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Policies and Procedures

To be eligible for disability-related services through the DSS office, students must (1) be qualified and admitted to TAMIU, (2) be a person with a disability, as defined by ADA amendments Act of 2008 as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits, that prohibits or significantly restrics one or more life activities, (3) self-identify as a student with a disability through the completion of the DSS application process, and (4) present appropriate, comprehensive, and current documentation regarding their stated disabilities. Once all of these requirements have been met, reasonable accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis by a meeting held between DSS staff and the student.

  • A physical impairment is defined as any physiological disorder or   condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitor-urinary, hemic, lymphatic, skin, endocrine, and respiratory (including speech organs).
  • A mental impairment defined as any mental or psychological disorder meeting DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for emotional disorder or mental illness, neurodevelopmental disorders [specific learning disabilities, attention deficits, autistic-spectrum disorders] etc.).
  • Major life activities are many and varied and may include such functions as caring for 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.


The application process includes the following:

Student must self-identity by completing a Request for Services form, which his then followed by setting up an appointment with the DSS Coordinator to complete the Registration (Intake) Form.

The Registration (Intake) Form is a brief questionnaire intended to allow students to describe their history, their disability, the impact of their disability/condition, and explain the specific accommodations and services being requested.

Documentation supporting the request for academic accommodations must be provided by a licensed independent professional, i.e., physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc. The documentation submitted to the DSS office is intended to establish the nature of the student’s disability/condition and related impact to the student in the educational setting (see Documentation Requirements).


After receipt and review of the student’s application and documentation, DSS staff will contact the student to schedule the APM (Access Planning Meeting). At this time, approved accommodations will be determined, and students will sign all appropriate and necessary informed consent, release of information, and accommodation agreement forms necessary to support accommodations request for the current/upcoming semester.

 

 

General:

Documentation guidelines allows for consistency and compliance with federal statutes, to legitimize a student’s request for accommodations, to assist in the determination of appropriate accommodations for the student, and to personalize the student’s right to equal access to the university.

Sources of information used for determining a disability and/or accommodations may include a student’s self-report, direct observation and interaction with the student, and/or documentation from qualified evaluators or professionals.

Student Self-Report:

Students are asked to complete application forms (see application process above) as it provides an opportunity to describe their disability and the accommodations they are hoping to receive. Students are encouraged to supplement the application forms with a brief narrative that further describes their disability, their experiences related to their disability, barriers faced, and previous accommodations (effective or ineffective), and so on.

Documentation:

Disability-related documentation should provide information on the functional impact of the disability so that effective accommodations can be determined.  Criteria for the source, scope and content of documentation differs by disability type.  Documentation may include assessments, reports, and/or letters from qualified evaluators, professionals, or institutions.

Please note that the TAMIU DSS office reserves the right to make a determination on the appropriateness of submitted documentation and requests for accommodation(s) on a case-by-case situation.  Also, keep in mind that documentation acceptable for other agencies and institutions (e.g., vocational rehabilitation agencies, public schools) may not be sufficient for determining post-secondary services.

Acceptable documentation must reflect the following:

  1. Specific diagnoses supported by documentation;
  2. Documentation must be current (in most cases, within the past 3-5years);
  3. 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;
  4. Identification of associated functional limitations or symptoms and how these functional limitations or symptoms substantially impair major life functioning. Keep in mind that functional limitations inform which accommodations are appropriate;
  5. Severity of disability and/or expected progression;
  6. Current and/or past accommodations;
  7. Current medications and any related side effects, if applicable;
  8. Specific recommendations for accommodations based on identified diagnoses and associated functional impairments;
  9. 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.

The DSS office provides students with a variety of verification forms that can be downloaded and completed by the student’s provider, if other forms of documentation are not available or sufficient.

In addition to services to students with permanent disabling conditions, the DSS office also provides services on a temporary basis. Documentation from a licensed professional is needed to provide these services.

Temporary Services: Individuals with temporarily disabling conditions like a broken limb(s), a hand injury, or short-term impairment following surgery or medical treatments may need access to services and resources similar to individuals with permanent disabilities. Eligibility for temporary services will be considered on an individual, case-by-case basis.

Determination of accommodations:

  • With the required documentation provided by the student, the student and the DSS Coordinator will jointly decide on the most appropriate and reasonable academic adjustments.
  • Reasonable accommodations appropriate for the disability will be determined based on recommendations in the documentation, standard best professional practices, and discussion with the student of past experiences with accommodations.
  • Accommodations requested must not create an undue hardship on the financial or administrative resources of the University.
  • In general, the professional best practice standards of the Association for Higher Education and Disabilities (AHEAD) will be followed to determine appropriate accommodations.

The student should be aware that there is often a difference in the types of accommodations provided by elementary/secondary schools and post-secondary (higher education) programs. Indeed, accommodations and modifications in higher education are fewer, and there is greater emphasis placed on helping the student develop the most effective learning strategies and skills to aid in their academic and personal pursuits. At the postsecondary education level, students are solely responsible for decisions regarding their accommodation needs. Parents may attend meetings with their student and Disability Services Staff at the student’s discretion.

Verification of Disability Letters

  • The DSS office will prepare Faculty Memorandums Letters (FML) for each semester the student requests accommodations.
  • These memorandums will verify that the student qualifies for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act as well as specify the type of accommodations that has been approved by the DSS office.
  • The Memorandum to Faculty forms are written to respect the student's confidentiality. The nature of a student's disability is only shared on a ‘need to know’ basis and then only with the student's written permission.
  • Accommodations for a particular student may vary to some extent semester-to-semester depending upon the course content of the student's classes.  It is the student's responsibility to notify the DSS Coordinator when a specific course format requires changes or additions to the Memorandum to Faculty forms. Any changes to accommodation requires consultation with, and approval of the DSS Coordinator.
  • Students are expected to meet with the DSS Coordinator to receive accommodation forms for each semester. Each student is expected to pick up her/his memorandum form the DSS office and deliver said memorandums to her/his instructors.
  • Each student will deliver the faculty memorandums in person, preferably on the first day of class. This will afford the student the opportunity to self-identify with instructors and discuss issues related to the accommodations she/he needs in class. The student decides how much specific information she/he wants to make available to the faculty in addition to what is already included in the Faculty Memorandum forms.

 

 

 

 

The DSS office ensures that all information and communication pertaining to a   student’s disability is maintained in accordance with applicable law, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Only designated staff will have access to student files maintained by the DSS office.

Release of information (ROI) is permissible with written permission from the student and with few  exceptions.


Students should contact the DSS office in order to discuss their rights regarding disclosure of information and review of available forms to provide written consent for release of information.

Disclosure of information is allowable under certain conditions. Examples below illustrate different conditions. Examples are not exhaustive. They include:

                          to school officials with legitimate educational interest;
                          to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
                          to appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies.


A confidential file, in hardcopy and/or electronic format, is maintained on each student who has made a formal request (submitted an application) for services. Information typically includes demographic information, initial application, documentation of disability, correspondence, list of approved accommodations, and history of faculty notification requests/letters.

All records are managed and retained in accordance with Texas A&M University System regulations and applicable state law. For more information regarding the requirements/schedule, please contact the DSS office.

If a student would like to request a copy of their documentation, the request must be made in writing. Written request forms are at the DSS office.

 

 

 

It is the student’s responsibility to:

  • Meet with DSS Coordinator each semester (including mini-term and summer sessions) to request their FML and other relevant accommodation agreements to be sent out to their instructors. The FML, and agreed to accommodations, become effective once the instructor receives it. Accommodations are NOT retroactive.
  • Alert the DS office immediately if information within the FMLs does not appear to be accurate or if there are any problems in the delivery of requested accommodations or the process of being accommodated.
  • Cancel or modify the FMLs, as necessary.
  • Contact the DSS office if they have any questions or concerns regarding their accommodations at any time during the course of the semester.
  • Meet with their instructor(s), during office hours or scheduled appointment, each semester to discuss specific details and implementation of approved academic accommodations.

 

Enroll in Classes: Students are encouraged to enroll early for classes before desired classes are filled. This will require meeting with advisors early.

Requests for services and equipment. Students need to inform the DSS office as early as possible if assistive equipment is required as it may take 2-4 weeks to have ready.     

Follow Testing Center’s Procedures. Students are expected to follow the Test Rules and Regulations prominently posted.

  • When exams or quizzes are to be administered in our testing center and proctored by DSS staff, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the DSS office and schedule the test in person.
  • Please arrive 10 minutes early. Students that do not arrive early will be turned away.
  • Exams must be scheduled at least 48 hours in advance to ensure adequate accommodations. Exams must be taken during the regular class time unless alternative times are approved by the DSS Coordinator and the professor.  The DSS office is open Monday through Thursday from 8am to 5pm, and Friday’s from 8am to 3pm.  Please be aware that business hours are subject to change at the beginning of each semester.
  • You will need to present a valid photo ID on arrival for scheduled exam. A valid photo ID can include your TAMIU student ID, a valid driver's license, a current passport, a state- or country-issued ID, etc.
  • For security reasons, you will be asked to place ALL personal items -- coats, jackets, hoodies, electronic devices (including smart watches), backpacks, papers, books, and the like --  in a locker provided you. You will not be able to access any personal items during testing.
  • Lockers are small. You are encouraged to secure large personal items in your vehicle or leave them at home prior to arriving for testing.
  • The DSS office does not allow students to download software to our computers or bring outside computers or electronics of any kind into the testing cubicles. If the exam requires specialized software, please contact the DSS office well in advance of your scheduled exam. 
  • Exams must be completed in one sitting. Students are NOT allowed to leave their testing cubicle. Restroom breaks allowed, if needed.
  • Come prepared with the necessary / approved supplies and materials specific to your exam.

Report needs and problems as they arise. In the event that initial accommodations do not meet a student's needs or do not seem possible because of a specific course requirement, it is the student's responsibility to contact the DSS Coordinator to determine what other accommodation options are available.

Understand and follow all procedures. Students should review DSS Policy and Procedures each semester (available online and in the DSS office). Students will keep a copy of the Faculty Memorandum letters (FML) and other agreement forms from the DSS office for easy reference. Students are encouraged to review these agreement forms and memorandums each semester. Students are responsible for following ALL DSS policies and procedures and for reporting any need for clarification or change of agreement with the DSS office.

Class Attendance. Class attendance policies are determined by each instructor. If a student has chronic health or other disability-related problems that may cause him/her to miss class, he/she should discuss attendance requirements and options with all professors and the DSS Coordinator as early as possible (preferably before enrollment).   The use of a note-taker does not excuse a student from attending class. Please see TAMIU Attendance Rules regarding its policy on absences.

Follow the Student Code of Conduct.  Having a documented disability does not excuse a student from following TAMIU’s rules, policies or procedures. Please refer to Student Handbook containing the Student Code of Conduct on the TAMIU’s home webpage.

Referrals by DSS office. Students are expected to follow-up on all referrals in a timely fashion. Students should contact the DSS Coordinator if a referral does not meet their needs so that other options/referrals can be discussed.

Tutoring Support. The DSS office does not provide tutoring services. However, tutoring services are available to all students through The Learning Center, The Writing Center, and/or TRIO Student Support Services located at the Billy Cowart Hall.

Scheduling Appointments with the office of DSS. Students are encouraged to call ahead to make an appointments to speak to the DSS Coordinator. The DSS office is open Monday through Thursday from 8am to 5pm, and Friday’s from 8am to 3pm. Please be aware that business hours are subject to change at the beginning of the semester. In the case of an emergency, students should contact the DSS office as soon as possible.

Campus emergency assistance: University Police are the first responders on campus for all emergencies. Emergency assistance may be obtained 24 hours a day by contacting University Police at 956-326-2911.

Medical emergencies: As first responders, University Police will provide initial assessment and contact other emergency personnel as needed.

Procedures for Emergency Evacuation of Buildings:

  • Elevators are not operational during fire and other building evacuation alarms. Therefore, in emergencies, some students with disabilities (such as those with limited mobility or visual impairments) may need assistance in evacuating the building.
  • On campus, the Evacu-Trac system is used to assist students with disabilities like limited mobility or visual impairment. The Evacu-Trac chairs are located in the following buildings: Killiam 4th floor on the Library side facing University Blvd, Canseco Hall 3rd floor East stairwell, Student Center 2nd floor rotunda facing Memorial Garden, Fine Arts building East stairwell, and Lamar-Bruni Vergara Science Center 3rd floor East stairwell.
  • With students’ permission, a list of DSS students with mobility and visual impairments is sent out to the UPD Chief of Police.  Campus police is then able to obtain their class schedules so that they are aware of students’ location in the event of an emergency.
  • During an emergency, students with disabilities requiring assistance should call University Police at 326-2911. Students are encouraged to ask an instructor, classmate or passer-by to stay with them until the police arrive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TAMIU and the DSS office maintain that students have the right to file a grievance when they believe equal access has been denied in regard to appropriate accommodations, modifications, auxiliary aids, or when they believe they have been discriminated against as described in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 Amendments Act of 2008.

Texas A&M International University has general grievance procedures that pertain to all (disabled and non-disabled) students. These procedures can be found in the Student Handbook.

There are also two additional grievance procedures established specifically for students with disabilities who feel their rights have been violated under the Rehabilitation Act of 1974 or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 Amendments Act of 2008.

  • The first procedure (Informal Grievance Procedure) is recommended for resolving disability-related conflicts with faculty, staff, campus organizations and/or other students.
  • A student is encouraged to discuss his/her concerns with the DSS Coordinator who will contact the parties involved, as appropriate, to determine resolution. For instance, the DSS Coordinator may attempt to resolve the matter by assisting the student in discussing issues with a faculty member, by facilitating a meeting of the parties involved, or by calling the faculty member and/or head of the department in an effort to clarify and resolve issues. The student and other involved parties will be notified by the DSS office of the resolution of the matter within 10 business days. Due to the urgency of many issues, it is likely that many problems will be resolved much sooner.
  • A student may take further action if he/she does not believe a satisfactory resolution was reached after intervention by the DSS Coordinator. Students should notify the Dean of the appropriate College with disability-related academic concerns and/or the Vice President of Student Success for disability-related non-academic concerns.

The second (formal Grievance Procedure) is recommended for resolving conflicts with the DSS office staff.

  • When a student has a complaint against the DSS Office and/or one of its staff members, the student should first discuss the complaint with the DSS Director. The issue may be resolved at this level.
  • If the complaint is not satisfactorily resolved, or for a specific reason cannot be discussed with the DSS Director, the student should contact the Vice President of Student Success to discuss the matter in an attempt to resolve the issue. After the matter has been investigated, the Vice President of Student Success will inform the student and the involved parties of the progress, findings, or resolution within 10 business days.
  • A student has the right to bypass the DSS office and go directly to the Vice President of Student Success.

If after utilizing these procedures a satisfactory resolution is still not obtained, the student may choose to file a complaint with the Federal Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The Office of Civil Rights will take complaints and investigate when appropriate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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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