Answers to Frequently Asked Questions concerning Student Disability Services (SDS) are listed below.
I have a disability and have received support services in the past. How can I access services at Southwest?
Students with disabilities enrolled at Southwest can access services by:
It is the responsibility of the student with a disability to identify himself/herself to the Student Disability Services (SDS) Office.
- Providing Documentation
Eligibility for services is based on providing appropriate documentation.
- Medical Documentation:
The medical documentation should be filled out by the designated diagnostician that is eligible to diagnose the particular disability the student has. It should obtain the date of the last diagnosis, the diagnosis, tests performed in order to reach the diagnosis, medications, functional limitations, and any recommendations the diagnostician may have to offer.
- How old documentation can be:
For students who have either Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or a learning disability the documentation can be, at the most, 3 years old. IEPs and Transition Plans are not documentation of a disability. For students with emotional/psychiatric disabilities, the documentation has to be updated every six months. (This does not require the student to go through a psycho-evaluation every six months; the office just needs a letter from the doctor explaining any changes/improvements that the student may be experiencing at that time.) For physical/permanent disabilities, there is not a time limit on how old their documentation can be.
- Reasons behind updated medical documentation:
The reason behind the need for updated testing and documentation is to better serve the students. Old documentation can hurt a student because as their disability progresses, their needs change and accommodations given to the student should meet the needs they are experiencing at that time.
- Medical Documentation:
What is an accommodation form?
An accommodation form is a document issued by the Student Disability Services (SDS) Office for students with disabilities. It is intended to provide flexibility and equalize opportunities for success. Based on a careful review of the documentation provided for the student, the accommodation form describes the academic modifications that will become part of the student's program. Accommodations can not compromise the content of a course or the essential requirements of a degree. It is the student's responsibility to transmit the accommodation to his/her professors. The student must request an updated accomodation form each semester.
What support services are available for students with disabilities at Southwest?
Southwest provides an array of free support services for students with disabilities. These services include the following:
- Academic Accommodations
- Academic Support Center (ASC)
- Professional Tutoring - Disability Computer Station with computer mouse and adjustable table
- Disability Computer Station with adjustable table, magnifying screen for monitor, and "Please Read" Software - American Sign Language (Signing Software for Deaf Students)
- Video: "Transitions to Postsecondary Learning", for students with learning disabilities and/or attention deficit disorder
- Video: American Sign Language (ASL) and Pidgin Sign Language (PSE), Grammar and Sentence Structure, Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic® (RFB&D), Audio Plus for the Visually Impaired – Plays books on CD
- ZoomText Software for the Visually Impaired
- Voice Reading Software for the Visually Impaired
- eClipse Reader; the most advanced software and CD players for reading
- Daisy talking books for the visually impaired
- Disability Support Group
What is the Academic Support Center (ASC)?
The ASC provides services and resources to help Southwest students successfully reach their academic and career goals. These include tutoring, open academic computer labs, instructional resources (video, textbooks, etc.), and study areas. Tutoring at Southwest is free and is on a "drop in" basis. No appointment is necessary. On the Macon Cove Campus, the ASC is located in the Nabors Building, Room 101. On the Union Avenue Campus, the ASC is located in the F Building, Room 319. Also, the ASC can be found at the Gill, Maxine A. Smith, and Whitehaven Centers. Services and hours may vary by location.
I have not been diagnosed as having a learning disability in the past, but I think I may have one. What should I do?
If you think that you have an undiagnosed learning disability, you should contact the Student Disability Services (SDS) Office for an appointment. The college does not provide diagnostic services. However, the SDS staff can assist you in accessing support services and help you to decide whether you should pursue formal testing.
Who are the Student Disability Services (SDS) staff, and how can I contact them?
The SDS Coorrdinator is Sherri Scott. Sherri maintains offices on both of the main campuses.
- Macon Cove Campus
- Farris Building, Room 2194 (Inside Testing Center, Suite 2182)
- Phone: 901-333-4223
- Fax: 901-333-4788
- Union Avenue Campus
- M Building, Room 112A (Inside Admissions Suite, M Building, Room 110)
- Phone: 901-333-5116
- Fax: 901-333-5200
Does Southwest offer any type of orientation for newly-enrolled students with disabilities?
The Student Disability Services (SDS) Office requests that all new students who register with our office visit weekly for the first three (3) weeks of the semester. During these counseling sessions, the students learn about the support services available, and join in discussions regarding questions and concerns. New students are also strongly recommended to attend the first SDS support group meeting of each semester to learn of resources and support offered by SDS and Southwest.
Does Student Disability Services (SDS) pay student tuition?
No. SDS does not pay for tuition or books. However, for eligible students, SDS issues a Disability Discount Waiver that adjusts the tuition to $95. These waivers are processed by the Cashier's Office and only during specified dates each term.
Does Student Disability Services (SDS) pay for private tutors?
No. Tutoring is considered a personal service and is not provided by SDS. Southwest offers tutoring for all students through the Academic Support Center (ASC). If students, those registered with SDS included, request personal tutoring outside of that offered through ASC, they must find and pay for that service themselves.
Can disabled students receive classroom accommodations/modifications by telling the instructor they have a disability?
No. In order to receive classroom modifications, a student with a disability must contact Student Disability Services (SDS) and present appropriate documentation of their disability. The SDS coordinator will then process a classroom modification memorandum for the student to present to each instructor. It is the responsibility of the student to retrieve memorandums from SDS at the beginning of each term. Memorandums do not travel from semester to semester and they are not retroactive.
Can an instructor choose not to comply with the modifications listed on the Student Disability Services (SDS) memorandum?
No. The memorandum is a legal document and the disabled student is legally entitled to the approved modifications. If the instructor has questions as to how to meet the modifications, they should contact SDS, but the modifications cannot be denied.
Can a disabled student waive their right to their approved accommodations?
Yes. But in doing so, it would be prudent to put that decision in writing and ask the student to confirm with his/her signature. A copy of this waiver should be forwarded to Student Disability Services (SDS).
Can a disabled student with special testing approval walk in to testing areas to take tests?
No. Students choosing to use the Testing Center or test through Student Disability Services (SDS) must make an appointment at least three days in advance to do so. Because this process is done by appointments only, the disabled student may not be able to take the test on the same day as the class. All efforts will be made to avoid this instance, but it cannot be guaranteed. The instructor must get the test material, amount of time allotted to other classmates (for approved extended time purposes), and any special testing instructions to the Testing Center (Macon Cove Campus) or to SDS (Union Avenue Campus). Instructors are also responsible for retrieving tests. Readers or scribes for tests must also be requested through SDS in advance.
What can an instructor do if they believe a student has a disability?
If it is not currently addressed in the class syllabus, the instructor may make a general announcement to the class that if anyone has or believes they have a disability, they may schedule an appointment with Student Disability Services (SDS) for support. It is the responsibility of the student to request services.