SMU seeks to provide better support for students with disabilities by establishing a new office that consolidates all disability support services in one location.
Disability Accommodations and Success Strategies (DASS) opens in the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center (LEC) July 1. The Office of Services for Students with Disabilities, directed by Rebecca Marin, has joined forces with LEC staff members in Learning and Attention Disorders (LeAD), who specialize in academic counseling for students with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.
The previously separate offices now provide comprehensive support to all students with disabilities, including classroom accommodations and accessibility issues, academic coaching for students with learning and attention disorders, and test proctoring when needed.
DASS is in the process of updating forms, web content and physical offices to reflect the new structure, Marin says. The office will also revise some policies and procedures as the teams integrate.
Students with accommodation needs are encouraged to arrange classroom test proctoring with their instructors, but tests can be proctored by DASS when necessary. Beginning June 1, test proctoring moved from the Memorial Health Center to the LEC.
Merging the offices not only makes the support system easier to navigate, but will encourage students with disabilities and learning differences to take advantage of more services, says Alexa Taylor, LEC associate director and DASS team lead. “Students who come for accommodation letters may meet a staff member who can help with study skills and time management or sign up for an appointment with the writing center,” she says. “This environment will increase their comfort level with using these services.”
In addition, DASS will offer an information session for students and parents on the first day of every AARO session this summer, Taylor adds.