Disability Resources for Students

Disability Resources for Students (DRS) recognizes disability as an aspect of diversity that is integral to society and to our campus community. DRS staff work with admitted University of Washington (UW) students to ensure equal access to UW academic programs and services. Whether transitioning from high school, community college or another university, it’s important to be aware of the process to request accommodations and/or auxiliary aids due to a disability or temporary health condition.

All disability accommodations are determined through an interactive process that requires the engagement of both the student and DRS staff.

Students need to be aware that it could take between 1-5 weeks, sometimes longer, to receive and implement accommodations with DRS. This is based on a number of potential factors, including but not limited to: the nature of a student’s academic accommodation requests, the availability of appropriate supporting documentation, and scheduling appointments during peak periods of a quarter.

  • Newly admitted UW students are advised to start this process once they have confirmed admission to the UW.
  • UW students already enrolled should engage DRS as soon as possible once they have identified a barrier and/or need.

Once accommodations are established, they are applied proactively rather than retroactively, so planning ahead is very important. The steps below provide general information about transitioning to college, and also outline the process for requesting and receiving disability accommodations at the UW.

The steps for requesting accommodations through the interactive process are:

  1. Student completes an application on myDRS, including any/all available documentation.
  2. Student is scheduled for an Access Planning Meeting (APM); student meets with DRS staff member for the APM to discuss how their disability and/or health condition presents in the relevant educational settings. Detailed information can be found on the Planning for APM page.
  3. Reasonable accommodations are determined through information presented by the student, evaluation of access barriers in environments, and DRS staff member’s professional knowledge and consultation with academic course/program staff.
  4. Notifications of approved accommodations are distributed to student. Student selects to activate accommodations in a timely manner each term. Faculty, or academic staff, are notified via the myDRS system.
  5. Students are responsible to engage in ongoing communication and interactions with assigned DRS staff as needed for activated accommodations. DRS staff facilitate necessary assistance when engaged by the student or faculty to ensure effective implementation of accommodations.

Step 1: Apply online through MyDRS

Complete the myDRS New Student Application.

This brief online questionnaire is for students to describe the impacts and history of a disability and/or health condition, and request accommodations. myDRS is the online system used by students and faculty to submit, track, and help streamline the facilitation of accommodations and services approved for students. For questions about the application process, please email drstintake@uw.edu

Requesting UW On-Campus Housing Accommodations: Students seeking accommodations for on-campus housing must also complete a “Housing Accommodations Questionnaire” and apply to HFS housing. For more information on housing accommodations, please visit the DRS On-Campus Housing Page.

Requesting Disability Parking for UW Campus: Students seeking disability parking access on campus will need to submit a copy of their state placard, state ID card, or information submitted by their healthcare provider to request a UW placard. Visit the DRS Parking page for more details.

New student application login

Click above to apply for DRS services

Submit accommodation request(s) with relevant documentation.

Documentation that establishes the nature of a disability and/or health condition as well as its impact for the student in the educational environment is needed to support requested accommodations. Students are encouraged to have their healthcare providers complete the DRS Healthcare Provider Form and/or to provide whatever documentation that they have available to support their accommodation requests. DRS has specific documentation guidelines noted, as well as FAQs available (see below).

Once the application and any related documentation are received, a DRS Access Coordinator will review the application file and will communicate with the student – either requesting additional documentation in support of the requested accommodations, or with instructions for scheduling an Access Planning Meeting.

Step 2: Meet with a DRS Staff Member for your Access Planning Meeting (APM)

Upon completing the first step, a DRS staff member will follow up to schedule an Access Planning Meeting (APM). APMs can be conducted over the phone, Zoom, or Skype when appropriate. During this meeting, the Access Coordinator and the student will discuss how their individual access needs impact their academic experiences, along with any relevant educational history of using accommodations.

Learn how to prepare for your Access Planning Meeting (APM)

Step 3: Determination of reasonable accommodations

The purpose of the Access Planning Meeting is to engage in an interactive process with a DRS Coordinator to discuss the submitted documentation and a student’s experience living with a disability. The goal is to identify appropriate accommodations and/or auxiliary aids that can be implemented to create equal access in the areas where there are barriers caused by a disability. Once accommodations are established, the DRS Coordinator will share how each accommodation is activated and facilitated on a quarterly basis.

Academic accommodations are approved on a case-by-case basis and are individually designed to create equal access for a student. They can be approved on a provisional, temporary, and/or permanent basis by DRS; additional accommodations can be requested/reviewed as a student progresses through their academic pursuits at the university.

Accommodations requests will be evaluated so they do not fundamentally alter academic standards or modify the program/course curriculum. DRS staff will seek feedback from academic partners with subject matter expertise when determining if a requested accommodation will fundamentally alter a course or program. If alternate accommodations are possible, those will be presented to the student.

In the event that any accommodation request is not approved and the student is in disagreement with the decision, they may seek reevaluation through the Reconsideration Process.

Step 4: Approved and activated accommodations are communicated with student, appropriate faculty, and/or appropriate staff as needed.

Students are expected to:

  1. Review their DRS Student Eligibility Letter (SEL).
  2. Log into the myDRS portal and activate accommodations. Each quarter, students are responsible for making accommodations requests through myDRS in a timely manner as outlined in the Services Request Timeline. Accommodations approved and activated in the course of the quarter will have a timeline based on the date activated.
    • Faculty notification letters are released starting 5 business days before each quarter begins.
    • Some accommodations require faculty and/or departmental consultation before they can be fully implemented. The DRS Coordinator will partner with the student and the course faculty on these specific accommodations.
  3. Communicate with each course faculty/TA/coordinator. Once faculty notification letters are released each quarter, students need to connect with each of their faculty, TA or coordinator to discuss details related to how accommodations could be facilitated in each course. Faculty, academic staff, and students can engage DRS Staff if needed to assist.

Step 5: Ongoing communication with DRS regarding any questions or concerns.

The DRS staff is tasked with ensuring the provision of approved accommodations and auxiliary aids. If a student experiences any difficulties in obtaining or receiving accommodations, or if any additional accommodations are needed, the student should follow up with their DRS Coordinator right away for assistance.

Ongoing discussions between the student and DRS staff could include:

  • Requiring assistance in the implementation of an activated accommodation
  • Reviewing the renewal process for provisional or temporary accommodations
  • Reviewing process for requesting additional accommodations
  • Discussing needs for accommodations beyond the classroom, such as:
    • Clinicals, clerkships and internships
    • Field courses and field trips
    • Study Abroad experiences and excursions

Additional information on getting started with DRS

Privacy Information: All information and documentation submitted to the DRS office is kept separate from academic records and is considered private under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). HIPAA privacy and confidentiality guides do not apply to documents submitted to DRS, as they are not being used for medical treatment. Under FERPA guidelines, DRS can not guarantee complete confidentiality as there may be times when sharing some information with other UW staff/faculty is necessary in the facilitation of the accommodation process.

Release of Information: Students will need to submit an “Information Release Consent” in myDRS if they would like their DRS Coordinator to discuss disability accommodations with a family member, healthcare provider, or other non-UW staff. For students not yet working with DRS, they can complete the online Release of Information form. The DRS Healthcare Provider Form also contains a Release of Information section for communication between DRS and that particular healthcare provider.

Transition Resources: For more information on transitioning to the UW DRS office, please visit the Transition Resources webpage.

(Updated 1/2020)