Student Disabilities Services

The University of Pennsylvania welcomes students with disabilities and is committed to providing the same exceptional opportunities to all Penn students.  Policies and procedures have been developed to provide students with as much independence as possible and to promote self-advocacy.  At Student Disabilities Services (SDS) we work closely with students who self-identify in order to ensure equal access to all University programs, activities and services. We encourage you to learn more about our services on our website. You will find information about the accommodations we provide as well as procedures for requesting accommodations and services. We also invite you to meet with our staff to address your specific needs as part of our collaborative process. 

Given the impact of COVID-19 on the Penn community (see COVID-19 Information and Resources), SDS is currently offering virtual support services for students in online classes. While our physical office is closed, SDS staff members are available by phone and email to answer questions from members of the University community about accessibility and accommodations.

The following information explains how SDS will provide the most common support services in the virtual classroom environment. Contact SDS directly by email or phone (215-573-9235) with any additional questions or concerns.

Exam accommodations

  • Students: Continue to submit your requests for tests and quizzes with accommodations such as extended time through MyWLRC for classes meeting virtually. Also, communicate directly with your faculty member about your accommodations. SDS will work with your professors to provide guidance in implementing the accommodations.
  • Students: If you already submitted a request for a test or quiz before the switch to virtual instruction, please contact your faculty member to determine what arrangements will be made for that test. If you need assistance with discussing arrangements with your professor, contact your SDS adviser.
  • Faculty: The Canvas website has information on how to add extended time accommodations.
  • Faculty: Contact SDS with questions about how to provide other testing accommodations.

Note taking accommodations

  • Note takers: Continue to take notes and upload to Box.  Continue to submit timesheets.
  • Students who have been approved to have notes as an accommodation: Continue to access course notes through Box.
  • Contact SDS with other questions about note taking accommodations.

Alternate format materials and assistive technology

  • Requests for materials in accessible formats should be sent to Amrou Ibrahim.
  • Questions about assistive technology and digital accessibility can be sent to Amrou Ibrahim.

New accommodation requests

  • Current students making a first-time accommodations request should complete the Self-Identification form online and submit documentation of disability via Secure Share.
  • Incoming students for the Summer or Fall 2020 semester making a first-time accommodation request should complete the Self-Identification form online and submit documentation of disability via email. Documentation sent by fax or mail may take longer to process during times when staff are working remotely.
  • Questions about housing accommodations for the 2020-2021 school year can be directed to Erica Gillaspy.
  • Staff are available to meet remotely with students making new accommodation requests. To schedule a remote appointment, contact the WLRC.

General Information

Documentation/Accommodation Process

To begin the documentation/accommodation process, please follow the following steps:

  • Complete the Self-Identification Form.
  • Provide medical documentation accordance with the Documentation Guidelines.
  • Once the documentation is received and reviewed, the student will be contacted to set up a remote appointment to discuss the next steps in the accommodation process.
  • Students are strongly advised to register with SDS upon matriculation into the University; it can take up to 4 weeks to review documentation and approve accommodations.
  • Students must meet with an SDS staff member at the beginning of each semester to in order to receive accommodations.

    Appointments 

    • To schedule a remote appointment with an SDS staff member, please call the Weingarten Center at 215-573-9235.

    Disability-Related Housing Accommodations

    To apply for disability-related housing accommodation for the 2020-2021 academic year, students must:

    Accommodated Exam Information for Registered Students

    • Students will not be able to make online requests for accommodated quizzes, tests, or exams in MyWLRC until they meet with an SDS staff member.
    • Students must request exam accommodations at least 7 days prior to the exam date.
    • Request for final exam accommodations deadline: Monday, April 13th.