Procedures for Arranging Accommodations
Disability Services works directly with all schools and colleges except for the School of Law, the School of Medicine, and the Madrid campus. Students participating in one of these three schools are still welcome to contact Disability Services in order to obtain the appropriate contact at the respective school. Students in any other school or college should contact Disability Services in order to inquire about accommodations.
College differs from high school because you are responsible for self-disclosing to any university, including SLU, about your diagnosed disability. You do not need to contact anyone regarding your disability because you are an adult. If you wish to determine what services are available, you will need to contact Disability Services. You will need to meet with Disability Services staff, provide appropriate documentation, complete paperwork, discuss appropriate accommodations, understand services available to you, and learn about the roles of you, your professors, and Disability Services in obtaining the accommodations that are appropriate for you.
Your need for accommodations will not be officially considered or recognized without contact to Disability Services. Disclosure elsewhere on campus, such as the Admissions Office, Student Health and Counseling, or a faculty member does not constitute official notification. In addition, please note that you must personally contact Disability Services even if you shared disability information with someone else on campus previously. The information shared elsewhere will not be automatically forwarded on your behalf for purposes of official notification.
DS operates with an open-door policy, but to serve students best, it is recommended that you make an appointment so that we will make sure to be available at the appointed time. Appointments are given preference over walk-ins.
1. The student must speak with Disability Services.
2. If approved for accommodations, notification letters will be emailed to course instructors.
3. Students are responsible for personally making requests to use accommodations directly to course instructor following prior approval from Disability Services.
4. Students and instructors work together to arrange accommodations in a manner appropriate with the class.
5. Students must make timely requests to Disability Services and to course instructors in order to ensure that arrangements can be appropriately made.
6. Students may need to schedule accommodated exams through the campus testing center by coordinating with the course instructor.
7. Other accommodations are arranged on a case-by-case basis.
Disability Services will review this process in full during the initial meeting should accommodations be approved.
For the most part, the process is confidential, but there are some exceptions. You only need to share your specific diagnosed disability and related evaluation with Disability Services staff to get the accommodation process started. Professors, academic advisors, other counselors, etc. most often do not need to know of your specific disability and will often only know of specifics if you choose to share the information with them.
Disability Services will give your professors your name and a list of approved accommodations either at the beginning of the semester or when you register for services. No other information will be shared at that time. Other faculty and staff (including Academic Advisors and other counselors) will not have this information after your register. You will need to decide who to disclose to and what to disclose when you choose to share information with someone.
Here is where there is an exception: In some situations, it may be necessary for Disability Services staff to disclose some aspect of your diagnosed information to a faculty member, Academic Advisor, other counselor, etc. if the staff feels that disclosure will immediately support the SLU personnel in doing their job in a way that benefits you, the student. Such disclosure is legitimate within the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Saint Louis University FERPA Guide, which states that:
"Within the Saint Louis University community, only those members, individually or collectively, having a legitimate educational interest are allowed access to student education records and then only within the limitations of their need to know. These personnel in all academic and administrative offices of the University include academic personnel, students employed to perform research on behalf of the University and outside parties acting on behalf of Saint Louis University."
Furthermore: "If the University employee's scope of employment requires that the person know the information to do his or her job, then generally, disclosure is appropriate."
Disability Services staff will weigh each situation carefully and will share only information necessary to address the circumstance at hand. In most cases when information is disclosed to a SLU employee, it is for one of two reasons:
1) Information is shared because the student initially spoke to the Disability Services staff and asked that staff speak with the SLU employee.
2) The SLU employee contacted DisabilityServices to seek guidance and feedback on how to best support the student in relation to work done by the SLU employee. Contacts such as these generally occur only after the SLU employee has identified a problem with the student or the student's situation, which the faculty or staff person wants to effectively address. If Disability Services believes that disclosure of a disability will assist the SLU employee in doing his/her job when working with the student, then diagnostic information may very well be disclosed. But Disability Services makes every attempt to support SLU employees without such disclosure when at all possible.
If Disability Services staff feels that revelation of some information will not effect how the SLU faculty or staff person will do their job (decisions made and action taken will be the same regardless of what is known) or if Disability Services staff feels that such disclosure may lead either to your being discriminated against by the person with knowledge or to your educational efforts being hindered, then we will not disclose any diagnosed information.
Your academic progress will not be discussed with your parents unless you sign an authorization allowing Disability Services to speak with your parents. Even with this authorization, Disability Services staff will not initiate a contact with your parents but will instead only respond to contacts initiated by them. If Disability Services has questions about you or your progress, we will contact you directly.
Your transcript will not show an asterisk or mention that you received accommodations. Remember, the purpose of the accommodation process is to give you an equal opportunity for success by providing support in academic areas of personal need. Your academic performance will be evaluated against the same standards of everyone else whether you use accommodations or not.
Information will only be relayed to people outside of SLU with the written permission of the student.
You are under no obligation to contact DS at certain points throughout the semester. Some students choose to speak with staff on a weekly basis. Some students register for services and then feel comfortable enough handling things on their own.
DS is more than willing to work with you provided that you initiate contact. It is not the responsibility of the office to call you, to make sure you are getting the accommodations you need, to follow your progress with your professors, to make sure you are doing homework, or to remind you of upcoming assignments. If you do have a problem, it is highly recommended that you speak with Disability Services staff as soon as possible before the problem grows into a complicated situation that further complicated by having too much time pass or by a having a lack of time or resources to address the concern.
It is the role of the office to ensure you are receiving equal opportunity at SLU and to support you in different areas as needed based on your questions and requests for assistance. In the end, your initiative and effort determines your overall level of success.
Whenever you register for services, your registration will be considered current through the end of the academic year. You will be given an announcement via email on what you need to do prior to each academic year. Updating your registration can often be handled through email without a visit to the office.
It is important to note that you will HAVE to submit something prior to each academic year. Failure to do so will result in your not having accommodation services at the start of the year even if your were registered the previous year.
Toward the end of the Spring semester, make sure you pay attention to emails from Disability Services staff regarding updating your information for the following academic year.