Student Success & Multicultural Initiatives
Meet the Departments

Student Disability Services


At Tarleton State University, services to students with disabilities are provided by Student Disability Services (SDS), a part of Student Success and Multicultural Initiatives. The primary purpose of Student Disability Services is to ensure equal access to educational opportunities for those protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act and other related legislation.

Requests for Accommodations

In order to receive academic accommodations, students must identify theselves to Student Disability Services, provide appropriate documentation, and meet with professional staff to discuss specific requests.  First, SDS evaluates the documentation and any related information to determine if the student is a person with a disability. In other words is the student a person who has, has a record of, or is regarded as having a physical or mental impairment that impacts a major life activity (i.e. learning)? Once that is established, the second task is to determine if the provided information supports the request for accommodation. Will the student's access to education be limited if accommodations are not provided? Reasonable accommodations ensure student access while retaining the essential components of the course or program to which they apply. All requests for accommodations are submitted to the Student Disability Services Advisory Committee for review prior to approval.



Identifying Accommodations

Four loosely established aspects of University life are considered during the discussion between the student and the SDS professional in order to identify appropriate accommodations.



Potential Accomodations/Recommendations

What is it like for you attending class? Talk about getting to class, receiving information, taking notes, participating in discussions, and asking questions.

Preferential seating, Sign Language Interpreter, permission to move around or periodically leave class, assistance with accurate record of class meetings, etc.

How do you do out of class assignments, prepare for exams, and keep up with reading? Talk about how you manage your time and what you need help with.

Alternative format text books, familiarity with campus resources (SI, Math Clinic, Writing Center, Library, etc.), time management resources, suggestions for assistive technology, etc.

What is it like when you are evaluated? Talk about exams, in class writing assignments, and presentations.

Extended time, non-distractive environment, use of a computer for written assignments, ability to request a scribe or reader, etc.

If living on campus: How do you prepare for your day? What is it like for you when you return to your room? Talk about physical changes that may need to be made in your environment.

Private room assignment, residence hall without community bath, accessible fixtures, visual emergency alarms, etc.


Using Accommodations

Once accommodations are approved, students request letters from Student Disability Services. Students deliver these letters to the instructors of the classes in which they would like to use their accommodations (housing accommodations are directed to Residential Living and Learning). Students are instructed to disclose as much as they are comfortable disclosing about their disability and to discuss how each accommodation will be implemented. Some accommodations are clearly the responsibility of Student Disability Services, such as providing Sign Language Interpreter services or obtaining alternative format text books. Many accommodations, however, fall within the purview of the faculty. For example, faculty are responsible for making sure that an appropriate testing environment is available, identifying a source for notes, or allowing for selection of seating. In many cases, communication between the student, faculty, Student Disability Services, and other departments (such as Student Assessment Services) is essential.

What Is MY Role?: Student, Student Disability Services, and Faculty








Assistive Technology

The term "Assistive Technology" refers to devices or services used by individuals with disabilities to access, use, and generate information. Student Disability Services has several options for students who use assistive technology, particularly in a testing environment. The table below shows selected Assistive Technology currently available to Tarleton students.Technology.jpg



Dragon Naturally Speaking

Dictation (speech to text) software.


Screen reading (text to speech) software for students who are blind or have low vision.

Natural Reader

Screen reading software for students who have other print related disabilities.


Ubi Duo

Closed instant messaging system for deaf students.

Video Eye

Magnification system for students with low vision.

FM Systems

Amplification systems for students with hearing impairment.



CART (Computer Assisted Realtime Translation)

Real time transcription for students with hearing impairment.

Alternative format book requests

For students with print related disabilities.


Transition Issues

High School vs. College Making a Successful Transition.jpeg Students transitioning from secondary to post-secondary education should expect, and be prepared for, several differences. These differences are grounded in the legislation that governs services to students with disabilities in these educational settings. Prior to college, students with disabilities receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which entitles students to services in order to ensure that they are successful through the 12th grade. For some students, this involves utilization of programs specifically designed for students with disabilities, modifying curriculum, or reducing assignments. Students with disabilities in college do not fall within the scope of IDEA; the most important piece of legislation protecting them is the Americans with Disabilites ACT (ADA), which is anti-discrimination law that provides access to exisiting programs or services. Universities are not required to create special programs or modify curriculum or programs to ensure success. Instead, requested accommodations are considered based upon whether or not refusal would be discriminatory and would deny access to educational opportunities for students who are "otherwise qualified."

Students seeking services are required to identify themselves to Student Disability Services and be able to provide evidence of appropriate diagnosis or testing. This difference primarily impacts students with learning disabilities, who have traditionally be identified for evaluation by teachers or parents who have concerns about school progress. In post-secondary education, learning disability evaluations are not conducted by the school and faculty do not often pull students aside to ask why they are struggling. Additionally, students are often accustomed to parents having frequent contact with teachers and administrators, taking the lead in educational decision making. In college, parent contact is very limited, usually only to the initial meeting and, even then, only at student request.

With the added responsibility on the student in higher education often comes an increased desire for independence. It is not uncommon for students to want to attempt to be successful in college without using academic accommodations. These students are often not realistic in their expectations about the level and quantity necessary to obtain the grades they desire, particularly in reading. Students with a Reading Disorder, for example, may struggle with keeping up with college level reading if they do not avail themselves of resources or take very careful care in managing their study time. Identifying appropriate course loads (number of credit hours and course combinations) for students with disabilities can be an important factor.

Students With New (or Newly Identified) Disabilities

Some students seeking to register with Student Disability Services are completely new to the process. Students with learning disabilities may have gone unidentifited until the challenges of postsecondary education finally pushed them beyond the limits of their coping skills. This is common in students who are very bright or who came from a smaller, more individualized high school (i.e. private school or small, close-knit community). This group of students also consists of those who become a person with a disability as an adult. Currently, this group consists largely of Veterans, although other students who have been in accidents or have become chronically ill fit this category, as well. These students are learning a new vocabulary (accommodation, documentation, diagnostician) that many of us assume they already have. They are also dealing with the change of their view of self due to identification as a person with a disability. New or newly identified students with disabilities are often in need of referral to appropriate resources (such as the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services), and may require more collaboration than other students who are more aware of their needs.

Frequently Asked Questions