Are all students with disabilities who are registered with SSD eligible for priority registration? Are students who are approved for this exempted from academic advising?
The majority, but not all, students with disabilities are approved for priority registration as an accommodation. Early registration makes sense for students who receive testing accommodations (to allow for sufficient time between classes to complete extended time exams), utilize sign language interpreters or other services which require advance scheduling, have to manage medication-related side effects or medical appointments, and various other issues. Students who are approved for priority registration are NOT exempted from academic advising if their major code requires it. Students are instructed to make sure their advising and any other bars are cleared before the registration period begins.
I just received a reduced courseload letter from a student registered with SSD. What does this mean and what do I do with it?
The nature of some students' disabilities necessitates that they take a reduced courseload. Because taking less than a full-time load can have implications for health insurance coverage and eligibility for University programs and services, SSD may recommend that a student with a disability take a reduced courseload as an accommodation while still being considered full-time. This determination is made on a case-by-case basis and is re-reviewed every semester. If you receive a reduced courseload letter, please take it into consideration when outlining the student's program of study, approving course schedules, and the number of hours taken, and satisfactory progress reports. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the SSD staff member who wrote the letter.
What are some issues I should consider in advising students with disabilities?
Although created for students as an aid to help them in discussing course selection with their advisors, the Discussing Course Selection form may provide useful tips of issues to consider with students with disabilities. In addition to these, advisors will want to make sure that whatever information they share and discuss is in a format that is understandable to the student. Depending on the nature of the student's disability, strategies that may be helpful include:
- Repetition of relevant information and providing it in a number of formats (e.g., verbally, in writing, follow-up emails, etc.).
- Working with SSD to make sure information on the Web and relevant brochures is available in an accessible format.
- Allowing the student to communicate in their primary language (e.g., with a sign language interpreter present for a student who uses ASL).
- In consultation with the student's SSD administrator.
Do you provide assistance for students with temporary injuries?
Yes. Documentation guidelines and a description of some of the services available for students with temporary injuries is available on the Temporary Disablilities page.
The accommodation letters for these students is different from that of students with disabilities and services are only provided on a short-term basis.
How do I refer a student I think may have a disability to SSD?
This can be a sensitive topic and it is important to be attuned to the student's needs. For students who continue to struggle despite what appears to be their best effort, you may simply want to recommend that they contact SSD as a means of finding out if there are resources (e.g., academic support or enrichment services, tutoring) that are available to help them. During an initial interview, SSD staff can then determine whether an additional referral for an assessment is recommended. It is typically NOT advisable to say such things as "I think you have a learning (or other) disability." Typically, the best approach is to be supportive, discreet, and non-directive, such as informing the student of the existence of SSD and services that are available in the Office of the Dean of Students.
One of my students told me that he cannot register for services with SSD because of the documentation requirements and cost of a psychoeducational evaluation. Is there any financial assistance available for students who do not have the financial means to pay for an evaluation?
Yes, SSD is willing to work with students to find low or no-cost resources for evaluations. We maintain a list of providers in the community whose documentation meets our guidelines and may be able to provide discounts or reduced rates for students. We can also talk with students about the possibility of health insurance coverage and whether or not Student Financial Services may be a resource. The University Counseling and Mental Health Center performs a limited number of evaluations for UT students free of charge. In addition, students may speak to an SSD administrator about whether or not they are eligible for specific funding that is designated to help offset the cost of evaluations for students with suspected disabilities.
How do students with disabilities register with SSD?
Students seeking accommodations must first submit documentation of their disability. They must then complete an intake appointment, which can be scheduled by calling the SSD front desk at 512 471-6259. Documentation should be submitted at least 24 hours in advance of this meeting. During the intake, students will meet with an SSD administrator who is familiar with their specific disability. This administrator will review the student's documentation, history of accommodations, and determine whether additional information is required. The administrator will work with the student to provide appropriate accommodations.
Once a student is approved for accommodations, he/she must complete an Accommodation Letter Request Form every semester in order for accommodation letters to be prepared. It is the student's responsibility to deliver these letters and discuss their accommodations with their professors.
Does SSD only work with students with visible or learning disabilities?
No, SSD works with students with a variety of disabilities, including, but not limited to, students with learning disabilities, attentional disorders, psychological disabilities, chronic medical conditions, traumatic brain injuries, blindness/low vision, temporary injuries, and those who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Students are approved for accommodations on a case-by-case basis based on appropriate documentation. Students with invisible disabilities (e.g., learning and attentional disorders, psychological disabilities, medical conditions) make up the largest percentage of the students registered with SSD.