Disability Support Services staff works with students to ensure access and participation in academic and campus life at Towson University. Students with disabilities, for their part, are responsible for making their needs known in a timely manner and meeting the academic standards set for all Towson University students. The primary responsibility of the DSS staff is to provide academic accommodations and services, such as extended time on exams and note taking services. However, we also encourage students to develop an individual working relationship with our staff to address learning and other issues, as appropriate.
Services and accommodations can include:
Orientation and help with transition from high school or community college
Help with course load and selection
Testing accommodations and use of the Testing Services Center
Alternate formats for printed materials
Organization and study skills assistance
Disability consultation and help with disclosure
Memos to professors
Information and referral to resources on and off-campus*
Training and consultation with faculty/staff regarding accommodations
Please note: DSS does not offer diagnostic testing or content tutoring but does make referrals.
1. Complete a Disability Support Services application. An application may be obtained on-line through the Procedures for Registering link or by calling the DSS office.
2. Provide documentation of your disability that meets Towson University's guidelines. See the on-line Documentation Guidelines link for further information regarding the type of evaluation needed for the specific disability.
3. Meet with a DSS specialist for an intake appointment to discuss your disability and accommodations and services that may be needed.
4. Upon completion of registration with DSS, you will be provided with memos for you to pick up and give to your instructors stating that you are registered with DSS and your approved accommodations.
5. Discuss your accommodations with your instructors. DSS is available to assist both you and your professor in implementing accommodations as they relate to specific course or program requirements. It is your responsibility to notify DSS in a timely manner if an accommodation is not working.
6. You must pick up your memos at DSS, distribute them and discuss your accommodations with your instructors each term. This should be done as early as possible in the term.
DSS Policies and Procedures for Services and
Note taking Assistance
The following policies and procedures have been developed by Disability Support Services to guide students who are approved for note taking assistance as an accommodation. Notes are intended for a student's personal study use only and are not to be shared with other individuals. This accommodation is not considered a substitute for a student's attendance or participation in each class. Please note that if notes are available online or from the instructor, note taking assistance may not be indicated. However, if you believe your situation warrants special consideration, you should contact your DSS Specialist to discuss your needs.
1. Students who are registered with DSS and approved for this accommodation must pick up their DSS memo and give it to their professors.
2. As early as possible in the term, discuss with your professor how the note taking accommodation will be implemented in the course. Ask the professor to make the note taker announcement in class (as directed in the DSS memo) or ask if the professor can ask a specific student, as appropriate. If you determine that you will not need note taking assistance in the course, or if you decide to ask a classmate yourself to be your note taker, let the professor know that he or she will not need to make the announcement. In order for you to receive your accommodations you must give your DSS memo to your professor, even if you choose to find a note taker on your own.
3. In class, your professor should read the announcement specified in the DSS memo asking for a note taker, or ask a specific student to provide the notes. The professor should maintain confidentiality by not disclosing your name to the class. If confidentiality is not maintained, please let DSS know.
4. The professor should promote linkage between you and the note taker within a week after making the announcement. If your professor does not notify you that a note taker has been identified, ask the professor to make another announcement or to approach a specific student who may be interested. If a note taker has not been identified within two weeks after your initial request, contact your DSS Specialist for assistance.
5. DSS instructs the professor to refer the note taker to our office to complete the necessary paperwork to be paid a $100 stipend and given a copy card or carbonless copy paper. We ask that you work directly with the note taker to provide you with copies of the notes in a timely manner. However, if you prefer to remain anonymous, let your professor know, and DSS will work with you and the professor and note taker, as appropriate, to make the notes available to you.
6. You and your note-taker should arrange a system to provide you with the notes in a timely fashion (within 24 hours is best). Possible options for the note-taker include:
Use carbonless copy paper (available at DSS) so the notes can be provided at the end of each class.
Use a copy card (available at DSS) to make copies at one of the various copy card locations on campus and make the notes available to you after class or at the next class
E-mail notes to you (by typing or scanning them), preferably within 24 hours.
If you do not receive your notes in a timely manner, talk with your note-taker. If this does not resolve the problem, contact your DSS Specialist to resolve the problem as soon as possible.
7. Attend each class. It is recommended that you also take your own notes to the extent you can. If you must miss class, inform your note taker in advance when an absence is predictable. If you have unexcused absences from class, your note taking accommodation may be suspended until you meet with your DSS Specialist and develop a plan to reinstate the accommodation. If you withdraw from the course, notify DSS immediately.
8. Alternatively, communicate with the note-taker to determine how note-taking will be handled if he or she must be absent. It is helpful to have a prior arrangement with another student to share notes in the note-taker's absence.
9. If you believe your notes are insufficient or lacking in some way, discuss the problem with your note taker. If the problem persists, contact your DSS Specialist who will take steps to remedy the problem. It is important that you notify DSS as soon as possible so your DSS Specialist can work with you to find a solution.
Alternate Text Policies and Procedures
The following policies and procedures have been developed by Disability Support Services to guide students who are approved for alternate text format as an accommodation. Students who request books in an alternate format are responsible for knowing and abiding by this information. Alternate formatting includes reformatting text to audio (e.g., scanning texts onto CDs to use with Kurzweil software and taped texts from Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic), Braille and large print.
1. Students who are registered with DSS and approved for this accommodation may request books in an alternate format. Every semester the student must make a request for each text he or she needs to be converted to an alternate format.
2. The student must be enrolled in the course for which the alternate text is requested, and he or she must purchase each text book that is being made available in an alternate format. The student may be asked to provide proof of purchase before receiving the alternate format from DSS.
3. Students are encouraged to use the On-Line Alternate Text Request Form when making their requests. A separate form must be completed and submitted for each alternate text requested. Students may also request texts in an alternate format by completing and submitting the paper version of the Alternate Text Request Form available in the DSS office and submitting it to us.
4. Alternate text requests should be submitted as soon as possible, preferably as soon as the instructor makes the course text list available. Turn-around times for alternate text requests are determined on a case-by-case basis. Requests are processed in the order they are received, and the process will begin when DSS has received the (1) Alternate Text Request Form, (2) hardcopy textbook or receipt showing proof of purchase and (3) instructor's course syllabus, if requested. As a rule of thumb, students should allow three weeks to receive hard copy materials back from DSS.
5. In order to accommodate as many students as possible in a timely manner during periods of high demand, alternate text formats may be provided in stages based on the course syllabus and the needs of the student. Additionally, students may scan or enlarge their materials using equipment in the DSS office with permssion.
6. For audio formats, DSS will request e-text directly from the publisher, if available, or scan the hard copy text onto a CD. If DSS scans the text, the book will be sent to Towson University Printing Services to have the spine removed so it can be fed into the scanner. After scanning, DSS will send the book back to Printing Services to have it spiral bound. (Please note that texts that have been spiral bound are not accepted for resale by the University Store.) DSS will also request audio texts from Recordings from Blind and Dyslexic if requested by the student. Large print and Braille formatting are also available through DSS using the same alternate text request form.
7. The student should notify DSS immediately if he or she drops the course or otherwise needs to change a request.
Testing Accommodation Policies and Procedures
Policies and Procedures for using the Testing Services Center can be found by clicking on Testing Services Center.