Do I need to register for disability services with the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES)? What if I want to try it “on my own”?
Even if you do not think you will need accommodations or services right away, it is recommended that you register for services with DRES. You may have classes during certain semesters where you will want to utilize disability-related accommodations or other DRES services.
In order to register with DRES, it is a two-step process.
- First, submit an online Application for Services.
- Second, upload/provide documentation that shows your disability that meets our Documentation Requirements.
Registering prior to when you might need accommodations allows you to receive those accommodations and services in a more timely manner than if you had to complete the registration process first.
Will my IEP or 504 plan be sufficient for documentation of my disability? Will I get the same accommodations I did in high school?
While IEPs and 504 plans were essential for you to get accommodations and services in elementary and high school, at the college level other documentation is necessary to substantiate your disability. Please refer to the link for the Documentation Requirements given above.
Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the documentation of your disability that you provide, the course demands and your input. You may receive some of the same accommodations as you did in high school (such as extended time on tests) but some high school accommodations are not applicable at the college level, such as a “modified curriculum” (such as only having to complete ten homework problems instead of the twenty the class has to complete).
You can do this. DRES will not force you to use accommodations. However, keep in mind that you cannot go back, only forward so if you take a test without accommodations and you get a bad grade, you cannot retake the test with accommodations.
You can, however, show the instructor your Letter of Accommodations and plan to use accommodations on the next test in the class. It is best to show your instructors your Letter of Accommodations within the first two weeks of the semester, even if you do not think you will be needing to use accommodations. As the semester progresses, you may want to use accommodations.
DRES keeps your disability documentation in secured files and servers and it is only accessible to the DRES staff who work with you. You only need to disclose that you have a disability (not specifically what your disability is) in order to receive accommodations through the Letter of Accommodations that you give to your professors.
If an instructor fails to provide you with a requested accommodation, please contact your Access Specialist at DRES and let them know what occurred. Your Access Specialist can discuss options with you and can follow up with your instructor. There is a process in place at the university that would include first discussing this with your instructor, then the department head, and then an academic dean in the college in which you took the course.
If you disagree with your Access Specialist, we encourage you to meet with them again to further discuss your concerns. Open communication is key for understanding your needs and legally what can be accommodated. If you still have concerns, then you can contact the Assistant Director for Academic Services at DRES to discuss your issues. If you feel that this has not resolved the situation, you can then meet with the Director of DRES and after that, the Dean of the College of Applied Health Studies.
What happens if I feel that an instructor or department is discriminating against me because of my disability?
If you feel that an agency or individual on campus is discriminating against you based on your disability, please contact your Access Specialist to discuss this. As noted in the University of Illinois’ Nondiscrimination Statement, Illinois takes this type of complaint very seriously as they value diversity and equality and foster an environment that is diverse and values everyone’s contributions. The Office for Access and Equity is the agency on campus that handles these types of complaints and you can contact them at 217-333-0885.