Services for Students with Disabilities

Students sitting on steps in front of Angell Hall

Students registered with SSD can complete a VISA (Verified Individualized Services and Accommodations), which SSD keeps on file. This form includes a statement acknowledging that they give their permission to Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) to refer their name or other information about them, but only for the purpose of providing service for them.

It is important for students to understand Services for Students with Disabilities' policy and procedure on disclosing disability information. Please see the confidentiality and disclosure sections for an explanation of our policy.

Confidentiality

Students have a right to confidentiality. The University recognizes that student medical records, similar to educational records, are confidential and are to be treated as such. However, the students' right to privacy must still be balanced against the University's need to know the information in order to provide requested and recommended services and accommodations.

The University has an obligation to confirm that students receiving accommodations have verified disabilities, and SSD provides forms for this purpose. Rest assured that disability documentation is part of a SSD student file, and will not become part of the permanent educational record.

Disclosure

Disclosure exists on a continuum ranging from minimum to full disclosure of disability documentation. An example of minimum disclosure would be a faculty member calling SSD regarding a student requesting alternative testing accommodations, and the staff confirming that the student has a disability and recommends accommodations. An example of a higher level of disclosure would be SSD assisting the faculty member in understanding the relationship between the disability and the accommodation. Finally, full disclosure would be sharing the student's SSD file, including disability records. SSD will not provide full disclosure of disability documentation to anyone without the student's written consent, or as otherwise permitted by state or federal legislation.

Students requesting that SSD not disclose disability, at any level, should not sign the release of information statement. If a student asks that we do not discuss his or her situation with faculty or staff, then we would not respond to faculty requests about the student. However, students need to understand that if they are requesting that SSD, and the University, provide accommodations, and if they prohibit the individuals responsible for implementing accommodations from discussing critical components of the situation (such as the relationship of the disability to the course and the requested accommodations), then it may be difficult for accommodations to be implemented.