Services for Students with Disabilities

Message from the Director

As the end of one school year approaches (the University’s 200th) and a new one begins, it is always a good time to reflect on where the office has been and the direction it is going.  In keeping with the themes of the past several years, it has been another historic year at Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD).  As of July 1, 2016, we had 1,675 students registered with the office and as of June 30, 2017 that number had climbed to 2,708.  Over six percent of the entire student population, including undergraduates, graduates, and professional students are now registered with SSD.

This growth is an integral part of the University’s commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. More students with disabilities are coming to our campus, being successful, graduating, and then establishing successful careers in a wide variety of fields and professions. It gives me joy to know that my staff and I have in some small way contributed to the growth, transformation, and well-being of our students and alumni.

Every year I am asked to give presentations to different groups. This year I had the opportunity to speak to our President and the chairs of all departments from U-M’s 19 schools and colleges. In addition, I was invited to speak to the Regents of the University. Apart from these two events I was also able to make presentations to three other groups including the Rackham Graduate School-All Chairs Meeting, Vice President Harper’s Student Affairs Network, and the Student Relations Advisory Committee.

To provide more opportunities to our students, SSD has increased its programming and collaboration with other offices. One example is our work with the University Career Center (UCC) with whom we offer workshops related to issues specifically geared toward students with disabilities. With UCC we have increased internship positions for students with disabilities; a partnership with Old National Bank being just one example of our success. In addition, we offer programming around social networking to increase a sense of disability community and identity. Finally, we have expanded our offerings around studying and study skills. My goal is to continue to offer such programs in the future.

On a more personal note, I am always reminded that change is inevitable and it is with very mixed feelings that I say goodbye to long-time SSD coordinator, Dan Measel. For 16 years Dan has worked with students with chronic illnesses, vision and mobility impairments. In addition, Dan was our alternative media expert, providing Etext to our students and ensuring all classroom material was accessible.  His contribution to the office and to the thousands of students whose lives he touched is immeasurable. The SSD staff is a very small and tight-knit group. There is a core group of us who have been together for over 10 years. I will miss my friend Dan and I wish him a long life, good health and success in his future endeavors.

Finally, I want to thank all of the donors who have given financial support for our work. SSD’s mission is very focused. These funds have allowed us to enhance the student experience on campus far beyond what the law requires and what most of our peer institutions provide to their students. I want our donors to fully realize the transformational experiences they offer our students. I recognize what they have done, thank them, and will continue to encourage more gifts for our office. As SSD continues to move forward we are thankful for our past accomplishments, strive to improve our work with students, and are hopeful that the future will bring more resources to allow us to fulfill our aspirational goals and desires.

As always thank you for reading our annual report.

Stuart S Segal, Ph.D.


Mission Statement

Our mission is to support the University’s commitment to equity and diversity by providing support services and academic accommodations to students with disabilities.

We share information, promote awareness of disability issues, and provide support of
a decentralized system of access for students within the University community.

Table of Contents

  • SSD Year at a Glance
  • Student Demographics
  • Core Services
  • Academic Coaching Services
  • Website Analytics
  • Collaborations
  • Accomplishments
  • Goals

SSD At a Glance

SSD currently has 2,708 students registered with our office, a new record and one far surpassing the previous year of 2,277.

Of the almost 46,000 students on campus, the percentage of those registered with disabilities stands at 6.3%.

SSD started the academic year with 1,675 registered students and ended it with 2,708 registered students.

A groundbreaking record of 1,033 new students were registered in the academic year 2016-17. This surpasses any previous academic year by almost 200 students.

Students Registered with SSD FY 2013-2017

  • 2116 Total and 607 New registered in 2012-13
  • 2242 Total and 679 New registered in 2013-14
  • 2474 Total and 727 New registered in 2014-15
  • 2277 Total and 832 New registered in 2015-16
  • 2708 Total and 1033 New registered in 2016-17

Students Registered by Disability

  • Learning Disabilities, 1021 students, 38 percent
  • Mental Health Conditions, 770 students, 28 percent
  • Chronic Health Conditions, 390 students, 14 percent
  • Dual Disabilities, 271 students, 10 percent
  • Temporary Disabilities, 156 students, 6 percent
  • Visual Impairments, 34 students, 1 percent
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing, 43 students, 2 percent
  • Mobility Impairments, 23 students, 1 percent

Some students have more than one disability; numbers do not add up to 100 percent.

Student Demographics

White students are the largest race/ethnic group registered with SSD (1,825, 70 percent). Asian/Pacific Islanders are second (189, 7 percent) and African Americans third (160, 6 percent).

SSD Student Race/Ethnicity

  • White, 1825 students, 70 percent
  • Asian/Pacific Islander, 189 students, 7 percent
  • African American, 160 students, 6 percent
  • Latino, 117 students, 5 percent
  • Native American, 7 students, 0.3 percent
  • Biracial, 42 students, 2 percent
  • Not Specified / Blank, 140 students, 6 percent

Race/Ethnicity Comparison by Percentage

In a comparison of SSD students to the UM student population who are U.S. citizens and permanent residents, the race/ethnicity representation is similar. White students represent 64.9 percent of the UM population and 70 percent for SSD students. Asian students make up the second largest group at 14 percent and 7.2 percent respectively. 

The university has a slightly lower percentage of Black students compared to SSD (4.9 percent to 6.1 percent) and slightly higher percentage of Hispanics (6 percent to 4.5 percent).

  • White, 70 percent SSD, 64.9 percent University
  • African American, 6.1 percent SSD, 4.9 percent University
  • Asian/Pacific Islander, 7.2 percent SSD, 14 percent University
  • Latino, 4.5 percent SSD, 6 percent University
  • Native American, 0.3 percent SSD and 0.2 percent University
  • Biracial, 1.6 percent SSD, 1.8 percent University

SSD's Student Gender

Women make up 56 percent (1,447) of the students registered, with men at 44 percent (1,149). Less than one percent of students registered with the office are transgender.  

SSD Students' Home State/Country

SSD students are a geographically diverse group. Registered students represent 43 states and Puerto Rico (1,110, 43 percent). The majority, however, are in-state residents at 1,335 (51 percent). 

Class Standing and School (at time of registration)

SSD students are represented within all 19 schools and colleges on campus and include every level of class standing. LSA students mark the largest group registered with SSD at 1,473. The smallest group registered is Public Policy with eight students.

SSD Students’ Class Standing

  • Freshman, 1092, 42 percent
  • Sophomore, 523, 20 percent
  • Junior, 362, 14 percent
  • Senior, 181, 7 percent
  • Graduate, 308, 12 percent
  • Graduate PhD, 137, 5 percent
  • Non degree / blank, 8, 0.5 percent


LSA, 1473

Engineering, 397

Business, 136

Kinesiology, 75

Rackham, 72

Law School, 62

Art & Design, 55

Nursing, 47

Music/Theatre/Dance, 44

Social Work, 39

Medical School, 32

Information, 29

Education, 28

Public Health, 25

Architecture & Urban Planning, 14

Pharmacy, 14

Dentistry, 13

SNRE, 11

Public Policy, 8

Blank, 37

Core Services

In the 2016-17 academic year, SSD successfully advocated for over 80,000 academic accommodations. 

Blind / Visual Impairments

Scanning Books (pages) 20,000

Braille (pages) 300

Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Note-taking Services (hours) 12,114

Real-time Captioning (CART) Services (hours) 5,700

Video Media Captioned (hours) 368

Interpreting (hours) 3,451

Mental Health, Chronic Conditions, and Learning Disabilities

Spellchecker (per student) 1

Calculator for Exams / Assignments (number) 20

Audio Tape Class / Lecture (number) 100

Double Time for In-Class Exams (per student) 142

Laptop for In-Class Exams (number) 188

Note-taking (per student) 193

Extension of Due Date/Short Notice (per student) 552

Separate/Quiet Location (per student) 1,640

LSA Test Accommodations Center (student referred) 1,695

Time and a Half for In-Class Exams (per student) 2,054

SSD Disability Group Trends 2015-2017

The combined total of these three disabilities this academic year is 2,181, comprising over 80 percent of all the disabilities registered in our office.

  • Learning Disabilities 1050, Mental Health Conditions 590, Chronic Health Conditions 347 students in 2015
  • Learning Disabilities 907, Mental Health Conditions 600, Chronic Health Conditions 356 students in 2016
  • Learning Disabilities 1021, Mental Health Conditions 770, Chronic Health Conditions 390 students in 2017

Academic Coaching Services

Through one-on-one meetings with the SSD Academic Coach students identify their strengths and create habits for ongoing academic success. 

SSD students made 1,077 appointments in the 2016-17 academic year. Fall semester saw the most students using this service at 519 appointments. 

“You equipped me with the proper tools, and many of the volitional resources I’d need to get this done. And when circumstances got especially bad between the end of March and June--when there was only time for eking out writing, and not much time for adequate food, sleep, or exercise--I’d remember your incredible kindness, and the thought would sufficiently motivate me to keep producing work.”  - A PhD Student

Website Analytics


Housed in the Services for Students with Disabilities office at the University of Michigan, DyslexiaHelp is a website designed to help individuals with dyslexia, as well as parents, employers, and professionals who have the privilege to work with dyslexics gain new understandings about dyslexia and language disorder, including current research findings and how to design intervention contexts based on best practices.

Ranked No. 6 in Top 50 Dyslexia Blogs And Websites For Parents Of Dyslexic Kids

SSD Website

The SSD website had a total of 107,116 pageviews for the academic year 2016-17. The most popular search term was Dyslexia (25), followed by MLAT (24) and Staff (20). Users accessed the website through Desktops (33,019) at a rate almost three times higher than either Tablets (12,048) or Mobiles (9,999). 


UM Academic Units and Student Life

SSD staff and director made several presentations to the University community regarding various aspects of disability issues. These included presentations made to academic departments, specific academic courses, academic advisors, housing staff, a Greek fraternity, and the Rackham Student Advisory Board.

UM Athletic Department

SSD has arranged a partnership with the UM Athletic Department to provide screenings for all incoming first year student athletes to help ensure their academic success. Funds generated from this work provide resources for professional development activities for staff.

National Institutions

SSD director and staff have given several presentations at local, state and national conferences and have been asked to consult with other post-secondary institutions and international corporations.


  • SSD supports work with Philip Larson and the Veterans group. 
  • SSD met with 20 visitors from Tokai University in Japan and educated them regarding services for Students with Disabilities in the United States. 

  • SSD partners with the Hatcher and Shapiro Library staff to provide study spaces for SSD students.

  • SSD works closely with the IT Assistive Technology Manager in charge of the Knox Center to provide and accommodate students using adaptive/assistive technology. 

  • SSD is working with STEM Graduate Program associated with the School of Medicine to increase the number of applicants from students with disabilities.

  • SSD serves on the Advisory Board of the driverless vehicle program through the Institute of Transportation.



Victors for Michigan Campaign

SSD made our first ever solitation to currently enrolled students and their families in the areas of adaptive technology, social networking, and scholarship funding.

Tutoring and Social

Welcome Week Open House

SSD hosted a Welcome Week Open House for all incoming and returning students and their parents.

Mixers & Worshops

SSD hosted a Study Skills Workshop and Speed Meeting Mixer designed to help students with disabilities in exam preparation and to meet other students at the University.

Study Sessions

SSD partners with the library to reserve group study spaces for students during the fall and winter semester. 

Educational Outreach

University Career Center Collaboration

SSD works closely with the University Career Center to disseminate information about professional opportunities for students with disabilities. We continue to host events such as a Career Panel and schedule campus visits by disability supportive professional networks.  

Readiness to Return 

SSD made several presentations to major university stakeholders regarding the new university Readiness to Return guidelines.


SpeakABLE Event

The SSD Student Advisory Board held its 4rd Annual Students with Disabilities SpeakABLE Event.

Student Athletes

SSD provided testing to over 200 incoming student athletes to assess their overall readiness for university studies.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Conference

SSD hosted its 2nd annual conference on individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Modern Language Aptitude Testing

SSD provided testing to over 65 LSA students on the Modern Language Aptitude Test.



Parent Advisory Board

SSD is working to create a Parent Advisory Board to inform parents of the services SSD provides as well as to garner financial support and input on additional services and scholarships parents wish to see for SSD students.


SSD made our first ever solitation to currently enrolled students and their families in the areas of adaptive technology, social networking, and scholarship funding.

Tutoring and Social

Social Activities

SSD plans to continue hosting interactive activities and workshops designed to boost students with disabilities’ social and academic skills.

Study Skills Workshops

SSD plans to offer study skills workshops throughout the academic year to all interested University students. An added component may also include demonstrations on technology tools/apps for use in academic study.

Educational Outreach

End of Semester Survey 

SSD will survey first year students at the end of the fall semester to get feedback on how well they did and to better understand how SSD can improve students’ transition to the University.

Student Life Disability Liaisons

SSD is working to set up disability liaisons within each unit of Student Life to advocate and represent students with disabilities and support issues that impact their community. 


Expanded Programming for Conferences & Events

The SSD staff and Student Advisory Board are committed to planning and hosting disability-related conferences and events for the academic community in addition to the SpeakABLE Event and ASD Conference.


Michael J. Behm, Grand Blanc

Mark J. Bernstein, Ann Arbor

Shauna Ryder Diggs, Grosse Pointe

Denise Ilitch, Bingham Farms

Andrea Fischer Newman, Ann Arbor

Andrew C. Richner, Grosse Pointe Park

Ron Weiser, Ann Arbor

Katherine E. White, Ann Arbor

Mark S. Schlissel (ex officio)

Nondiscrimination Policy Statement

The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the Senior Director for Institutional Equity, and Title IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator, Office for Institutional Equity, 2072 Administrative Services Building, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432, 734-763-0235, TTY 734-647-1388, For other University of Michigan information call 734-764-1817.