Temporary Impairments Policy and Documentation Guidelines

Temporary impairment services allows DSS to assist students with temporary impairments. These students do not fall under the ADA or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.  However, this policy allows DSS to assist faculty with providing temporary accommodations to qualifying students.


In order to provide proper services to students with impairments, UAB requires that students provide verification of their impairment to Disability Support Services (DSS) at the time services are requested. This information will be utilized to establish appropriate accommodations. A temporary injury does not usually qualify as a disability under the 1990 American with Disabilities Act (ADA); however, the severity and duration of the injury will be taken into consideration. DSS will make every effort to accommodate temporary injuries when possible. The following guidelines will provide information about services and resources which DSS and the university can provide for a student with a temporary impairment. Some examples of temporary impairments addressed by these guidelines include broken extremities, hand injuries, torn ligaments, etc.

Who Can Verify a Temporary Impairment and What Documentation is Required?

Documentation will be accepted from a certified, licensed or professional person whose training is commonly accepted for establishing a specific diagnosis. The documentation should be on official letterhead and include the following:
  • a statement which classifies the individual as impaired
  • onset, nature, estimated duration and severity of impairment
  • any adverse side effects caused by medication
  • recommended assistance to accommodate the individual’s impairment
  • a signature from the diagnosing professional
The documentation must be recent enough to describe how the impairment affects the individual currently. This process will assist DSS in establishing appropriate accommodations.

Accommodations Through DSS

Accommodations for a temporary impairment are approved for one semester or less, and will be determined after a review of the documentation and recommendations from the treating professional. Students approved for accommodations based on a temporary impairment will be provided a letter listing the accommodations approved by DSS. Examples of accommodations which may be available for a temporary arm, hand, or upper extremity injury include:
  • Extended test time
  • Permission to tape record lectures
  • Notetaking assistance
  • Access to Assistive Technology (voice to text software)
  • Use of word processor for essay exams
If needed, exams can be scheduled with DSS and administered with approved accommodations.

What Accommodations or Services are not provided by DSS?

Disability Support Services does not provide building-to-building transportation. Also, DSS does not provide personal assistance with getting to or from class including the transport of books or other personal items. Wheelchairs are considered a personal device and are not provided for rent or loan by DSS.

Please return the report or address questions regarding documentation to:
Disability Support Services
University of Alabama at Birmingham
9th Ave Office Building, Suite 100
1720 2nd Ave S.
Birmingham, AL 35294-1413
Phone (205) 934-4205
TDD (205) 934-4248
Fax (205) 934-8170
Email dss@uab.edu

Contact DSS



Enter the DSS Student Portal

Getting Started

  • Our Services - DSS handles each request for services individually, which ensure you’ll receive the accommodations that are appropriate for you.
  • Applying for Services

Academic Accommodations


  • How to Request Housing Accommodations


Service and Assistance Animals

  • UAB has established specific guidelines regarding the appropriate use of and protocols associated with SAA.

Technology Available on Campus

  • JAWS – Screen Readers
  • ZoomText – Screen Enlargement Software
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking – Speech-to-Text Software
  • Kurzweil 3000 – Scanning and Reading Software
  • FM Systems

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