Disability Services for Students

Main Content

  1. Policy Statement
    SIU is committed to providing equal educational opportunities to all students and assisting students in making their college experiences successful and positive.  The University recognizes that at times generalized student services are inadequate for meeting the unique needs of students with disabilities and is committed to supporting those students as well as complying with federal and state laws, regulations and guidelines, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 as amended.    
  2. Purpose
    This policy and procedure enable the University to comply with relevant law, the University’s educational standards, and sound ethical practice in disability services, which require reasonable accommodations made for qualified students with disabilities and prohibit the University from excluding such students from, or denying them the benefits of, its programs or activities.
  3. Definitions
    Note:  The following terms are applied by the University in accordance with and by using the definitions supplied by federal law and regulations, which are summarized here.
    1. “Disability” is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity, which may include, but is not limited to, seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, learning, reading, thinking, communicating, concentrating, and performing manual tasks.  Major life activities also include the functions of major bodily systems.
    2. “Reasonable Accommodations” are modifications that allow a student with a disability equal access to an academic program or offering at the University.  Accommodations include, but are not limited to, the provision of interpreters, extended testing time, note takers, recorded lectures, and, in some cases, course substitutions or waivers.  Accommodations are not considered reasonable if they change the essential elements of the curriculum or result in undue hardship, considering the nature, cost, and impact of the accommodation.  Academic requirements that can be demonstrated as essential to the instruction being pursued by a student or to any directly related licensing requirement will not be regarded as discriminatory.
    3. “Qualified student with a disability” is a student who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or to participation in the educational program or activity, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies, or practices; the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers; or the provision of auxiliary aids and services.
  4. Procedures
    Students may always choose whether or not to identify themselves as having a disability, but students who want the University to provide an accommodation need to follow these procedures.   

    A student seeking accommodations for a disability should provide documentation about the disability to Disability Support Services (“DSS”) and meet with a DSS staff person to discuss the disability and requested accommodations.  On the basis of the documentation and the interview, DSS staff determines whether a student has a disability and which accommodations are appropriate.

    Requests for accommodations should be made in a timely manner and as far in advance of the relevant course, exam, activity or program as possible to allow for appropriate consideration and planning.  Failure to do so may result in a delay of services.

    DSS staff will identify approved accommodations in an Accommodations Form, a copy of which will be shared with the student.  For academic adjustments, DSS will prepare individual letters for each faculty member summarizing the approved accommodations.  It is the student’s responsibility to deliver these letters to his/her faculty.  Faculty and other University officials are then expected to provide the accommodations in accordance with the DSS letter.  If the faculty member or other University official does not agree to an accommodation request, the faculty member, University official, or student should contact DSS.

    DSS will work with faculty and staff as appropriate to assist with how accommodations might be implemented in the classroom as well as to respond to any questions or concerns of faculty or staff regarding the appropriateness of an accommodation.

    Additional guidelines for requests for academic adjustments, provision of auxiliary aids, service animals on campus, and other general information may be found on the DSS website at disabilityservices.siu.edu.
  5. Course Substitutions and Waivers
    Students with disabilities which adversely affect the learning of specific course material such as math or foreign language may request a course substitution or waiver as outlined in the Course Substitution or Waiver Request Procedures, which can be found at disabilityservices.siu.edu/guidelines-and-forms/waivers-and-subsitutions.html
  6. Appealing Accommodation Decisions
    Students who wish to challenge a decision regarding an accommodation may do so under the ADA Grievance Procedure which can be found at disabilityservices.siu.edu/guidelines-and-forms/ada-grievance-procedure.html.  No student shall be subject to retaliation for filing a complaint.
  7. Confidentiality
    All information submitted to DSS is considered confidential and will not become part of any other student record.  Any disclosure of information will be in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Professional Ethical Codes of DSS staff.