Disability & Access Center


MTSU has designated the office of Disabled Student Services (DSS) to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodations for students with qualifying disabilities as defined in Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended (ADAAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. If a student, who has not presented an Accommodations Instructions Letter, requests a faculty member provide accommodations for a disability, the faculty member is encouraged to refer the student to DSS .

Faculty members should use the following statement in their syllabus:

"Reasonable Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: " ADA accommodation requests (temporary or permanent) are determined only by Disabled Student Services. Students are responsible for contacting the Disabled Student Services Office at 615-898-2783 to obtain ADA accommodations and for providing the instructor with the Accommodation Letter from Disabled Student Services".

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The process of providing accommodations and services to students with disabilities is a collaborative process between Disabled Student Services (DSS), the student and the instructor. At this time in the semester, students who are blind/visually impaired or who are deaf/hearing impaired may have introduced themselves in your respective class. These students may request material in alternative formats, material to be captioned or interpreted or other classroom accommodations. We hope this memo will be of assistance to you by providing information and guidance when ensuring our MTSU students have equal access to and receive information at the same time as their peers.

Students who have vision impairments do not see well even with corrective lenses or surgery. Blindness refers to very limited or no light perception. In the United States, vision worse than 20/200, uncorrected is considered legally blind. Students who are sight impaired are generally familiar with their immediate surroundings and their commonly traveled routes.

Accommodations for this group could include:

printed materials converted to alternate or enlarged formats

use of technology that could include screen enlargers and/or screen reading software or other adaptive equipment

use of a reader and/or scribe for exams or class assignments

use of recording device, laptop, and/or note taker for in class notes

extended time for exams and assignments

Students who are hearing impaired only hear specific frequencies or sounds within a certain volume range whereas student who is deaf often have no functional hearing. The age of hearing loss will have a great impact on the student's English ability, both spoken and written. These students may rely upon a sign language interpreter, real time captioning, or other assistive listening device (ALD) to obtain the spoken material in class.

To accommodate this student in your class:

always caption films/videos or provide a written transcript

announcements and assignments that are not on syllabi should be written on board

write proper names, technical vocabulary, formulas, etc. on the board

try to face the student when speaking

repeat questions/statements made by other students

The following are universal examples of instructional methods that can be integrated and will ensure all students have access to the course content:

ensuring web pages and their content are accessible

choosing textbooks early so students can have them converted to alternate formats

providing verbal descriptions of visual aids used in class

providing information to students before class when possible

speaking clearly and at a normal rate

having written material available in electronic format

Because disabilities vary greatly, we recommend you and the student have a conversation as to what would work best. Should you need additional information or guidance, please visit our website or feel free to contact the DSS office at 898-2783. DSS is a resource for both you and the student.


Thank you for all you do,

Disabled Student Services

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Once a student with a disability is approved for testing accommodations through the DSS office, there are several processes that must be adhered to.

  • In order to accommodate exam requests, students registered with DSS are required to provide a minimum of 48 hours notice to schedule an exam. Because DSS does not have a testing center, it is preferred that the student schedule an exam with our office as soon as they are notified of an upcoming exam.

  • The students are instructed that it is the student's responsibility to notify faculty of the date and time they have scheduled an exam with our office. It is the student's responsibility to communicate with the faculty member and remind him/her to provide the DSS office with a copy of the exam.

  • The DSS office maintains that the student must have faculty approval before scheduling to take an exam in our office that will take place after the scheduled exam time for the class.

  • If time permits, the DSS office will send a courtesy email reminder to the professor notifying them that a student has scheduled an exam in our office. However, these emails are a courtesy reminder only. Do not wait to provide the DSS office with an exam due to not receiving an email from our office.

  • Faculty members may bring the exam by KUC, Room 120 between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm, email the exam to dsstest@mtsu.edu or fax the exam to 615-898-4893. Due to the delay in receipt, please do not send an exam through campus mail.

  • Please remember to notify us if the test is open/closed book/notes, if the student can use a calculator, and all pertinent instructions.

  • Any exams that require conversion to an alternate format, such as Braille, etc. must be submitted electronically to dsstest@mtsu.edu one (1) week prior to test date.

  • To expedite the process, you can complete the attached Exam Receipt Form and return it with the exam.

  • Make sure to let us know if you would like the exam delivered to your department or if you will be picking up the exam.

  • Keep in mind that we will not return an exam through campus mail. To ensure the security of the exam, we require all tests to be signed for.

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Student's Responsibility:

Each semester, it is the student's responsibility to request accommodations for that semester.

It is then the student's responsibility to present the Accommodations Instructions Letter to their professors, meet with them privately, raise their level of understanding of their strengths and disability, and work out the logistics of providing the approved accommodation(s). Since the primary relationship in the learning process is with the professor, we strongly encourage the student to take the initiative within the first two weeks of the semester, or earlier, as appropriate, to develop that relationship.

If the faculty member is unable to provide the recommended accommodations for testing, DSS can assist in providing an alternative testing environment. It then becomes the student's responsibility to advise faculty members of any scheduled testing appointments with DSS.

If difficulties occur in the actual provision of approved accommodations and the student is unsuccessful in resolving those issues, then the student may appeal to DSS and request assistance with securing the appropriate accommodations. Appeals and requests for assistance should be made as soon as any difficulties arise. DSS will work with both the student and the faculty member, or department, to arrive at an appropriate resolve.


If the faculty member has questions about specific accommodations, they should contact Kevin States, Assistant Director, at 615-898-2783. If the faculty member is unable to comply with the Accommodation Instructions, please contact John Harris , Director, at 615-898-2783.

Faculty Responsibility:

Faculty may not refuse to provide required accommodations. Faculty may not question the student regarding the nature of the disability or whether a disability exists when accommodations have been authorized by the university. Faculty may not request to examine the student's documentation without written consent by the student.

If the faculty member is unable to provide the recommended accommodations for testing, DSS can assist in providing an alternative testing environment. It then becomes the student's responsibility to advise faculty members of any scheduled testing appointments with DSS.

It is the faculty's responsibility to complete the bottom portion of the Accommodations Instructions Letter with their signature, date, email, and print their name. The faculty member should then return the original white copy to the student and keep the pink copy for their records.

If this is an online class, the Accommodations Instructions Letter will be emailed to the faculty member and we ask that you reply with a confirmation or received email.

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For accommodation requests from individuals outside the institution (including access during events), contact ADA/504 Campus Coordinator at 615-898-5366.

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The purpose of the MTSU Military Center is to provide a comprehensive support structure to serve veteran/military students attending MTSU. This includes providing services and programs to ensure a positive and successful academic experience. Visit www.mtsu.edu/military for more information.

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  • Americans with Disabilities Act
    The U.S. Department of Justice's Web site provides everything you ever wanted to know about the Act. Includes settlements from court rulings.

  • Section 508
    Resources for understanding and implementing Section 508. An official website of the U.S. Government.

  • The Center for Universal Design
    A national information, technical assistance, and research center that evaluates, develops, and promotes accessible and universal design in housing, commercial and public facilities, and outdoor environments, and products.

  • Computer Accommodations Program (CAP), University of Minnesota
    CAP is a partnership of Academic & Distributed Computing Services and Disability Services at the University of Minnesota. The program exists to assist university students, staff and faculty with disabilities in accessing computers and information through the use of adaptive technology. The Web site also includes useful guidelines on creating accessible Web sites.

  • disAbilityInfo.gov
    Web site that provides one-stop online access to resources, services, and information available throughout the Federal government.

  • Independent Laboratory Access for the Blind
    The Independent Laboratory Access for the Blind (ILAB) seeks to raise the expectations of high school and college students who are blind and visually impaired (VI), as well as educators of these students, with the goal of encouraging them to consider careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) professions.

  • Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
    JAN is an international toll-free consulting service that provides information about job accommodations and the employability of people with disabilities. This Web site includes their Searchable Online Accommodations Resource (SOAR) that allows users to find accommodation information via limitation, job function, product, and vendor.

  • LD OnLine
    A comprehensive Web site on learning disabilities for parents, teachers, and other professionals.

  • National Council on Disabilities (NCD)
    NCD is an independent federal agency making recommendations to the President and Congress on issues affecting 54 million Americans with disabilities. NCD is composed of 15 members appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. NCD's overall purpose is to promote policies, programs, practices, and procedures that guarantee equal opportunity for all individuals with disabilities.

  • Transition Coalition
    The Transition Coalition site offers information, support, and linkages to professionals, family members, individuals with disabilities and others interested and involved in the transition from school to adult life.


  • U.S. Department of Education
    Homepage for the U.S. Department of Education which includes Secretary's Initiatives, Programs and Services, Publications and Products, Links to Other Sites, and Picks o' the Month" - three educational resources that the Department highlights each month.


  • Academy for Educational Development
    Web site for the Academy of Educational Development (AED), an independent, nonprofit service organization committed to addressing human development needs in the United States and throughout the world. In partnership with its clients, AED seeks to meet today's social, economic, and environmental challenges through education and human resource development; to apply state-of-the-art education, training, research, technology, management, behavioral analysis, and social marketing techniques to solve problems; and to improve knowledge and skills throughout the world as the most effective means for stimulating growth, reducing poverty, and promoting democratic and humanitarian ideals.

  • American Association of School Administrators (AASA)
    This web site is a gateway to publications and other electronic resources offered by the AASA, the professional organization for over 16,500 educational leaders across North America and other countries.

  • American Educational Research Association (AERA)
    AERA is an international professional organization with the primary goal of advancing educational research and its practical application. Its more than 22,000 members are educators; administrators; directors of research, testing or evaluation in federal, state and local agencies; counselors; evaluators; graduate students; and behavioral scientists.

  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
    ASHA is the not-for-profit professional, scientific, and credentialing association for audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. The web site provides helpful information to professionals and consumers regarding children and adults with communication disorders.

  • National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
    Statistical information covering the broad field of American education from kindergarten through graduate school. This site includes data from government and private sources, and draws especially on the results of surveys and activities carried out by the National Center for Education Statistics.


  • Thomas Legislative Information on the Internet
    In the spirit of Thomas Jefferson, the Library of Congress created this Web site that makes Federal legislative information freely available to the Internet public. Information includes text of bills before the legislature, committee information, as well as state and local links.

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