What is Student Accessibility Services?
Student Accessibility Services (SAS) provides accommodations and services at no cost to all University of Vermont students who have current documentation of a disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities, including but not limited to walking, talking, learning, hearing, or seeing.
How do I get started with SAS?
Students and families do not need to take any action until they decide to enroll at UVM. At that point, we recommend that students and families submit documentation for review to the SAS Office via email or fax (802-656-0739). Due the current COVID-19 situation, we are asking that folks do not physically mail in documentation for the time being.
Once enrolled, students should set up their UVM Net ID login credentials and complete the SAS Getting Started Form as soon as possible. This form provides a valuable narrative that helps Specialists determine each student’s eligibility.
Students without documentation of a disability that wish to explore working with SAS should also complete the Getting Started Form.
Specialists in SAS will review documentation and Getting Started Form submissions from each student. SAS will also be touch with students via their UVM email account later this spring with additional information, as well as to arrange phone or virtual meetings between May and early August to discuss eligibility the accommodation process at UVM.
Whether New Student Orientation is virtual or in-person this summer, SAS will have a significant presence and availability for students and families.
Is there a deadline to start working with SAS?
No. Students can work to establish eligibility for accommodations through SAS at any time, though accommodations are not retroactive and often cannot be implemented instantaneously. However, we find that students that connect with our office early on achieve better academic and experiential outcomes at UVM.
What types of academic accommodations does SAS provide?
There are dozens of different accommodations that we provide to students, and eligibility for these accommodations is determined on a case-by-case, individualized basis.
Here are some examples of commonly used accommodations:
- Exams: including but not limited to extended time, use of our distraction-reduced Exam Proctoring Center, breaks during exams, use of a reader, use of a scribe, alternative to bubble/Scantron answer sheets, ability to reschedule exams if more than one per day
- Note Taking: Access to a peer’s notes via our online portal
- eBooks: Accessible electronic versions of any textbook or article, compatible with our free ReadWriteGold text-to-speech software
- Captioning: Captioning of any media used as part of a course or for extracurricular, UVM events, etc.
- ASL Interpreting: Certified ASL Interpreters in academic or UVM-affiliated setting
- Adaptive Technology: Ability to loan smart pens, FM listening devices, audio recorders, etc.
Does SAS provide non-academic accommodations?
Yes, SAS can provide accommodations in a variety of non-academic settings:
- Housing: SAS works with UVM’s Department of Residential Life to provide disability-related housing accommodations to eligible students. Students that are seeking a housing accommodation through SAS for Fall 2020 should submit the appropriate verification form as soon as possible to the SAS office, as these requests have a high threshold for eligibility and are due by the end of June.
- Dietary: SAS works with Ania Egan, UVM Dining Dietitian, to accommodate students with a variety of food allergies and dietary needs. Students seeking a dietary accommodation should submit the appropriate verification form after deciding to enroll at UVM.
- Extracurricular settings: Club activities, UVM programming, athletics, etc.
- Emotional Support Animals: SAS works with Residential Life to provide eligible students the ability to have an ESA on campus. Students seeking an ESA accommodation should submit the appropriate verification form after deciding to enroll at UVM.
- Practical/Clinical Settings: Students who have placements, student teaching responsibilities, etc. can seek accommodations in these environments through SAS.
How does SAS interface with students?
Students in SAS are assigned to a specific Specialist that will serve as their point person and primary resource in SAS. Students new to SAS are required to have an introductory meeting with their Specialist and attend a myACCESS Portal Workshop to learn how to interface with SAS services. After this, students are typically not required to meet with our office each semester in order to continue use of accommodations, and they have the flexibility to meet with different Specialists depending on availability.
Does SAS provide tutoring or counseling?
SAS does not provide these services directly, but there are resources on campus that do. In addition to providing accommodations directly to students, SAS also tries to refer students to other program areas on campus that could be integral to their success and wellbeing at UVM.
The Tutoring Center provides supplemental instruction as well as 1:1 subject area and study skills tutoring for undergraduate courses. All services are free, though there is a limit of one tutoring session per week per class. Students working with SAS can be approved for additional sessions, however.
Counseling and Psychiatry Services (CAPS) provides clinical, consultative and preventative services for students at the University of Vermont.
Student Health Services provides a variety of medical services to students, including primary care.
Living Well is dedicated to a holistic approach in supporting the needs of students in their pursuit of creating and maintaining healthy, well-balanced lifestyles. FREE to all students, their programs focus on stress relief through positive messages, mindfulness, creativity and an always-expanding array of wellness related events.
How do students notify faculty about their accommodations?
SAS has an online, integrated myACCESS Portal that allows each student to send customized accommodation letters to faculty in each of their courses every semester. Students new to SAS are trained on how to use the myACCESS Portal, which also has an exam scheduling, note taking, and eBook module, at the beginning of their first semester working with SAS.
Students have the flexibility to decide whether or not they want to request accommodations in some or all of their courses, as well as the latitude to determine if they will use them. For example, a student with extended time on exams can use that accommodation for all of their exams, just one, or none.
Is working with SAS confidential?
Yes. SAS does not disclose confidential information without a student’s consent. Even the accommodation letters students send to faculty do not have information on a student’s diagnosis—just the accommodations that the student is requesting.
What is the biggest difference between the accommodation process in high school compared with UVM?
The need to be a good self-advocate. Students at the college level must take the initiative in requesting accommodations and following up with their faculty via email or in person after sending accommodation letters. At SAS, we understand that students are coming to UVM broad spectrum in terms of their experience and comfort level with self-advocacy, so this is a main point of emphasis and skill-building from our office for incoming first year students.
What is the familiarity around accommodations and disability at UVM?
SAS works with over 2500 students on a semesterly basis—around 18% of the UVM population. With roughly 1 out of every 6 students working with SAS, faculty are generally quite familiar with implementing a variety of accommodations in their courses. Should there be a dispute around an accommodation, which generally occurs if a faculty member feels an accommodation compromises an essential element of the course, SAS will engage in an interactive resolution process with the student and faculty member.