DSS Policies and Procedures
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Disability Student Services - Policies and Procedures

Things to know...

The Student

All students who seek to receive services from DSS are responsible for:

  • identifying themselves to DSS as a student diagnosed with a disability (defined below);
  • providing all necessary paperwork to DSS in a timely fashion (explained below);
  • making an initial contact once on campus to begin coordination of services;
  • keeping all scheduled appointments, or contacting DSS in a timely fashion to cancel/reschedule if necessary;

• following through with each accommodation to the best of his or her ability.

Disability Student Services (DSS)

DSS is responsible for:

  • providing incoming students with necessary information prior to the start of the school year;
  • meeting with each student to set up an individualized accommodation plan every semester;
  • being available throughout each semester to work independently with each student;
  • assisting each student in coordinating appropriate accommodations;and
  • keeping all scheduled appointments, or contacting the student in a timely fashion to cancel/reschedule if necessary.


Faculty/Staff are responsible for: honoring the accommodations stated in the accommodation plan by providing direct services or seeking assistance from the DSS office.

Definition of Disability

An individual is considered to have a "disability" if s/he has
1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,
2) has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such impairment.
3) Persons discriminated against because they have a known association or relationship with an individual with a disability also is protected.


In order to receive assistance from Disability Student Services, you must supply appropriate paperwork to the office. This policy is not negotiable, as we are required by law to have verification of the diagnosis that qualifies you to receive services.

All documentation must be current (within the past three years).

 For a psychological, cognitive, or learning disability:

    • diagnosis of a disability
    • symptoms of the disability
    • test scores and data which support the diagnosis
    • recommendations regarding classroom accommodations

For a medical disability:

    • diagnosis of a disability
    • symptoms of the disability
    • academic and/or physical effects of disability
    • recommendations regarding classroom accommodations

Your Initial Meeting

  • Each student needs to meet with a member of the DSS team at the beginning of each semester. Accommodation plans must be updated & validated each semester.
  • New students - You should set an appointment with the Director during the first week of classes (earlier if local). At that time you will set up your accommodation plan, go over your schedule, and review the policies of the office.
  • Returning Students - You should set an appointment during the first week of classes. At that time your accommodation plan will be updated.

Signing up for classes
Before signing up for classes each semester, we suggest you meet with your academic advisor to decide which classes you are going to need to fulfill your requirements. You should then meet with DSS to review your schedule. At that time such issues as workload, learning preferences, class style and teaching style will be considered.

Assistive Technology
DSS has very limited access to assistive technology. Currently we can offer the following:
Text books on CD through Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic( the tutoring center has one computer that can play the CD's, DSS does not supply the software for personal use)
Kurzweil text reader is available in the Maki Library

The following is a breakdown of some of the more common accommodations and the policies that accompany them. You may not be eligible for each accommodation listed. This will be determined when your accommodation plan is set up.
There is no charge for any of these services.

  • Shared Notes: If you qualify for a note taker we will find someone in your class who takes good notes and make copies of the notes for the class. We encourage you to try to do this yourself but we can help you if you need us to set it up.
  • Tutors: DSS refers its students to the Teaching and Learning Center for tutoring in most classes. This is a free service provided to all students. The TLC offers tutoring from both professional and peer tutors. Specialties include math, English, and science.

Testing Accommodations
The following is a list of the more common testing accommodations provided; all testing accommodations are received in the University Testing Center (Nikander 14a)

  • Distraction Free: The student is entitled to take the test in a quiet, distraction-free area.
  • Extended Time: The student is entitled extra time (how much depends on the nature of the disability) on each test.
  • Oral Testing: The student is entitled to verbalize test answers to a scribe
  • Test Reader: The student is entitled to have the test read to him/her.
  • Use of the following equipment: Calculator, Spell Check, Computer
  • No penalty for grammar and spelling errors on written portions of tests

Other Accommodations
What follows is a list of accommodations that may also be available to you. Specific policies vary with each student and will be explained in detail when your accommodation plan is set up:

  • Copies of Overheads: The student is entitled to printed copies of all previously developed overheads at the beginning of each class.
  • Tape Recording Lectures: The student is entitled to bring in a tape recorder to any lecture in the class.
  • Written instructions for assignments: The student is entitled to written instructions for assignments
  • Extended Time on Assignments: The student is entitled to extended time up to one week if necessary.
  • Handicapped Parking: The student is entitled to a campus handicap-parking permit

Please note that this is only a small list of the accommodations offered through DSS. Each plan is individualized; therefore, any accommodation you may be eligible for will be authorized on your behalf.

What if I have a problem with receiving my accommodations?
Fortunately, this happens very infrequently at Finlandia. The faculty and staff here are very accommodating professionals. However, if a problem should arise, you should meet with the director immediately. Almost all problems can be resolved quickly and with all parties being satisfied.

DSS makes every effort to keep all records and information completely confidential. Each student signs consent for release of information form at the beginning of each academic year to instruct DSS staff on who we can and cannot provide information to. This includes parents.

Student/Staff Relationship
The student/staff relationship is critical for each student to maximize the benefits that DSS provides. It is strongly suggested that you remain in regular contact with the office. As mentioned previously, making an appointment is strongly encourage if you need to speak about something specific; however, we strongly encourage "popping in" when you are in Nikander Hall, or just calling to let us know that everything is going well.

The more we see you, the better we will get to know you and the more help we can provide.

We suggest that you approach DSS with any concerns you may have throughout the campus. If we can't help you, we will know where to direct you. If we can help you, the team approach will surely benefit the outcome.