Registration

What should I know when applying for admission to UAB? Are there any special procedures?

Students with disabilities must apply to UAB through the regular admissions procedure. There are no special admissions procedures. A student may, however, apply to the companies that administer the standardized admission exams (such as Educational Testing Services and The College Board) for provision of accommodations when taking standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT and GRE. Contact the exam administration companies for further information on how to apply for and make arrangements for standardized exam accommodations.

What should I do if I suspect I have a disability and want to receive accommodations?

If you suspect you have a disability that is impacting your academic performance, you will need to provide documentation of that disability to Disability Support Services (DSS). This documentation must be supplied by a qualified professional who is licensed or certified to diagnose the disability in question. You may also schedule a time to meet with DSS to discuss a potential need for services and to gather resources.

How long does it take to complete DSS registration?

There are several steps in the process of registration with DSS. It can take 2-3 weeks if documentation is sufficient. The process for temporary impairments may vary, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to discuss.

I received special education (IEP) or 504 services in high school, how are these services different in college?

Colleges are required to provide any reasonable accommodation that may be necessary for equal access to education. They are not required to have Individualized Educational Plans (IEP’s). While some elements of your IEP will be applicable in college, some aspects of accommodations may change.

What does the term “documentation” mean? Does documentation mean that you need my medical records?

In general “documentation” means a letter from a qualified medical profession, evaluation from a psychologist, or a summary of care. Many times, copies of medical records do not cover necessary information when determining appropriate accommodations. It may be useful to provide documentation guidelines to medical professions.

I have a documented disability, but did not register with Disability Support Services. I recently failed a test, can DSS help me retake the test?

No. accommodations at UAB are not retroactive. We encourage students to meet with DSS staff if they feel accommodations may be needed in the future but are not sure.

 

Accommodations

I have completed the DSS registration process, do I have to use my accommodations in every class?

Use of accommodations is at the discretion of the student. It is important to remember that accommodations are not retroactive.

I would like to request an additional accommodation, how do I do that?

The student must go onto the portal and click on the “Additional Request Form” button. Student’s must fill out the form online. The request will be reviewed and an email will be sent to your UAB email address.

I don’t have the accommodation for a private testing room, but I would like to take my test in the private room.

DSS provides reduced-distraction testing environments. if you do not have private testing room as an accommodation, you will not be guaranteed a private testing room.

I do not know how to send my accommodation letters. How do I send them?

Follow the instructions in the step-by-step guide.

The accommodation “extended testing time” is not listed when I send my accommodation letters. Why is it not listed?

You can review all the accommodations you have been approved for under the “My Eligibility” tab. The accommodation “extended testing time” is included under the alternative testing accommodation.

An instructor is not providing my accommodations, what do I do?

First, check to make sure you sent your accommodation letters via the DSS portal. Make sure you have reached out to your instructor to discuss your accommodations. If you have done both of these things and the professor is not providing you with your accommodations, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Who do I need to contact about accommodations at graduation?

I requested a notetaker on my accommodation letter but I haven’t received one yet.

First, check to make sure you have confirmed which courses you need a notetaker for. Once you have done this, an email will be sent to your professors asking that they announce this to the course. If you already know someone that would be a good notetaker, please direct them to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If a notetaker is still not found and all of the above has been completed, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

I do not know how to schedule an exam. Can you help me?

Follow the instructions in the step-by-step guide.

 

Assistive Technology

What is assistive technology?

Assistive Technology is an adaptive and assistive tool for individuals with disabilities. Assistive technology can be categorized as high, mid, and low technology.

  • High Technology: touch screen devices, text to speech software, smartpens
  • Mid Technology: word prediction, digital recorders, contrast keyboard
  • Low/No Technology: magnifiers, color coding, switches/buzzers

How can students gain access to assistive technology?

Student can gain access to assistive technology by becoming a registered student with DSS by accessing the DSS portal. Registered DSS students can contact the DSS office to set up an AT assessment with the Assistive Technology Coordinator.

What is Books in Alternative Format?

Disability Support Services can coordinate access to course materials and books in alternative format. These course materials include, but are not limited to, Braille, E-Text, Audio Book/MP3, HTML, EPUB and Print Enlarging. Books in Alternative Format are provided only for courses for which the eligible student is currently enrolled. All books will be provided in accordance with all copyright laws and regulations.

How to receive captioning accommodations?

Captioning and transcription are arranged for eligible students with communication access needs. Students eligible for receiving captioning for courses can make the request by applying to DSS and becoming a registered student. If you are a registered student with DSS you may fill out the accommodation request form to request captioning services.

 

Miscellaneous

My parent/guardian called to get information and staff members weren’t able to answer specific questions. Why?

Due to FERPA, DSS staff are not allowed to communicate information regarding any of our students to anyone other than the student. If you would like for DSS to speak to anyone on your behalf, please fill out the DSS Release of information located on the DSS portal.

I want to forward my disability documentation to another college, what do I need to do?

DSS will need any student wanting documentation to be released to sign a Release of Information. This release will need the contact information of the individual and agency that will be receiving it.

Does DSS provide Notetaking Services?

DSS provides notetaking support using technology. Technology allows for students with disabilities to more independently capture lecture information. Current technologies also allow for increase in reliable, consistent, and accurate notetaking.

When would Notetaking Services not be needed?

Notetaking assistance may not be needed in cases such as:

  • Online courses that have no lecture or provide unlimited access to recorded lecture
  • Classroom notes/transcripts are provided to all students
  • Instructor provides their own notes

Faculty Rights

What are the rights and responsibilities of an instructor when working with students with disabilities?

An instructor has the right to confirm a student’s request for accommodations and to ask for clarification about a specific accommodation with DSS. Instructors do not have the right to refuse to provide an accommodation or to review a student’s documentation including diagnostic data. Instructors have a responsibility to work with DSS in providing reasonable accommodations, keep all records and communications with students confidential, and to refer a student to DSS who requests accommodations but is not currently registered. Instructors do not have to provide accommodations for students not registered with DSS.

Why does an instructor have the responsibility to make reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities?

An instructor has the responsibility to make reasonable accommodations because accommodations make it possible for a student with a disability to overcome barriers enabling the student to communicate what he or she knows in the same way that glasses do not strengthen vision but help a person to see. The instructor also has a legal responsibility to provide appropriate accommodations. For more information go to the Americans With Disabilities Act website.

If an instructor feels that a particular student may have a substantially limiting disability, to where should he or she refer the student?

If an instructor feels that a particular student may have a substantially limiting disability, he or she should refer the student to DSS.

What if a student with a disability is disruptive in class?

A student with a disability who is disruptive in class should be treated as an instructor would treat any student who is disruptive in class. If an instructor feels that there is a medical reason for the student’s behavior, the instructor can discuss this with a DSS counselor to determine if there is a solution to the problem.

What if a student with a disability is failing?

It is important for instructors to remember that providing reasonable accommodations to a student with a disability does not guarantee success in the course. Students with disabilities may not master the course material, just like any other student. Students with disabilities have the same right as other students to fail as part of their educational experience.

General DSS Information

Where can I get forms and publications provided by the DSS office?

Visit the "DSS Forms & Handbooks" tab on the Faculty DSS site for downloadable copies of common forms. Instructors may also want to review the online Faculty Handbook.

I am getting too many emails from DSS – it’s hard to keep up with them all, is there a better way?

The DSS Faculty Portal houses all of the information on students in each of your classes and which accommodations they are approved for. In the faculty portal you can also monitor who the notetaker is for your course and their notes, your testing contract who you is scheduled for an exam as well as monitoring other classroom accommodations.

How do I send a request for captioning of videos?

Do I need to get my podcasts transcribed?

How does an instructor make a document accessible?

Students Rights & Responsibilities

What do I do if a student is requesting an accommodation that was not on their accommodations letter?

Faculty are only expected to provide accommodations to students that are listed on their accommodation letters. If a student requests an additional accommodation not approved through DSS, please refer the student to DSS for instructions on submitting additional requests.

How do I determine how many disability-related absences are reasonable?

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) provided the following guidelines to be used in considering whether attendance is an essential element of a course:

  • Is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students and among students?
  • Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?
  • Does the fundamental nature of the course rely on student participation as an essential method for learning?
  • To what degree does a student’s failure to attend constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of other students in the class?
  • What do the course description and syllabus say?
  • Which method is used to calculate the final grade?
  • What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?

The accommodation should be provided unless the accommodation threatens the integrity of the course as offered. It is important that the student and course instructor discuss the issue so that the student can then make an informed decision regarding alternatives. Requests for accommodations for absences due to a disability should be considered on an individual and course-by-course basis. If you need further assistance, please provide the syllabus to DSS and a counselor will help determine a number.

What do I do if a student is absent due to a disability?

When a student is absent due to their disability, they are responsible for notifying the instructor and DSS within 24 hours of the absence, exceptions to the 24 hour recommendation may occur but DSS is happy to consult in these situations. The student will need to arrange how they will obtain the course content, lecture notes, and information presented that day.

How do I accommodate a disability related absence?

When a class is missed due to a disability related absence, a general rule for determining a reasonable timeframe for a makeup or postponement of an assignment (such as a paper, exam or quiz) is the time equivalent to that which was missed. In certain courses, it may be appropriate to consider an alternative assignment, reading or project to make up for missed class discussion or projects. Other examples of how disability related absences may be accommodated may include the ability to submit or make up missed assignments or assessments that have been impacted by the disability-related absence without grade penalty.

The student’s accommodation letter states they need a peer notetaker, what do I need to do?

When the student confirms the need for a notetaker, a second email will be sent asking for assistance in finding one in your course. We recommend that an announcement be made in class or an email be sent to the class via Canvas. You can also reach out to specific students if you think they would be good for this role. You can track when a notetaker has been assigned and how often notes are uploaded through the DSS Faculty Portal.

What are the rights and responsibilities of a student with a disability?

Students with disabilities have the right to equal access to courses, programs, activities, services, and facilities offered at UAB. Students are also entitled to reasonable accommodations. All information about the student’s disability is to be kept confidential. Students have the responsibility to provide acceptable documentation of disabilities and to register with Disability Support Services (DSS) if they would like to receive accommodations. If students deem it necessary to receive accommodations for a particular class, students have the responsibility to inform the instructor, to deliver the accommodations letters that verify their approved accommodations, and to participate in the discussions about how their needs can be met.

How are appropriate accommodations for a student determined?

To determine appropriate accommodations for a student, the student must submit acceptable documentation to DSS. The DSS staff reviews the information and determines appropriate accommodations based upon the substantial limitations of the student and the essential elements of the course.