Listed below are some questions often asked of the Office of Disability Services and common responses
Office of Disability Services FAQ:
What constitutes a disability?
The Americans with Disabilities Act, As Amended (ADAAA) defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
A “major life activity” is defined as, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. A major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.
What should I do if I have a disability and want to receive accommodations?
If you have a disability that is impacting your academic performance or residential experience, you will need to register with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) by providing documentation of that disability and requesting accommodations through the ODS.
Are professors notified that a student needs an academic accommodation?
Yes. After registering with ODS, the student requests faculty notification emails be sent to the faculty for each class in which the student is requesting accommodations. Faculty notification emails must be sent every semester for courses in which the student would like to use accommodations, and students are always copied to those emails so that they are notified when they are sent. Students are expected to follow up the accommodation emails sent to faculty to communicate with faculty individually to discuss how each accommodation will be implemented in each course.
If a student registers with the ODS, will it show up on transcripts and/or diplomas?
No. The fact that a student is registered with the ODS does not appear on student academic records. Accommodations are designed to mitigate the limitations that a disability may have upon the student’s ability to have the same access as other students. Students who receive accommodations earn the same degree as all other graduates of Stevens Institute of Technology.
Will all the accommodations a student receives in high school be approved at Stevens?
Not necessarily. Some students with disabilities transitioning directly from high school to college might be used to services that will not translate well to the college environment. For example, while extra time on tests is a common accommodation in college, modification of tests will usually not be an option. Accommodation requests to have questions rephrased or reducing the number of choices on a multiple-choice test would typically not be approved.
If a student is accustomed to being accompanied to some or all of their high school classes by a paraprofessional, can that continue as an accommodation at Stevens?
Stevens, like most other universities, does not provide paraprofessional assistance, even when a student has received this service in high school. All students, even those with behavioral issues, will be held to the University’s code of conduct, which sets a standard for campus behavior. Students with medical concerns may hire a personal care attendant (PCA) to assist them in class or in the dorm. If a PCA is needed, the ODS should be contacted as soon as possible so that the PCA Policy and Contractual agreement (link) can be reviewed and signed by all involved.
How are Accommodations determined?
Accommodations are developed for students on an individual basis. Furthermore, depending on variables like course content or if the impact of a student’s disability changes, accommodations for students may vary by semester.
All requests for accommodations must be supported by the documentation provided by the requesting student. It is important to keep in mind that this is an interactive process. Accommodations are best established and appropriately implemented when there is a partnership between the instructor, the student and the ODS.
If my accommodations for a course were sent to a professor that is no longer teaching the course, what should I do?
You should notify the ODS ([email protected]) of any professor change or course change that occurs during a semester so that the ODS can make sure that all your current professors are notified of your approved accommodations.
Since I am not sure where all my classes are located, can the ODS assist me with a walkthrough of all my classrooms in effort to better familiarize myself to campus?
Yes, the ODS is happy to provide campus walkthroughs to assist students in the process of getting familiar with campus. If a student is interested in setting up a campus walkthrough with the ODS, they should reach out ([email protected]) at their earliest convenience.
Can I request additional time with a tutor if I feel as though it is needed due to my disability?
Yes, students registered with the ODS can contact the Academic Support Center ([email protected]) to request additional tutoring time, and they should copy the ODS ([email protected]) to the email to provide any verification, if needed.