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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Below please find useful commonly asked questions. For your convenience, we have categorized these by audience type: new student, current student, faculty and volunteers. 

New Student Questions

What qualifies as a disability?

There are many ways a person may qualify for services. Please see a complete list. SSD also provides services for temporary disabilities (i.e. broken leg, sprained ankle, COVID-19). All accommodations are assigned based upon review by a counselor.

What can SSD do for me?

SSD provides academic support services for a wide range of disabilities. Services are assigned on a case-by-case basis and are based upon the documentation submitted with the student’s application. To apply for services, fill out the online interest form.

How can I learn more about joining SSD? 

We have some great new student videos that will walk you through what to expect when joining SSD.

What will my first counselor meeting look like?

When you first meet with your counselor, they will do what is called an "interactive process" which is really a conversation where they get to know more about you, your disability, and the ways you may be impacted by your disability while at school. You can also bring a member of your support team with you to help you, we may just ask you for their permission to be there with you before we get started.

Is there any paperwork I should bring with me? 

We learn about you from what you share with us and we keep in mind that access to providers in the Inland Empire is difficult so we work with you and your circumstances. Maybe you have school accommodations from your past school. Maybe you have a doctors note. Maybe you have something from Regional Center or from Department of Rehab. We will review what you share with us and any of these can be helpful but are also not required.

Current Student Questions

What can the accommodations office assist me with?

The accommodations office is here to help students find the appropriate accommodations and implement them within their courses for student success. 

What if there is an accommodation that I need that is not offered? 

SSD provides reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities based on understanding your unique need. If there is an accommodation that is not offered that a student needs to succeed, please set a follow up appointment with a counselor to discuss your unique need with us further. 

What happens if a faculty member does not want to accommodate me? 

According to ADA and Section 504, schools must provide appropriate supports and accommodations so that students with disabilities can participate equally in classes, activities, housing, and other aspects of school. If a professor does not wish to grant accommodations, please notify our SSD office.   

Am I obligated to disclose my disability? 

You do not have to disclose your disability at your school. The professor may ask you about the accommodation to ensure you receive it, but you do not need to reveal your disability to your professor. Your professor only will have your accommodation letter which lists your accommodations. Whether or not you wish to share more directly with them is entirely up to you.

What does it mean to be a self-advocate?

When you go to college, you become responsible for your education. You also become the primary person who must ensure your rights are respected. Making sure your rights are respected is also called “self-advocacy.” Self-advocacy doesn’t mean you have to do everything by yourself. Your family and friends can give you support, and many schools also have independent disabled student groups. More on self advocacy is in a series of self advocacy videos and this one in particular is a great place to get started. 

Can SSD assist me with financial hardship? 

Financial aid is a different office at CSUSB. You can reach them at financial aid to provide financial assistance related to your disability, we will assist you with applying to WorkAbility-IV and DOR who can sometimes help with economic assistance in ways DOR can not. Additionally, if you need help with basic needs, we have a wonderful basic needs office that can assist you. 

What if I need an accommodation that is not offered?

SSD provides reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities based on understanding your unique need. If there is an accommodation that is not offered that a student needs to succeed, please set a follow up appointment with a counselor to discuss your unique need with us further. 

What is the Accessible Information Management (AIM)?

We call our accommodations portal AIM, which stands for Accessible Information Management. Here, we manage accommodations, appointments, and case management.

What if I need after hours services?

We have different hours for different services. Please see our full list of hours.

What are some important emails and contacts at SSD?

Please see the list of current team members, or contact the SSD main email at

Faculty Questions

What do I do when I get an accommodation letter?

You may get an accommodation letter notifying you about the needs of a student. Please honor that letter exactly as the letter is guided by the ADA, Section 504 and Chancellor's Executive Orders pertaining to rights of disabled students on our campus. There is a very helpful SSD video about what to do when getting an accommodations letter available on our website.

What if I don't know how to technically comply with an accommodation letter?

This happens and if you are unsure, you aren't alone! If you see something that requires creative problem solving, just reach out to the directors or the counselor listed on the accommodation letter received. Our staff and faculty are here to support you! 

Can I extend time online in Canvas?

Yes! You have multiple options! You can provide the test to us to proctor and or ATI and ATAC can help with the build. There are also useful step-by-step directions on how to do this yourself in writing. We also have made a step-by-step video walking you through the process.

What if I am worried about accommodations matching the unique nature of my class, or accommodations matching student need observed?

Reach out to us! Right now, we have a teaching member of faculty on our staff specifically to meet and understand your needs. There are ways to assist you. It is also important to mention that we have fully engaged with the students before issuing accommodation letters to you, so your letter is because they have been individually confirmed to have a necessity for reasonable accommodation.

What does Audio Recording mean as an accommodation?

It means student will either bring a recorder or be provided a recorder for personal use only under agreement with our office it will not be used or shared or disseminated for any other purpose. More information is available on our SSD video about audio recording.

What does Kurzweil mean as an accommodation?

Kurzweil is an assistive technology that supports students with learning differences in accessing written texts. All that is needed from faculty is to make sure their books are with the bookstore and to email any readings that go beyond the text such as PDFs or links to other readings are emailed to our office.

What does extended time on assignments mean?

When and if you get this accommodation, it means that student will have extra time to complete their assignments, at an amount and duration discussed between the student and the faculty. There is a form that you can fill out together. But even if you already allow time to complete assignments, this means that there is extra time for this student to complete their work based on their unique need. SSD has created a video for more information on extended time on assignments.

What does notetaking as an accommodation mean?

There are different forms of notetaking accommodations and the student gets to give input as to which one they feel would work the best for them. If the student has a peer notetaker, then we may visit your classroom and ask if we can take 90 seconds to recruit a peer notetaker. We do not identify the student, the need or the accommodations in this process. SSD then facilitates all aspects of notetaker training, collection and delivery of notes.

The student may also pick other forms of notetaking such as automated notetaking or smartpen notetaking. Automated notetaking is done through a computerized automated notetaker system of transcribing. The smartpen notetaking is similar, in the sense that the student has many different features and options which they can refer back to later independently. If they use these other forms of notetaking, then a peer notetaker is not recruited. More is available on this accommodation in a video SSD created discussing the notetaking accommodation.

What does remote instruction or remote instruction (class aide) mean?

Faculty may get an accommodations letter with this accommodation stated on it. Remote instruction means that the student has a verified disability that calls for learning from home for a while. Each remote instruction accommodation is for a set duration (usually a term or less) and then reverified for future terms. It is not given out for any reason other than to address what they call a functional limitation as a reasonable accommodation. If the accommodation letter says remote instruction class aide, then a student assistant will come visit your classroom and turn on the computer for the zoom session to commence each class time. There is more on this in a SSD video on remote instruction.

How do SSD and faculty work together?

SSD and faculty work together frequently and collaboratively! We are here to help support you in your accommodation of students. SSD has made a video describing this collaborative process between faculty and SSD

What do I do with a testing agreement?

Students will sometimes test in our office as an accommodation instead of in the class. This is, at times, a reasonable and necessary accommodation ensuring the student has access to their educational materials based upon their unique need. Please watch for these in your email and return them to us at your earliest convenience. There is an SSD video describing the process of testing agreements.

How do I refer a student to SSD?

It is always a good idea to start by including SSD's information in your syllabus (as required by the university!) After that, talk with your students! Sometimes students have new conditions, stressors or manifestations of need that arise in their college years. You might be the first one to notice. Invite a conversation, offer to walk a student to us, and more - we are receptive to all of it and we are thankful for all the ways faculty look out for their students. There is more on referring students to SSD in this video.

How do I navigate the SSD website as a faculty member?

You have a whole section just for you! Go to the "Faculty and staff" dropdown tab at the top main menu and then explore from there! Inside you'll find information on faculty drop in hours, the syllabus language, valuable resources for items such as interpreting requests and much more! There is a video tour of the faculty section of the SSD website available as well. 

Can I meet with the director?

Yes! There are drop in hours specifically for faculty each Thursday from 12-2pm by zoom. We can also set appointments to meet together around your preferred schedule. Just contact to set an appointment

What is the language for my syllabus?

The Faculty Administrative Manual (FAM 820.9) indicates that all course syllabi must include a: statement of

  • ADA compliance,
  • including contact information to SSD, and
  • a reminder that it is the student's responsibility to seek academic accommodations for a verified disability in a timely manner.


Please feel free to cut and paste this language directly into your syllabus.

"If you are seeking classroom accommodations under the ADA, you are required to register with the Office of Services to Students with Disabilities (SSD). If you are taking classes at the San Bernardino Campus (SBC), SSD is located in UH-183. At the Palm Desert Campus (PDC), SSD is located in RG 203A. You can telephone the SBC-SSD at (909) 537-5238, or the PDC-SSD at (760) 341-2883, ext. 78117, or email them at To receive academic accommodations for this class, please obtain the Faculty Notification Letter from SSD. Students should inform their instructors about the type of assistance that may be required in the event of any emergency, and also to contact the SSD office regarding special needs for evacuation."

How do I accommodate deaf accommodations such as interpreting and Sign Glasses?

If you have a student with deaf or hard-of-hearing accommodations, there will likely be either virtual or in-person interpreting accommodations. Our virtual interpreting is done through a company called Sign Glasses. They will often connect along with the student into your zoom classroom setting. An in person interpreter will attend class with the student. This interpreter is the way for students to fully participate with their class under the ADA so we ask that you work with us in getting the interpreters into the learning environment as swiftly as possible. There is also an SSD video with more discussion of interpreting accommodations.

What is the guiding policy of the CSUSB SSD office and the accommodations process?

There is a really useful area of our website which provides links to many of the useful laws and policies. We are guided by all levels of government, plus those specific to the CSU. In addition we are governed by decisions and rulings made by the Office of Civil Rights and published case law.

I might be interested in doing research with SSD. Can I do this?

There is an extremely detailed and valuable research protocol listed on our website. It is based upon the principles of clarity and equity in responding to research requests based in the scholarship of disability inclusion. The first step is to reach out to providing the following items: research question, problem statement, recruitment protocol and research protocol in detail. Requesters should a 3-6 month lead time for consideration and approvals or feedback. Please be advised that we will only accept studies going through full IRB review. There is a video on the research process created by SSD.

How do accommodations get assigned to my students?

The only place on campus that can assign academic accommodations is the SSD office. There is no other process that results in accommodations being added, modified or changed. To be accommodated, student identifies with our office through an involved intake where an interactive process to understand functional limitations is discussed with a highly trained and specialized disability counselor at SSD. Then accommodations are assigned and notification letters are sent out. Our SSD video explains this process of assigning accommodations in more detail.

Can I appeal? Can a student appeal? Where do I take my questions?

Please set up a meeting with the SSD director or utilize faculty drop in office hours with SSD as frequently as they may be helpful to you. The next level would be to bring your concern to the AVP overseeing our department which we also invite and welcome. Our appeals process is detailed on our website and through an SSD video explaining the appeals process.


Student Volunteer Questions

How do I become a notetaker?

The SSD office recruits notetakers on an ongoing basis and you can sign up online. Recruiting emails and in-class recruits (in person and via Zoom) are other ways that SSD identifies notetakers.

What are the benefits of becoming a notetaker?

Students who volunteer to be a notetaker are given Priority I registration for their subsequent term of enrollment. Priority I registration guarantees a registration appointment on the first day registration opens. In addition to the valuable benefit of priority registration, notetakers often report an overall improvement in grades in the classes for which they are the notetaker.

What are the requirements of a notetaker?

Notetakers are required to watch a short video and answer a few questions regarding the information provided in the video. Notetakers are required to submit notes via email to the SSD office within 24 hours after each class meeting to Acceptable forms of notes are Word or PDF documents or high-quality pictures of legibly written handwritten notes. Scanning apps, such as CamScanner, are frequently used. It is the notetaker’s responsibility to obtain notes from another student in the event the notetaker is not able to attend class. Please direct any questions to


Family Advocates & Support Systems Question  

Do I have a right to know what is happening in the student's accommodations?

To be a part of the student's accommodation for students 18+, a Voluntary Release of Confidential Information  can be filled out by your student which gives you permission to be part of our disability counseling meetings

How can I be a part of the student's educational journey?

Understanding the student's needs is important! If, for some reason, the student is unable to communicate or is facing with a barrier, sometimes having a member of the student’s support system is very helpful and valuable.

How can I advocate for the student?

Here at SSD, we advocate for our students! We want you to assist in every step of the journey! However, we also want our students to learn self-advocacy techniques as well! We have videos and a class that teaches our wonderful students about self-advocacy housed at SSD.