Connecting With Disability Resources
Disability Resources is currently open Monday through Friday from 8:00am - 4:30pm. We are also using Zoom, email, & phone to discuss accommodations that will ensure access to the programs and services at UMD.
If you are a new student and wish to get connected with Disability Resources, please start by submitting our online Request for Accommodations Form. You can learn more about the accommodations process by visiting our Get Connected page.
If you are already connected with Disability Resources and want to update your spring semester accommodation letters, please go to the “Updating Spring Semester Accommodations” section below for more information.
Disability Resources Updates
Updating Spring Semester Accommodations
Whether your courses are remote, online, blended or in-person, accommodations will continue to be available to students already connected with Disability Resources
Here’s how you can connect with Disability Resources to update your semester accommodations:
You can email your Disability Specialist to request a one-on-one meeting or request updated semester accommodation letters. Before emailing to request updated accommodation letters, please do the following:
If you are emailing to request a one-on-one meeting, be sure to include 3 or 4 options of days and times that you are available to meet.
If you are emailing to request updated accommodation letters be sure to:
Attend each class at least one time if your classes are held live via Zoom.
Review the course syllabus so you’re familiar with the requirements if your class is a self-paced online course.
Make sure your email includes a list of each class and what accommodations need to be in place.
Include any other concerns or questions you might have. We understand that the online learning environment may create new barriers to access. Make sure to mention these concerns so we can explore reasonable accommodations.
Use the student portal to get contact info for your Disability Specialist and review your currently approved accommodations. If you need to access a copy of your Letter of Accommodation, you can search your email, contact Disability Resources staff, or download a copy online through your student portal.
What to Expect in Disability Resources This Spring
Disability Resources is excited to have students back on campus! Whether your courses are in-person, blended, remote, or online, accommodations will continue to be available and we’re looking forward to working with you to ensure you have access to your classes.
To make sure everyone can stay safe when visiting Disability Resources, this is what you can expect when visiting our area:
- If you are sick, or displaying any COVID symptoms, do not come to Disability Resources.
- Please follow the current UMD mask and face covering policy.
- Please wait to enter a staff member’s office until you are invited in. Disability Resources staff will be cleaning between each meeting, and we will need time to get our area ready for you to enter.
- Meetings are limited to the student and the Disability Resources staff member only. Office capacity cannot exceed two people at this time.
- Please use hand sanitizer on your way in and out of the office. Hand sanitizer will be available by the door to each staff office.
Requesting Disability Accommodations
Submit the Request for Accommodations Form
- Complete the Request for Accommodations Form online and provide any available documentation that indicates a history of a disability diagnosis. These steps will save you time later.
- IMPORTANT: Please note that you should not delay meeting with us out of concern for not having the right paperwork. Each specialist will discuss specific third party documentation needs during the Welcome Meeting and steps you can take after the meeting. Our first priority is meeting with you, not reviewing the paperwork.
Schedule a Welcome Meeting
- Email us at [email protected] to schedule an appointment. Appointments last approximately 45 – 60 minutes.
- During the Welcome Meeting, a Disability Specialist will chat with you about the barriers you are experiencing, reasonable accommodations to address the barriers and your next steps. Our goal is to keep the meeting relaxed and comfortable.
Common Accommodations Available
Listed below are the most commonly requested accommodations.
Specific barriers to academic inclusion are discussed with students, and other accommodations may be provided on a case-by-case basis.
- Test Accommodations
- Reading Accommodations
- Note Taking
- Accessible Technology
- Housing & Dining Accommodations
Did you know our office now has a Student Portal available to you to assist with your access and accommodation needs?! Here is a brief list of items you can do online through your student portal:
- View assigned Disability Specialist and contact information
- View approved accommodations
- See semester courses, schedules, and any scheduled exams with our office
- View and download Letters of Accommodation to have on hand and to share with your faculty member again if needed
- Ability to view and sign a release of information to speak with parents/guardians
Managing Online Learning
Five Quick Tips for Online Learning
- Identify your study space. Where will you study best?
- Keep yourself on a schedule. When are you able to focus best?
- Remember to take breaks! Walk, stretch, or do something for fun.
- How will you track assignments and deadlines? Google calendar, phone reminders, to-do lists and planners are all great options.
- Turn off your phone or put it in another room while you’re studying. If you’re doing online coursework, only have tabs open for the course and any linked websites
- Adjusting your study strategies during COVID-19
- Assistive Technology for Everyone Guide
- Use free resources to your advantage
- RedShelf and VitalSource are offering free access to digital textbooks in response to COVID-19 and the shift to online learning.
- AIRA is a service that enables blind and low vision people to connect to a live agent who can assist with a variety of tasks. Using the camera on a smart phone the AIRA agent can assist the individual by reading inaccessible documents on a computer screen, read website content, describe images, etc. AIRA is offering college students free access through the end of the spring semester, email [email protected]
- Individual support and coaching is available to you from Disability Resources. Please contact your Disability Specialist to further discuss details specific to your need:
Access & Inclusion in the Classroom
- Reasonable accommodations are available to students regardless of the course modality.
- Students using accommodations will be issued a letter of accommodation that indicates the accommodations necessary for equal access. A copy of this letter is also shared with faculty.
- Students are advised to follow up with their faculty to ensure that the letter of accommodation has been received.
- Consider checking in with all students about their access needs in the learning environment.
- As class delivery modalities shift, access needs may change. It is normal and natural for a student to request accommodations at any point during the semester, especially if there is a change in delivery method.
- Periodically checking in with students to ensure they have what they need to access the course is a best practice.
- Remember that Disability Resources is your partner in ensuring access. Please consult with us on disability and access related needs.
Inclusive Design Strategies
There are many things faculty can do to make online courses more accessible to all students. Here are some strategies to consider:
- Record all online livestream video content and make it available on the course website. Consult the Zoom recording guide for instructions.
- Turn on auto-captions for all video lectures or meetings. See the Zoom live transcription guide for instructions.
- Consider offering flexibility with participation. Must a student participate during the regularly scheduled class time, or may discussion occur outside of class time?
- Offer students the option to leave their camera (and microphone) off during live Zoom meetings. Students may have a range of reasons for preferring to leave their camera off:
- Students who are housing insecure and not in an appropriate place to turn on the camera
- Students who don't have good internet access and will lose the connection if they turn the camera on
- Student's whose home environment is not conducive to having the camera on
- Student's participating from their phone in a "parking lot hot spot"
Faculty Portal: Disability Resources is excited to introduce a portal that allows faculty to view - by class - all students requesting accommodations and their associated accommodation letters. Take a moment to login and explore, and let us know if you have questions about how to navigate the portal. Don’t forget to bookmark the faculty portal link so you can easily access it throughout the year!
Universal design: To make online courses more accessible to all students, consider implementing these simple strategies:
Record all online livestream video content and make it available on the course website. Consult the Zoom recording guide for instructions.
Turn on auto-captions for all video lectures or meetings. See the Zoom live transcription guide for instructions.
For more information on remote teaching practices, visit the Faculty Resources section of the Disability Resources website and the Keep Teaching website.
Disability Resources continues to be your partner in ensuring access. Please connect with the Office of Disability Resources for support and consultation around any student access concerns that may arise.
Disability Accommodations for UMD Employees
Disability accommodations are available to UMD employees through UReturn. Please contact Nancy Erickson ([email protected]) via email to request a confidential consultation.
UMD offers all students, staff, and faculty a free copy of a program called Read and Write Gold. This program allows text to be read back across a variety of venues, including Office products, PDFs, email, and websites. Learn about its full range of capabilities, and access a download link (program is available for both Windows and Mac users) here: https://itss.d.umn.edu/services/software/rwg