How is college going to be different from high school in regard to services provided for me as a student with a disability?
You may find that the accommodations provided at LMU are not the same as those that you have received in the past. The reason for this is that the laws that provide accommodations in secondary institutions are different than those that apply to post-secondary institutions. At the secondary level, the goal of accommodation is to provide access and success. However, at the post-secondary level, the goal of accommodation is to provide access in order to grant equal opportunity.
At the college level, is a 504 Plan or Individualized Education Plan (IEP) accepted for use in documentation of a disability?
On its own, 504 plans and IEPs are not considered complete documentation of a disability and will not be enough to receive accommodations. The DSS Office has published documentation guidelines which describe acceptable documentation; however, the information in a 504 plan or IEP may be useful in understanding the prior academic history of the student.
When do I contact the DSS Office to disclose a disability?
If the student is an incoming freshman or transfer student, once they have committed to LMU, they should contact the DSS Office to discuss the type of documentation that they will need to submit. Doing this well in advance of starting at the university allows the DSS Office time to receive the documentation, review it, and contact the student if any additional information is needed. If the student currently attends LMU and has a documented disability, then they should contact the DSS Office at their earliest convenience.
Please note that the DSS Office makes every effort to respond to request within 15 business days once all of the documentation has been submitted. The time before accommodations are given may be much longer than this if additional information/documentation is needed. Once additional documentation is submitted for re-review, the DSS Office will make every effort to respond within 15 business days. There is a possibility that even with documentation, accommodations may not be granted because the disability does not cause a limitation in a major life activity as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If accommodations are granted, then the student will be informed in writing and encouraged to contact the DSS Office.
Are housing accommodations available? What do I need to do in order to be considered for housing accommodations?
New or returning students may make a request for on-campus housing accommodations at any time. However, LMU's opportunity to provide the accommodations that you need may be limited if the request is made after rooms have been assigned for the academic year in question. Accordingly, new students are encouraged to contact the DSS Office as soon as they know they will be attending LMU. It is strongly recommended that both new and returning students contact the DSS Office to discuss their on-campus housing needs before the housing application is due. Late requests will be considered, however, students may be placed onto a wait list if they are approved for accommodations after housing assignments have been made. While the Student Housing Office will make every effort to accommodate your housing needs at any point during the year, requesting housing accommodations at the earliest possible date will help to ensure that you receive the on-campus housing that you need. Finally, housing accommodations are based on the disabled students documented need and may not be extended to the disabled student's prospective roommates.
If I am registered with the DSS Office, how are my faculty notified of my approved accommodations?
If approved for academic accommodations, each semester you will need to login to the DSS Online Services website to request that your faculty be notified. Using this system you will be able to select what classes you want to use your accommodations in as well as what accommodations you want for each class. Upon approval from the DSS Office, your faculty will be notified through email. Although your faculty will be notified by email, we encourage you to have a conversation with them about the best way for you to utilize these accommodations.
If I have 50% (time and a half) extended time for my exams, should I test with my professor or with the DSS Office?
Students who have 50% extended time as an accommodation typically take exams with their faculty. Students who have other testing accommodations or more than 50% extended time have the option to test with their professor or in the DSS Office. If you are unsure where you should be taking your exams, please contact the DSS Office to discuss your specific accommodations. As a reminder, if you are testing in the DSS Office, you will need to submit an Alternative Testing Agreement through the DSS Online Services website 7 days before your exam (14 days before finals).
If note taking is one of my accommodations, will my note taker know who I am?
No. DSS does everything possible to protect the privacy of our students. If note taking is one of your accommodations, then the DSS Office would ask you to provide the class name and CRN number for each class that you are requesting note taking services. The DSS Office will then email your class roster with a general announcement that the DSS Office is hiring a note taker for that course and anyone interested should contact DSS. When the note taker is hired, they will be provided notes to the DSS office and the DSS office will send you an email with the class notes. Likewise, we will not reveal the note taker's identity to the DSS student.
If I am approved for accommodations, can they be retro-active?
No. Accommodations become effective as of the date that they are approved and cannot be applied retro-actively. Due to this, it is encouraged that you apply early and not wait until you are struggling academically to seek help from the DSS Office.
Accommodations may be used at your discretion. If you have been approved for accommodations, you will need to visit the DSS Office to complete an updated Student Contract and pick up your Accommodation forms that you will then share with your faculty. Without these forms, your faculty are not able to provide your approved accommodations. If you chose to not present the forms to your faculty until later in the semester, the accommodations still may not be applied retro-actively. Due to this, you are encouraged to give your faculty your Accommodation forms at the beginning of the semester and then choose to use, or not use, your accommodations.
Other than DSS, will other people on campus know my disability?
It is at your discretion to disclose a disability. Some students choose to disclose to their professors in private so that they may better understand their needs. The DSS Office will not disclose any information about your disability unless you sign a Release of Information form allowing us to discuss information about you with a third party.