The Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) is designed to help students with disabilities succeed academically by providing a variety of services, both inside and outside of the classroom.
Sherry Page, director of Accessibility Services, said that while the most frequent accommodations provided include note-taking and extended time for tests, the OAS provides a wide array of services.
In order to qualify for accessibility services, a student must first have a letter from a physician outlining what the disability is and how it impacts the student’s learning abilities. The student can then present the letter to the OAS — located in Losee Center 312 — where they can meet with a counselor to discuss appropriate accommodations.
In addition to the usual services provided, the OAS is working hard to keep students safe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic by helping students acquire face shields or helping immunocompromised students access distance learning.
While many services are not applicable in an online environment, that doesn’t mean students should brush them off if they are taking the entirety of their classes online. Expanded time on tests and some peer note-taking in live-streamed classes will still be available.
As students will need to take advantage of the OAS, many others will be eager to assist their fellow classmates. Page encouraged students interested in taking notes for a classmate to email the OAS at [email protected] so the office can reach out if a fellow student is in need of their assistance. Everything is completely anonymous, so recipients don’t need to worry about their peers or professors knowing their personal medical history.
The OAS is committed to helping students however they can, although services are most effective when applied early on in a student’s career.
“Come early, don’t wait until the last minute,” said Page. “If you do wait until the last minute, still come, it’s not too late.”
Page said the accommodations don’t apply to previously failed tests or assignments but can help students get back on track if they find themselves in a rut.
“If you fail a test and realize you should have been using your accommodations we can’t go backward,” she said. “We can still fix that moving forward. We’re still going to work with you no matter where you are and no matter what point you come to see us.”