Graduate Student FAQ

Common Academic or Classroom Accommodations Include:

  •     Extended-time for examinations
  •     Exams in a reduced-distraction space
  •     Use of a secure SAS laptop (USB and networking disabled)
  •     Use of a note taker
  •     Permission to tape-record lectures
  •     Materials in alternate format
  •     Reduced course load with prorated tuition, when appropriate
  •     Extensions on assignments
  •     Use of assistive technology

How Should Students Request Academic

Students who want to request academic accommodations are required to bring an Academic Accommodations Letter to professors in each course in which an accommodation is needed. Students should provide this letter so that professors know that they have documented their needs and have been approved to use accommodations for the current semester.

We recommend that students bring a letter to their professors during office hours to confidentially discuss how the accommodations will work for the course.

We recommend that students meet with professors early in the semester and at least two weeks before any exam accommodations are needed or at any time a reasonable effort to accommodate them could be made.

What is Student Accessibility Services (SAS)?

SAS works with graduate (and undergraduate) students, faculty and staff who have a disability, medical condition or temporary injury that is impacting them in such a way that accommodations or servicesmay be needed to ensure access to campus programs and services. The SAS office coordinates accommodations and services with a variety of partner offices across the campus, including the Graduate School.

How can I schedule an appointment?

Calling 401-863-9588 during business hours, 8:30 to 5 pm.

Do I need to have a diagnosed disability or medical condition to work with SAS?

SAS works with registered students with documented disabilities or medical conditions. Students can meet with a SAS staff member to discuss the best way to document the needs. Students may share documentation from a provider with whom they are working and/or medical or educational documentation that they may have from their undergraduate institution. Documentation is also accepted from Brown Student Health Services and Brown Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). For convenience, students may refer to Documentation Guidelines for more information.

What if I am wondering if I have a learning disability or ADHD?

It is not uncommon for learning or attentional issues to surface as the level and intensity of workincreases and the amount of structure decreases. Students can meet with a SAS professional staff member to talk about these questions and to review options for getting evaluated.  SAS staff can review options for putting temporary accommodations or services in place while in the process of receiving an evaluation.

Getting evaluated sounds expensive. Is financial assistance available?

Brown University’s Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) provides coverage for ADHD evaluations andmay cover some portions of a learning evaluation when possible ADHD is explored too. In addition, SAS has some funds made possible by a donor to support students being evaluated. Students can speak with a SAS professional staff member about how to request this assistance if needed.

Who will know that I am working with SAS and what information will be shared?

Working with SAS enables students to preserve confidentiality around their specific area of disability,but request accommodations or services as needed. The only information shared is what needs to beknown to put things in place or effectively discuss reasonable options. Students communicate withfaculty directly and can also request SAS assistance with those conversations.

I worked with disability services as an undergraduate. How do services differ in graduate school?

Accommodations are usually similar within specific courses, but there may be some differences,especially as students navigate teaching or lab responsibilities. Also, since graduate study can be tied togrants, research, teaching or field work, things like taking a reduced course load or adjusting the pace of a program will typically require some conversations and coordination to determine what is reasonable. 

How can I officially request accommodations or services?

Registering with SAS is the mechanism to do this. Students will need to complete an Information and Release form, provide documentation that meets our guidelines and meet with a SAS professional staffmember to discuss disability-related needs and potential accommodations.

How will working with SAS benefit me?

Here is a sampling: SAS expertise will guide the accommodation process. SAS can recommend technologies, suggest accommodations appropriate to student needs and situation, assist with navigating requests for accommodations or services, and may provide access to financial support for evaluations orcoaching. The Access Shuttle provides on campus transportation for those with mobility concerns.

When should I register or begin working with SAS?

Registering and working with SAS as early as possible is often most helpful to the accommodationprocess. We encourage students to meet with SAS early in their first semester. It is not uncommon for students to begin working with SAS at other points of their studies, as the nature of graduate study and potential academic supports can differ over the course of a degree program.

Am I obligated to follow through or use accommodations if I make contact with SAS?

No. Registering and being approved for accommodations makes students eligible to use them when needed. Timely notifications to professors and effective communication with SAS are critical steps should students choose to use their accommodations. Students are also welcome to just come in to explore whether they might have a disability.

Are there ways to meet other students with disabilities? How can I get more involved?

The SAS office provides a number of support groups, including an ongoing ADHD support group as well as a Neurodiversity Support Group. Students can also connect through organizations on campus, watch for announcements, and contact SAS about a particular areas of interest. SAS is also interested in partnering with students who want to raise awareness and share ideas about speakers or events to bring to the campus. There are some ongoing effort by student groups that we can share. Let us know if and how we can help students get connected.

What if I run into problems with accommodations or services? What if personal concerns or academic concerns are involved?

Contact SAS immediately to discuss the situation. SAS may assist by adjusting services or supporting students in advocacy efforts. Referrals to a Graduate School dean, CAPS or other resources may be helpful as well.