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.
Disability Law Basics
The law requires that universities have one person or office determining disability accommodations and ensuring compliance with our legal mandates. SAA is the designated office on campus that reviews documentation and students request for disability accommodations. To qualify for accommodations at the postsecondary level, a student must be well enough to meet the academic and technical standards requisite for admission and participation in the institution’s educational programs or activities. Students are covered under disability law if they can meet the academic standards with or without accommodations.
How do I request disability accommodations?
- If you are new to SAA please click this link: Register with SAA to Request Disability Accommodations, complete the online form and upload documentation of your disability. SAA will contact you within a few days to schedule an intake meeting.
- If you are currently registered with SAA:
- Learn How to Submit a Semester Request. A semester request is submitted by the student at the beginning of each semester to request the use of their accommodations for each class. You will receive an email when it is approved. Please follow the instructions on steps to take.
If you need assistance, have questions, or concerns:
- email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- call us at 253.879.3399
- schedule a meeting by emailing email@example.com
What are reasonable and necessary accommodations?
Reasonable and necessary 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
- Recording lectures
- Accessible books
- Readers, interpreters, and scribes
- Accessible housing
- Classroom adjustments
See Potential Accommodations page for more detailed list.
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.
- Learning disability: Psycho-educational evaluation. This is typically performed in your K-12 school.
- Psychological or medical disability: Medical Documentation of Disability Form (PDF)
- Documentation for Emotional Support Animal Requests: Medical Documentation for Emotional Support Animal Form. Go to Emotional Support Animal page for more steps on registering an ESA.
- You will be asked to upload your documentation of disability when you complete the online Request Disability Accommodations form. When we receive your online request, and documentation, we will contact you to schedule an intake meeting.
- If you have questions about documentation, or want to discuss documentation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a meeting.
How long is the process for requesting accommodations?
Once SAA has received an online request, and documentation, SAA will reach out to the student to schedule their intake meeting with an Accommodation Specialist. Requesting disability accommodations involves two meetings: an intake meeting with an Accommodation Specialist to discuss potential accommodations, and a “How to Access and Use Your Accommodations” meeting. This process generally takes three weeks from when we receive documentation.
How are accommodations determined and approved?
Accommodations will be considered when they do not fundamentally alter the nature of a program, course, or service. Fundamental alterations include: substantial changes to admissions criteria, or the way a course or program is delivered. Further, the accommodation may not constitute services of a personal nature, (such as a personal care attendant), nor can it result in posing a direct threat to the health or safety of self or others.
Potential accommodations are identified in an interactive and individualized process during your Intake meeting with an Accommodations Specialist. They are determined on a case-by-case basis relative to the student’s identified barriers to the learning environment. Identification and approval of accommodations must be supported by the educational barriers specific to the student’s disability. The student requesting accommodations must attend the Intake meeting. They can invite family members or a friend, but the student must be able to discuss their disability symptoms, and participate in a collaborative process with the Accommodations Specialist, or the Director, to determine reasonable and necessary accommodations.
After the Intake meeting, new students will have a How to Access and Use Your Accommodations Meeting. During this meeting, you will learn about SAA's policies and procedures, and most importantly how to do a Semester Request.
A Semester Request is submitted by the student at the beginning of each semester to request the use of their accommodations for each class. Students will receive an email when their Semester Request has been processed. Once it is processed, your instructor will be waiting for you to contact them. It is your responsibility to email your professors to schedule a meeting to discuss the implementation of your accommodations. You cannot expect to use your class accommodations until you have had this meeting.
After you meet with your professor, they will notify SAA electronically that you have met with them to discuss the implementation of your accommodations.
Accommodations are not retroactive. Therefore, it is recommended that students do their Semester Requests just prior to the beginning of each semester.
It is the student’s responsibility to notify SAA if they experience any issues or complications related to their accommodations.
Exclusions: SAA does not provide items or services of a personal nature. Examples are:
- Personal care assistance
- Behavior management assistance
- Personal medical, adaptive, or computer equipment, (for example: wheelchairs, walkers, canes, hardware or software for personal computers, etc.)
- Private transportation
- Educational supplies used by all students such as pens, paper, etc.
- Other items or services of a personal nature.
- Personal tutor
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 Student Accessibility and Accommodation in a timely manner. Accommodations cannot be requested in retrospect.
- Fully participate in the accommodation process by following Student 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 accommodations, please schedule an appointment with our office by emailing email@example.com or calling 253.879.3399.
Declaration of a disability is not automatically a request for accommodations.
- Peer Mentoring Program – The SAA Peer Mentoring Program is for SAA students who may have difficulty connecting to the campus community. Students are matched with an upper-class mentor. Mentors plan group activities to foster friendships among the mentees. The purpose of this program is to help students with social anxiety or students who are on the autism spectrum connect to campus life.
- Check-ins – students have a short meeting with an SAA staff member to discuss their weekly goals. They can then spend time in a virtual meeting to study or complete homework. The purpose of this program is to hold students accountable at their request. SAA will email a student if they do not show for the meeting, but we do not oversee their time management or due dates. This is a voluntary program. Goals are set by the student and the student keeps track of their own goals and work.
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