Getting Started

The following resources are provided for incoming students who experience disabilities.

New Student Checklist

In addition to registering for courses, incoming students who experience disabilities may need to:

It is the student's responsibility to arrange for certain services which are outside the scope of Disability Support Services. These services include attendant care, mobility training and sources of financial aid.

Documentation

Students supply documentation to DSS to establish eligibility.

University of Alaska Anchorage recognizes the best practices for documentation of disability that have been established by the Association on Higher Education and Disability.

Current diagnostic and evaluative reports completed by a trained professional are required as documentation.

Documentation Requirements

  • Be on letterhead
  • Be signed by a qualified professional
  • Establish how the student is impacted by disability
  • Must be within the past 3 years 

All evaluations, test results and medical records are confidential and are used for the sole purpose of determining eligibility for accommodations. The nature of the disability or temporary disabling condition is not released to any other party except with the written consent of the student. 

  • Policy for Documentation of Learning Disabilities

    Policy on Documentation of Learning Disabilities

    In order to receive appropriate academic support services in the classroom, the student must have a clearly diagnosed and documented learning disability. It is the student's responsibility to secure documentation. University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) is not responsible for provision of diagnostic services to prospective or currently enrolled students. Recent and appropriate documentation, which addresses the student’s current level of functioning, is required. Documentation should be from a school psychologist, clinical or educational psychologist, neuropsychologist, or other qualified professional who diagnosed the learning disability. The documentation should include, but is not limited to, the following:

    1. A measure of Aptitude/Cognitive Ability

      A measure of intellectual assessment (e.g., Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised [WAIS-R]; Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery - Revised: Tests of Cognitive Ability; Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test; Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, fourth ed. [SBiFE]), Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, 5th ed [SB5].

    2. A measure of Cognitive and Information Processing

      A measure of information processing (e.g., Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery - Revised: Tests of Cognitive Ability; Detroit Tests of Learning Aptitude-3 [DTLA-3]; Detroit Tests of Learning Aptitude - Adult [DTLA-A]; information from subtests on WAIS-R)

    3. A measure of Academic Achievement

      A measure of academic achievement (e.g., Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults [SATA]; Stanford Test of Academic Skills; Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery - Revised: Tests of Achievement; Wechsler Individual Achievement Test [WIAT]; or specific achievement tests such as: Nelson-Denny Reading Skills Test; Stanford Diagnostic Mathematics Test; Test of Written Language - 3 [TOWL-3]; Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests - Revised)

    4. Specific diagnosis.

    5. Description of assessment procedures, evaluation instruments, and a narrative summary, including all test scores, which support the diagnosis.

    Acceptable and Unacceptable Documentation

    Many people suspect they have some type of learning disability and may wish to be tested. As stated above, UAA is not responsible for providing diagnostic testing; however, DSS can provide names of qualified professionals who conduct appropriate testing. Screening tests: Screening tests, such as Slingerland and Scotopic Sensitivity screenings, are not accepted by DSS as documentation of a learning disability. While these screening tools may indicate a person has some learning difficulties and needs further testing, screening tests are not considered documentation of a learning disability.

  • Policy on Documentation of Attention-deficit/hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

    Policy on Documentation of Attention-deficit/hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

    In order to request accommodations in the classroom and receive services, the student must have a clear diagnosis of ADHD. It is the student’s responsibility to secure documentation. The University of Alaska Anchorage is not responsible for provision of diagnostic services to prospective or currently enrolled students.

    Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is considered a medical or clinical diagnosis. Individuals qualified to render a diagnosis for these disorders are practitioners who have been trained in the assessment of ADHD and are experienced in assessing the needs of adult learners. Qualified practitioners include developmental pediatricians, neurologists, psychiatrists, clinical or educational psychologists, family physicians, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, or a combination of such professionals.

    The documentation should include, but is not limited to, the following:

    1. A clear statement of ADHD with the *DSM-V diagnosis and a description of supporting symptoms.
    2. A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis.
    3. A narrative summary, including all scores, which supports the diagnosis.
    4. Pertinent medication information (e.g., the impact of medication on the student’s ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment).

    While older diagnostic evaluations will be considered, current documentation is preferred and may be required.

    Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if co-existing learning disabilities or other disabling conditions are indicated.

    *The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) was published on May 18, 2013.  DSM-V supersedes the DSMV-IV which was published in 2000. DSM-IV diagnosing criteria will be accepted for individuals bringing forward documentation dated prior to May 18, 2013.

    More information: Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder from the American Psychiatric Association.

High School Transition

Students transitioning from High School to UAA should make an appointment with DSS, provide current diagnostic and evaluative reports, then request reasonable accommodations that are supported by documentation.

Reasonable accommodations include modifications and adjustments that do not fundamentally alter or lower the standards of an instructional program.

Students may receive reasonable accommodations to “level the playing field” but these accommodations are meant to ensure equal access not to guarantee success.

A university student needs to be their own advocate.

High School students may be used to having parents speak for them. DSS understands this and knows it can be hard to ask for help and to discuss a disability openly. To prepare for attending the university, students must learn to advocate for themselves.

UAA Resources 

Students are highly encouraged to participate in the annual high school transition event coordinated by DSS. Students come onto campus in the spring for a campus tour, pizza lunch, and chance to hear from current UAA students, staff, and faculty. 

Students are also encouraged to attend new student orientation and to enroll in Guidance 150 (GUID 150): College Survival Skills. Both of these opportunities strengthen connections to important resources.

Online Resources

  • Going to College
    This is a new website with video interviews of college students with disabilities. It is great for those who are gearing up or transitioning into life as a college student, especially for high school students who are getting ready to start college courses.
  • From one student to another...this handout has links to informational websites. It was created by a student who wanted to share resources.
  • ADA
    This is a link to the US Department of Justice Americans with Disabilities Act Home Page.
  • Alaska State Library Talking Book Center
    Information on eligibility for services as well as instructions for how to request materials
  • Alaska Student Loans
    State funding, loan counseling, repayment options, and more.
  • Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired
    The Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, located in Anchorage, Alaska, is a private nonprofit agency that offers a variety of ways to promote independence by residential as well as community-based persons who are blind or visually impaired.
  • College Preparatory & Developmental Studies Department (CPDS)
    The College Preparatory & Developmental Studies program at UAA combines developmental reading, writing, mathematics, study skills, English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) and college success courses into a single department.
  • Disability History Exhibit - This 23 panel exhibit that can be seen hanging at UAA's Disability Support Services (DSS) office or at Access Alaska as the two entities share ownership of many panels. The electronic version was created by the UAA DSS office.
  • Disability Resources
    This is a guide with links to information on Assistive Technology, Financial Aid for the Disabled, Transportation, Famous people with disabilities, Sexuality, Educational Resources, Employment, and countless other topics that can be accessed either through an alphabetical list, a site search, or through a directory arranged by state. It is a massive site with hundreds of links.
  • Disaboom Disability Scholarships 
    A great number of scholarships exist for people with disabilities, ranging from financial aid for students with learning disabilities to scholarships for disabled veterans to grants for students with vision loss, hearing loss, and mobility impairments, among others. Start your search here!
  • DO-IT Financial Aid Information
    This is the DO-IT site from the University of Washington. This site has a tremendous amount of information available. This page is dedicated to financial aid, but others pages within the site cover topics including ideas for accommodating specific disabilities and more.
  • DVR
    The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation offers services to disabled Alaskans who are seeking employment, increased independence and access to the communities of which they are a part.
  • Fact Finder
    This is the UAA student handbook.
  • FAFSA
    This is the site for the federal application for financial student aid. It is a necessary first step for almost all financial aid options including Pell grants. You can fill it out online, download the form, or pick up a paper copy at the financial aid office if you don’t want to file electronically.
  • FastWeb
    This site offers free scholarship searches. The steps are pretty simple. First you create a personalized profile and enter your e-mail address. The search engine then compares your information to the information in thousands of online financial aid databases, with possible leads arriving as e-mail. The search is ongoing and so as new scholarships become available you are notified.
  • FinAid
    This is a great site for basic questions concerning financial aid.
  • Learning Disabilities
    This page comes from a site dedicated to learning disabilities. It provides clear and easy to understand definitions as well as links to other pertinent information that may be helpful.
  • National Business and Disability Council
    Students with disabilities who are earning a two or four year degree can post their resume on the National Business and Disability Council Web Site
  • Recording For the Blind and Dyslexic
    Learning Ally offers alternatives to print for those who experience disabilities that affect access to print material. There are also Learning through Listening Scholarships that are awarded each year.
  • Transition from High School
    Students and Parents who have questions about the transition from High School to the University can find many questions answered at this Department of Education Site. The brochure can also be ordered for hardcopy viewing.
  • US Department of Education
    This is the online version of the student guide to financial aid that is put out by the U.S. department of education. It is also available in paper form here at the University’s Financial Aid Office.