Frequently Asked Questions

If you are an Instructor, please visit FAQ’s for Instructors.

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/captioning 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.

Once you have submitted your application in SAM, you are not able to access it again until after your first appointment with an Accommodation Coordinator. To upload your documentation, you will need to either go through the link sent to you in the confirming email or it can be faxed or emailed to our office.

What role do my parents/family 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 or family for a source of support.

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.

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.

When sending my faculty notification emails, why don’t I see all of my testing accommodations listed?

When requesting your accommodations on your Faculty Notification Emails, you will NOT see all your testing accommodations listed (such as, 1.5x extended time or breaks). To double check the testing accommodations you are approved for, you can click the “My Eligibility” tab on SAM. All the alternative testing/quizzes accommodations listed, WILL be sent in your notification emails, if you check the box marked “Alternative Testing/Quizzes (Will be Itemized on Letter)” when requesting your accommodations.

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.

How do I receive my approved testing accommodations?

Start by sending your Faculty Notification Letters through SAM. Next, reach out to your professor at the beginning of the semester to discuss how your testing accommodations will be implemented in your course. The Testing Accommodation Center in the DSS office is open from 8am – 5:00pm for the fall and spring semesters. Exams should be scheduled in SAM a minimum of 5 business days prior to the scheduled test day. DSS strongly recommends that you sign up for all your scheduled exams early.

How are my accommodations implemented for an online course?

Your reasonable approved accommodations will still be provided through the online platform. Please reach out to your professors to discuss how they will be implemented. Our office is available to support any student and/or instructor to address specific questions or concerns.

What if I need to register for accommodations or update my existing accommodations?

Students can register for academic accommodations at any time. Students can schedule registration and follow-up appointments either in person or virtually by contacting us. If you have questions or concerns about how specific accommodations will be implemented, please contact our office.

Is my disability shared with my professors?

Information related to a student’s diagnosis is not shared with instructors. It is the student’s responsibility to share their faculty notification letters with instructors. DSS focuses on accommodations/access and does not share disability-specific information. It is up to students to decide what information they feel comfortable sharing. A student is never required to share information regarding their disability.