Disability Support for Students
Disability support services are provided for documented disabilities and can include academic and/or clinical accommodations, as well as consultations. Our mission at DAS is to create inclusive and accessible learning environments and facilitate academic success through innovative services and programs in partnership with faculty, staff and students at VCU. We are focused on your success. With that focus, DAS does not conduct psychological testing or assessments, but there are resources at VCU and in the community.
It is important to note that academic accommodations are NOT retroactive. This means that any work completed or turned in prior to sharing your accommodations letter with the professor/instructor will not be included in your accommodations. This is one important reason why it is best to register with DAS early, even if you do not utilize accommodations at the beginning of the semester. If you do wish to use accommodations later in the semester, beginning the process then may take longer than you anticipate and delay any potential academic accommodations.
For students not already registered with DAS:
- Fill out the DAS Student Intake form.
- A member of the DAS team will contact you to set up a time to discuss the concerns outlined in your intake form.
- Meet with the DAS team member. If you have documentation (from your treating physician, psychologist, counselor, etc.), please bring it with you.
- If you do not have documentation for your initial meeting, please provide it to the DAS staff as soon as possible. Often times, documentation is needed prior to being able to properly assess appropriate accommodations.
- For certain academic accommodations, determined on a case-by-case basis, there will be more interaction necessary between the DAS staff member and either your documentation source or academic department/professor.
For Students who have a current letter from DAS, but need one for the new semester, please complete the New Semester Letter Request form.
Please Note: New accommodation letters must be requested for each new semester. If you have an accommodation letter noted as “Temporary”, you will need to provide updated information on your diagnostic and/or treatment progress before receiving the next letter.
All documentation turned in for accommodation consideration should be on official letterhead, dated, and signed by the provider. In some cases, medical documentation or psychological assessment write-ups would substitute for letters from the provider. Letters written by providers should include the following:
- Your medical and/or psychological diagnosis
- Functional Limitations as experienced in the academic and/or clinical environment. This is where your provider explains how your diagnosis is manifested in your academic setting. Depending on the circumstances and requested accommodations, this information can be vital in determining whether a request is appropriate or in need of more evidence.
- Recommendations for appropriate academic accommodations to address the functional limitations in the environment.
If you disagree with the decision communicated by your DAS staff member, then concerns should be directed to the Assistant Director, Debbie Roberts. If you remain displeased with the response from the Assistant Director, please direct your concerns to the Director of the Division for Academic Success, Amy Miller.
Beyond the Division for Academic Success, the full process explained can be found on the Equity and Access Service - Complaint Process page.
Students should familiarize themselves with their rights and responsibilities when seeking accommodations. The following list briefly outlines student responsibilities.
I understand that I should request accommodations early enough to ensure that accommodations are in place by the first day of classes, and that it is my responsibility to provide the required documentation. This includes but is not limited to requests for adaptive or special equipment, books, furniture, etc. However, I also understand that I may request accommodations at any time during the semester. (Letter)
I acknowledge and understand that it is my responsibility to request copies of my accommodation letters from the DAS office each semester. (Letter)
I understand that request for accommodations are not retroactive. I am aware that accommodations begin at the time that I present my accommodation letter to my professor(s). (Letter)
I acknowledge that it is solely my responsibility to disclose my disability to my instructors, and possibly to other university personnel on an educational “need to know basis,” should I choose to initiate a request for accommodations. (Letter)
I am responsible for coordinating testing with my instructor and the Division for Academic Success if I would like to use the Testing Center. I agree to provide my exam schedule for the semester to the Testing Center as soon as I receive my accommodations letter. I agree to inform my instructor(s) that any pop quizzes or impromptu testing to be taken at the Division for Academic Success requires scheduling in advance. (Testing)
I will inform my instructor(s) if I have a scheduling conflict that requires a test to be taken more than three hours before or after the regularly scheduled classroom test. (Testing)
I agree to allow enough time to complete the test during normal hours of operation. The Division for Academic Success closes at 5:00 p.m. daily and is open Monday through Friday. Flexibility of exams/quizzes must be discussed with this department and the instructor. We do not encourage missing classes because of exams/quizzes. (Testing)
I acknowledge that failure to attend class(es) without a valid excuse (i.e. illness, hospitalization) may void my note taking services. I understand that it will become my responsibility to obtain those notes in an alternative fashion. (Accommodations)
I agree to notify the Division for Academic Success if I need textbooks or other printed material enlarged or otherwise formatted, well in advance of when those materials are needed. I agree to provide copies of my syllabi to assist in the delivery of these services. (Accommodations)
I understand that it is solely my responsibility to contact the Division for Academic Success if I have any classroom or clinical site accessibility issues that I cannot solve independently. (Accommodations)
Understanding your rights as a student with a disability is almost as important as understanding our mutual responsibilities to each other. Respect and humility go a long way in bridging gaps between students, faculty, and staff.