Frequently Asked Questions


What does Disability Support Services do?

Disability Support Services (DSS) provides services to students with disabilities to ensure accessibility to university classes and programs. DSS offers information and services related to accommodations and disability, Assistive Technology (AT), and interpreter services for academic purposes. DSS does not offer evaluation testing, tutoring, help with class scheduling (these questions go to Academic Advisors), or student financial services. Tutoring services are offered through the Office of Academic Enrichment.


What constitutes a disability? 

A disability is defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. If you currently have a physical or mental condition, a history of such a condition, or a condition that may be considered substantially limiting, you may have a legally defined disability.

Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, substantially limiting is defined as being unable to perform a major life activity, or significantly restricted as to the manner, condition, or duration under which a major life activity can be performed, in comparison to the average person. A major life activity is defined as performing manual tasks, caring for oneself, seeing, hearing, walking, breathing, speaking, working, and learning.


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

If you suspect you have a disability and have been previously documented as an individual with a disability or if you have a disability that is impacting your academic performance, you will need to apply and provide documentation of that disability to DSS. This documentation must be supplied by a qualified professional who is licensed or certified to diagnose the disability in question.


What role do my parents play in the process?

College students are regarded as adults therefore the students are responsible for their own accommodation requests and other disability-related decisions. However, students may want to have an open dialogue with their parents for a source of support.


What kinds of accommodations are available?

All academic accommodations are based on the student’s documentation and an initial registration meeting with a DSS accommodation coordinator. Examples of some accommodations include: distraction-reduced testing at the Test Accommodation Center (TAC), extended time for testing, audio recording lectures, housing accommodations, text-to-speech/speech-to-text software, and other assistive technology.


If a student registers with DSS, will it show up on transcripts and/or diplomas?

No. The fact that a student is registered with our office 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 the University of Delaware.


Are professors notified that a student needs an academic accommodation?

Yes. After registering with DSS, the student requests faculty notification emails be sent to the faculty for each class in which the student is requesting accommodations.  This process is reviewed during the initial registration meeting. Faculty notification emails must be sent every semester for courses in which the student would like to use accommodations. Students are expected to communicate with faculty individually to discuss how each accommodation will be implemented in each course.


Can a faculty member forbid a student with a disability to record in class?

Once students are approved to record lectures as a reasonable accommodation, they sign an agreement on the appropriate use of a recording device in the classroom.  Instructors generally permit students to record the lecture when a reasonable accommodation has been approved.  Recording is generally for the faculty lectures and not necessarily for discussion or questions by other students in the course.


Do I have to be a full-time student to receive assistance from DSS?

No. DSS serves any qualified student at the University of Delaware regardless of enrollment status.


Does DSS provide services to students with temporary injuries, due to broken bones, recovery from surgeries, concussions, etc.?

Yes, we do! These conditions may fall under the same guidelines as long-term or permanent disabilities. We will work with you and your instructors to make sure you are able to attend class, to assist with class room or test taking needs and provide information on other resources.