The ADA defines an accommodation as "any change in the instructional setting or in the way things are customarily done that enables an individual with a disability to enjoy equal opportunities."
The Office of Disability Services provides a variety of accommodations to student with disabilities based on their need. The following are some common accommodations; however the list is not exhaustive. Please contact the office for more information specific to your needs.
Steps for Getting Accommodations
Step 1. Submit your diagnostic documentation.
Step 2. Meet with staff member to discuss your accommodations.
Step 3. Develop an accommodation plan with a member of the ODS staff.
Step 4. Pick up your accommodation letters and deliver them to you professors. You may NOT use them until this step is completed.
Step 5. If you are taking an exam at the ODS, make arrangements 7 days in advance of the scheduled exam. Call us at 617-994-6820
Step 6. You must re-new and request your accommodation letters every semester.
Step 7. If you would like to make a change to your accommodations, make an appointment with an ODS staff member.
Extended time testing – This accommodation constitutes “time and a half” based on standard exam time. Instructors may provide this accommodation by administering the exam by allowing a student extended time directly before or immediately after a scheduled exam time, during office hours, or at any other mutually agreed upon time and location or ODS can proctor the exam.
Quiet setting for exams – This accommodation provides student with a quiet space to take any course exam. Instructors may provide this accommodation by administering the exam by in their office or somewhere within their department. If this is not a possibility the student can choose to take their exam at ODS by scheduling it a week in advance.
Peer note taking – This accommodation provides students with a supplemental copy of class notes. In order to receive this accommodation students must complete the Student Note Taking Workshop at the beginning of their first semester. Students will then receive a supplemental copy of the notes in their BlackBoard account.
Use of a calculator – This accommodation is provided for students with a math disability. Students are allowed to use a non-scientific basic calculator on all math exams. Students must provide their own calculator.
Use of a scribe/reader – This accommodation is for students who need an exam read to them and/or who are unable to write their own exams. In most instances, ODS will set the student up with assistive technology designed to read an exam to them and take dictation. If this does not work, ODS will provide a reader/scribe for the student.
Use of a computer – This accommodation can be for in-class activities as well as on exams. Students should use their own computers for in-class work. Students needing to use a computer for their exams will take their exams at ODS.
Preferential seating – This accommodation is for students who would benefit from sitting at the front of the classroom. Students should make arrangements with their professor to make sure they receive this accommodation.
Use of an interpreter – Should a student need an interpreter or CART service, ODS will provide it. It is important that students needing these serves register with ODS well before the semester begins.
Alternative formats of text – ODS does provide students with electronic versions of text as needed. Students should be aware that there is a 4 week turnaround time to convert texts to electronic formats. Therefore students should make arrangements for electronic texts well in advance of the beginning of the semester.
Early registration – Students registered with ODS who have asked for their accommodations for a particular semester are eligible for early registration. Early registration provides students with the opportunity to register for classes prior to the rest of the Suffolk University student body.
Assistive technology – ODS provides students with access to a variety of assistive technologies.
Suffolk University is deeply committed to the full participation of students with disabilities in all aspects of University life, including residential life. All students (new and returning) must follow these steps and provide all required information in order to be considered for a housing accommodation.
Housing accommodations are only based on disability-related needs and are determined on a case-by-case basis. Housing accommodations do not circumvent the regular housing process.
To be eligible to receive housing accommodations all students (new and returning) must complete the following steps:
- Complete the housing accommodations request form
- Send diagnostic documentation of your disability to the Office of Disability Services. You may fax it to (617) 994-6812 or mail it to:
Office of Disability Services
73 Tremont St. 7th Floor
Boston, MA 02128
- Make an appointment with Kirsten Behling or Andrew Cioffi at the Office of Disability Services prior to the start of the semester.
- At that appointment, the Office of Disability Services will review your documentation and need for housing accommodations. They will then determine if you should receive those accommodations and make a recommendation to the Office of Residence Life & Summer Housing.
Students must complete the Housing Accommodation Form, have all necessary diagnostic documentation and meet with a representative from the Office of Disability Service by the deadline set forth by the Offices of Disability Services and Residence Life. Please contact either office for more information
Note: Students should not request singles as a housing accommodation if they are concerned about having a quiet place to study. Suffolk has a number of quiet locations across campus that are available for students to use including study rooms in the residence halls, the library and access to the Office of Disability Services technology lab.
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Meal Plan AccommodationsAt Suffolk University, we are committed to the full participation of students with disabilities in all aspects of college life, including dining experiences. All students living on campus are required to purchase a meal plan.
Occasionally, students have special dietary needs and require an accommodation to the meal plan in the form of a particular diet. Many times, these needs can be met by Sodexo, Suffolk’s dining service provider. Meal plan accommodations are rare. They are made solely for documented health conditions that require special medically necessitated diets that cannot be accommodated by Sodexo.
To request specific meal plan accommodations, follow each of the steps outlined below. Meal plan accommodation requests are considered only through the third Friday of every semester.
Procedures for Requesting a Meal Plan Accommodation
- Make an intake appointment with the Office of Disability Services. Students can do this by calling: 617-994-6820.
- Fill out the Student Meal Plan Accommodation Form [Word format] or using the online form below, and send it to Kirsten Behling or fax it to Kirsten at: 617-994-6812.
- Send the Health Care Provider Meal Accommodation Form [Word format] to a health care provider for completion. Health Care Providers should send it to Kirsten Behling or fax it to Kirsten at: 617-994-6812. Note the health care provider may not be a relative of the student.
Once the student has met with the Office of Disability Services, submitted the Student Meal Plan Accommodation Form and the Health Care Provider Meal Plan Accommodation Form, the Office will review the request and supporting materials and if approved provide the student with one of the following Meal Plan accommodations:
- Referral to meet with a Sodexo chef
- Placement in a residence hall with access to a semi-private kitchen
- Reduction of the cost of the meal plan
- Elimination of the required meal plan
The Office of Disability Services will let the student, the Office of Residence Life and Housing and Sodexo know of our decision as necessary.
Alternative Format Text Policy and Procedures
Alternative Format Text Policy and Procedures
Students with an approved alternative format text accommodation can submit requests for accessible text to the Office of Disability Services. This accommodation applies to required course readings, including textbooks and articles.
Students are required to provide proof of purchase before submitting an alternative format request to Disability Services.
Timeline for successfully obtaining alternative format text are below.
At least 6 weeks before the start of the semester:
Use your course schedule to look up your books for the next semester.
Try to purchase your books in the format that you need. If your books are not available for purchase in the format you need, you can request them in alt format from ODS.
Send receipts for the books you need in alt format from ODS. Receipts should clearly identify the student name and the books. They can be dropped off, scanned and sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Use the ODS online alt text request form. Our on-time deadline for book requests is 6 weeks before the start of the semester.
After you submit your request, check your Suffolk email account regularly for communications from our office. We may need to get in touch to process your request. When your book is available, we will notify you at your Suffolk email address.
Start of the Semester:
- ODS will notify you as your books are ready.
- If you have used this accommodation before, your books will be distributed to you via Blackboard.
- Remember to request and pick up your accommodation letters at the start of the semester to continue to be eligible to use the alt text accommodation for the next semester.
If we cannot get your book files from the publisher, we will offer to create accessible text for you by cutting and scanning the hard copy of your book. If you choose this option, you will need to provide ODS with a clean copy of your book as well as your course syllabus with a schedule of readings on it. We will need to keep your hard copy book for about a week to scan it. Text requests which require image transformation or extensive text formatting or editing, e.g., alt text from a scan, are done on an ongoing basis throughout the semester. We will provide the completed accessible readings to you one week prior to when they are assigned in class.
Resources for Alternative Format Text
• Training and assistance is available for Suffolk University students for identifying alt text needs, finding books, requesting alt text or using alt text. Please call our office at 617-994-6820 to set up an appointment.
• Bookshare, a free resource for accessible books for students with a print disability.
• Learning Ally, an online library of audiobooks, including college and graduate level textbooks. The audiobooks are read by human volunteers.
• Boston Public Library and choose “filter by audiobook CD” or “filter by downloadable audiobook”.
• Search for your hometown public library at http://www.publiclibraries.com or http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/libraries/librarysearch.
• Project Gutenberg, a free resource for electronic text and audiobook files for works in the public domain.
Exam Accommodation Policy and Procedures
The Office of Disability Services is the only agent at the university authorized to provide exam accommodations. Students with documented disabilities who require testing accommodations must identify themselves to the Office of Disability Services (ODS) and deliver an accommodation letter to their professor prior to being allowed to use their accommodations.
All instructors are encouraged to proctor their own exams. Methods of doing so may include allowing the student to begin the exam early or stay late, allowing the student to test in your office or departmental space, or meeting the student at another day and time to proctor the exam.
If the instructor is unable to proctor the exam or the student would prefer to take their exam in our Testing Center, the student should follow the procedure outlined below.
The Testing Center at the Office of Disability Services
The Office of Disability Services has three testing rooms that are monitored by video surveillance, which allows us to proctor up to 12 exams a day. ODS offers students two different opportunities each day to sit for an exam, 9:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m.
If a student is unable to make one of the two exam times they can either make arrangements with the instructor to take the exam on another day or to take the exam with the instructor. Students who are more than 15 minutes late to take their exam will not be allowed to sit for the exam.
In order for students to take their exam at the Office of Disability Services, they must follow the following procedures:
- Students must make arrangements with us no less than 7 days before their exam. Students can stop by our office or call 617-994-6820.
- Once the student has booked a date and time to take their exam, they must then work with their instructor to fill out the Exam Accommodation Form [PDF].
- The Exam Accommodation Form is designed to inform us how the instructor will deliver the exam to our office, specific proctoring instructions, and how the instructor would like us to return the exam to them. If this form is not received four days prior to the exam, we will not proctor the exam.
- Instructors must deliver the exam to our office no later than 24 hours before the exam is to be given. Instructors can drop the exam off at our offices or email it directly to Desirae Mix (email@example.com). All exams are locked in our filing cabinet upon receipt.
- The student should come to the office on their scheduled date and time to take their exam.
- All exams will be returned in a sealed envelope, signed by an Office of Disability Services representative or scanned and emailed directly to the instructor.
Changing exam dates
From time to time a student may need to change their exam date. We require that the students speak directly with their instructor to ensure that this is okay. If the instructor approves of the date change,we will make every effort to make the requested changes depending on the timeliness of the request.
The Office of Disability Services serves as an agent to the faculty for exam accommodations when they cannot accommodate the student themselves. Closed circuit cameras and proctors are used to oversee the testing environment. We uphold the University’s Academic Honesty Policy. Misconduct of any kind will not be tolerated.