Disclosing to DSS
Students have the responsibility for self-disclosing their disability and providing appropriate documentation in order to receive reasonable accommodations.
Disability documentation provides evidence that the student has a disability that is recognized by the ADA. It is recommended for incoming freshman who have had an IEP or 504 plan in high school to obtain updated evaluations before graduation. The DSS office reserves the right to request clarification and/or further documentation of disability and functional limitations as may be needed to evaluate a student request for accommodations.
All new DSS students will have a personal intake sessions with the Disability Support Services Coordinator. This session helps the DSS professional to gauge the students' needs and figure out a plan to best accommodate those needs. During this session, the student will learn how accommodations are provided by Saint Martin's and learn what their role in the accommodation process will be.
All medical and disability information shared by students is confidential and protected under FERPA. If this information is to be shared with parents or others outside Saint Martin's University, a DSS "release of information" has to be signed by the student.
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An accommodation is an adjustment in the learning environment to provide equal opportunity for academic or physical accessibility.
The DSS coordinator uses the student’s disability documentation as the core basis for determining what accommodations a student may receive. Each student's individual needs and challenges are also considered when making this determination. Accommodations from high school may or may not be transferable to higher education.
At the beginning of each term faculty receive accommodation letters from the DSS coordinator. The letters of recommendation state that state that the student should be an active part of the accommodation process.
DSS students who are eligible to receive testing accommodations may have their exams proctored in The Center as one of their accommodations. Examples of exam accommodations include students who need extended testing time, testing in a distraction reduced environment, or computer assisted testing. Students who arrange their testing with the DSS office need to do the following:
- Schedule your exam with DSS front desk staff or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-438-4569. You will need to know when you need to take the exam, the instructor’s name and the course number of the class.
- When you get your test scheduled you will receive an exam approval form. It is the student’s responsibility to get this form to faculty. This form must be submitted to the DSS office at least 24 hours before the exam.
- Show up to the center at your scheduled exam time.
- Students must sign and agree to the DSS Testing Procedures before the center will proctor exams.
DSS students who are eligible to receive note-taking accommodations for lectures must fill out a note-taker request form at the beginning of each term in order to receive notes for each class. Students are matched with note takers in their courses and the entire process is anonymous. It is the DSS student’s job to let the DSS coordinator know if the notes are not complete, or illegible.
Accommodations such as note-takers are not in lieu of classroom attendance and participation. If you have any questions or concerns about your notes please email email@example.com.
Students who need specific housing accommodations must have separate documentation stating the specific housing need. After submitting the proper documentation, the DSS Coordinator will work with the housing and residence life staff to arrange the accommodation. Students may have to wait for available housing accommodations if they do not disclose their needs before the beginning of the term.
The DSS office is able to help provide students with accessible texts. Large print and color paper are available upon request. The DSS office can also assist students who need books in audio format.
Assistive technology is available on computers in the testing rooms, as well as some other computer stations throughout campus. Available software includes: Dragon Naturally Speaking, Open Book, Zoom Text and Jaws.
Students are welcome to ask the DSS Coordinator about any software they may need, as well as how to access the available assistive technology on personal tablets, computers and smartphones.
Students with disabilities must provide professional documentation to the DSS Office as part of the accommodation process. As a general rule all documentation should be:
- Current - The documentation describes the condition and is less than three years old.
- Credible - The evaluation is written by a medical/psychological or other professional clinician. The document is typed and signed.
- Clear - The report clearly states the diagnosis. For example "the client has generalized anxiety disorder," rather than "client has anxiety symptoms."
- Conclusive - Includes a summary that makes suggestions and recommendations for accommodations.
It is best practice to get new documentation the last year in high school, as documentation needs to be recent (within the last three years) and testing fees may be covered by the state prior to graduation from high school.
Many of the same accommodations will be available, however some may change. During the intake interview with the DSS coordinator, students will learn which high school accommodations are transferrable to college. If you have any specific questions before that meeting please contact the DSS office.
Yes. However, depending on what is being requested more specific documentation could be necessary.
Many student do not experience disability symptoms until they are college age and/or are exposed to more advanced academic work. If you are struggling in your coursework, consult with the DSS coordinator to see what resources are available to you.
No. The DSS office does not diagnose students. If you do not already have a documented disability, the DSS office can help you find a professional who can perform an assessment.