Accessibility and Disability Services

Dominican is committed to fostering an inclusive community. We believe in our shared responsibility in accommodating students and creating a culture of access and respect.

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Accessibility and Disability Services (ADS) was established to support students in receiving equitable and accessible education after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. While compliance with the ADA is at the heart of the mission of ADS, we pride ourselves on being a disability services office that does not stop at mere compliance. Housed within the Student Success Center, we provide holistic support and resources to students, faculty, and staff. We use a student-centered approach. The ADS Team consists of Integrative Coaches who work collaboratively and who are skilled practitioners of student support. 

The ADS team understands disabilities from a social model of disability, not a deficit model. Recognizing that the environment and attitudes can have an impact on a student’s abilities, we seek to accommodate students by removing barriers to their access in all areas of their campus and college life, especially the classroom. Our goal is to help students achieve their full potential and meet the high standards of academic rigor and excellence expected of Dominican students. We help students to navigate all ADS processes, including seeking documentation, communication with faculty and other campus partners about accommodations, and the transition from high school to college (including the shift from IDEA to ADA). Our office also aligns with Dominican’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts across the campus. Disability is diversity, and all learners deserve to feel included.

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive accommodations through Accessibility and Disability Services, students must have a documented disability, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act: a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life functions.

Students may request accommodations at any time throughout the academic year. It is important to remember that accommodations are not retroactive. They begin after a student has completed the registration process, been deemed eligible, received approval for accommodations, and shared their AVLs with faculty. Please connect with ADS as early as possible.

ADS provides accommodations to students with approved documentation of physical, sensory, learning/attention, psychological, mental health, and chronic health disabilities, diagnoses, conditions, and labels.

Documentation must meet the following guidelines:

  • Must be completed by a licensed or credentialed examiner (not a family member)
  • Include the following information:
    1. A diagnosis/disability
    2. Information describing symptoms and their impact on your functioning.
    3. Recommendations of accommodations and brief explanations about how they would remove barriers to learning.

If any part of the above components are not included, more extensive primary and secondary documentation may be required. 

Students should be prepared to describe the impact of their disability on their functioning during the intake appointment with the Director of ADS.
 

  • Educational, psychological, or medical records
  • Reports and assessments created by healthcare providers, psychologists, or an educational system
  • Documents that reflect education and accommodation history, such as Audiology Reports and Vision Assessments
  • Statement from a health or other service professional
     

Registering with ADS

If you are an incoming Dominican student, and you believe you meet the eligibility guidelines including proper documentation (see above) to receive reasonable accommodations, from your student email account, contact accessibility@dominican.edu to request the ADS Intake Form for the upcoming semester. The ADS team will review submitted forms before the beginning of the new semester and you will be invited for an intake interview.

For new students who received accommodations in high school, the process and experience of accessing accommodations in college is different than in K-12 education. Please review this helpful document which explains the fundamental differences.

Parents, we recommend that you read this Letter to Parents from Jane Jarrow, a parent of a student with a disability and a well-known name in disability work in higher education offering a helpful perspective on this exciting, new, and (potentially) daunting experience.

Here is a timeline of the process for new students:

  1. From your student email account, email accessibility@dominican.edu to request the ADS Intake Form for the upcoming semester.
  2. Complete the Intake Form and you will receive word from ADS no earlier than mid-May.
  3. Upon reviewing submitted forms, the Director of ADS will send an email to your Dominican email address to schedule an intake appointment to discuss your eligibility and needs.
  4. During that meeting you will be invited to share your story and discuss barriers to accessing your education. You will be assigned an ADS coach who will support you throughout your time at Dominican.
  5. You and your coach will meet to determine which accommodation(s) you will need for the semester. After the Accommodations Verification Letter (AVL) is generated, we will send it to you via email.
  6. You will then forward the AVL to each of your professors and request a meeting to discuss how your accommodations will work in each course.
     

Registering with ADS for the First Time

If you are a current Dominican student and have a need for accommodation, including for a documented disability or condition, or due to an emerging disability or temporary or short-term condition, please review the following steps for registration:

  1. From your student email account, email accessibility@dominican.edu to request the ADS Intake Form.
  2. After you have submitted this form, the Director of ADS will send an email to your Dominican email address to schedule an intake appointment to discuss your eligibility and needs.
  3. During that meeting you will share your story and discuss potential barriers to accessing your education. You will be assigned an ADS coach who will work with you throughout your time at Dominican.
  4. You and your coach will meet to determine which accommodation(s) you will need for the semester. After the Accommodations Verification Letter (AVL) is generated, we will send it to you via email.
  5. You will then forward the AVL to each of your professors and request a meeting to discuss how your accommodations will work in each course

Continuing ADS Student

Please remember that you must request accommodations every semester. An AVL from a previous semester cannot be used for the current semester. You will receive an invitation to meet with your coach toward the end of the each semester. Any changes to your AVL may require additional documentation, so connect with your coach as early as possible.

Students with Temporary or Provisional Accommodations

If your eligibility is provisional or short term, please send ADS updated documents before you complete your next accommodation request.

Short-term eligibility refers to any condition that is expected to be temporary or not chronic, including but not limited to broken bones, concussion, and impairment due to pregnancy.

Provisional eligibility refers to the process in which a student who might have difficulties navigating the healthcare system or is experiencing an emerging condition can be supported by ADS while diagnostic evidence is gathered or a treatment plan is developed in coordination with a healthcare provider. Dominican is committed to the equitable support of our diverse student population.
 

Accommodations with Dominican

These are any accommodations - a change, modification, substitution, or alteration - to remove a barrier to engaging and participating in coursework or an academic program, including attendance, note taking, exams, and completion of assignments. In compliance with the ADA, accommodations cannot fundamentally alter the nature of the course or program, and they cannot cause an undue hardship or burden administratively or financially. 

Some accommodations include:

  • Extended time on exams
  • Peer notetaker
  • Extended time on assignments
  • Alternative Text Format for reading

There is no "full list" of accommodations, although there are many common accommodations students request and utilize. Any request to remove a barrier to learning, if deemed reasonable by ADS and the faculty/department, can be approved to support student learning.

ADS works with residential students who need special housing accommodations to help them manage their disability. Every effort will be made to accommodate students’ disabilities and meet their preferences. However, there may be instances in which Dominican is unable to fulfill specific requests due to availability of resources or the specific nature of the request. Housing accommodations can include, but are not limited to, single occupancy rooms, the use of specialized equipment or devices, fitting your room with a visual fire alarm, and emotional support animals (see section below).  

Approval for housing accommodations is a competitive process. Approved housing accommodations are valid for one school year. You must renew/apply for housing accommodations by emailing accessibility@dominican.edu and requesting the Housing Accommodations Form no later than by July 1. You must submit the ADS Intake Form first and be registered with ADS (see Registering with ADS above) in order to be eligible to receive housing accommodations. 

Housing accommodation documentation must meet the following guidelines:

  • It must be completed by a licensed or credentialed examiner (not a family member).
  • It should include the following information:
    • Description of the disability or health issue that requires accommodations, including the diagnosis and history
    • Description of the current impact on one’s ability to use and enjoy the residential housing
    • Description of the expected duration, frequency, severity, and progression of the condition
    • List of recommended accommodations

Under the Fair Housing Act, disabled students may be eligible for Emotional Support Animals (ESA). Interested students must submit the ADS Intake Form (if they haven’t already) and the ESA Request Form, providing documentation that describes the assistive and/or therapeutic benefits of the ESA for the individual. Students must also provide documentation of animal’s vaccinations and other health information signed by a veterinarian. 

Emotional Support Animals are not service animals and cannot leave the resident’s room unless for brief periods of time for the care and well-being of the animal. ESA's should not be disruptive and any damage caused by the animal is the owner’s sole responsibility. Requests for Emotional Support Animals should occur prior to the start of the semester. 

From your student email account, email accessibility@dominican.edu to request the ESA Request and/or ADS Intake Form.

Students may be eligible for other accommodations, including accommodations for using tutoring services through the Tutoring and Learning Center or the dining hall. For students in programs that have fieldwork as part of their requirements, requests for accommodations for clinical or fieldwork rotations may be possible. To discuss these accommodations, please contact your coach or accessibility@dominican.edu.

If your needs change at any time during the semester, please email your coach and explain your new challenges. You may be eligible for different accommodations. Please note that we may require updated documentation in order to grant new requests, therefore it 's important to email us in a timely manner so we can begin working with you to get the support you need.

Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Student

Students have a right to:

  • Reasonable and effective accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids as determined through the interactive process.
  • Determine whether to use the accommodations for which they have been approved.
  • Confidentiality regarding information pertaining to disability, including choice of disability disclosure except as required by law.
  • To be treated with respect and dignity by all University personnel.

Students have a responsibility to:

  • Self-identify as an individual with a disability, provide documentation from an appropriate professional source, and request accommodations in a timely manner.
  • Provide information on the manner in which the disability limits participation in courses, programs, services, and activities.
  • Re-certify their accommodations each semester.
  • Inform ADS of any concerns about classroom accommodations, discrimination related to disability, or access issues on campus as soon as the issue arises.  
  • Communicate effectively with all University personnel, including discussing accommodation arrangements with faculty.

Federal law protects a student's right to privacy. All student information and records submitted to ADS are treated as confidential. No information will be released about a specific student's disability unless the student:

  • gives their written permission to do so
  • the student poses risk of imminent harm to self or others
  • or in the unlikely event that disclosure is compelled by legal process.

All information is maintained in confidential files in the Accessibility and Disability Services office and is not included in the student's permanent university record. Student records will be kept for seven years after graduation. If you require proof of accommodation or you would like copies of any of your records, and you have graduated within the 5-year window, please complete this form if you have not received your files within 5-business days.

You Have Received Your AVL - Now What?

Sit down with each of your professors to go over all of your accommodations

It is very important that you and your faculty discuss each accommodation and how they apply to their classes. This is critical because not all accommodations apply to all courses, and not all accommodations will be implemented in the same way by all faculty.

It is also important to determine what to do for any "what if" situations (e.g. "What if my recording device fails?").

Your professor may have a form, document, or process for creating accommodation arrangements which will help to guide this process. If you would like to officially file your agreements with your teachers, please email accessibility@dominican.edu requesting the Faculty Receipt Form. Once this form is complete, please scan and email to the ADS Director. An electronic copy of the form will be emailed to all of the faculty who have signed this form. The original form will remain with you. 

Please remember that there is no need or expectation that you share any diagnostic information with your professors. You should be ready to speak about your needs, but this does not mean you need to describe symptoms of any diagnosis or condition. Your coach can help you prepare for these conversations.
 

Stay in touch with your ADS coach

Your coach is your point of contact for any and all of your questions and concerns about disability, access, and inclusion. Remember, each ADS coach is also an integrative coach, so we can support you and help you navigate university systems and important conversations. Your AVL can change and grow as your needs do, even in the middle of the semester, so communication with your coach is essential!

Students may file a grievance if they believe they have been discriminated against based upon a disability. Disability discrimination is defined as being treated unfavorably because of your disability. This includes harassment and the refusal to deliver approved accommodations. Please see Grievance Policies and Procedures..

If you have a complaint regarding accessibility issues, please call the ADS office at (415) 257-1388 or email us at accessibility@dominican.edu.

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Student Success Center

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Integrative Coaching

Your Integrative Coach is here to help you navigate your academic journey and accomplish your goals.

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Meet the Team

Matthew Mueller

Matthew E. Mueller, CRC

Director of Accessibility and Disability Services Integrative Coach
Jennifer Labovich headshot

Jennifer Labovich

Integrative Coach Accessibility Counselor
Naomi Elvove headshot

Naomi Elvove, MA

Executive Director of Student Success Center Integrative Coach
Christina Mayes headshot

Christina Mayes, MS

Digital Portfolio Specialist Integrative Coach