Disability Support Services (DSS)

DSSAs a UAB faculty member you play an important role in promoting access for students with disabilities. Students affiliated with DSS are encouraged to collaborate with their instructors to ensure that they have the accommodations they need to provide them with equal access to their education.

DSS serves students with various disabilities including, but not limited to, learning disabilities, visual impairments, hearing impairments, physical impairments, psychiatric/psychological impairments, and other health related impairments. Accommodations provided to students are determined on an individual basis.

The information on the DSS website is intended to provide faculty with more in-depth information concerning working with DSS and with students with disabilities. DSS staff members are also available to faculty and staff for consultation and presentations on disability related topics. For questions regarding a specific student's accommodations, please contact the DSS office.

Excused Absence Policy

 
Some students with disabilities may have an accommodation to excuse “a reasonable number of disability-related absences.” This accommodation is recommended ONLY when a student’s disability makes it impossible to attend class because of debilitating illness, hospitalization, or other professional intervention.

Excused absences, like all accommodations, are designed to provide equal access for students with disabilities: excused absences are NOT designed to permit students to receive credit for classes without demonstrating skills required in those classes. There is no "magic formula" for the number of excused absences a student with disabilities is allowed in addition to absences allowed all students in the class.

The most important factors in determining what is reasonable are the essential skills and required performances of the class. For example, if class information is available in class or through peer notes, textbooks, internet resources, etc. absences may not prevent students with disabilities from missing numerous class sessions and completing class assignments outside of class. If certain requirements can be met ONLY in class (such as discussions, oral presentations, or practicum hours), fewer absences can be allowed. The best solution is to talk with the student about class requirements and possible modifications as early in the semester as possible.

Students who miss class because of disability-related absences are responsible for informing instructors that their absences were disability-related, getting notes or other materials from the classes they missed, and arranging to make up any tests or assignments missed. Instructors should talk with the student about the type of assignments missed, the amount of work needed to complete class requirements, and the quality that should be reflected in that work. When absences prevent students from gaining essential information or completing essential components of a class, instructors can consult with the student and with DSS about options such as a medical withdrawal or grades of N, F, or I.