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What is a disability?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act define a disability as a physical or mental condition that substantially limits one or more major life activities. These civil rights laws protect students with disabilities from discrimination. The ADA and Section 504 protections also extend to students who have a record of, or are regarded as having such an impairment. 

DSS no longer sends a hard copy of student's accommodations.  Each professor will need to sign into our sharepoint site to view and verify student accommodations.  If you are not able to sign into sharepoint, please contact our front office for assistance. 

Below is a partial list of disabilities typically identified by students:

  • Attention Deficit
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Blindness and Visual Impairments
  • Chronic Health Impairments
  • Communication Impairments
  • Deafness and Hard of Hearing
  • Intellectual Disabilities
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Mobility Impairments
  • Psychiatric Disabilities (Depression, Bi-polar, Anxiety, etc.)
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Temporary Disabilities such as broken limbs
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries 

Arranging for Accommodations - Student Process

Students with disabilities or suspected disabilities meet with Disability Support Services, confidentially is a first step in arranging reasonable program accommodations.

The DSS Accommodation Specialist verifies the disability and determines how functional limitations affect academic work. This is accomplished through discussion with the student and review of documentation. Students with insufficient documentation may be referred to physicians, psychologists or other qualified diagnosticians for complete assessment before modifications are granted.

After the disability and its functional limitations are verified, DSS provides information about the various reasonable modifications which address the student's functional limitations.

The student then chooses the reasonable accommodations that best apply in a given course or semester. Frequently, students arrange follow-up meetings with the Accommodation Specialist. The office is available to assist with ongoing problem solving.

Once the student is assigned accommodations in sharepoint, the student needs to meet with each professor to discuss new accommodations. It is the responsibility of the student to meet with the professor and discuss accommodations. DSS does not send any info regarding new accommodations, once the student identifies to the professor, the professor will need to sign into sharepoint to view and discuss the assigned accommodations.

A student can identify with DSS at any time during a quarter, if this happens, the student still needs to meet with each professor to arrange accommodations.

How to refer students to Disability Services

Faculty and staff are encouraged to refer students, who may meet the definition of a disability or may have an undiagnosed disability. Disability Services does not offer disability evaluation. However, DSS provides a list of practitioners in the Spokane area so that students can seek identification/documentation of a disability.   

Students can take the following steps to inquire or receive services:

  1. Contact Disability Support Services at 509.359.6871 and make an intake appointment. This intake appointment will last approximately one hour.  
  2. Meet with the Accommodation Specialist. Provide disability documentation. DSS provides information about the various reasonable modifications that address the student's functional limitations.
  3. Choose the modifications that best apply in the student's academic program and request them from faculty or Disability Services in a timely fashion.     


More information:

Contact Information

Disability Support Services
121 Tawanka Hall
Cheney, WA 99004

phone: 509.359.6871
fax: 509.359.7458