Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who can register with DSS?
  2. How do I register with DSS?
  3. What documentation does DSS require?
  4. Is my disability information confidential?
  5. What role do my parents play?
  6. Does DSS provide temporary accommodations?
  7. How do I request accomodations each semester?
  8. What are some examples of accomodations and services?
  9. What is the grievance process?
  10. How does "handicapped parking" work?
  11. How do I request a Housing accomodation?
  12. How do I request a Meal Plan Exemption?
  13. What additional services may be available to DSS students?


Who can register with DSS?

Students who have been accepted to the university may register with DSS to receive academic accommodations.



How do I register with DSS?

To get started you will need to complete the DSS application and provide current documentation of your disability. DSS applications are available though the DSS Student Portal, along with instructions for using the Student Portal to register with DSS. Documentation guidelines are available online and in the DSS office. Once your application and documentation have been received and reviewed by the DSS Staffing Team, you will be contacted to schedule an intake appointment. Information gathered during the intake appointment will then be reviewed by the DSS Staffing Team in order to determine eligibility for services. You will then be contacted to schedule an Accommodations Conference with a DSS staff member. The Accommodations Conference is the final step to complete your registration with DSS. In this meeting, you will learn about your rights and responsibilities as a DSS student and you will receive Accommodation Letters to present to your professors. The entire registration process typically takes 2-3 weeks from the time a student's application and documentation are received.

DSS staff is available at any point during the registration process, or prior to initiating the process, to discuss your needs. For questions related to applying for services, you can contact DSS at 205-934-4205, dss@uab.edu, or visit us at the 9th Avenue Office Building, 1701 9th Avenue South.



What documentation does DSS require?

DSS provides guidelines for documentation of disabilities. Documentation costs are the student’s responsibility. Documentation accepted by DSS is valid as long as students are enrolled at UAB. Please see specific documentation guidelines for more information.



Is my disability information confidential?

DSS is the only UAB office that has access to documentation and information related to students' disabilities. Documentation is treated as confidential. In addition, confidentiality is maintained in all verbal conversations between DSS staff members and UAB faculty and staff. Generally, no information is released to anyone outside of DSS without students' informed and written consent.



What role do my parents play?

Students who are 18 years or older are considered an adult under the laws of the United States. Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) no person from the college can discuss confidential information, including anything related to grades or disabilities, without permission from the student. In this case, the student is responsible for their own accommodation requests and disability-related decisions. However, we encourage students to have an open dialogue with their parents as they can be a wonderful source of support.



Does DSS provide temporary accommodations?

Students needing temporary accommodations should complete the DSS registration process outlined above. Documentation submitted should indicate the anticipated length of time the student will require temporary accommodations. Some examples of temporary impairments can include but are not limited to broken extremities, hand injuries, or torn ligaments.




How do I request my accomodations each semester?

All students registered with DSS should use the DSS Student Portal to send Accommodation Letters to their instructors each semester. Accommodation letters are addressed to the instructor of each class and are automatically delivered via email to the instructor once the student requests this through the portal. Students are responsible for sending these accommodation letters to instructors at the beginning of each semester, and scheduling the requested accommodations with instructors throughout the term. Students may request accommodations at any time during a semester, but instructors are not obligated to provide accommodations until they receive DSS accommodation letters from students. Finally, students are responsible for reporting to DSS any concerns about implementation of accommodations.



What are some examples of accomodations and services?

DSS may recommend the following accommodations, based upon appropriate documentation and individual class requirements.

  • Priority Registration – All students registered with DSS are eligible for priority registration. Students may register three days prior to the first day of "early registration."
  • Testing Accommodations - Testing accommodations may include extended time, reduced-distraction testing environment, and/or alternative test formats.
  • Audio Recording / Note Taking Assistance - Students may audio record class lectures and/or request peer note takers.
  • Books in Alternative Format - Students may request books in an alternative format through DSS.
  • Sign Language Interpreting / Real-Time Captioning - Deaf and hard-of-hearing students will be provided state licensed/permitted sign language interpreters or CART providers for classroom sessions, class-related activities and UAB sponsored campus events upon request.
  • Access to Assistive Technology – This accommodation may include: permission to utilize laptop in class, access to screen reading/magnification/voice to text software, personal auxiliary aids, etc.

Services of a personal nature are not considered academic accommodations. Examples of personal services include tutoring, transportation, and attendant care.



What is the grievance process?

Questions and concerns regarding accommodations and services for students with disabilities should be directed first to DSS. If DSS staff members cannot provide information and suggestions that resolve an issue, a meeting with the student, the instructor (if appropriate), a DSS staff member, and the Director of Disability Support Services may be requested. If an agreement is not reached at this point, the student may file a formal, written appeal. The appeal should clearly describe the complaint in detail, and should be transmitted as a confidential document to:
Executive Director of Retention Initiatives and Academic Engagement
936 19th St. South
Birmingham, AL 35205
During the grievance process, students are entitled to receive all accommodations recommended by DSS. It is important that concerns are addressed promptly so that students’ participation in courses is not affected.

ADA Grievance Policy

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is committed to ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Students who believe the university or university representatives have violated or potentially violated the ADA should report this claim to the university ADA Compliance Officer. The ADA Compliance Officer at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is the Assistant Vice President for Student Life, Mr. Andy Marsch. To report a compliance concern or to discuss a potential compliance concern, please contact:
Mr. Andy Marsch
Assistant Vice President for Student Life
ADA Compliance Officer
marsch@uab.edu
205-934-4175
Students should be prepared to submit a written account of the alleged violation(s) and will be asked to meet with Mr. Marsch to discuss the claim.

If a complaint is not resolved through the UAB Grievance Process, students may file a formal complaint with the regional Office for Civil Rights in Atlanta, Georgia.



How does "handicapped parking" work?

Accessible parking areas are available to students who are certified for "handicapped parking" by their home city, county or state. Students with disabilities who need accessible parking should contact UAB Parking & Transportation Services. The fee for blue zone parking permits is the same as other student parking fees. Contact Transportation Services at 934-3513.



How do I request a Housing accomodation?

DSS and UAB Housing and Residential Life work together to provide accessible housing to students. Students are asked to register with DSS and notify the Housing office if specific housing accommodations are being requested. DSS recommends students note specific accommodation requests on their housing application.



How do I request a Meal Plan Exemption?

Campus resident students with dietary restrictions due to a disability or medical condition may apply for exemption from mandatory meal plan participation. In order to qualify for an exemption, students must submit a Meal Plan Exemption Request Form and all required documentation to the Director for Academic and Student Service Operations no later than the last day to add a class. Exemption Request Forms can be picked up or requested by email from the following departments: One Stop Student Services, One Card, Campus Restaurants, or Disability Support Services.



What additional services may be available to DSS students?

  • Academic Coaching
    Academic Coaching sessions are tailored to each student’s particular needs. Academic Coaches provide encouragement, support, and guidance as students acquire skills that will help them excel. Examples of skills targeted during coaching include:

    • Goal setting, time management, and organization
    • Note taking and listening skills
    • Studying and exam preparation
    • Reading comprehension, writing strategies, and managing projects
    • Memory and concentration
    • Anxiety and stress management
    • Communicating effectively with professors
  • Counseling Services
    Individual counseling services are provided for students who wish to work through any interpersonal issues in a comfortable, private, and non-judgmental setting. From these sessions, students can achieve their greatest wellness by exploring their goals and addressing their concerns.

    Counseling is designed to help students work through interpersonal issues such as stress, depression, anxiety, relationship concerns, etc. Individual counseling services take place in a comfortable, private, and non-judgmental setting. Our counselors understand that students who are registered with DSS may experience unique challenges related to their disability. We are here to help students explore their goals and provide support while students process any concerns and/or challenges affecting their well-being.

Academic Coaching and Counseling services are provided free of charge to students who are registered with DSS. To schedule an appointment, call or email our office.