SDS provides students with disability accommodations - The South End: Features

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SDS provides students with disability accommodations

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Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2017 12:00 pm | Updated: 8:46 am, Mon Jul 17, 2017.

Wayne State’s Student Disability Services can help students with disabilities, from test-taking anxiety to physical restrictions.

WSU Disability Specialist Kelly Loftis said SDS provides disabled students with appropriate and reasonable accommodations based on limitations they are experiencing with a particular class.

Loftis said any student with a documented disability health form from a mental or medical health care provider can register with SDS.

“We always recommend students with disabilities register with SDS, even if they don’t think they need support currently,” Loftis said. “It makes it a lot easier for us to assist them right away if problems do arise, if they are established with us already.”

According to the SDS website, some of the accommodations and services offered to students are alternative testing, note taking assistance and use of the SDS exam and study rooms. Loftis said students must come in each semester to obtain their accommodation letters for that specific semester. She said accommodations are tailored to a student’s specific schedule and needs for those particular classes.

Marie Muhammad, senior environmental science major, said she knows a student with test anxiety that uses SDS. Muhammad said the student she knew confided in her that the registering process takes a long time.

“I just think they should get students approved faster,” Muhammad said. “Multiple students I know that use SDS have told me it takes a long time to get registered; one girl even said it took a month for her to get approved.”

Loftis said students who use SDS say they “really benefit” academically from using their accommodations. She said SDS provides advocacy and situational support for students with different life crises connected to their disabilities.

“If we can provide an accommodation to reduce a barrier, that improves the learning experience [which] often translates to improved performance,” says Loftis.

Maria Berishaj, freshman mathematical economics major, said she has never heard about SDS except for what her professors announce

in class. She said she has also never heard of anyone using it and is unaware of how to register or who is eligible.

“I think announcing [SDS services] in during class is a great way to make students aware, but I also think [WSU] should stress it more during orientation,” Berishaj said.

“I also think SDS should have more display tables like [Counseling and Psychological Services] does at the Student Center.”

Sruthi Talluri, freshman psychology major, said her professors have been very informative about what SDS offers to students. She said during the first week of classes, her professors stressed the services provided by SDS.

“I don’t really know anyone that uses it, but it’s really nice to have these services for students that need it,” Talluri said. “I think professors do a good job at informing student about these services.”

Loftis said SDS refers students to CAPS and the Academic Success Center for support. She said if a student is not eligible, then SDS will help the student locate a resource to obtain a diagnosis or “talk to them about other options for reducing their barriers on campus.”

Loftis said there has been a steady increase of students registering with SDS, with over 1,200 students currently registered. She said SDS is continuing to work on their outreach and making sure students are aware about the services offered.

She also said SDS wants to eliminate the experience of students coming in who have attended the university for three or four years, saying they wish they knew about SDS earlier.

“It is helpful to have someone in your corner who understands your condition [and] what limitations you might experience,” Loftis said.

Students interested in registering for SDS should visit studentdisability.wayne.edu and have medical documentation before initial appointments are scheduled.

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