Applying to the DSS Office
Colleges and universities will have a point-of-contact or disability student services (DSS) office where people can request and receive accommodations to access all the courses, programs and activities the campus has to offer.
You can usually find a point-of-contact for the office by searching the school’s website or checking the student handbook.
Types of Accommodations
Before meeting with the DSS office, have an idea of the accommodations you would like to request. Some commonly used accommodations by deaf students include, but are not limited to:
For more information, see Accommodations 101.
Meeting with the DSS Office
- Have copies of your disability documentation, such as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), 504 Plan or medical records from a provider such as an audiogram.
- Be prepared to share information about how your disability impacts access to learning and your experience with using different accommodations. See this checklist and sample questions to help guide you and the DSS office in reviewing accommodation options in a variety of settings.
- Consider how accommodations may vary for you. For example, accommodations in an online class may be different from when meeting face-to-face. You may also want to discuss what type of accommodations will be the best fit based on the information being shared, like for complex/technical courses.
- Have a list of questions ready, such as:
- Does the school or program have experience providing the accommodations you are requesting?
- What should you do if you need to cancel services for a class?
- How do you request services for outside class activities and events?
- What if your service provider does not show up for class?
- Will the service provider(s) be consistent for each class?
Be flexible and try a combination of accommodations to find the best fit, depending on the class size, content being provided and teaching methods. For example, some students prefer to use speech-to-text services for large lecture halls and then sign language interpreters for smaller group discussions.
Are accommodations only for my classes?
Accommodations are not limited to the classroom. You can request accommodations for activities on-campus, such as tutoring sessions, meeting with financial aid, student health services (including mental health), study abroad programs, internships, athletic programs, student programming and extracurricular activities like sororities/fraternities. Check with your disability services office what the procedure is for requesting accommodations for these types of activities.