In order to register with the office, you must self-identify to ODS and provide documentation of your disability. The type of documentation required will vary, depending on your disability and the accommodations being requested. In general, documentation should adhere to the best practice standards developed by the Association on Higher Education and Disability.
Students are encouraged to develop a list of accommodation requests prior to visiting Disability Services. In developing the list, you may wish to consider the following factors:
- Accommodations used in high school, previously attended colleges, and other settings
- The impact of your disability on your current functioning
- Settings which may exacerbate or ameliorate the impact of your disability
- Strategies that have been successful or not successful in the past
- Recommendations of medical or mental health providers
After providing documentation, you will meet with the Director to determine the accommodations or academic adjustments that may be put in place. The Director will provide you with an “accommodation letter” to verify that you have completed the registration process.
Documentation forms are available from ODS, but no specific format for documentation is required.
Accommodation letters are the official form of communication between ODS and other members of the campus community. The purpose of the letter is to verify that you have registered with ODS and to delineate the accommodations you may be using in your classes. No information regarding the specifics of your disability will be contained in the letter.
Letters are effective for one semester only. At the beginning of each semester, you will need to come to the ODS office to discuss any changes that need to be made and to receive a new letter.
It is your responsibility to share your letter with your instructors for each class in which you are requesting accommodations. ODS recommends that you make an appointment with each instructor during his or her office hours to review the letter and discuss how each accommodation will be implemented. Instructors are not able to provide accommodations until they are presented with a letter from ODS.
It is preferable to meet with instructors as early in the semester as possible, as some accommodations may take days or weeks to implement. Waiting until later in the semester, or waiting until accommodations are needed, may not provide the instructor or ODS with enough notice to implement accommodations in a timely manner.
Making Changes to the Accommodation Letter
Changes to your accommodation letter may be made at any point in the semester by requesting a meeting with the Director to discuss the need for a change. ODS may request additional documentation to support the accommodation request.