When should I contact DRS for assistance?
If you know that you have a disability, you should contact DRS as soon as possible. It is the student’s responsibility to self-identify to DRS to receive services. DRS will conduct an intake appointment and walk the student through policies and procedures regarding academic accommodations. Please note that accommodations begin on the day that instructors are notified and are not retroactive.
What is documentation of disability?
Documentation of disability is a letter and/or report from a physician, specialist, or qualified diagnostician confirming the presence of a disability. The documentation must contain a diagnosis along with a description of symptoms and limitations that negatively impacts one or more major life functions. It is these limitations that DRS will work to accommodate; therefore, this information is critical. All academic accommodations must be justified by the documentation of disability.
I know that I have a disability but it will take a while to obtain this information from my physician. Can I still receive accommodations?
Obtaining documentation from a physician can often take a great deal of time. Students may also need to be evaluated for a disability for the very first time. Classes may already be in session before you are able to provide DRS with these documents. DRS may grant academic accommodations on a temporary basis for one quarter pending receipt of documentation. Depending on the individual student’s situation, temporary accommodations may be extended to a maximum of two quarters. If acceptable documentation is not received by that time, accommodations will cease until they are received. Additionally, the nature of the accommodations may be altered depending on the information provided by the documentation.
I had an IEP or 504 plan in high school. Will this suffice as documentation of disability for the University of Washington?
An IEP or 504 plan provides information on what accommodations were provided to you at the K-12 level, but it usually falls short of the information required by institutions of higher education. The K-12 system often provides services for disabilities determined when students are quite young. By the time a student enters college, the nature of many disabilities may shift over time. Most postsecondary institutions will require documentation at the adult level so that the most appropriate accommodations can be provided to address the student’s current limitations. Additionally, the demands of postsecondary education are greater than those of high school. Subsequently, the types of accommodations needed may be different. Therefore, a student may need a new, updated evaluation to provide acceptable documentation.
Occasionally and on a case by case basis, while it may not meet documentation standards, there may be enough information in an IEP to allow us to provide accommodations. For additional information, please the DRS Office.
What are ‘fair and reasonable’ accommodations?
The academic accommodations that you receive from DRS are put into place to allow you equal access to all the educational opportunities and resources at the institution. Accommodations provide students with disabilities with a level playing field, not to give them an advantage over other students. For example, we are not able to ask an instructor to change or alter the course material for a student with a disability. The integrity of a course may not be compromised. Instead, accommodations are put into place to provide DRS students with greater ability to participate in the course.