Give Now

FAQ

General FAQ about DASS

Where is the DASS office located? 
What is a disability?
What are the University’s documentation guidelines? 
If a student received accommodations in high school, does that mean the student will receive them in college?
What services are available to students with disabilities?
What kinds of accommodations are offered?
Does DASS provide housing accommodations?
When should a student request academic accommodations? 
Does SMU charge extra for academic accommodations or academic support services for students with disabilities? 
Whose responsibility is it to inform professors about accommodations? 
Who will have access to a student’s disability-related records? 
What additional supports are provided? 
How accessible is the SMU campus? 
I think I may have a learning disability; how do I go about getting tested? 


Where is the DASS office located? 

We are located in the Loyd Building suite 202 within the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center (L.E.C.). The Loyd building is connected to the football stadium. Our entrance is north of gate 3. The L.E.C. is on the 2nd floor. DASS staff and the proctoring center are located on the 2nd floor as a part of the L.E.C.


[Back to Top]

What is a disability?

A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of the individual.

  • Major Life Activities The phrase major life activities refers to normal functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

  • Physical Impairment: A physical impairment includes any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following bodily systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory and speech organs, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin and endocrine.

  • Mental Impairment: A mental impairment includes any mental or psychological disorder such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.

  • Learning Disabilities: A learning disability is a generic term that refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities. These disorders occur in persons of average to very superior intelligence.

[Back to Top]

What are the University’s documentation guidelines? 
The University has guidelines written for the various disabilities. Specific guidelines for each type are available on our guidelines page. 

[Back to Top]

If a student received accommodations in high school, does that mean the student will receive them in college?
Not necessarily. The diagnosis needs to meet the criteria of a “disabling condition”. The test data needs to support evidence of a current, significant, and functional limitation that impacts learning. The evaluation must support a link between the disability and the requested accommodation.

[Back to Top]

What services are available to students with disabilities?
DASS provides academic accommodations, along with access to facilities, to student with documented disabilities. Some common services are classroom accommodations and testing accommodations. DASS also offers academic coaching for students with a diagnosed learning difference, a study and reading skills course called ORACLE, and a student-run organization called Students for New Learning. DASS is housed in the Learning Enhancement Center, which also offers tutoring services, writing support, and academic workshops for all SMU undergraduates.

[Back to Top]

What kinds of accommodations are offered?
Each student is treated as an individual. Accommodations are provided on a case-by-case basis by reviewing documentation, looking for functional limitations and what is deemed appropriate for the college setting. A list of typical accommodations can be found here.

[Back to Top]

Does DASS provide housing accommodations?
DASS does collaborate with Residence Life and Student Housing (RLSH) regarding the specific needs of the student. Documentation is reviewed by DASS in order for RLSH to make appropriate allowances for students with conditions that impact their housing needs. These recommendations are dependent upon documentation that is provided to the DASS office. The student must contact DASS for more information.

[Back to Top]

When should a student request academic accommodations?
Although you may request academic accommodations from SMU at any time, you should request it as early as possible. Some academic accommodations may take more time to arrange than others. You should follow SMU’s procedures to ensure that we have enough time to review your request and provide appropriate academic accommodations. We encourage new students to submit documentation in the summer before the fall semester, and are happy to review documentation as soon as a student is accepted to the University.

[Back to Top]

Does SMU charge extra for academic accommodations or academic support services for students with disabilities?
No. All services provided through DASS are encompassed in student fees or tuition (ORACLE, academic coaching, etc.).

[Back to Top]

Whose responsibility is it to inform professors about accommodations?

The student’s responsibility. If the Disabilities Accommodation Coordinator recommends accommodations for you, then our office will provide letters for you to give to each professor. Every semester you will need to request your letters using the Request for Accommodation Eligibility form and contact your individual professors to schedule an appointment to present and discuss the letters. 


[Back to Top]

Who will have access to a student’s disability-related records? 

A key tenet in disability services is confidentiality.  Information shared by a student with the Disability Accommodations & Success Strategies (DASS) team is held in strict confidence. This information can include the original request for services, documentation submitted for review, conversations between students and DASS personnel, and arrangements for DASS-provided accommodations like test proctoring. Except for emergency reasons, information is exchanged only as necessary in providing services, or with those with specific offices, and/or individuals for which the student has provided written permission.  DASS may, at times, communicate with on-campus offices or individuals without written permission, given there is a clear educational need.  

Disability-related records are maintained confidentially in DASS and are accessed by the DASS team. These records will be destroyed 3 years after a student leaves SMU.

[Back to Top]

What additional supports are provided? 
DASS offers academic coaching, a reading and study skills class (ORACLE), and a student run support group (Students for New Learning – SNL). Our office is part of the Learning Enhancement Center, which offers tutoring services and workshops on study skills, time management, and test-taking strategies.

[Back to Top]

How accessible is the SMU campus? 
SMU works to make the campus and buildings accessible to all students and visitors. For a list of wheelchair-accessible entrances for campus buildings, simply email us at dass@smu.edu. You can also click the following link for a map showing accessible parking: http://www.smu.edu/AboutSMU/Maps/Accessibility.

[Back to Top]

I think I may have a learning disability; how do I go about getting tested? 
Please contact DASS to request a meeting with a staff member who can refer you to a qualified professional. You may also browse the referral list on the Counseling and Psychiatric Services website:
http://www.smu.edu/StudentAffairs/HealthCenter/Counseling/DallasAreaReferralSources.

[Back to Top]