Student Disability Services
209 Alumni Hall
Phone: 607.436.2137
Fax: 607.436.3167

Office Hours
Mon - Fri: 8am - 4:30pm

Student Disability Services
209 Alumni Hall
Phone: 607.436.2137
Fax: 607.436.3167

Office Hours
Mon - Fri: 8am - 4:30pm

Policies and Procedures

Definition of Disability
Your Initial Meeting
Signing up for classes
Adaptive Technology Center
Student/Staff Relationship
Grievance Procedure
Why should I register?
Policies and Procedures


Click Here for the 2008 Policies and Procedures Manual


Students, these updated Policies and Procedures will be the official Policies and Procedures for SDS, beginning in the Fall 2008 Semester.

The Student

All students who seek to receive services from SDS are responsible for:

  • identifying themselves to SDS as a student diagnosed with a disability (defined below);
  • providing all necessary paperwork to SDS in a timely fashion (explained below);
  • making an initial contact once on campus to begin coordination of services;
  • keeping all scheduled appointments, or contacting SDS in a timely fashion to cancel/reschedule if necessary;
  • following through with each accommodation to the best of his or her ability.

Student Disability Services

SDS is responsible for:

  • providing incoming students with necessary information prior to the start of the school year;
  • meeting with each student to set up an individualized accommodation plan;
  • being available throughout each semester to work independently with each student;
  • assisting each student in coordinating appropriate accommodations;
  • keeping all scheduled appointments, or contacting the student in a timely fashion to cancel/reschedule if necessary;


Faculty/Staff are responsible for:

  • honoring the accommodations stated in the accommodation plan by providing direct services or seeking assistance from the SDS office.

Definition of Disability

An individual is considered to have a "disability" if s/he has1. a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,
2. has a record of such an impairment,
3. or is regarded as having such impairment.Persons discriminated against because they have a known association or relationship with an individual with a disability also are protected.

The first part of this definition (1) makes clear that the ADA applies to persons who have impairments and that these must substantially limit major life activities such as:






Performing manual tasks


Caring for oneself


Individuals with the following are also covered:



HIV infection


Mental Retardation

Specific learning disability

Substantial hearing or visual impairment

An individual with a minor, nonchronic condition of short duration, such as a sprain, broken limb, or the flu, generally would not be covered.*The second part of the definition (2), which protects individuals with a record of a disability, would cover, for example, a person who has recovered from cancer or mental illness.The third part of the definition (3) protects individuals who are regarded as having a substantially limiting impairment, even though they may not have such an impairment. For example, this provision would protect a qualified individual with a severe facial disfigurement from being denied employment because an employer feared "negative reactions" from customers or co-workers.Source:

*SDS will work within our capacity and to the best of our ability to assist individuals with "temporary disabilities"; however, any costs for such accommodations are the responsibility of the student.

Back to top


In order to receive assistance from Student Disability Services, you must supply appropriate paperwork to the office. This policy is not negotiable, as we are required by law to have verification of the diagnosis that qualifies you to receive services.

Learning Disability

If you are diagnosed with a learning disability, we need your most recent psychological evaluation, preferably within the last 3 years. If you have not been tested in the past 3 years, you may have to be re-tested. It is strongly recommended that you get tested in your senior year of high school.   Although we do not need your IEP from high school, it proves to be an extremely helpful tool, as does any other information you may have surrounding the nature of your diagnosis.  

If you are in need of testing, but are unable to get tested at home, we can arrange for you to be tested for a reduced charge at Oneonta. The actual testing is a contracted service, which is not affiliated with the college.

Any Other Disability

If you are diagnosed with any other disability, we require paperwork stating the exact diagnosis from an appropriate professional in the field. If you have a case-specific question as to who qualifies to make such a diagnosis, please contact SDS.

It is a good idea to provide us with all the records to which you have access. The more paperwork we have actually benefits you in case there is ever a question as to the validity of your accommodation plan.

Back to top

Your Initial Meeting

Each student needs to meet with a member of the SDS team at the beginning of each semester. Accommodation plans must be updated & validated each semester.

New students - You should set an appointment with the coordinator during the first week of classes (earlier if local). At that time you will set up your accommodation plan, go over your schedule, and review the policies of the office.

Returning Students - You should set an appointment with the assistant coordinator during the first week of classes. At that time your accommodation plan will be updated and you will be scheduled to meet with the coordinator within the first month of classes for follow up.

All students must bring their schedules to these meetings.

Back to top

Signing up for classes

Before signing up for classes each semester, we suggest you meet with your academic advisor to decide which classes you are going to need to fulfill your requirements. You should then meet with SDS to review your schedule. At that time such issues as workload, learning preferences, class style and teaching style will be considered. If your schedule needs to be changed we can help you do so both before and after you register (assuming classes remain open).It is suggested that you sign up for 15 credits for each semester. This allows for the flexibility of dropping 3 credits if necessary.SDS is available to assist each registered student with web registration.

Back to top

Adaptive Technology Center

SDS has a constantly evolving adaptive technology center. At this time, SDS offers the following adaptive equipment and software:

Image Enhancer's

Zoom Text

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Kurweill 3000

FM Systems

Tape Recorders





The hours for the adaptive technology center are the same as the general office hours. You may use this center specifically for the adaptive technology, as a quiet area for general assignment, or for entertainment purposes.

The following rules apply:

  1. Students who need the computers for adaptive technology always take precedence over other uses.

  2. Schoolwork always takes precedence over entertainment.

  3. You may not download any personal software or internet files onto the computers without written approval from the coordinator.

  4. If you violate any of the center's rules, you may be banned from it. If this occurs and you absolutely require the center's technology to perform your schoolwork, you will have to work your schedule around a time when there can be direct supervision.

Back to top


The following is a break down of some of the more common accommodations and the policies that accompany them. You may not be eligible for each accommodation listed. This will be determined when your accommodation plan is set up.

There is no charge for any of these services.

Shared Notes

If you qualify for a note taker, we ask that you first try to find a volunteer within your classes to share notes with you. If you don't feel comfortable doing this, then do not. But if it's agreeable to you, it would be greatly appreciated.

Note takers

SDS hires note takers to assist students within the classroom. We make every effort to protect anonymity in the hiring process, however once hired, the SDS student takes on the role of managing his/her services.


Fill out a 'Request for Note taker Form' for each class needed and turn it in to the assistant coordinator.

The hiring process

SDS hires note takers in one of three ways.

1) The SDS student finds a note taker on his/her own and refers them to SDS.
2) The professor of the class in which a note taker is needed recommends a student for the job.
3) A confidential letter is read to the class in which SDS's phone number is provided. Interested students then approach the SDS office on their own.

Once a note taker is identified, s/he must go through a short interview process with a SDS staff member and the SDS student. This is your opportunity to explain exactly what is needed.

Once a student is hired for the position, s/he must sign a contract along with the SDS student to agree to the terms of employment.

At this point, it is your responsibility to ensure that the note taker is working adequately on your behalf. Any problems should be reported immediately to SDS.

You have the option of either using carbon notebooks provided free of charge by SDS, or having your notes photocopied (also free of charge).

You will need to confirm hours worked by a note taker by signing his/her time sheet in the appropriate area.

The note taking process

Once a note taker is hired, s/he must follow these guidelines:

1) Take notes in each class in the format agreed upon in the contract.
2) Make arrangements with another student to take notes if s/he is going to miss a class
3) Deliver notes to the SDS student on the same day, unless other arrangements were agreed upon and stated within the contract.

It is the SDS student's responsibility to:

1) let SDS know if there are any problems with the notes, or if the terms of the contract are not being met;
2) sign the worker's time sheet to ensure that proper work is being done.


Testing Accommodations

In order to take a test with SDS, you must hand in the test accommodation sheet at least one week in advance. If it is turned in later than that we cannot guarantee a space for you.

The following procedure is to be followed when requesting testing accommodations:

1) Pick up a test scheduling form from SDS.
2) Fill out the student section.
3) Give the form to your professor and make sure s/he fills out each area as instructed.
4) Deliver the form back to SDS, at least one week prior to the test.

It is suggested that you hand in the test scheduling forms as soon as you possibly can. If, for example, your syllabus states when the tests are going to be given, you can pre-arrange testing for the entire semester.

The following is a list of the more common testing accommodations provided:

Distraction Free: The student is entitled to take the test in a quiet, distraction-free area.

Extended Time: The student is entitled extra time (how much depends on the nature of the
disability) on each test.

Oral Testing: The student is entitled to verbalize test answers to a scribe.

Test Reader: The student is entitled to have the test read to him/her.

Proofread Tests: The student is entitled to have all tests proofread, except those where doing so would directly affect the grade of the test (i.e. tests on grammar).

Use of the following equipment: Calculator, Spell Check, Computer

Textbooks on Tape

It is your responsibility to order textbooks on tape in a timely fashion (most students use Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic: 1-800-803-7201; Please keep in mind that this process may be slow (several months). Therefore you should pre-arrange with the bookstore to get a book list ASAP.

If you do not get your books on tape in a timely fashion, SDS will hire students to read textbooks on tape, a chapter at a time as the need arises. You will be responsible for purchasing this textbook.

Other Accommodations

What follows is a list of accommodations that may also be available to you. Specific policies vary with each student and will be explained in detail when your accommodation plan is set up:

Copies of Overheads: The student is entitled to printed copies of all previously developed overheads at the beginning of each class.

Interpreter Services: The student is entitled to the use of an interpreter during each class.

Tape Recording Lectures: The student is entitled to bring in a tape recorder to any lecture in the class.

Enlarged Printed Material: The student is entitled to enlarged printed copies of all overheads and/or materials that are handed out at the beginning of each class.

FM System/VTEK: The student is entitled to an FM system within the class.

Handicapped Parking: The student is entitled to a campus handicap-parking permit.

Early Registration: The student is entitled to register for classes prior to the rest of the campus.

Please note that this is only a small list of the accommodations offered through SDS. Each plan is individualized; therefore, any accommodation you may be eligible for will be authorized on your behalf.

What if I have a problem with receiving my accommodations?

Fortunately, this happens very infrequently at Oneonta. The faculty and staff here are very accommodating professionals. However, if a problem should arise, you should meet with the coordinator immediately. Almost all problems can be resolved quickly and with all parties being satisfied.

Back to top


SDS makes every effort to keep all records and information completely confidential. Each student signs a consent for release of information form at the beginning of each academic year to instruct SDS staff on who we can and cannot provide information to. This includes parents.

Back to top

Student/Staff Relationship

The student/staff relationship is critical for each student to maximize the benefits that SDS provides. It is strongly suggested that you remain in regular contact with the office. As mentioned previously, making an appointment is strongly encourage if you need to speak about something specific; however, we strongly encourage "popping in" when you are in Alumni Hall, or just calling to let us know that everything is going well.

The more we see you, the better we will get to know you and the more help we can provide.

We suggest that you approach SDS with any concerns you may have throughout the campus. If we can't help you, we will know where to direct you. If we can help you, the team approach will surely benefit the outcome.

SDS is always looking for suggestions from students on how to better our services, SO LET US KNOW!!!

Back to top

Grievance Procedure

If you are not pleased with the services you are receiving from SDS, you have the right to file a grievance. The following is the procedure you should follow.

1) Make an appointment with the person you have the grievance with.

During this meeting feel free to speak your mind. It is very possible that the SDS staff member is unaware of your displeasure. The majority of grievances are resolved at this level, and it usually fosters a stronger relationship between staff and student. If this does not resolve the grievance, proceed to step 2.

2) Make an appointment with the supervisor of the person you have a grievance with.

If you need to use step 2, you should have already met with the person you have the grievance with. If that meeting did not resolve the grievance, you should come to this meeting prepared to state exactly what your grievance is and to provide information about the initial meeting from step 1. If this does not resolve the grievance, proceed to step 3.

3) Make an appointment with Vice President of Student Development.

If you need to use step 3, you should have already met with the person you have the grievance with and his/her supervisor. If those meetings did not resolve the grievance, you should come to this meeting prepared to state exactly what your grievance is, and with information about the two prior meetings from step 1 and 2.

This grievance procedure is set up not only to assist the student in resolving a grievance but also to enable the student and staff member to resolve problems and to remain in a strong working relationship. If you have a grievance, please follow the steps stated above, as it will benefit everyone.

Back to top

Why Should I register with SDS?

Okay, I've learned a little bit more about SDS, but I think I can do it without your help!

Well, this is a noble stance indeed, however consider the following:

· You can register with the office confidentially and without obligation to use the services. Therefore, if you need the services in the future you will be set up and ready to go.

· Nationwide statistics show that students diagnosed with a disability who use SDS services average the same GPA as every other student.

· Nationwide statistics show that students diagnosed with a disability who do not use SDS services average a much lower GPA and have an increased drop out rate.

· College is very different from high school. Why not use our services for at least 1 year and then make your decision. The choices you make now will affect the rest of your life.

· If you have difficulty while at Oneonta and are academically dismissed, there is a grievance procedure in which letters of support from staff/faculty are considered. If you follow through with the services offered through this office, SDS will be in a better position to write you a letter of support. If you don't follow through, the best we can do is confirm your diagnosis.

· We are a fun group of people!!!!! The relationships you form with SDS staff members aren't just professional in nature. You may find that you look forward to meeting with us and learning a bit more about how we got where we are.

· The services are absolutely FREE.

· You truly have nothing to lose!

Back to top