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Registering For Services with SDS

Student Disability Services provides academic and/or environmental accommodations and services for students with disabilities. The law defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. Impairments include: attention deficit disorder, chronic medical conditions, learning disabilities, neurological disorders, orthopedic impairments, psychological disorders, sensory impairments (hearing/vision), and traumatic brain injury. Major life activities include: breathing, caring for oneself, hearing, learning, performing manual tasks, seeing, speaking, walking, and working.

Students requesting accommodations or services due to a permanent or temporary disability must register with Student Disability Services. In order to qualify for disability services, please follow the steps below:

  1. Complete and submit the Disability Self-Disclosure and Request for Access Accommodations Form (see Forms and On-Line Requests).
  2. Submit current and comprehensive disability documentation (see Documentation Guidelines). If documentation is insufficient to determine eligibility for disability services, SDS may request additional information. Except in cases of obvious physical disabilities, documentation is required before accommodation will be provided.
  3. Call 607-254-4545 to make an appointment to meet with an SDS staff person for an intake interview to discuss your specific needs.

The information gathered in this process is used by the SDS staff to develop an accommodation plan, which is an agreement between a student and SDS of reasonable accommodations and services. The accommodation plan can be modified throughout a student's Cornell career if there are changes in the nature of the condition of the student.

If classroom accommodations are granted, students are responsible for providing accommodation letters to their instructors at the beginning of each semester in which accommodations will be required. (See Procedures for Academic Accommodations.)

Students have the right to seek answers to questions or concerns about academic modifications, possible discrimination and campus accessibility. The SDS staff encourages students to initially discuss concerns with their SDS Counselor. Information about the SDS Grievance Procedure, including University Policy 6.4 can be found at

The Importance of Advance Notice

Reviewing documentation and meeting with you may take as much as a week at the beginning of the semester. Some accommodations, such as alternative media and providing interpreters, can take up to eight weeks to arrange. Please note that advance notice will assure that accommodation requests are provided on a timely basis.

For Students Experiencing Educational Difficulty