The Catholic University of America

 

Getting Started

  • Prospective Students
  • Current Students 
  • How to Register
  • Documentation Guidelines
  • Confidentiality
  • Temporary Disabilities/Concussion
  • Confidentiality
 

Prospective Students

All prospective students are encouraged to make initial contact with DSS in the early stages of their college planning,  particularly if you have questions about what documentation is required for eligibility purposes for certain disabilities.  
 
DSS does not recommend that prospective students submit their documentation to Admissions.  It is advisable to send documentation directly to DSS, after you have been admitted.  Your eligibility for services/accommodations from DSS is a separate process and is done independently of the Office of Admissions.
 
At any time during the Admissions process, students are welcome to meet with disability counselors to provide information about eligibility for academic support services and accommodations, appropriate documentation of disability, housing considerations, and transition issues.
 
All incoming undergraduate students with a documented disability are strongly encouraged to attend our Smart Start Orientation program. Registration information and specific details will be available in March. Please feel free to contact us with any questions. To see more information, please visit our page on Smart Start Orientation
 
All incoming graduate and law school students with a documented disability are encouraged to contact us as soon as possible to discuss accommodation needs. Please feel free to contact us  with any questions or to set up an initial registration meeting.
 
 

Current Students

Students may register with DSS at any time. There is no deadline to register with DSS. However, we encourage students to reach out to DSS as early as possible to put accommodations and supports in place. 
 
If you are struggling academically and believe you might have a disability, please reach out to DSS. 
 
It is important to note that accommodations are not retroactive and cannot be put into action until the students has fully registered with DSS and have given his or her professor the letter of accommodation. 
 
 

Employees with Disabilities

Employees with disabilities, contact:
The Equal Opportunity Officer, is responsible for requests for work accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. An accommodation is a reasonable modification or adjustment to the work environment that enables a qualified person with a disability to perform the essential functions of a position, or enjoy the same benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by non-disabled employees. The Equal Opportunity Officer handles requests for faculty and staff, and can be reached at 202-319-6594 or http://eeo.cua.edu
 
 
 

How to Register

 

In order to be approved for accommodations at CUA a student must go through the process of registering with DSS. The registration process is as follows:

Step 1: Registration Form – Students must personally complete a DSS Student Registration Form which is intended to gather basic demographic information, details of their diagnosis, the impact of their disability, educational history, and desired accommodations. 

Step 2: Documentation – Students must submit appropriate documentation from a qualified professional who can verify their diagnosis and provide sufficient details on its impact to one or more major life activities (including academic pursuits). Types of documentation required vary depending on the diagnosis and will be further detailed below.

Step 3: Registration Meeting – Once DSS has received a student’s Registration Form and the appropriate level of documentation, they will review it for eligibility. If a student is approved, they will be contacted to schedule an intake meeting with the Director or DSS Coordinator. During this meeting, specific accommodations will be discussed and approved on a case-by-case basis. If additional documentation or information is required, DSS will inform the student of what else may be needed.

 

It is important to note that accommodations are never put into place retroactively. They only go into effect once a student formally requests their letters for that semester, delivers their letter to a professor and they discuss how the accommodations will be implemented in a given course.

 

Documentation Guidelines

 
All students with a documented disability may register with DSS office. In order to approve specific accommodations, documentation must be provided which details the impact of a diagnosis. DSS takes a holistic approach in determining eligibility for accommodation and will review any information you wish to send over. The following are examples of the types of documentation we can use to make such determinations:

 

Physical/Medical/Sensory Disability

  • Physical & Medical Disability Form -- A student may have their health professional complete this form and submit it on their behalf. Access the Physical & Medical Disability Form. 

  • A letter from a medical professional verifying a disability and explaining its impact on one or more life activities. 

  • Past medical records.

  • History of accommodations used in past educational, work or similar settings.

 

Cognitive/Developmental Disability (ADHD, Learning Disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder, etc.)

  • The results of a comprehensive neuropsychological or psychoeducational evaluation that includes IQ and achievement testing. 

  • Rating scales  and objective measure of symptoms related to diagnosis

  • History of accommodations used in past educational, work or similar settings (e.g. IEP).

 

Psychological Disability (Depression, Anxiety, OCD, Bipolar disorder, etc.)

  • Psychological Certification Form – A student may have their mental health professional complete this form and submit it on their behalf. 

  • A letter from a mental health professional verifying a disability and explaining its impact on one or more life activities. 

  • Past treatment records.

  • History of accommodations used in past educational, work or similar settings.

 

Temporary Disability/ Condition or Concussion

  • Recent medical records.

  • Information from medical professional detailing the short-term impact of the condition and how long it is likely to persist.

  • Special note – Should the condition persist longer than anticipated, additional and updated documentation may be requested.

  • For more information on temporary disabilities, please click here.

  • For more information on concussions, please click here.

Disability Support Services reserves the right to request additional documentation in order to support specific accommodations.  If additional information is needed, DSS may determine that it is appropriate to provide temporary accommodations.  Temporary accommodations will be determined based on the information that has been provided.
 
 
 

Confidentiality 

Student disability records are education records that contain confidential information, and are to be protected per the University’s Student Records Policy and Information Security and Assurance Policy (see http://policies.cua.edu/default.cfm). Accordingly, DSS will maintain a student’s disability information in a confidential file in the DSS Office.  In order to balance student privacy with the need to provide services and accommodations, DSS will disclose student disability information only to those University personnel who have a need to know that information or with a student's consent, and in accordance with the foregoing policies.