An Introduction to Student Disability Services at the University of Chicago.
The Student Disability Services Office, also known as SDS, is the central office responsible for reviewing and determining student eligibility for supports, services and reasonable accommodations at UChicago.
SDS is located on the lower level of the Campus North Parking Garage, on the corner of 55th Street and Ellis Avenue. Appointments are available via Zoom and telephone, with minimal in-person appointments. The office is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
SDS is committed to facilitating the full participation of enrolled students with disabilities in the life of the University. Whether a student arrives with a disability, or they acquire a new diagnosis while at UChicago, or even if they become temporarily injured, SDS could be a valuable resource for qualified students with disabilities.
The disability accommodation process is an interactive and collaborative one between the student, SDS, and other relevant campus partners.
Students can register with the SDS office by submitting a Request for Accommodations Form available on the SDS website via the AIM Student Portal. Upon receiving the request form, the SDS staff will contact the student to schedule an intake interview to learn more about their access needs and to explain the procedures of using disability services while at UChicago.
Students with nonobvious disabilities will be asked to share supporting documentation. Eligibility for disability services is based on information gathered during the student interview, supporting documentation, and consultations with treating providers or a third-party reviewers, if necessary. Once SDS staff has gathered all the information necessary, they will make a determination of the student’s eligibility for accommodations. Students will receive an Accommodation Determination Letter, also known as the ADL, listing their approved accommodations. The ADLs are shared with the instructor, Deans of Students, and campus partners, as appropriate, in order to facilitate implementation of the approved accommodations.
Typical student accommodations include:
- testing modifications, such as extra time or a reduced distraction environment;
- note-taking assistance for those who have trouble concentrating and multitasking, or even writing;
- document conversion or alternative text format of textbooks and materials. Students may receive them in either large print, Braille, electronic PDF copies, or even use them with text-to-speech software;
- parking and transportation services, such as our Dial-A-Ride shuttle;
- facility access or barrier removal, to ensure students are able to arrive to class and attend class;
- housing accommodations for a specific type of room or location on campus;
- dining services for those who have allergies. Special food options are available; and
- more complex academic adjustments that might include some form of course flexibility.
For more information about SDS supports, services and procedures, visit the SDS website. Under the Student tab, there you will find a list of resources, guidelines, and instructions. Also on the website, you can find information about paid student job opportunities with SDS, such as the note-taking position. And on the Announcements page, you can learn about the latest job opportunities and announcements for recruitment and internship opportunities for students with disabilities.
Another important resource is the AIM Student Portal. Registered students will become very familiar with the AIM Student Portal, which is a student-centered accommodation management system where students can submit additional requests, view the status of their requests and accommodations, and may use the system to manage their accommodations each quarter.
The greatest resources are the SDS staff who are available to assist with accommodation determinations, implementation, and barrier mitigation on behalf of students with disabilities. When students register with SDS, they will be assigned to one of the SDS Directors.
Remember SDS staff is available to provide support remotely via Zoom and via telephone, and in-person by appointment only. For more details on registering with SDS, please visit our website at www.disabilities.uchicago.edu or call 773-702-6000.