Accessibility Services

At Simmons University, we are committed to the full participation of all students in our programs and activities. Simmons University is mandated by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to provide equal access to facilities, educational and co-curricular programs, campus activities, and employment opportunities to qualified individuals with disabilities. The University makes every effort to provide reasonable accommodations so that students can be ensured equal access and works to remove any barriers which may prevent this from happening.

The Simmons cupola

Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) Summer 2020 COVID-19 Information:

The Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) is providing remote virtual support during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensures that continuous support will be available to students, parents, staff, and faculty throughout this period. OAS is available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In addition, OAS staff are able to provide flexible Zoom meeting times in the early evening if necessary to fit individual schedules. 

OAS is best reached by email at [email protected]. You may still call our front office at 617-521-2658 if you wish and we will receive your voicemail. Please leave your preferred email address in your message.

Simmons University has developed an Online Student Success Resource Guide. Please refer to this guide for information about academic support resources. We wish you and your families well in this most challenging and uncharted time.


About the Office of Accessibility Services

The Office of Accessibility Services(OAS), located in the Center for Student Success, is a strategy-based service that supports students in their academic endeavors both on the ground and online. Students registered with OAS are expected to adhere to the same academic and behavioral standards as the rest of the University. A student’s initial connection and ongoing interaction with OAS is self-propelled. Accommodations are applied on a prospective basis - students are not entitled to have accommodations applied on a retroactive basis.

We invite you to contact the Office of Accessibility Services at [email protected] with any questions or concerns. You are welcome to make an appointment and visit us in the Center for Student Success, on the Ground Floor of Lefavour Hall. Please refer to this Simmons Access Info Sheet. We look forward to working with you!

The following information will help you to learn how to register with the OAS; how to schedule use of the Testing Center for assessments (exams and quizzes); and other important information. Please note: students must be fully registered and receive confirmation of eligibility before requests for academic accommodations can be made.

Returning Students

Unless a new diagnosis has occurred, you do not need to submit new or additional documents.

New Students

In order to fully register with the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS), a student must provide documentation of the disability that substantially limits a major life activity, such as learning, hearing, seeing, reading, walking, and speaking. All submitted documentation must include the name and professional credentials of the evaluator on the diagnostician's letterhead in clear and legible writing.

New students entering a Simmons University program may begin to submit documentation upon enrolling. Documentation for a future semester should be submitted to OAS two to four weeks prior to the start of the semester to allow time for full review of eligibility. While students can register with OAS at any time during the year, OAS recommends starting early so that documentation can be reviewed and accommodations can be requested in a timely manner. See steps below.

OAS Registration Timetable

  1. New student submits documentation to OAS
  2. OAS reviews the student's documentation (5-7 business days)
  3. OAS emails the student to confirm the student's registration with OAS and the student's eligibility to request accommodations
  4. Student submits the Accommodation Request Form to OAS
  5. OAS reviews the accommodation request (5-7 business days)
  6. Student must meet with OAS staff to review accommodations
  7. Student receives their Academic Accommodation Authorization (AAA) document from OAS by secure email
  8. Student must provide their AAA document to each faculty member for whose course the student intends to activate their accommodations

Submitting Documentation to OAS

A. Documentation must be current (within four years from the date of the diagnostic tool) in order to be submitted for OAS registration.

  • Use our secure file transfer link to submit documents. Please enter a Simmons University email address in the "From" line when submitting forms to Accessibility Services.
  • Mail or hand-deliver documentation and forms to our office: Simmons University, Office of Accessibility Services, Center for Student Success, 300 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115
  • We cannot accept fax submissions.

B. If documentation is not current or does not yet exist, the student must request documentation from a provider or specialist.

Acceptable documentation includes:

  • Neuropsychological Evaluation: The most recent educational testing scores (e.g. Aptitude Testing, WAIS, IQ & Information Processing Testing, or Academic Achievement Testing, etc.).
  • ADHD: DSM-IV or DSM-V Diagnosis and full diagnostic report.
  • Psychiatric: DSM-IV or DSM-V Diagnosis, impact on academic functioning, and recommended academic accommodations.
  • Physical/Mobility: Diagnosis and assessment, impact causing substantial limitation (including history of accommodations if applicable), and recommended accommodations.
  • Practitioner's Verification of Diagnosis: This verification form can be used as primary documentation when the above diagnostic tools have not yet been conducted.

Student's documentation will be reviewed within five to seven business days after receipt. A confirmation of eligibility or a request for additional documentation/clarification will be communicated to the student by OAS.

All academic accommodations at Simmons University are applied on a prospective basis - students are not entitled to have accommodations applied on a retroactive basis.

WHEN: Timetable of Requesting Academic Accommodations:

  • New First Year or Transfer Students (On-ground / Boston) may begin to request academic accommodations beginning August 1 (Fall semester) or Dec 15 (Spring semester) of their entering year.
  • Returning students (On-Ground / Boston) may request academic accommodations beginning August 15 (Fall semester) or Jan 5 (Spring semester).
  • Online students may request academic accommodations in accordance with their term start times.

HOW: Steps to Requesting Academic Accommodations

Before starting: You must submit your documentation to OAS before requesting your academic accommodations. Start at "Where Do I Begin: How to Register with OAS?" Your academic accommodation request cannot be processed until OAS has received and reviewed complete documentation.

Steps:

  1. Complete and submit the accommodation request form for the full academic year through our secure file transfer link.
  2. Only the current, up-to-date accommodation request form found at the link above will be processed; earlier versions of this form (those found through Internet search) will not be accepted or processed.
  3. Students will receive their accommodation authorization document 5 business days after submitting their request (if returning) or 5 business days after their meeting with OAS staff (if new). Please note in high volume times processing may take longer.
  4. If you are new to OAS (first-year, transfer, and returning student requiring an update), schedule a meeting with OAS staff after submitting your request for academic accommodations.
  5. After meeting with an OAS staff member to review and discuss your accommodation requests, you will receive an Academic Accommodation Authorization(AAA) document containing your approved accommodations for all of your courses/faculty for the full academic year.
  6. Students are responsible for distribution of the AAA to faculty. Generally, OAS does not deliver the AAA document on behalf of students.

Commonly Requested Academic Accommodations include, but are not limited to:

  • Extended Time on Assessments
  • Reduced Distraction Testing Environment
  • Alternate Text Formats
  • Access to Note Provision
  • Alternate Learning Tools

In accordance with applicable federal, state, and city disability laws, Simmons University has established the following process to ensure that students with a documented diagnosis / disability may have equal access to Simmons University housing resources.

The initial OAS housing request review process takes weeks as there are several steps to determine eligibility and to review access needs based on the submitted documents from the student and practitioner. The OAS receives an extensive number of requests, which is why complete and detailed documentation is essential. Determinations are made first for the highest need cases, generally medically based, and then determined based on a clearly stated and evidence-based need to access the residence halls through the requested accommodation.

Students who intend to request residential/housing accommodation(s) for their on-campus Simmons residence based on a documented diagnosis/disability will need to complete the process outlined below.

Housing Accommodation Application Deadlines

Academic SessionDeadline for Application and Documentation
2020-2021 Academic YearReturning Students: March 6, 2020
REVISED New Students: May 25, 2020

Applications will be reviewed after March 6 and May 25, respectively.

All accommodations approved after the applicable deadline will be assigned based upon availability; students are placed on a priority wait-list by the Office of Residential Life.

Requesting Housing Accommodations

Step 1: Review the request forms

In order to request residential accommodations, carefully review these steps and the two required forms in advance of making your request. Only the current, up-to-date forms found below will be processed; earlier versions of these forms (those found through Internet search) will not be accepted or processed.

Step 2: Complete the request forms

The student completes the Student Request for Housing Accommodations form. The Practitioner’s Verification of Diagnosis for Housing Accommodations form must be completed by a licensed health care professional.

2020-2021 Academic Year
Student Request for Housing Accommodations 2020-2021
Practitioner’s Verification of Diagnosis for Housing Accommodations 2020-2021

Returning students who already have a Practitioner's Verification of Diagnosis for Housing Accommodations document on file with OAS do NOT need to resubmit a new Verification of Diagnosis in order to re-request previously approved housing accommodations. However, returning students who are seeking an additional or new housing accommodation not previously reviewed or approved will be required to submit a new Practitioner's Verification of Diagnosis for Housing Accommodations to support any new requests.

Step 3: Submit the request forms

Use the secure file transfer system to submit the documents. Students must use their Simmons University email address to log in to the secure file transfer system. Please submit documents as PDFs.

If you are unable to scan documents, we invite you to send via U.S. Mail or personally deliver to: Simmons University, Office of Accessibility Services, Center for Student Success, 300 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115.

We cannot accept fax submissions.

Information provided to the Simmons University Office of Accessibility Services is kept confidential.

Your request and supporting documentation will be reviewed by the Office of Accessibility Services.

Only students approved for testing accommodations may request to take exams through the OAS Testing Center.

Approved students are eligible to take any timed, in-class assessment (e.g. exams, quizzes, compositions, etc.) in the OAS Testing Center.

  • Use the online Exam Request Form to request any assessment to be taken in the OAS Testing Center.
  • Please carefully read the instructions on the Exam Request Form for important information about scheduling your exam.
  • Fill out the form no less than one week in advance of the exam to allow OAS adequate time to process the request.
  • If the date and/or time of an exam changes after you have already submitted the exam request form, email [email protected] to update your exam reservation details.
  • OAS will send a detailed confirmation email from [email protected] after we process the Exam Request Form. The confirmation email will include important OAS Testing Center guidelines and instructions for test day.

The following guidelines are used by the Office of Accessibility Services in order to guide students who are temporarily disabled and seeking academic assistance.

Temporary disabilities (e.g. concussion, broken bone, post-op status) are not included under Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 as permanent disabilities and thus are not eligible for accommodation through the OAS. OAS recognizes that students may become injured or otherwise temporarily disabled and that this may impact their academics for a short period of time. Any allowances a faculty member may choose to offer a student is done so outside of the ADA guidelines for a permanent diagnosis. While such allowances are not titled accommodations, OAS strongly encourages faculty to offer allowance so that a student may fully demonstrate their mastery of a topic or project goal, without the impact of the temporary diagnosis on their final product or grade. Please note that the OAS cannot mandate that faculty offer additional time for completion of assignments for a temporary diagnosis.

The Office of Accessibility Services may support a student with a temporary diagnosis impact in the following ways:

  1. Meeting with the student during the period of the temporary diagnosis to support time management, academics, and meeting course requirements.
  2. Reviewing available accommodations through OAS, which may be granted at a faculty member’s discretion as allowances to a temporarily disabled student. Common supports include:
    • OAS Testing Center use for regularly scheduled or make-up exams requiring additional time. The student is responsible for making all arrangements with faculty for tests to be delivered to OAS.
    • Computer (without internet access) to compose short answers/essays on exams
    • Note Provision for class lectures. OAS will discuss options and provide the steps a student can take to obtain a class note-provider.
    • Scribing - OAS will provide speech-to-text technology for written portions of exams. Arrangements should be made a minimum of 3 days prior to a scheduled exam.
    • Mobility concerns:
      • Access to class spaces (e.g. distances between classes, 2nd floor locations).
      • Helping students to create a plan to navigate between the two locations of the Simmons campuses (Residence campus and Main campus).
      • Recommendations to help secure assistance with carrying books and personal belongings. OAS is unable to provide this assistance.

The Office of Accessibility Services collaborates with faculty and staff across Simmons University. Our goal is to provide you with information for most frequently asked questions. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any other questions!

Accommodation Information:

  • Accommodations are applied on a prospective basis - students are not entitled to have accommodations applied on a retroactive basis. Therefore it is the student's responsibility to contact you in advance to review and discuss the listed accommodation(s).
  • Students are encouraged to contact the OAS immediately upon deciding to request an accommodation, as well as going forward, as appropriate.
  • You are required to provide the accommodations that have been approved for the student.
  • OAS proctors exams between 8:30am and 4:30pm Monday through Friday. You will receive an e-mail prompt to send your exam to OAS. Please drop off your exams or submit your exam document(s) through OAS's secure exam transfer link
  • If you have any questions or concerns about this student's particular needs, please call the Office of Accessibility Services at 617-521-2658 or e-mail [email protected].

Peer Note Provider Announcement

You may receive a Note Provider Request form with the following announcement:

Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) is requesting the assistance of a volunteer note provider to support an OAS student in this course. This is an opportunity to assist a fellow student with a specific learning/medical need to access the information in this course. If you are interested, please inquire with OAS by emailing [email protected] for next steps or visit the OAS on the 1st Floor of Lefavour Hall in the Center for Student Success. Note providers will receive a $100 stipend check as a thank you for volunteering their time and notes. Please bring a sample of your notes for review by an OAS staff member. Only legible, organized notes will be considered. Electronic notes are preferred. Thank you.

Syllabus Statement

OAS must be accurately represented. Please update your course syllabus to include the following:

Students who wish to receive academic accommodations for this course must first register due to a documented diagnosis/disability with the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS). The most commonly requested accommodations are extended time for testing and use of the OAS Testing Center. OAS will provide eligible/registered students with an Academic Accommodations Authorization form to share with each instructor to confirm the student’s authorized accommodations. The OAS is located on the 1st floor of Lefavour Hall in the Center for Student Success and is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. For more information about the services and accommodations available through the Office of Accessibility Services please, review the following link: simmons.edu/access.

Center for Student Success

The Center for Student Success (CSS), located on the ground floor of LeFavour Hall, houses the Office of Undergraduate Advising, the Writing Center and Tutoring Center, the Center for Global Education, the Office of Accessibility Services, and the Career Education Center.

Accessibility Services

On Ground Programs
  • (617) 521-2658
  • Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Center for Student Success, Ground Floor, Lefavour Hall

Accessibility Services

Online Programs
  • (617) 521-2658
  • Monday - Thursday 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. EST
  • Remote