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FAQ

DASS FAQ for Current SMU Students

How do I register with DASS? 
I sent in my documentation with my SMU application (or health forms). Is that all I need to do?
I am not sure if I will need accommodations in college. Should I still register with DASS?
What if I don’t need accommodations in all my classes? Can I just use accommodations for certain classes?
Do I have to inform SMU that I have a disability? 
What are the responsibilities of a student with a disability if he or she would like to receive accommodations? 
Once I am registered with DASS, are my professors automatically notified of my disability and need for accommodations? 
Other than my instructors, who else should I share my disability status with? 
As a student with a disability leaving high school and entering postsecondary education, will I see differences in my rights and how they are addressed? 
In high school, my teacher handled the arrangements for extended time. Will it work the same way at SMU? 
What if I feel uncomfortable talking to my professors about my accommodations? 
Where will I take my tests? 
What if I can’t take my test at the regular time because I have a class right after? 
I have requested some consideration for absences or tardiness as an accommodation. How does this work? 
Can a student with a learning disability be exempt from a second language or math requirement?
Is a reduced course load available?
How often can I schedule appointments for academic coaching?
What kinds of things do I need to consider in transitioning from high school to college if I have a disability? 
I am considering graduate school. What resources are available to help me navigate accommodations for entrance exams, etc.?


How do I register with DASS? 
A student must fill out the Student Request for Accommodation Eligibility form and follow the instructions to submit their documentation.

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I sent in my documentation with my SMU application (or health forms). Is that all I need to do? 
No. Your documentation needs to be provided directly to the DASS team. Do not assume that a copy of your documentation was forwarded from Admissions or the Health Center to DASS. DASS is the only office on campus that maintains documentation of a disability for the purposes of providing or coordinating accommodations when requested by the student.

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I am not sure if I will need accommodations in college. Should I still register with DASS? 
As long as your documentation is current and adequate, you can register with the office at any time. However, it can be better to register sooner than later because some accommodations may require time to be arranged. Again, the information you provide will remain confidential.

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What if I don’t need accommodations in all my classes? Can I just use accommodations for certain classes? 
Yes. Because the structure of classes can be different, you may not need accommodations in all of your classes. You only need to request accommodations for the classes you need them in.

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Do I have to inform SMU that I have a disability? 
No. However, if you want SMU to provide an academic accommodation, you must identify yourself as having a disability. Likewise, you should let SMU know about your disability if you want to ensure that you are assigned to accessible facilities. In any event, your disclosure of a disability is always voluntary.

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What are the responsibilities of a student with a disability if he or she would like to receive accommodations? 
A student with a disability is responsible for requesting accommodations through DASS. DASS will not seek the students out. A student with a disability is also responsible for providing acceptable documentation of his or her disability. After being approved through DASS, the student is responsible for requesting letters for professors, advocating/disclosing his/her disability to professors in order to receive accommodations, and setting appointments for proctored tests when needed. 

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Once I am registered with DASS, are my professors automatically notified of my disability and need for accommodations? 
No. You are responsible for requesting letters of accommodations for the classes that you need accommodations. You then take the letters to each professor to notify him or her of your request and to decide how accommodations will be provided. We are not allowed to provide information about your disability or accommodations without your consent.

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Other than my instructors, who else should I share my disability status with? 
You may work with other staff on campus that could benefit from knowing about your condition. Your academic advisor may make more informed recommendations on courses, course load, and strategies for pacing your program if they know more about how you learn or what challenges you face.  Sharing your disability, in general terms, with your career counselor can also help that person refer you to jobs or majors that might fit well for you, or offer you resources that are reserved only for people with disabilities (I.e., scholarships, job fairs, networking opportunities).  You can choose who you share personal, disability-related information with, and how much, but it can often help these staff members do a better job for you!

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As a student with a disability leaving high school and entering postsecondary education, will I see differences in my rights and how they are addressed? 
Yes. Section 504 and Title II protect elementary, secondary and postsecondary students from discrimination. Nevertheless, several of the requirements that apply through high school are different from the requirements that apply beyond high school. For instance, Section 504 requires a school district to provide free appropriate public education (FAPE) to each child with a disability in the district's jurisdiction. Whatever the disability, a school district must identify an individual's education needs and provide any regular or special education and related aids and services necessary to meet those needs as well as its meeting the needs of students without disabilities. Unlike your high school, your postsecondary school is not required to provide FAPE. Rather, your postsecondary school is required to provide appropriate academic adjustments as necessary to ensure that it does not discriminate on the basis of disability.

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In high school, my teacher handled the arrangements for extended time. Will it work the same way at SMU? 
No. In college you have an active role in obtaining accommodations. While the DASS team will determine the accommodations you are eligible for and prepare the necessary paperwork, you are responsible for taking the letters to your professor to finalize the arrangements.

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What if I feel uncomfortable talking to my professors about my accommodations? 
Advocating for yourself is an important skill to learn. However, if you have little experience doing this then please let us know so we can discuss with you how to best talk with your professor. Most professors are aware of the procedures and are genuinely interested in your success.

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Where will I take my tests?
Basically you have two choices. One, we encourage students to negotiate a way to take the test with your class and be provided with your accommodations by your professor. If you receive extended time, for example, you might arrange with your professor to start early or stay after in the classroom. However, if another class will use the room, then some students have moved to a conference room or the professor’s office to finish.

The second choice is to take your test with DASS in the Learning Enhancement Center. Instead of going to the classroom, you would come to the center on the day of your test. We take care of getting a copy of the test and returning it to your professor. You must arrange this at least 4 class days prior to the test in order for DASS to arrange proctors and a suitable location for testing.

When you meet with your professors to discuss your accommodations you will work out the most appropriate venue for testing, taking your schedule and the professors’ schedules into account.

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What if I can’t take my test at the regular time because I have a class right after? 
If you can’t take your test during class time because your use of an accommodation will conflict with another class, you must talk with your professor to arrange a different time. DASS can proctor tests from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday. 

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I have requested some consideration for absences or tardiness as an accommodation. How does this work? 
This is an accommodation given very infrequently, to those students who have conditions that could intermittently impact their regular attendance to class and are unavoidable. For example, when a student has a chronic condition with random or cyclical acute episodes, or a need to seek treatment at less than convenient times, modifications to attendance policies may be appropriate as an accommodation. This is not a license to not attend class, nor is it unlimited. There are parameters put in place, with much discussion with the professor and student at the beginning of the semester. An agreement must be reached on what is appropriate for each class, as the attendance requirements differ from course to course. Ultimately, the fundamental nature of the course must not be compromised. 

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Can a student with a learning disability be exempt from a second language or math requirement?
There are various requirements throughout the different divisions of the university. Some have a second language and/or math requirement. It is possible for students with a learning disability to petition for a substitution (not waiver) of certain requirements. The decision to allow for a substitution is made on a case-by-case basis by the DASS staff and the Dean of the student’s major college. There is more information about Course Substitutions, as well as our Course Substitution documentation guidelines on our Types of Accommodations page. 

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Is a reduced course load available?
Course loads vary from program to program. However, some students with disabilities elect to take on different course loads depending on their medical needs. These instances are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

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How often can I schedule appointments for academic coaching?
Typically, first year students are encouraged to meet with a DASS staff member once a week for forty-five to sixty minutes during the fall semester. However, depending on the student’s needs and schedule, appointments can be scheduled less frequently either on a regular basis, or on an “as needed” basis. Please contact DASS to schedule an appointment.

We ask that students who will be unable to make their appointment to please cancel in advance so that the time slot can be made available to other students.

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What kinds of things do I need to consider in transitioning from high school to college if I have a disability? 
There are several changes that will happen. Please read this article to get an idea of what some of those changes are.

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I am considering graduate school. What resources are available to help me navigate accommodations for entrance exams, etc.?
The American Bar Association's Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law has released two web features to primarily help law students with disabilities and prospective law students with disabilities: 

Requesting accommodations for the LSAT:
http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/accommodated-testing/

Law School disability programs directory: 
http://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_services/mental_physical_disability/resources/ law_school_programs.html 

For those interested in taking the GRE, their website details the process for registering. The GMAT provides instructions on requesting test accommodations at their site here: http://www.mba.com/us/the-gmat-exam/register/register-test-taker-disabilities.aspx. The MCAT provides detailed information about accommodation eligibility for the exam here: https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/accommodations

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