Frequently Asked Questions
- Who do I need to contact regarding my disability?
- How do I notify my professors about my accommodations?
- What accommodations will I receive?
- If I received a 504 accommodation or had and IEP in high school, will the same accommodations be provided?
- May I appeal the decision that the coordinator of disability services has made regarding my accommodations?
- How will services for accommodating my disability change when I attend college?
- Who do I contact if I need special housing accommodations?
- Who should I contact if I need any special adaptive technology?
- If I had a foreign language waiver in high school will I get it at Susquehanna?
- I think I may have a learning disability. How would I get evaluated to find out?
Ideally, you should contact the Disability Services Office (ODS) immediately after placing your deposit as an incoming student, or in the first two weeks of the semester if you are a returning student. This will allow the Coordinator to contact you and offer assistance in various areas of orientation at Susquehanna. Please keep in mind that if requests for accommodations are not made within a timely manner, faculty and staff may not be able to fully provide an accommodation and/or are not obligated to give accommodations.
Requests for accommodations are given to the Coordinator of Disability services. This office is located on the lower-level of the Blough-Weis Library. You may contact the coordinator, Phillip Gehman, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 570-372-4340. Documentation may also be sent by fax to 570-372-2729. All services are confidential.
To obtain classroom, housing, or dining accommodations at Susquehanna University, you must submit a Request for Accommodations form to the Office of Disability Services (ODS) along with documentation from a qualified professional, preferably within the first two weeks of the semester. Once the documentation is reviewed, the CDS will meet with talk with you to determine appropriate accommodations. A "Letter of Agreement for Accommodations" will be issued for each class in which you require accommodations. How to Obtain Classroom Accommodations.
After receiving a "Letter of Agreement and Accommodations" from the coordinator, you will need to contact each instructor to arrange a convenient time to discuss your accommodations. Students are discouraged from handing their professors the letters after class with the expectation that the accommodation will be arranged without discussion. Upon agreement, you and the instructor will sign the letter. The letter is then returned to the Coordinator at which time a copy will be given to the student. The original copy will remain on file in the Office of Disability Services.
Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis depending upon the supporting evidence and recommendations given in the documentation. In all cases, accommodations may not be given unless there is proof that the disability/condition "significantly limits a major life function." There must be a direct connection between the disability/condition and the accommodations being requested. If the documentation is incomplete or does not support your requests, further information may be needed. Accommodations will not be given if they alter the essential fundamental elements of a course. Some frequently used accommodations are: extended testing time, having test questions read aloud or taped, taking tests in a noise reduced environment, taking essay tests on a computer, tape recording lectures, having a note taker or a scribe and preferential seating.
Q. If I received a 504 accommodation or had an IEP in high school, will the same accommodations be provided?
Not necessarily. Although information contained in an IEP or a 504 Service Agreement may be helpful, you may not qualify for the same accommodations you had in high school, even if your situation is "otherwise unchanged." The laws governing accommodations between high school and college are different. Therefore, what qualified you for accommodations in high school may not qualify you in college. Changes in Services from High School to University.
Q. May I appeal the decision that the Coordinator of Disability Services has made regarding my accommodations?
Yes. The coordinator will do everything available to provide you appropriate access to accommodations, however, students who disagree with an accommodations decision may appeal the decision by following the appeals process.
There are many basic differences between the laws governing accommodations in high school and college. The major shift takes place in the area of independence. In college, you are expected to rely on your own self-advocacy skills to communicate with faculty and obtain accommodations. Faculty and staff expect to work with you, rather than your parents. In addition, the laws governing confidentiality make communication between faculty and parents more restrictive. Changes in Services from High School to University.
You first start by completing a Request for Accommodations form from the Office of Disability Services (ODS). You will then be asked to complete a Housing Accommodations form. As with other accommodations, documentation must be provided from a qualified professional stating the reasons and recommendations for the accommodations. Once the forms and documentation has been reviewed you will be contacted by the Coordinator to discuss the request. If approved, you will then meet with the Assistant Director for Operations to determine the best housing options available. Dining arrangements will be approved by the CDS and students are responsible for making arrangements with the food service personnel.
If you’re in need of special adaptive technology due to a disability, you will need to make this request to the coordinator who will work with you to obtain the adaptive or assistive technology as soon as possible. If you are requesting books on tape/ e-texts, or special software such as speech to text or text to speech, it is important to contact the coordinator as early as possible. Ideally, new incoming students should make their requests as soon as their schedule is finalized for the upcoming semester. How to Obtain Accommodations.
No academic requirements at Susquehanna University will be waived. However, students may be permitted to substitute courses, for example, in a foreign language. These cases are rare, however, and must be fully supported by qualified professionals in appropriate documentation. Please see Course Substitution Policy.
The Office of Disability Services (ODS) cannot provide testing to screen for a disability; however, there are alternatives that should be considered. ODS has no formal relationship with these outside agencies. Therefore, the scheduling of appointments, the fee structure, etc. are to be determined between the client and the agency.
Private Psychologist: This is often the quickest option. A resource to aid in locating private testing services is the yellow pages. Information can be found under “psychologist.” This type of testing may be covered under some insurance policies, so be sure to examine specific policies or contact your insurance agent and/or your medical doctor for a referral.
Vocational rehabilitation agencies are resources in each state that serve persons with disabilities. If you suspect you have a disability, check with a VR office for an assessment of your eligibility for services. Their evaluations of your eligibility for client services are free, but scheduling may be difficult.
Things to keep in mind when deciding on a testing option:
- Will your insurance (or your parents’ insurance) help out with fees?
- Have you compared costs of testing in the area?
- Have you checked to see if you have any previous record of a disability on file?
- Do you need a medical referral for testing?
- Are adult measures being used in your evaluation?
- Did you bring Susquehanna’s documentation guidelines with you to the testing center?