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Commonly Asked Questionsabout Students with Disabilities

Disability Support Services for Students
Learning Center
Reed Library, Fourth Floor
State University of New York at Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063
Ph: (716) 672-3270
Fax (716) 673-3801

1. This student does not look like s/he has a disability.
Chances are the student has what's called a hidden disability. Common disabilities in this category are learning disabilities, cardiac problems, severe diabetes, psychological problems, epilepsy and other conditions.

2. Can I ask the student about her/his disability?
Yes, and some might be relieved if you did because they are hesitant to discuss their disability without some overture from you. The DSS office works with students to try and get them comfortable about discussing their disability with faculty and how the disability affects them academically. Some students have never had to speak with a teacher about their needs. In high school it was usually handled by the Resource Room/Special Education Instructor or by their parents. However, other students may not wish to discuss the matter with you and their wishes must be respected.

3. If this student has a learning disability, how come s/he is in college?
SUNY Fredonia has no special admissions category for students with disabilities; and this office plays no role in the admissions process. Students are admitted using the same general admissions criteria used for all students. In most cases, the admissions office is not aware an individual has a learning disability unless the student self discloses. A learning disability should not be confused with a student's level of intelligence. One of the factors in diagnosing a learning disability is that the individual has been tested and determined to have average to above average intelligence.

4. Can the DSS office test students to see if they have a learning disability?
No. We do not have the resources to test students for learning disabilities. We do, however, refer students to appropriate resources to be tested.

5. What if I get a memo from the DSS office about a student and the accommodations needed, but the student never approaches me to discuss it?
A memo from DSS means the student has requested you be informed about her disability and the need for accommodations. It is the student's responsibility to follow through on that request. You are not responsible for seeking out the student.

6. Can ANY student take an exam in the DSS testing rooms?
No. Only students registered with the DSS office are eligible to use the testing rooms.

7. What happens if a student who uses a wheelchair cannot access my classroom?
Chances are the class will have to be moved to an accessible location.

8. Can I check to see if a student in my class is registered as having a disability?
No. All documentation of disability sent to the DSS office is confidential. Information about disability is not discussed nor revealed to any SUNY Fredonia faculty or staff without students' written permission.

9. I have a suspicion that a student in my class has a learning disability. How do I get him to go see someone in the DSS office?
If you do not know for certain that the student has a learning disability, then it would not be a good idea to confront him about seeking help from DSS. However, you could encourage all students in your class to seek extra help during your office hours or to go to the Learning Center for tutorial help. Remember, it is the student's responsibility to self-identify any disabling condition.

10. As an instructor, what are my responsibilities to a student with a disability in my class?
To ensure the student has received reasonable accommodation/s in your course. Academic accommodations are not a guarantee of success. It allows students with disabilities to operate on the same level as their non-disabled peers.

11. What about students with temporary disabilities?
Short term medical/physical injuries or conditions are not considered a disability as expressed in the ADA. However, the DSS office recognizes that there may be instances where a student with a temporary disability could benefit from assistance through this office. Services for students in such cases may be provided if staff and space is available. Requests of this nature will have a low priority because the needs of students registered with DSS will come first.

12. Does DSS serve faculty and staff with disabilities?
No. Services for faculty/staff with disabling conditions are administered through the office of Human Resources, 510 Maytum Hall.

13. Does Fredonia have a policy regarding service animals such as a seeing eye dog?
Yes. The policy for faculty, staff, students and handlers is posted in the "Handbook for Students with Disabilities."

Feel free to contact the office of Disability Support Services for Students if you have questions about services for students with disabilities on campus.

Page modified 12/7/15