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Frequently Asked Questions - Students

What should I do if I think I may have a disability?

  • Individuals who suspect they have physical, medical or sensory conditions should consult with their relevant medical providers as a first step.
  • Individuals who suspect they may have emotional or psychiatric difficulties are encouraged to contact a licensed mental health clinician (Student Health Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is one option).
  • Individuals who suspect they have a cognitive disorder (i.e. ADHD, LD), or are unclear as to why they are having academic difficulty are encouraged to contact SDAC and make an appointment for an initial intake interview.
    • The goal of this interview is to better assess the students’ difficulties and potential contributing factors in order to offer appropriate recommendations.

What should I do if I have been diagnosed with a disability and need accommodations?
Students who have been previously diagnosed with a disability condition and need accommodations should contact the SDAC. If you have written documentation you can submit this by fax (434-243-5188) mail (Student Disability Access Center, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 800760, Charlottesville, VA 22908), or in person (we are located on the Ground Floor level of the Elson Student Health Center). If you do not have written documentation we invite you to call 434-243-5180 and schedule a consult appointment with us. If you have any questions, we will be happy to meet with you to discuss them.

How do I find out what accommodations I am eligible for?
If you submitted documentation for consideration of accommodations, an SDAC staff member will contact you via email to review what accommodations we can approve.

How long will it take to find out if I am approved for accommodations?
You can expect the documentation review process to take 10 business days. You will be informed via email.

What if I want to request an accommodation for which I was not initially approved?
Talk to us. The accommodation review/approval process is an ongoing interactive dialogue. We will be happy to meet with you to discuss your request. You can schedule a consult appointment by calling 434-243-5180. We will review your rationale for the accommodation. A decision may be made at that appointment, or we may request additional evaluation and/or documentation.

I receive accommodations in my classes. Will this be on my transcript?
While student’s academic/Association Deans will be informed that a student receives accommodations, this information will generally not be on your academic transcript. The one exception to this is taking courses in substitution under the Foreign Language Memo.

Can I get a foreign language waiver?
The University of Virginia does not waive the Foreign Language Requirement. For further information please see the Foreign Language Memo page.

How are professors informed of my need for accommodations? Will they know my diagnosis(es)?
Recommendations for accommodations in specific courses are described in professor letters which are delivered by the student. Specific diagnoses are not listed in professor letters; however, general descriptors about the student’s difficulties are offered. Students are encouraged to discuss their needs with faculty as early as possible in the semester so that sufficient time is available to arrange for the requested accommodations. You will see your letters before you deliver them. If you are concerned about anything in the letter, discuss it with us.

I am nervous about talking to my instructors. How should I approach them about my need for accommodations?
Once you have made the choice to activate your accommodations, discussing them with course instructors is good practice for developing self-advocacy skills. Discussing your needs with someone else may be awkward at first; but it may help to remember that instructors want to teach as much as you want to learn. The vast majority of course instructors at UVA are used to the accommodation process and have seen professor letters before. Office hours are generally a good time as you will have more privacy in discussing your needs. After class is another option, but you may be less certain of having privacy. Remember, instructors are a vital part of ensuring that the accommodations process runs smoothly.

What do I do if I believe I am not receiving an approved accommodation?
Contact us and we will help you problem solve an approach to resolve the issue. We may refer you to the course instructor or other appropriate University resources.

Does receiving notes mean I do not need to go to class?
No. Notes are meant to be a supplement, not a substitute, for a student’s own notes and are definitely not a substitute for class attendance and class participation. If the instructor reports that you have not been attending class, then this service may be suspended.

What do I do if I am not getting the notes I requested?
Contact the Notetaking Program Coordinator whenever there are any problems with your notes.

I am eligible for accommodations at the University and was last evaluated my senior year in high school. Do I need to be retested during my third or fourth year to continue receiving them at UVA?
No. Your accommodations will remain in effect for the duration of your program of study, unless a specified expiration point is noted. You will, however, want to consider whether you will be requesting accommodations for different standardized tests (MCAT, LSAT, GMAT, GRE, etc.) or in graduate school. It is a good idea to review the guidelines for accommodated testing published by the relevant testing board and to check into what is required at the graduate schools to which you are applying.

How much do SDAC services cost?
The SDAC services are free.

  • Certain students (visiting summer students, certain School of Continuing and Professional Education Students, part-time students) are not eligible for Student Health services because they do not pay full student fees.
  • For non-eligible students we can provide consultation, documentation review, and accommodation services. We cannot provide any portion of our screening/evaluation services (intake interview, testing, etc.) for non-eligible students.

Will my parents know the results of my evaluation?
No as long as you are 18 or older. Parents will not be informed of the results of an evaluation unless you choose to request this by submitting an official signed Release of Information form that specifies release of the evaluation results.

Will my parents be as involved in my accommodation plans as they were when I was in high school?
Not, unless you are under the age of 18. Students are in charge of their own accommodations. This means that you make decisions and also your accommodation plan cannot be discussed with your parents without your documented consent. While you are under 18 your parents will have access to your records; but you will still decide which accommodations you wish to use.

Will you automatically know if I am having difficulty in a class?
No. Unlike teachers and counselors in high school, we cannot track student’s progress in every class. While we are happy to assist students when they are having difficulty, we leave it up to you to request our involvement. We do encourage you to make and maintain contact with us before problems arise.