommodations and meet with DSS:
- Fill out the new student application.
- Contact DSS for an appointment time.
- Call us: 618-453-5738 or VP 618-615-4492
- Email: email@example.com
- In person: Student Health Center, Room 220
- If you have documentation of your disability from a medical provider, you can upload it with your application, fax it to 618-453-5700, or bring it with you to your meeting.
- You are welcome to request accommodations and meet with a DSS Staff member even if you do not have documentation. The DSS Staff member will determine if further documentation is needed.
Returning DSS Students
If you have already met with DSS and have established accommodations use the DSS Student Portal to
Send faculty notification letter each term
Request appointment with your coordinator
Request Alternate Format Textbooks
Schedule Alternative Testing for exams
Confirm Notetaking Services
- If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the office at 618-453-5738 or VP 618-615-4492 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accommodations and Services
- Alternative Testing
- Quizzes must be scheduled 1 business day in advance
- Regular class exams must be scheduled at least 2 business days in advance
- Midterm exams must be scheduled at least 3 business days in advance
- Final exams must be scheduled at least 5 business days in advance
- Note Taking Services & Technology
- Alternative Formats & Accessible Course Materials
- Lab Assistants
- Housing Accommodations
- Interpreters & Speech-to-Text
- Assistive Technology
- Route Familiarization
- Additional Accommodations
- Emotional Support and Service Animals
- The animal is out of control and the animal's handler does not take effective action to control it; or
- The animal is not housebroken.
- Staff may ask if the animal is required because of a disability.
- Staff may ask what work or task the animal has been trained to perform.
- The size of the animal is too large for available assigned Housing space;
- The animal's presence would force another individual from individual Housing(e.g. serious allergies);
- The animal's presence otherwise violates individuals' right to peace and quiet enjoyment;
- The animal is not housebroken or is unable to live with others in a reasonable manner;
- The animal's vaccinations are not up-to-date;
- The animal poses or has posed in the past a direct threat to the individual or others such as aggressive behavior towards or injuring the individual or others;
- The animal causes or has caused excessive damage to Housing beyond reasonable wear and tear; or
- The animal may carry or acquire diseases that can be transmitted to humans causing illness and damage to their health.
- Other treating professional qualified to treat mental health conditions
- Attendance Modifications & Assignment Extensions
- Request accommodations within DSS Student Portal to send accommodation letters to professors.
- Review attendance policy for each course at the beginning of the term. DSS recommends this is done well before the refund date. In the event course requirements make extended absences impossible, students may need to register for a different class.
- Initiate Option #1 or Option #2 as early as possible:
- Contact Disability Support Services with questions or concerns.
- When students are experiencing a flare-up of symptoms and need to be absent, they must notify their instructors as soon as possible.
- Thoughtfully consider and discuss student needs and assist them in navigating this process with their instructors, if requested.
- Instruct students in the procedures for Attendance Modifications
- Thoughtfully consider and discuss the course objectives and requirements with the faculty member.
- Emergency Procedures
- Power Outages – When you are not on the ground floor of a building and power outages stall the usage of elevators, wait 20 minutes before you do anything (unless it is time for the building to close.) In most instances power will soon be restored and you will be able to access elevators. If it is time for the building to close, call your personal assistant and ask them to bring your manual wheelchair to the ground floor of the building. Next call the Department of Public Safety at 453-DPS1 (3771) or 911 and request SIU Police to bring the campus evac-chair to you. The evac-chair will be used by the police to move you to your manual wheelchair, and your personal assistant can push you home. If you do not have a manual wheelchair, call DSS (from 8:00 – 4:30, M-F) and ask to borrow a manual wheelchair. If DSS is closed, tell the DPS or 911 dispatcher that you need them to bring a manual wheelchair. They have off–hours access to the DSS manual wheelchair.
- Ice/Snow/Inclement Weather – Be advised that when weather conditions are unsafe for driving, the Handicapped Van Service may be suspended, other than to take students back to their residences. Plan for several days of bad weather each winter. Talk to your faculty ahead of time about whether or not you will be able to attend on icy/snowy days. DSS can give students letters of verification when van services are suspended.
- Hospitalization – Sign a Release of Information while you are in the hospital and ask staff to fax verification to DSS as soon as possible. DSS can then verify the legitimacy of your absence to faculty. Be aware though that faculty set standards about attendance and whether or not it is a fundamental requirement of their courses. Talk to faculty early in the semester if you have a history of health-related absences or hospitalizations so you know what is expected of you and can make informed choices about your classes.
- Inform the Department of Public Safety (DPS) of your circumstances and request a brief meeting to discuss any special emergency response accommodations.
- Be aware of the Building Emergency Response Team (B.E.R.T.) system and read the postings in each building.
- Develop two escape plans: one assuming help is available and one assuming help is not available
- Always let faculty/staff members know in advance that you will need assistance during emergencies.
- Begin pre-planned evacuation procedures.
- Call 911 and tell them who you are and what is needed and initiate B.E.R.T.
- Call your personal attendant as well, if needed.
- Course Substitutions
- The decision must be made by a group of people who are trained, knowledgeable, and experienced in the area;
- The decision makers must include a consideration of alternatives as essential requirements, and;
- The decision should be a thoughtful, careful, and rational review of the academic program and its requirements.
- Academic Adjustments
- The decision must be made by a group of people who are trained, knowledgeable and experienced in the areas relevant to the requested academic adjustment and program requirement, including the faculty member and the Chair of the Department or other appropriate administrator, in consultation with the DSS Office;
- The decision makers must consider a series of alternatives as essential requirements; and
- The decision must reflect a thoughtful, careful, and rational review of the academic program and its requirements.
DSS offers alternative testing customized to fit each student’s accommodations needs. Instructors are notified about testing accommodations by email once students request their accommodations each term. Students should discuss testing accommodations with their instructors during the first week of the semester.
Students must schedule exam accommodations in advance according to the notice required below:
Students are required to schedule all exams through the DSS Student Portal. Instructions on how to schedule the exam are listed under the DSS tutorial tab. Please be advised that students must follow all testing procedures to ensure accommodations are in place on test day.
Increasingly, faculty members are able to provide notes for students either on the web or utilizing 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
DSS does not share information about students' disabilities with note takers, but contact information is exchanged. If you need an alternative arrangement, including receipt of note taker services without disclosing your identity to a peer, see DSS staff. Students must make their own arrangements to acquire course notes and materials during absences.
Depending on the need and nature of a disability, students may be eligible for Alternative Formats to their textbooks and other course materials. Alternative Formats are typically provided through electronic text (e-text, such as PDF or ePUB). DSS provides students with access to a text-to-speech screen reading software that can then read aloud the converted text on their device.
Students should make requests for Alternative Formats as soon as possible so that DSS can allow sufficient time to obtain the textbooks directly though publishers or accessible book repositories, or to scan and convert them manually if unavailable through these methods.
Electronic texts are available from free online libraries such as Bookshare, directly from publishers, or other electronic book vendors. Choose carefully and understand the format when purchasing. Some electronic book formats may not be compatible with all software or technology.
Course Articles & Materials
Additionally, when a student is approved for an Alternative Formats accommodation, instructors are notified through the Faculty Notification Letter sent via the DSS student Portal. The instructor should contact the Center for Teaching Excellence to convert articles, course packets, and other materials. If a student needs additional assistance, they may contact the DSS office to speak with the Text Conversion coordinator.
Request Alternative Format textbooks via the DSS Student Portal.
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 contract. It is recommended that students be timely in completing contracts and making requests for accommodations so that DSS can assist when there is still good room availability.
Many students with mobility disabilities who require modified on-campus housing live in the West Campus/Thompson Point area, which is centrally located and offers automatic doors, roll-in showers, and many other accessibility features. Accessible housing is also available at Wall & Grand Apartments and Evergreen Terrace.
Students with visual or hearing disabilities 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 contracts. Additional requests for modifications or special provisions, such as single rooms, emotional support animals, etc., are addressed on an individual basis. Service and Assistance Animal Procedures can be viewed here.
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 https://housing.siu.edu/housing-options/residence-halls/my-room/index.php
If you have a food allergy or require a special diet, University Housing's registered dietitians can provide you with the resources and information needed to make healthy food choices in the dining halls. For more information visit University Housing's dining web page at https://housing.siu.edu/dining or call 618/453-2301
In addition to our general services, DSS offers comprehensive services to students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Several staff members are fluent in ASL and are available to assist students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Qualified interpreters and speech-to-text services are readily available at SIU Carbondale. Interpreters and speech to text typists are placed according to student language preferences, the complexity of the content, and type of communication involved.
View general procedures here: Interpreting & Speech to Text Typists
To request interpreting or speech to text services for guest lectures and events complete a request form found here: Interpreter Request Form
Requests should be sent to Kimberly Berger at email@example.com
DSS provides training and access to a wide variety of assistive technologies. Eligible students will receive free access to assistive technology software on campus. Though DSS does not conduct full assistive technology assessments, free consultation about available technology options and training can be provided through our office. In some cases, assistive technology equipment can be loaned to enrolled students.
DSS offers route familiarization training for new and returning students as needed, helping them become familiar with the campus setting and the location of classrooms, key departments, and other student locations.
In addition to Saluki Express routes, Rides Mass Transit provides accessible transportation for Southern Illinois University. Riders need to call Disability Support Services to establish eligibility for this service.
Disability Support Services has published guidelines for specific services for easy access. Please select from the links below.
Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal's presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.
Individuals with disabilities shall be permitted to be accompanied by their service animals in all areas of the University’s facilities where members of the public, participants in services, programs or activities, or invitees, as relevant, are allowed to go.
University staff may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises if:
A service animal shall be under the control of its handler. A service animal shall have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler's control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means).University staff are not responsible for any aspects of caring for a service animal.
University staff will not ask about the nature or extent of a person's disability but may make two inquiries to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal.
The University will not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal. Generally, staff will not make these inquiries about a service animal when it is readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability (e.g., the dog is observed guiding an individual who is blind or has low vision, pulling a person's wheelchair, or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with an observable mobility disability).
Any student with a disability who is planning extended use of a service animal in campus housing should contact Disability Support Services 618.453.5738.
The University will make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a miniature horse by an individual with a disability if the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability.
Emotional Support Animals
An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is one that is necessary to afford a person with a mental or emotional disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy University Housing, pursuant to the Fair Housing Act. An ESA provides emotional support, comfort, and companionship which may alleviate one or more symptoms of a mental or emotional disability. ESA’s do not perform work or tasks that would qualify them as “service animals” under the Americans with Disabilities Act and therefore are not permitted in any other areas than the student's dwelling unit within University Housing.
Although it is the policy of SIU that individuals are generally prohibited from having animals of any type in University Housing, SIU will consider an accommodation request for an Emotional Support Animal. SIU Carbondale will not limit room assignments for individuals with Emotional Support Animals to any particular building or buildings because the individual needs an Emotional Support Animal because of a disability. However, no Emotional Support Animal may be kept in University Housing at any time prior to the individual receiving approval as a reasonable accommodation.
Guidelines used to determine if the presence of an ESA is reasonable
Disability Support Services will determine reasonable accommodations for students who request to have Emotional Support Animals in University Housing. University Housing will allow an ESA if certain conditions are met. The animal must be necessary for the resident with a disability to have equal access to housing and the accommodation must also be reasonable. An accommodation is unreasonable if it presents an undue financial or administrative burden on University Housing, poses a substantial and direct threat to personal or public safety or constitutes a fundamental alteration of the nature of the service or program.
SIU Carbondale may consider the following factors, among others, as evidence in determining whether the presence of the animal is reasonable or in the making of Housing assignments for individuals with Emotional Support Animals:
Student procedures for requesting an ESA
Students with disabilities who request an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) in Housing must submit an Emotional Support Animal Request Application and provide medical documentation showing that the animal is prescribed as part of an ongoing treatment plan.
Documentation for ESA Requests
In order to evaluate the request, DSS must receive sufficient documentation from a qualified provider. Providers can use the Emotional Support Animal in University Housing Documentation Form. Equivalent information may be provided in letter format on official letterhead* by a licensed professional. In either format, documentation must be sent directly to DSS by the provider. Fax 618-453-5700
A qualified provider in this case is a licensed:
* Provider letters must answer all questions found on the Emotional Support Animal in University Housing Documentation form.
After these forms (request form and documentation form) are received students will be contacted by DSS to discuss their request for accommodation.
SIU will accept and consider requests for accommodations in University Housing at any time. The individual making the request for accommodations should contact Disability Support Services (DSS) as soon as practicably possible before moving into University Housing. However, if the request for accommodation is made fewer than 60 days before the individual intends to move into University Housing, SIU cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet the individual’s accommodation needs during the first semester or term of occupancy.
If the need for the accommodation arises when an individual already resides in University housing, the student should contact DSS and provide any available documentation as soon as practicably possible. SIU cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet the accommodation needs during the semester or term in which the request is received.
For questions, call DSS at 618-453-5738.
Attendance Modifications & Assignment Extensions
DSS staff make decisions about the need for attendance modifications based on appropriate medical and/or psychological documentation provided by the student to DSS. For students with episodic medical conditions which could interfere with their ability to attend class, this accommodation is intended to allow for a reasonable extension of absences and exam or assignment extensions, if needed. This accommodation must be requested in advance, DSS cannot arrange retroactive accommodations.
Student Responsibilities & Procedures:
Option 1: Student initiates contact with the professor and discusses reasonable flexible accommodation possibilities-professor and student determine reasonable outcomes.
Option 2: Student asks DSS to determine flexible accommodation options with professor; DSS contacts professor and works with professor to determine reasonable outcomes.
DSS Responsibilities & Procedures
DSS staff will:
SIUC Guidelines for Students with Mobility Impairments in Inconvenient or Emergency Situations
Like all university students you will be facing challenging situations, often for the first time on your own. If you use a wheelchair for mobility you may want to consider some of these situations and plan your responses. Also, please read the Building Emergency Response Team (B.E.R.T.) postings on campus.Inconvenient Situations
Before an Emergency:
During an Emergency:
Fire/Earthquake/Other Emergencies – Call 911 ASAP
Describe your situation and allow the dispatcher to advise you about how to proceed. Be sure to communicate to the dispatcher that you use a wheelchair and whether you will require the use of the evac-chair to escape a dangerous situation. If deemed safe by officials, your wheelchair may be used in the nearest elevator.
Waivers and Substitutions
This document details how SIU’s “Guidelines for Requests For Academic Adjustments” should be implemented specifically when students with disabilities request course substitutions or waivers. It describes the process students should use to initiate requests, and it describes the process that Disability Support Services (DSS) and academic units should follow when reviewing requests.
Section 504 Regulation at 104 CYR, 104.44 (a) regarding academic adjustments, requires post-secondary institutions to make such modifications to academic requirements as are necessary to ensure that such requirements do not discriminate against qualified students with disabilities. The regulation also states that academic requirements that institutions can demonstrate are essential to programs of instruction being pursued by such students, or to any directly related licensing requirement, will not be regarded as discriminatory. Title II of the ADA at 28 C.F.R. 35.130(b)(7) requires reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures when the modifications are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disabilities, unless public entities can demonstrate that making modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the services, programs, or activities.
Students should understand that throughout this process DSS provides consultations to faculty based solely on students' needs and the impact disabilities may have on specific courses. Academic units determine whether or not a particular course or assignment is fundamental to a degree program. In addition, students should be aware that if they change a program of study, they must submit a new request for an academic modification. Modifications are approved only for specific programs of study and do not follow students when a program of study is changed.
A waiver or substitution for a course, does NOT automatically entitle students to register for classes for which the original course is listed as a prerequisite. Any student seeking to register for a course having prerequisites, for which that student was granted a waiver or substitution due to a disability, must first obtain the permission from both the program in which the student is seeking a degree and the department in which the course is offered. For example, a student majoring in Finance seeking to register for MATH 139, and who was granted a course substitution for MATH 108 (a prerequisite for MATH 139), would need the permission of both the Finance department and the Mathematics department to enroll in MATH 139.
It is a student’s responsibility to initiate the process of requesting academic modifications to his or her program of study. In order to request an academic modification based on a disability, a student must have an open case at DSS. Opening a case means supplying appropriate disability documentation and having an accommodations plan.
Working with a DSS staff member the student should write a letter requesting the modification being sought and address it to the director or department chair of the of the student’s major (or minor) academic program. The student’s letter should:
(a) state whether a waiver or substitution is being requested;
(b) state exactly which academic courses or requirements fall under this request; be certain to include advanced courses whose prerequisites include courses affected by the academic modification being requested;
(c) include the following sentence: “I grant the staff of Disability Support Services and the Achieve Program at SIU permission to release medical information they judge necessary for understanding the academic impact of my disability to individuals in those academics units who will review my request, and to discuss my disability with those individuals in the context of reviewing my request.”
A student may include evidence that he/she has made a “good faith effort” to satisfy an academic requirement. Such evidence includes, but is not limited to, documentation of any or all of the following:
(a) Satisfactory attendance and punctuality in class
(b) Active participation in class, including a letter of support from a course instructor
(c) Journal indicating time spent outside of class working on course material
(d) Visits to an instructor during office hours
(e) Use of services available through SIU’s Learning Support Services, including a letter of support from an LSS staff member
(f) Use of services available through SIU’s Disabilities Support Services
(g) Use of services available through SIU’s Achieve Program
(h) Meetings with private tutors, including letters of support
(i) Satisfactory completion of course assignments, both graded and non-graded
Disability Support Services/Achieve Program Responsibilities
When a student’s request for an academic modification is supported by their documentation, DSS will attach a letter that (a) details the academic impact of the student’s disability, and (b) explains the documentation of the student’s disability. Forward this letter, the student’s letter and any supporting materials to the appropriate director or department chair.
Academic Unit Responsibilities
The director or department chair of the program to which an academic accommodation is requested, must convene a committee to review the request. The members of this committee will vary depending on the nature of the student’s request. Reviews must be completed within 60 working days from the receipt date of a student’s letter and supporting documentation unless the chair of the review committee determines that there is good cause for an extension. Review committees should consist of the following individuals:
• the director or department chair of the program to which the academic accommodation is requested. This individual will chair the review committee;
• the undergraduate/graduate director of the program or department, depending on whether the request pertains to an undergraduate or graduate program of study;
• at least one other faculty member of the program/department to which the academic modification is requested. Preferably these individuals should be instructors of the courses directly affected by the accommodation being requested;
• the staff member from Disability Support Services or Achieve who worked with the student in preparing his/her request for a modification;
• the Dean or Associate Dean of the College to which the program belongs;
• the Director of the University Core Curriculum when the academic modification being requested includes a University Core Curriculum requirement;
• the Dean or Associate Dean of the Graduate School when the academic modification being requested involves a graduate program.
Review Committee Responsibilities
Generally speaking, the consideration process should include the following elements:
The committee will meet to review the student’s request for a substitution(s) or waiver(s). During their review, they should consider what skills, assignments, courses, deadlines, etc., are essential to the degree in question and whether or not the requested adjustments would fundamentally alter the nature of the program. At issue is the balance between providing academic adjustments to students with disabilities to ensure that the requirements of classes/programs do not discriminate, and the University's obligation to ensure that all students meet essential requirements needed to successfully complete programs of study. Modifications can be required if the requested substitution or waiver does not lower academic standards, fundamentally alter the nature of the program, or impose an undue burden and if the modification meets the underlying reason for the requirements for which a substitution or waiver is being sought.
The committee makes the final determination with respect to the academic modification requested. In cases, where the committee rejects the requested modifications, they may suggest other that would be acceptable.
A letter to the student making the request from chair of the review committee documents the decision that results from this process. The letter should
(a) describe the process used to review the student’s request, including the names and positions of those who participated in the review;
(b) in cases where a request is denied, explain the reasoning supporting the view that granting the student’s request would fundamentally alter the program in which the modification was requested;
(c) in cases where a request is approved, state exactly which program course(s) and requirement(s) are covered by this substitution or waiver;
(d) in cases where a request is approved, explain the scope of the approval–for example, does it apply only to one specialization within a major or to an entire major;
(e) in cases where a substitution rather than a waiver is approved, identify exactly (including course number and title) the course or courses, offered by SIU, or other academic institution, that are acceptable substitutes; and
(f) in cases where a request is approved, indicate whether or not the student may enroll in more advanced courses in the program that list the original course as a prerequisite.
Note: Because this letter will become a part of the student’s academic record at SIU, this letter should refrain from discussing any details concerning this student’s disability.
The committee’s letter and all documentation used to support the student’s request and the committee’s decision should be returned to Disability Support Services, which will serve as the office of record for these materials. A copy of the committee’s letter only should be forwarded to the Director of Transfer Student Services and placed in Banner as part of the student’s permanent academic record.
Adjustments are modifications to courses or curricula. When students request academic adjustments based on a disability, certain procedures are required. This document describes the process students should use to initiate such requests and the mechanisms that Disability Support Services (DSS) and academic units may utilize to respond to them.
Section 504 Regulation at 104 C.F.R. 104.44 (a) regarding academic adjustments, requires post-secondary institutions to make such modifications to academic requirements as are necessary to ensure that such requirements do not discriminate against qualified students with disabilities. The regulation also states that academic requirements that institutions can demonstrate are essential to programs of instruction being pursued by such students, or to any directly related licensing requirement, will not be regarded as discriminatory. Title II of the ADA at 28 C.F.R. 35.130(b)(7) requires reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures when the modifications are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disabilities, unless public entities can demonstrate that making modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the services, programs, or activities.
In order to request an academic adjustment based on a disability, students must have open cases at DSS. Opening a case means supplying appropriate disability documentation and entering into an Accommodations Agreement with a staff member. Students' documentation must contain specific and reasonably current information, provided by qualified experts, that supports the request. DSS staff will determine at this point whether the student’s disability limits the ability of the student to participate in a given class, assignment, or specific test format and makes recommendations for academic adjustments if needed. Students should understand that DSS provides consultation to faculty based on students’ needs and the impact of the disability.
Students make specific requests with a DSS staff member. If the situation justifies it, the academic adjustment requested will be added to their Accommodations Agreement.
Faculty/Academic Unit Responsibility
DSS and the academic unit determine whether the requested academic adjustment is a reasonable accommodation. The faculty member, with appropriate academic departmental support, provides input on which skills, assignments, courses, deadlines, etc. are fundamental to the degree in question. DSS will provide input based on the disability, functional limitations, academic accommodations, and assistive technology.
If a determination is made that a requested academic adjustment results in a fundamental alteration to an essential program requirement or is directly related to a licensing requirement, the consideration process shall include the following elements:
At issue is the balance between providing academic adjustments to students with disabilities to ensure that the requirements of classes/programs do not discriminate and the University's obligation to ensure that all students meet essential requirements needed to successfully complete programs of study. Modifications can be required if the requested academic adjustment does not lower academic standards, fundamentally alter the nature of the program, or impose an undue burden and if the modification meets the underlying reason for the requirement.
If a determination is made that a requested academic adjustment results in a fundamental alteration to an essential program requirement or is directly related to a licensing requirement, the decision will be documented, including an explanation of the purposes or objectives of the academic program and how the essential requirement is necessary to achieve these objectives. Students will be notified of the outcome in writing. DSS will maintain documentation in students' files at DSS if it is made available to DSS.