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Frequently Asked Questions

I have a disability. Do I have to meet the same requirements for admissions as a student who does not have a disability?
Yes. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, colleges do not have to lower their admissions standards for students with disabilities. Additionally, colleges do not have to lower their academic and technical standards.
What services does SASSI offer for persons with disabilities?
SASSI facilitates accommodations and services to students with disabilities, which ensures equal access to university programs and activities. Every student is impacted differently by their disability; therefore the services are individualized based on how the disability impacts the student.
What qualifies as a disability?
A disability is defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. “Substantially limits” is defined as being unable to perform or significantly restricting a major life activity, in comparison to the average person. A “major life activity” includes things such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. In 2009, the following major life activities were added to the ADA: reading, communicating, bending, thinking, and concentrating. Also added were major bodily functions such as functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.
What are accommodations and how do I receive them?
Accommodations are modifications or changes to limit the impact of a person’s disability. In order to receive accommodations, the student must self-disclose their disability, request accommodations and provide documentation of the disability and how it impacts the student in the academic environment.
How can I receive accommodations?
In order to receive accommodations, students must self-disclose and register with the Disability Coordinator in SASSI as a student who has a disability. Provisionary forms must be completed and the students must submit appropriate documentation. For more information on documentation please see the Documentation Guidelines.
Where do I send documentation of my disability?
Documentation should be provided to Laurie Brooks, the Disability Coordinator in SASSI. The documentation may be faxed, mailed or dropped off in the SASSI office. SASSI is located at 8 South Dunlap, General Education Building (GEB) Room BB9, Memphis, Tennessee, 38163. SASSI'’s fax number is 901-448-1451.
Will I automatically receive accommodations if I had them at a previous college/university?
No. The documentation that is presented to SASSI must adhere to UTHSC’s documentation guidelines, which may differ from those at a previous institution.
If my doctor makes accommodation recommendations, will I receive those accommodations?
Not necessarily. While recommendations are considered when determining reasonable accommodations, they are not mandatory. Your doctor makes these recommendations to aid in the accommodation determination. Further, each recommendation made by the doctor must have a rational and explanation on how that accommodation would be beneficial in the learning environment. In the event no rationale is provided, the recommendation may not be considered.
When I register for accommodations, who will have access to my documentation?
SASSI is committed to ensuring that all information regarding a student’s disability is kept in accordance with state and federal laws. Disability related information, including documentation, is to be treated as medical information. Disability documentation is housed in a locked file in SASSI. Information is released with the student’s permission (signature) on a need-to-know basis. The information never becomes part of a student’s academic record.
Who is responsible for getting the documentation required to apply for services?
The student is responsible for getting the appropriate documentation to the Disability Coordinator. SASSI may assist you in facilitating the process; however the student must follow up with his/her provider. All related costs incurred are the student’s responsibility.
Will my transcript indicate that I received accommodations?
No, your disability records are confidential and are not part of your academic record.
I have a learning disability (or ADHD), but have not been tested for it since I was in elementary school, middle school, or high school. Will I need to be re-tested to receive accommodations at UTHSC?
Yes. Disability documentation must include information assessing the student’s current level of functioning. Additionally, per UTHSC’'s documentation guidelines, documentation cannot be older than three years. It is the student’s responsibility to provide verification of a disability to the Disability Coordinator and to pay for re-evaluations of the disability.
I suspect that I have a learning disability (or ADHD), but I have not been tested or diagnosed with one. Am I able to get accommodations?
Documentation must be provided to demonstrate the student’s level of functioning and impairments related to the disability. It is the student’s responsibility to provide verification of a disability to the Disability Coordinator and to pay for evaluations of the disability. Information can be provided regarding local testing resources.
Does SASSI test for disabilities such as learning disabilities and ADHD?
No. We maintain a list of resources for this services that may be obtained in the SASSI office.
I have a disability but I don't think I'll need any accommodations. Do I have to tell SASSI about it anyway?
Self-disclosure of disability is not required. However, if the student experiences any type of difficulty as a result of the disability (i.e. emergency medical appointments which interfere with class attendance, medication changes that severely affect concentration, etc.) it is recommended that the student have appropriate documentation on file with the Disability Coordinator in the SASSI office. In those instances, SASSI staff would then be able to advocate on the student’s behalf based on the disability documentation.
Who is responsible for telling my professors I need an accommodation?
You are. As outlined in the Student Handbook for Disability Services (pages 18 and 19), it is the student's responsibility to discuss the accommodation(s) with the instructor during the first week of class or rotation and/or within one week of being granted the accommodation.
My doctor says I should get unlimited time for taking examinations, but I was approved for time and a half. Why?
A college or university has the responsibility under federal law for ensuring access to programs and activates by students with disabilities. Often, SASSI and the independent disability consultant are delegated the authority to make decisions on what is regarded as reasonable adjustments to ensure equal access because of their knowledge, credentials and experience with the technical standards of the different programs and colleges. SASSI often uses medical or other professional documentation provided by the student as a basis for making such decisions, but are not required to follow exactly the recommendations made in the documentation provided. If you feel the decision is not fair or appropriate, you may appeal the decision by going through the appeal process.
May 26, 2022