The Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehab Act of 1973 mandate that universities receiving federal financial assistance provide all otherwise qualified students equal access to programs and activities by having nondiscriminatory standards in all academic areas and reasonable accommodations…

Student Accessibility and Accommodation (SAA)

Spring 2021

Students:  If you are new to SAA please click this link: Online Accommodation Request, complete the online form and upload documentation of your disability. SAA will contact you within a few days to schedule an intake meeting.

If students need assistance, have questions, concerns or just want to touch base:

  • email us saa@pugetsound.edu
  • call us 253.879.3399
  • schedule a Zoom meeting by emailing saa@pugetsound.edu
  • stop by the SAA reception area in Howarth 105 on Monday or Wednesday between 1:00 and 4:30, to pick up equipment, drop off documentation, pick up accessible textbooks and ask for directions on implementing accommodations. Our receptionist will have handouts on how to activate your accommodations, etext request information, and how to do a virtual test room booking.

If you have a testing accommodation, check with your professor to see if they will be virtually monitoring the exam. If they are, you can do a virtual test room booking to have SAA monitor the exam. For instructions on how to do a virtual testroom booking click here.

Click on this link for instructions on how to activate your accommodations for your Spring 2021 classes.

We know this time of physical distancing has been challenging for everyone. Here are a few resources Supporting Your Well-being that may help you cope, relieve some stress, help you stay focused and add some fun to your day.

Faculty:   

Thank you for the support you give our students with visible and invisible disabilities. SAA is here to support you too! Visit the Faculty Resources page for more information and resources.

 

Mission

Our mission is to remove obstacles to a liberal arts education, by providing support and accommodations to otherwise qualified students with both visible and invisible disabilities while they embark on their pursuit of knowledge. We stand behind their journey towards a goal of using their talents, aspirations and intelligence to play a significant role in our democratic society. We are also committed to promoting a universal design in education, architecture and product design to improve the environment for all citizens and decrease the need to ask for special accommodations.

 
 

What is a disability?

A disability is a physical, learning or psychological impairment or disease that substantially limits a major life activity.  Some examples of major life activities are:

      Learning          Focusing             Reading               Talking

Eating        Sleeping            Writing              Breathing

        Walking          Seeing              Hearing              Grooming

                Remembering                         Communicating

Some disabilities are invisible: Arthritis, Crohn's, Hemophilia, Fibromyalgia, Sickle Cell Anemia. Some are obvious: Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Quadriplegia, Blindness

What is the law and how does it apply to higher education?

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act mandate that universities provide all, otherwise qualified, students, equal access to programs and activities by having nondiscriminatory standards in all academic areas and by providing reasonable accommodations on a case by case basis. 

What are reasonable accommodations?   

Reasonable accommodations are adjustments or minor changes that remove barriers.  They do not involve lowering academic standards, or alterations to a program.  Some examples are:

  • Extended time for exams
  • Note-takers
  • Accessible books
  • Readers, interpreters, and scribes
  • Flexibility in attendance

What is the process for requesting accommodations?

The University of Puget Sound has designated the Office of Accessibility and Accommodation as the department that determines if a student qualifies for an accommodation.

  • Obtain documentation from a qualified, licensed professional that includes a diagnosis, how the diagnosis was established, the functional impairments, and a rationale for requested accommodations.  
  • Accommodations are determined on a case by case basis and depend on documentation, student’s needs, requested accommodations, and what is reasonable under the law.
  • Once accommodations have been approved, students can access their Accommodate account to activate their accommodations each semester.  This is done by submitting a Semester Request at the beginning of each semester. When the semester request is approved, Decision Letters are sent out to the faculty. Students are to contact their professors to schedule a meeting to discuss the particulars of each accommodation.
  • The nature of the disability is confidential.  Professors are informed of the accommodations not the diagnosis.  Transcripts will not reflect involvement by the Office of Accessibility and Accommodation.

 

What is the student’s role in the accommodation process?

  • Meet academic and technical standards (attributes a student needs to qualify for a class or program).
  • Provide documentation that establishes a disability.
  • Request accommodations through the Office of Accessibility and Accommodation in a timely manner. Accommodations cannot be requested in retrospect.
  • Fully participate in the accommodation process by following the Office of Accessibility and Accommodation procedures and communicating with professors.
  • Notify SAA if there is a problem with the implementation of an accommodation
  • Notify SAA if additional accommodations are needed.
  • Abide by the integrity code of the University.

If you wish to discuss possible support services and/or accommodations, please schedule an appointment with our office by emailing saa@pugetsound.edu or calling 253.879.3399.

Declaration of a disability is not automatically a request for accommodations.

Documentation

Documentation of a disability must:

  • Be prepared by an appropriate professional,
  • Be current,
  • Name the disability,
  • Describe the procedures used to make the diagnosis,
  • Include standardized test data if testing was performed,
  • Indicate the severity and expected longevity,
  • And describe functional limitations in an academic setting

Support services that may be available to students with disabilities

Support services and accommodations are individually tailored depending upon a student's disability, its severity, and the student's academic environment--courses, housing situation, activities, etc. The following is a list of possibilities. Not every student qualifies for (or needs) every accommodation. Furthermore, other accommodations not listed here may be possible.

  • Electronic textbooks 
  • Extended time on exams
  • Testing in an alternative format or setting
  • Assistance with note taking
  • Assistance with the physical process of writing exams or papers
  • Individual instruction in the use of adaptive computer equipment
  • Coaching in self advocacy strategies
  • Sign language interpreter service
  • Flexible attendance policies
  • Intervention with faculty or staff on a student's behalf as needed

All Puget Sound students have access to free tutoring, writing assistance, and consultations on learning and time management strategies in the Center for Writing, Learning and Teaching.

Timelines

Support services and accommodations are implemented as quickly as possible, but students must allow adequate time for the process to begin. Generally speaking, it takes at least two weeks for a student to have an intake appointment and begin to use implemented services. Some services such as class notes and accessible text books take even longer to initiate. Therefore, students are encouraged to complete an intake interview before any services are needed. Later on if accommodations are needed and warranted, the process can be implemented much more quickly.

Students who take exams in the Office of Accessibility and Accommodation must provide SAA with at least four days' notice. For final exams, two week's notice is required.