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Office of Student Accessibility

The Office of Student Accessibility (OSA) is committed to ensuring equitable and reasonable access to students with disabilities through transformative education. We foster and support diversity, equity and inclusion through awareness, advocacy, and collaboration.

  • General Information

    DeSales University is a Salesian institution of higher education committed to ensuring that all qualified students with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids, and services to ensure full access to programs, services and activities. Students with disabilities, who are the most successful at the post secondary level, are those who are appropriately qualified and prepared for independent academic study, have full knowledge of the impact of their disability, and demonstrate well-developed self-advocacy skills. Students with disabilities should also be well-informed about the changes in the laws that govern their rights and responsibilities as college students, as well as the laws that govern the post secondary institution’s responsibilities to students with disabilities in attendance.

    Students entering college should be aware that the criteria for disability determination and eligibility for accommodations, auxiliary aids, and services at post-secondary institutions differs from those used for eligibility determination in the K-12 experience. At the post-secondary level, the determination of disability is made in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended in 2008; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and the standards of the individual College. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), defines a disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or having a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment.”

    Students with diagnosed conditions that rise to the level of a disability, who will be requesting accommodations and services at DeSales University, must complete the Intake Process form prior to the development of an Accommodation Plan. This multifaceted process and approval includes:

    • the student’s self-disclosure and personal interview.
    • the timely submission of detailed documentation of the disorder/condition.
    • an interpretation of the evaluation data.

    Disability-related documentation submitted to obtain accommodations, auxiliary aids, and services at the post-secondary level must:

    • Identify the disability.
    • review a history of academic and/or non-academic experiences related to the diagnosed condition.
    • provide evidence of the impact of the diagnosed condition on the major life activities.
    • provide information about previous accommodations and services used by the student related to the condition.
  • Who We Support

    In accordance with federal law, a “person with a disability” is defined as a person who has or is regarded as having any mental or physical condition that substantially impairs or restricts one or more major life activities such as performing normal tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.

    The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requires that accommodations be developed on a case-by-case basis, in a deliberative, interactive process between the institution and the person with disabilities. Recent and appropriate documentation of the disability and related functional limitations for which they are requesting accommodations must be provided to the Office of Student Accessibility.

    If you recently completed High School, a copy of your 504 Plan or your IEP and last re-evaluation report(s) (within 3 years) will be sufficient initial documentation. You will then schedule an appointment with our Director to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodations. Students are encouraged to submit documentation in a timely manner.  The Office of Student Accessibility needs sufficient time to review the documentation and to make a determination of reasonable and appropriate accommodations, particularly because accommodations are not retroactive.

    To begin requesting a meeting with our office, please fill out the following forms and email them or bring them to our office.

    Intake Form (PDF)

    FERPA Form (PDF)

    • Email: 
    • Office: 610-282-1100 ext. 1239 fax: 610-282-2476
    • Address: Dooling Hall Room 19, 2755 Station Ave. Center Valley, Pa 18034
  • Questions to Ask Yourself Prior to Your Initial Meeting

    • How does my disability create a barrier to access my education?
    • What do I need to be academically successful?
    • What are my concerns about my classes?
    • How does my disability interfere with my learning?
    • What academic areas do I have difficulties with or have had difficulties with in the past?
    • What are my academic strengths?
    • What support services did I have in the past? Which were the most helpful?
    • Do I need alternative testing formats?
    • Are my issues anxiety, processing, or comprehension related?
    • Am I able to get my work done in a timely manner?If no, why not?
    • Do I need help managing my time?
    • Do I struggle with certain topics?
    • Am I uncomfortable participating in class? If yes, how can I be a better class participant?
    • Do I feel prepared for college courses?
    • How are my writing skills?
  • Student Expectations

    Communication is critical for us to work together well. We need to know your needs to work effectively with you. OSA support, however, does not negate student responsibility, it facilitates student success. As a student who uses services in the OSA, you sign a Student Responsibility form when you sign the Intake Form. The form lists your responsibilities and serves as a basis for self-accountability on your part. Keys to student success include: attending class, meeting with the OSA staff, taking advantage of the ASC resources (Writing Center, Peer Tutoring and Professional tutoring), meeting with professors to discuss your learning differences, and enjoying the DSU student engagement and development opportunities.

  • Types of Accomodations

    After submitting the proper documentation and meeting and discussion with our director, reasonable and appropriate accommodations will be assigned. Accommodations are not  guaranteed. These accommodations are then given to the appropriate individuals (professors, residence life, dining) so they are aware about your needs. The individuals will be notified of your accommodations but not your disability unless you decide to disclose  to them. We keep that information confidential. The accommodations we provide but are not limited to are as follows:

    • Testing Room
    • Extended Time
    • Assistive Technology in the Classroom
    • Enlarged Print
    • Assignment Extensions
    • Recorded Lectures
    • Excused Absences
    • Priority Registration
    • Housing (refer to FAQs for more details)
    • Dietary
    • Emotional Support Animals
    • Access to the Sensory Room
    • Reduced Course Load
    • Temporary Accommodations
    • And More

    Sensory Room

    sensory room in the trexler libraryWe have two sensory rooms on campus; one is in Dorothy Day and the other in the Trexler Library. These rooms are equipped with various stemming objects, bean bag chairs, a swing, whiteboards, fidget toys and various other items to help you calm down or release stress and anxiety. 

    The Dorothy Day Sensory Room is accessed with your ID card and is available for up to 30 minutes and is a single use room. You will  need accommodation from the OSA to access this room.

    The Sensory Room in the Trexler Library is accessible to anyone on campus who will benefit from its use. To access this room, ask at the front desk and the librarian will  provide you with the key.

    Related Articles:

    Testing Room

    Our testing room is located in Dooling Hall room 21 next to our office. The Testing Coordinator is your contact person when it comes to anything testing related. The coordinator will work with you after you have been granted the Testing Room accommodation. They will assist you and show you how to schedule your assessments and assist with scheduling conflicts. We have ear plugs, noise canceling earphones, dividers, laptops, calculators and other tools to aid in your assessment taking. Food, water, cellphones, smart watches, and other technology related items are prohibited  unless specified by your instructor or needed for an accommodation.

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    How do I start the process?

    Begin by filling out our Intake Form (PDF), then schedule a meeting with Carolyn Tiger, Director of the OSA. During the meeting, she and  you will discuss your concerns and requests. Please be prepared by reading the “Questions to Ask Yourself” section before meeting with our Director. Remember that all accommodations are not guaranteed, they are on a case by case basis. The purpose of the meeting is to inquire about your needs and to determine what will help you be your best self academically in a fair and equitable manner.

    Will I receive accommodations right away?

    It depends on the results of the meeting with our Director. Generally, they are given before the beginning of the semester. If you are given accommodations after the semester has begun, your accommodations will begin from that point. It is important to remember that accommodations are not retroactive. 

    Do I need to disclose my disability to my professors?

    No. What your professors know about your disability is entirely up to you. Our office will only send notification of your accommodations to your instructors but we will not disclose the nature of your disability. Professors are prohibited from asking about your disability or singling you out due to having accommodations or a disability. If you feel you need to file a grievance due to mistreatment, please email

    Do I keep my accommodations until I graduate?

    No. You may not need accommodations for all classes you are taking. Accommodations will need to be renewed every semester. We will give you a renewal form at the end of each semester. At that time you will schedule a brief meeting with someone on our staff to either keep the current accommodations, add additional accommodations based on need or remove accommodations no longer needed.

    How will my professors know about my accommodations?

    Our office will email your professors and you a letter explaining your accommodations. You do not need to do anything once accommodations are determined outside of the items expressed in the student responsibility portion of the intake form.

    I have a service animal, what do I do?

    You need to register your service animal with the OSA.

    Service Animal Policy:

    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Sec. 36.302 © (1), requires that a public accommodation modify its policies, practices and procedures to permit the use of a Service Animal by an individual with a disability in any area open to the general public. (Corresponding Pennsylvania laws would also apply when discussing the oversight authority.)

    The Americans with Disabilities Act and the U.S. Department of Justice have established guidelines for inquiries about the use of a service animal in cases where the animal’s purpose is not readily apparent. Two questions may be asked to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal:

    • Is the animal required because of a disability?
    • What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

    DeSales University recognizes that Service Animals can play an important role in facilitating the independence of individuals with certain types of disabilities. Allowing individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by their appropriately trained Service Animal in campus facilities where animals are typically prohibited, is a reasonable modification of general DeSales policies and practices concerning animals on campus. The health and safety of DeSales University students, faculty, staff, as well as the service animal are important. The health and safety of DeSales University students, faculty, staff, as well as the Service Animal is important, therefore, only Service Animals that meet the criteria described in this policy will be exempt from the rules that otherwise restrict or prohibit animals.

    In compliance with applicable laws, DeSales University allows service animals in its academic and non-academic buildings, classrooms, residence halls, meeting areas, dining areas, recreational facilities, and at all campus activities and events, when the animal is accompanied by an individual with a disability who indicates the service animal is trained to provide a specific service to them that is directly related to their disability.

    Generally speaking, the DeSales University staff and faculty may not make any inquiries regarding the presence of a Service Animal when it is readily apparent that the dog is trained to do work or perform a task for an individual with a disability.

    How do I request an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?

    DeSales University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations and an accessible environment for qualified students with disabilities. The University complies with all applicable provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

    Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Section 504, individuals with a disability may be entitled to keep an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) as a reasonable accommodation in campus housing facilities that otherwise impose restrictions or have prohibitions on non-service animals in residence. In order for a student with a disability to qualify for such an accommodation, professional documentation of a mental health condition that rises to the level of a disability must be submitted. Documentation must establish the therapeutic need of the animal that is directly connected to the individual’s disability, and must establish that the ESA is necessary to afford the individual with a disability an equal opportunity to use a dwelling or to participate in the housing program.

    Requests for an ESA are determined on a case by case basis. The appropriate paperwork submitted by your medical provider as well as a meeting with the Director will help determine if the need for an ESA is appropriate and reasonable. We work closely with Housing and Residential Life to determine the appropriate accommodation for an ESA based on the medical paperwork.

    I have dietary issues. How do I get food accommodations?

    We work closely with our Dining Services, including the head chef and nutritionist, to determine how we can meet your dietary needs. Please speak with Dining Services to ask about their policies and inform them of your needs. The OSA requires your medical records to be able to offer such accommodation.

    What if I need short term accommodations?

    We also work with you if you sustain an injury and need accommodations for a short period of time. Maurice Stallings, our Accessibility Coordinator handles temporary accommodations. Contact him and he will schedule a meeting with you to discuss your needs.

    I am an athlete. Do I go through athletics to get help academically?

    That is up to you. The athletics department and coaches will speak with you about your academic requirements and will recommend our office to you to make sure you get the services you need. Maurice Stallings, our Accessibility Coordinator works directly with athletics to help athletes who request services from our office. 

    Where are you located?

    We are on the lower level (basement) of Dooling Hall across the hall from the Academic Success Center, office suite 19.

    Watch our YouTube playlist for step-by-step directions on getting to our office from whichever door you enter the building.

    What are your hours?

    We are available from 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday.

    Is there a testing room?

    Yes. We do have a testing room for those who qualify for that accommodation. The testing room provides a reduced distraction environment. The room contains: noise canceling headphones, ear plugs, dividers, all to help you perform your best when taking your assessments.

    I’m a military veteran, how do I receive services?

    We thank you for your service to our country. The OSA is ready to provide assistance with accommodations if qualified. Please contact the OSA and schedule an appointment to discuss your needs. We are sensitive to the nature of your situation and recommend contacting our Veterans and Military Services office for support and resources available. 

    Are all the buildings accessible?

    Yes. Every building is accessible, a few older buildings have some limitations. 

    I want to request a single room, how do I do that?

    Students with a diagnosed medical condition which may significantly impact residential living may submit a Special Housing Request through the Office of Student Accessibility. The accommodations requested through this process must be an integral component of a treatment plan prescribed by a medical professional qualified to treat that particular condition. Students are encouraged to review all facets of the documentation process.

    The Special Housing Request Committee is composed of representatives from the Office of Student Accessibility, Office of Residential Life, Facilities, Counseling Services, and Student Health Services. The Committee considers and prioritizes applications case-per-case based on how the severity of the medical condition may significantly impact residential living.

    Housing applications are due by June 1st for incoming first year students and by February 1st  for current students. If you just want a single for a non-medical reason, please reach out to Housing and Residential Life about their policies.

    Please note:

    *Documentation of a condition does not guarantee that an application will be approved.

  • Academic Support/Coaching

    Coming from high school to college is a major transition academically. Should you need assistance with time management,  study skills, tutoring, daily/weekly scheduling, homework, reading, accountability, or other types of tools to help you with your academic journey, you can schedule meetings with our staff.

In addition to some general information about the OSA, this video playlist provides several ways of finding your way to our office in Dooling Hall.

Helpful Links for Accessibility

Contact Us

Office of Student Accessibility
Dooling Hall, Room 19