The mission of the Student with Disability Services program is to ensure that all students with disabilities have equal access to educational opportunities at the University of the Virgin Islands where they can participate freely and actively in all facets of University life.
The Student with Disability Services (St. Thomas Campus) and the Learning Assistance Program (LAP - St. Croix Campus) program serves students with hearing, mobile, speech, and visual impairments; chronic illnesses, seizure disorders, psychological disabilities, and learning disabilities. Students with temporary disabilities may request services for the period during which they are disabled.
The name Student with Disability Services does not imply any determination related to civil rights or other legal definitions, and does not assume that students served by Student with Disability Services have “disabilities” as defined by any particular law. Student with Disability Services provides assistance to students who meet the following criteria:
- The student have a documented physical, medical, and/or psychological condition; and
- Professionals have verified that the student needs individualized services in order to remove and/or minimize the disadvantages for the student.
Services Available through Student with Disability Services
Services available through Student with Disability Services and LAP, may include, but are not limited to:
- Personal Counseling
- Academic Counseling
- Tutorial Assistance via Campus Advising and Tutorial Services
- Registration Assistance
- Testing Modifications
- Note Taking Services
- Referral Services
- Advocacy with Faculty and Staff
- Special Interest Group Sessions
- Campus Orientation
Responsibilities of Student with Disability Services
When students request services from Student with Disability Services and LAP, the Counselor or Campus Psychologist is responsible for determining whether the students have disabilities impeding educational access. In making this determination, a comprehensive assessment and evaluation is conducted consistent with educational disability practices. The assessment evaluation includes interviews with the students as well as documentation provided by other clinicians.
When students are eligible for Student with Disability Services, the Counselor Campus Psychologist plans an individualized program of services for them known as “academic accommodations”. The Counselor or the Campus Psychologist for Student with Disability Services provides letters of accommodations to the students’ instructors and departments (if necessary). Some students require program modifications; others need auxiliary services; while many others require academic adjustments or modifications in instructional methods. These accommodations vary from student to student as disabilities affect individuals in diverse ways. Academic accommodations are not intended to give students an unfair advantage, but to remove barriers that prevent students with disabilities from learning’ giving them equal access to academic instruction and an opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
Responsibilities of the Student
It is the students’ responsibility for requesting assistance form Student with Disability Services LAP by providing documentation of conditions that may warrant academic accommodations. If a student is deemed eligible for services, the student is given Letters of Accommodation, addressed to their instructors describing the needed adjustments.
Eligible individuals of Student with Disability Services and LAP receive Letters of Accommodation no more than one week after requesting them. It is the students’ responsibility to deliver these letters immediately after receiving them, thus permitting instructors sufficient time to make any necessary arrangements.
Student with Disability Services assistance is not retroactive; academic accommodations begin when instructors and departments (if necessary) are notified via an official letter.
Teaching Students with Disabilities
It is helpful to make your course disability friendly. You may consider announcing at the beginning of each semester, “students who have Letters of Accommodation from Student with Disability Services, please see me during my office hours.” You may also consider using your course syllabus to welcome students with disabilities while inviting them to meet with you to discuss their academic needs. For example, a paragraph may contain the following information:
“If disability related accommodations are needed in this class, if you wish to share medical emergency information, or if special assistance may be needed in the event of an evacuation, please inform me immediately by seeing me after class or visiting my office.”
Sometimes, students may request accommodations without providing a Letter of Accommodation from Student with Disability Services/ Counseling Services. To protect yourself, students, and UVI, please insist students present official letters address to you from Student with Disability Services/ Counseling Services. In addition, remember Students are usually the best experts of their own disabilities; it is okay to inquire how you may be able to provide further assistance if necessary.
Student with Disability Services and LAP may be contacted at:
St. Croix Campus:
St. Thomas Campus: