Frequently Asked Questions for Students

Disability is defined by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits (impairs, prohibits, or significantly restricts) one or more life activities; or a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment.

According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, "substantially limiting" is defined as being unable to perform a major life activity, or the student is significantly restricted as to the condition, manner, or duration under which a major life activity can be performed, in comparison to the average person or to most people. 

Major life activities are many and varied and may include such functions as caring of one's self, working, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, listening, thinking, communicating, memorizing, and processing information just to name a few.

Universities are required by Section 504 and Title II to provide students with disabilities with appropriate academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services that are necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in the school’s program. An example of an academic adjustment is extra time to take a test. Examples of auxiliary aids include note takers, interpreters, readers, and specialized computer equipment.
TAMIU complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and state and local requirements regarding the provision of accommodations to students with disabilities. Academic accommodations are provided to qualified students with appropriate documentation of a disability or disabilities in compliance with federal and state regulations.

Acceptable documentation must reflect the following:

  • Specific diagnoses supported by documentation;
  • Documentation must be current (in most cases, within the past 3 to 5 years);
  • Evaluation findings that support all diagnoses, to include relevant background history, tests administered, test scores (composite and subtest scores), test results, and interpretation of test results;”
  • How identified disabilities (problem areas or diagnoses) substantially impair day-to-day functioning of a major life area(s) is must. So, a description of the student’s functional limitations and how the limitations are directly related to the stated disabilities is paramount;
  • Specific recommendations for accommodations for curriculum, instruction and testing that are based on identified diagnoses and associated functional impairments is needed;
  • Documentation must be on a letterhead, typed, dated, and signed with the evaluator’s name, address, telephone number (in the event that the office needs to contact them), and professional credentials relevant to the diagnosis (see forms).
Every university is required to have an office or an individual responsible for ensuring equal access for students with disabilities. The Office of Disability Services for Students is located at Student Center 126. Office Phone: 956-326-3086 or email at disabilityservices@tamiu.edu
Students should submit documentation as soon as possible to ensure that expensive, or difficult to arrange accommodations are ready by the first day of class. For example, if Brailled texts are required, documentation and a list of required books should be submitted at least a couple of months prior to these needed services to ensure adequate time to have the textbooks Brailled since many colleges outsource this service and it is a very time-consuming process.
Students may submit documentation and provide accommodations at any point during the semester, but any grades already in place or tests taken BEFORE accommodations were granted will not be changed or repeated with accommodations. Not all accommodations can be immediately implemented, and no grades given during the implementation period will be changed.
Students are not charged for academic accommodations which are determined by the university to be necessary to ensure equal access for a student with disabilities. Students MAY be charged for any additional accommodations not normally provided to all students, such as the purchase of books to be altered into audio format.
No. A student does not have to disclose to Faculty the reasons for the accommodations. The student only has to submit the Faculty Memorandum Letter to receive accommodations. However, the student may not make up work or tests with accommodations at a later date if he/she chooses not to present the Faculty Memorandum Letter. It is best to provide the Faculty Memorandum Letter to Faculty, no later than one week after the semester has begun.

University accommodations usually differ considerably from high school modifications. University's are not required by law to provide modified curriculum, different tests, reduced assignments, or personal assistance of any sort. Accommodations between universities may not transfer. Reasons for denial of accommodations received at a previous university;

  • The documentation does not meet the university’s guidelines
  • The documentation does not support the requested accommodation
  • The accommodation would fundamentally alter the activity, course, or program
  • The accommodation is in conflict with the academic policies of the university
  • Providing the accommodation would pose a direct threat to the student or others
  • Providing the accommodation would constitute an undue financial or administrative burden to the university
Students are responsible for presenting their accommodation letters to Faculty. If a student has an online course which never meets with Faculty, the office of DSS (Disability Services for Students) will inform Faculty of the student’s accommodation request. The student is still responsible for arranging all test requests.
No. Faculty have no obligation to provide any accommodations to a student without the Accommodations Request Letter issued by the office of Disability Services for Students. All accommodations must be approved by this department before Faculty is obligated to provide any accommodations to a student.
Universities are not responsible for providing any services of a personal nature, including transportation (unless transportation is being provided for all students as in the case of a field trip or athletics). Students must arrange all services themselves, or request assistance from an outside agency such as the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS).
Most universities do not waive essential courses in a student’s curriculum. If the course is part of the “Core Curriculum” required by the university’s state, the course will most likely NOT be waived. Every university should have a policy in place to evaluate possible course substitutions when a student’s disability precludes him/her from being able to successfully complete that course.
Texas A&M International University's Disability Services for Students offers a variety of services for students with disabilities, including the following: accessible furniture in classrooms, assistance in recruiting note takers, assistance in ordering audio books, equipment loan (e.g.,Audio Recorders, Livescribe Echo Pen, Colored Overlays), materials enlarged (e.g., exams, handouts), sign language interpreters, alternative testing arrangements, counseling and other reasonable services.
  • Plan ahead
  • Have your required documentation ready
  • Communicate with the Disability Office
  • Be ready to be your own advocate


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Contact Us

Office of Disability Services for Students
Student Center 124
Phone: 956.326.3086
Fax: 956.326.3083
Email: disabilityservices@tamiu.edu
TAMIU Website: www.tamiu.edu/disability
Facebook: www.facebook.com/txamiu.disabilityservices