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Disability Services | Requesting Services

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For Students: Requesting Services

**Students must complete these registration steps, before they can receive any accommodations.**

Before the start of EVERY SEMESTER…

(1) Meet with Disability Support Services (DSS) to get copies of your Accessibility Letter.

The Accessibility Letter will be created with you (the student) and DSS staff. It will list the specific accommodations and other DSS services that you are requesting for all known university activities that semester (i.e., classes, student organizations). For confidentiality reasons, the letter will not state your specific disability. DSS staff will sign the letter, indicating approval based on knowledge of course requirements and your academic needs.

(2) Discuss your classroom accommodations with each instructor during office hours.

Discuss your classroom accommodations and create a plan for implementation with each instructor from whom you would like to receive accommodations. Use the Accessibility Letter as a tool for discussion and contact DSS if you would like to get pointers for approaching your instructors. DSS is unable to send the letter for you or inform instructors of your accommodations on your behalf. It is your right as well as responsibility, to disclose your Accessibility Letter to each instructor each semester (even if you have taken that course or instructor previously).

(3) Sign the Accessibility Letter at the same time as your instructor and return a copy to DSS.

The return of this letter with ALL three signatures marks the official start of your classroom accommodations for that semester. Since you may decide to use accommodations in some courses and not others, it will not be assumed that you have shared the Accessibility Letter. If you choose not to share the letter with an instructor, they cannot be held responsible for providing classroom accommodations. Accommodations and other DSS services cannot be applied retroactively, so it is critical that you get this letter discussed and signed as early in the semester as possible. Your instructor may choose to contact DSS if they have questions or require more information before signing your Accessibility Letter.

Important Points to Remember

  • The accommodations that you request should be supported by your disability documentation and deemed reasonable by the University.
  • You must inform DSS immediately if your approved accommodations (the items listed on your signed Accessibility Letter) are not being provided or if new academic needs arise during the semester. It is very important that you do not wait until the end of the semester to report problems with your approved accommodations.
  • Accessibility Letters do not carry over from one semester to the next and cannot be applied to assignments or events that occur before all three signatures were obtained (DSS + student+ instructor).
  • Certain services (i.e., sign language interpreters, text-to-speech software) are arranged by DSS and can begin immediately. Classroom accommodations (i.e., copies of lecture notes, extended time on exams) are arranged by you and your instructor based on the plan you developed when you both discussed and signed the Accessibility Letter.
  • It may be helpful to read “Disability and Higher Education FAQs” to increase your understanding of disability accommodations in college settings.

For more information, contact Disability Student Services by phone at 202-884-9358 or visit us in the Academic Services Center, Library 1st floor.

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