While the DSO provides accommodations for students with disabilities, we also want to help faculty members in this process. If you have questions about your student’s accommodations, contact us to discuss your concerns or view the FAQ about Accommodations for Disabilities.
Accommodations and Documentation
Students must show documentation from the DSO in order to receive accommodations for their disabilities. If a student requests accommodations from you without proper documentation (e.g., a doctor’s note instead of an official DSO letter), encourage him or her to contact us to discuss the services needed.
The DSO does not generally support temporary disabilities, such as extended illness. If a student is repeatedly absent and requests accommodations in your course, you may refer him/her to us to discuss the situation. However, if a student is hospitalized, the DSO will inform you of the dates on which he/she could not attend class.
FERPA and Disclosure
According to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1976 (FERPA), once a student is enrolled in a post-secondary institution, the student is the sole guardian of his/her records, including grades, transcripts, and records of interactions with the DSO. Since students’ contact with the DSO is completely confidential, their professors will not know the nature of their disabilities. Accommodation letters from the DSO, sent to professors, do not include any details of the disability. The student may choose to share that information with his or her professors, but the DSO will never release any information about a disability without the student’s written consent.
Resources for Students
If you provide a student with accommodations for a disability and he/she is still struggling to succeed in your course, you may refer him or her to the Academic Advising Center or the Lacerte Family Writing and Academic Resource Center for further help.
If a student has been granted extended deadlines for assignments or leniency with attendance and exceeds those limits, you have the right to honor the course policies set forth in your syllabus. If you are concerned that granting accommodations to a student infringes on your course policies or course structure, you may contact the DSO to discuss your concerns.
Creating an Inclusive Classroom
For more information on creating a classroom environment to include and support students with disabilities, please see our Accessibility Tips for Faculty or browse the resources at the University of Washington’s Faculty Room site.
216 Tremont Street, 5th Floor
Disability Services Office
120 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116
Diane Paxton, Director
Matt Fisher, Assistant Director
Stephanie Hubbell, Graduate Assistant