Disability Resources

Student Disability Center (SDC) Website

The following is a guide/checklist for helping disabled grad students navigate campus resources – created by the DIAAC Disabled Grad Student Subcommittee in 2018 (Last updated 06/11/2018). 

Please click here to view this information via google docs, or copy and paste this link in your browser: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xhcbGhWiyj1I2TiwoXc7vNyxlV3z6e-a3CtBoljBeDU/edit?usp=sharing

Overview of contents:

  • Path 1: Applying for Accommodations
  • Path 2: Once you are connected with the Student Disability Center (SDC) how do you access resources?
  • Examples of accommodations: What the university can do for you
  • Disabled spaces on campus
  • What should I do if…?
  • Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
  • Useful links

Path 1: Applying for accommodations

  • Go to Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) or any doctor or qualified professional in the community to get documentation for your disability. It could be your therapist, your social worker, your acupuncturist, your general practitioner, etc. Basically anyone with some expertise in the area you need help with accommodations for.
  • You will need this professional to fill out specific forms or write a letter in a specified format, so check with the resources in Path 2 for instructions.

Path 2: Once you are connected with the Student Disability Center (SDC) how do you access resources?

  • The SDC can mainly help with courses, but has some flexibility to help you figure out other issues.
  • If you are a Teaching Assistant you can contact the Office of Disability Management Services (DMS) in Human Resources (HR)
  • If you need accommodations outside of TAships and classes, contact JP Delplanque of the Office of Graduate Studies.

Examples of accommodations: What the university can do for you

  • The Occupational Health Clinic provides a number of resources for Graduate Students, such as ergonomic services and body mechanics programs which include office & computer, laboratory, and animal handling accommodations.
  • Depending on your academic status and employment with the University you may be eligible for services and accommodations from either or both of:
    • Human Resources; see their Disability Management Services page.
    • The Student Disability Center; services include (among others):
      • Disability Management Counseling/Advising from Disability Specialists
      • On Campus Mobility Assistance
      • Reader Services
      • Service/Assistance Animals
      • Interpreting and Real Time Captioning Services
  • There are numerous mental health and counseling services available, as well as a counselor who works specifically with graduate students from an office in Graduate Studies; here is a brief description from the Grad Studies website:  Dr. Bai-Yin Chen is a psychologist specializing in college mental health and graduate student concerns and issues. Dr. Chen maintains two offices on campus–one is located in North Hall and the other office location is embedded in the Office of Graduate Studies, Mrak Hall. If you would like to set up an appointment with Dr. Chen in her office in Mrak Hall, you can e-mail her at bchen@shcs.ucdavis.edu.
  • For help with conflict resolution and problem-solving, UC Davis has an Ombuds office available to both students and staff.
  • For staff and their families, there is an Academic and Staff Assistance Program (ASAP) that can help resolve many types of problems and help guide people towards available resources.
  • The Office of Graduate Studies also offers commencement accommodations, including interpreters, transport, and parking.  
  • The Office of Student Housing provides accommodations, which include allowing service/support animals.
  • Graduate Studies has the power to reschedule a Qualifying Exam. In the event that your health- physical or mental- makes it necessary to reschedule, you can do this with a doctor’s note.
  • To get access to the Mobility Assistance Shuttle, which can give you rides around campus, first get authorization through the SDC, then contact: tapsmas@ucdavis.edu

Disabled spaces on campus:

  • UCD interactive parking map  
    • From side toolbar choose Accessibility and then click on options for Accessible Entry and/or Power Assist Entry
  • Parking on campus with a DMV-issued disabled placard/license plate requires a UCD disabled parking permit (DAS). DAS permits are offered at TAPS, and no longer require any additional fees. You will need a UCD ID, placard or disabled license plate number, and the accompanying DMV placard/plate registration. TAPS offers a disabled services window with seating.  To obtain a DMV disabled placard (temporary or permanent), go to the Department of Motor Vehicles, fill out a form to be signed by your doctor, and pay a small fee. Additionally, for those who do not qualify for a DMV disabled placard, it is also possible (for an extra fee) to get a temporary medical parking permit at TAPS with a doctor’s note.

What should I do if…?

  1. I am a TA who is struggling to fulfill my duties for reasons related to my learning disability, medical health, mental health, or other condition?
    1. Contact Disability Management Services through the Human Resources (HR) Department. Fredna Karneges and David Ritz are there to help you get accommodations and navigate a TA-ship with any form of disability.
  2. I am a student struggling with my coursework for reasons related to my learning disability, medical health, mental health, or other condition?
    1. Contact the Student Disability Center. You can get accommodations for any coursework through the SDC. There are many people there to help you navigate this. Josh Hori is helpful with technology and learning disabilities, Russ Zochowski is helpful with physical disabilities, and Joseph Spector is helpful with mental health disabilities.
  3. I am a graduate student struggling to complete my degree requirements (such as Qualifying Exams, orals, course-load) or need extensions due to reasons related to my learning disability, medical health, mental health, or other condition?
    1. A resolution to create accommodations for this is underway. For now, go to Graduate Studies and contact JP Delplanque.
  4. I am a graduate student struggling with any other duties such as GSR/Research Assistant work, dissertation research, or undergraduate mentorship for reasons related to my learning disability, medical health, mental health, or other condition?
    1. For now, go to Graduate Studies and contact JP Delplanque. We are currently working to produce an official accommodation format for this, but for now, JP can help you to less formally get accommodations. Going to Mrak Hall in person may be more effective than waiting for an email response.
  5. I want more information on how to handle disabled student issues?
    1. Disability Management Services and The Student Disability Center can help.
  6. I am being discriminated against because of my disability?
    1. Contact the Student-Worker Union (UAW2865) if you are a TA
      1. See resources from UAW2865 Anti-Oppression Committee
    2. Contact Students and Workers Ending Racial Violence (SWERV) for more resources
    3. Contact HR and the SDC
    4. Set up mediation through ombuds
    5. File a grievance with the GSA vice chair
    6. The discrimination may be causing you distress; if so, please take time out for self care, and try contacting counseling services at Student Health and Counseling Services
  7. I received my bachelor’s degree from UCD and would like to continue my accommodations; what steps do I need to take?
    1. Go to your SDC advocate from before.
    2. Apply for TA accommodations as well through HR-DMS
    3. For any accommodations that do not fall under the above two categories, contact JP DelPlanque in Grad Studies.
  8. I have an undergraduate student who claims to have a disability, but I do not agree?
    1. It is up to the SDC/HR/grad studies and the student’s doctor to decide if a student’s condition qualifies for disability accommodations. If you disagree, you are still required to abide by their accommodations. You may contact the SDC if you would like to ask questions about what qualifies as a disability.
  9. I believe I have a disability, but my professor/advisor/anyone with authority over me disagrees?
    1. Talk to the SDC, HR, and Grad Studies about getting proper documentation
    2. You will need a qualified professional to verify your disability (such as a doctor, therapist, social worker, etc)
    3. Once you have documentation, your rights are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and you are entitled to proper accommodations
    4. See question f for more resources.
  10. I am not sure if what I have qualifies as a disability?
    1. It is up to the SDC/HR/Grad Studies and your doctor to decide if your condition qualifies for disability accommodations. Many disabilities are invisible or differ from what you may assume. Each person’s disability is unique and requires unique accommodations. If you are struggling to fulfill your duties as a student or worker because of a physical condition or mental health state, it may qualify as a disability. You may contact the SDC if you would like to ask questions about what qualifies as a disability.
  11. I am a student with multiple disabilities?
    1. All of your disabilities are covered by the ADA. You are allowed to obtain multiple different doctor’s forms and apply for multiple accommodations.
  12. I am struggling with my mental health?
    1. Depending on your condition and the nature of your mental health concern, you may qualify for disability accommodations. Go to the SDC/HR/Grad Studies/SHCS to determine this.
    2. Acute Care located in the Health and Wellness Center
    3. Individual Counseling located in North Hall (CAPS)
    4. Group Therapy
    5. Career Counseling
    6. Community Advising Network (CAN) Counselors
    7. Satellite Counselors at different colleges
    8. Eating Disorder Services
    9. Self-Help Library
    10. The Mind Spa
  13. My undergraduate student is struggling with their mental health?
    1. Depending on their condition and its nature, they may qualify for disability accommodations. Guide them to the SDC/HR/Grad Studies to determine this.
    2. See above resources (from question n)
  14. I am just stressed out – I don’t feel like I qualify as disabled.
    1. Stress can lead to many mental conditions which may qualify as a disability if they impede on your ability to work or study
    2. If you are concerned, talk to a qualified professional about your stress to determine how it is really affecting you – go to SHCS (see additional resources listed above)
    3. You have options – overstressing yourself is not the only way to a degree. You can choose to use the Planned Educational Leave Program (PELP), get accommodations, become quasi-part time, get help through UCD mental health resources, and talk to HR about TAships that are less stress inducing.
  15. My student is just stressed out- they don’t qualify as disabled.
    1. You don’t know that- stress can lead to many mental conditions which may qualify as a disability if they impede on the student’s ability to work
    2. Let the student talk to a qualified professional about their stress to determine how it is really affecting them- send them to SHCS
    3. Let them know that they have options, and that overstressing themselves is not the only way to a degree. They could PELP, get accommodations, become quasi-part time, get help through resources like SHCS, and talk to HR about TAships that are less stress inducing.
  16. My department/grad group does not have the funds to supply accommodations?
    1. Each department/grad group has to comply with the ADA

Frequently asked questions (FAQ):

  1. What counts as a disability?
    1. If a student has a condition (medical, mental or otherwise) that impairs their ability to perform their duties, they  can apply for disability accommodations.
  2. What if a condition is temporary?
    1. Students are allowed to apply for accommodations on a quarter by quarter basis.
  3. Who should I tell about a student’s disability?
    1. It is important to keep a student’s information private and contact only those persons necessary to file for accommodations. See above for which office is appropriate for specific situations. If you suspect a student has a disability but they do not want to apply for accommodations, it is their right to choose not to share their info. Please request permission from the student before contacting anyone. Do not inform other members of your department of the student’s disability without their consent. It may be helpful to be in contact with certain administrative people in your department, but be sure to acquire the student’s consent before doing so.
  4. What about filing fee?
    1. A grad student on filing fee is still covered by the ADA and can apply for accommodations through the committee and the grad studies form
  5. What about part time status?
    1. It may be possible to acquire part time status as a graduate student, policies are currently being worked on to clarify this. Masters and pre-candidate PhD students may be eligible if they apply through grad studies. It is unclear whether or not is is possible for students to be part time and still qualify for TAships. Make sure to get as much info as possible from Grad Studies before making this decision, because it could affect your funding and candidacy status.
    2. Contact Grad Studies if you need part time status, as well as the SDC
    3. Currently the most efficient way to get quasi- part time status is to sign up for the 12 credits like normal (preferably research credit), and then approach the SDC to get an accommodation that declares that you need to work less than a certain number of hours each week. If you are student who pays tuition- you would still have to pay full time though 😦
  6. What about the Planned Educational Leave Program (PELP)?
    1. Can be done for disability reasons
    2. Does not require doctor’s note
    3. Only once per grad student, up to one year
    4. Student will lose taship, be aware that it completely separates you from UCD community.
    5. If grad student needs second PELP for disability reasons, try contacting Grad Studies.
    6. Second PELPs can be applied for through JP on a case by case basis
  7. What does disability look like?
    1. Most disabilities are neither visible nor obvious
    2. The three most common types of disability are physical disability, mental health disability, and learning disability, however any condition that impedes your ability to perform your work or studies may qualify as a disability.
    3. Just because someone’s disability may not be obvious to you does not mean that they are not disabled. If someone tells you they have a disability, try to be respectful and remember that they know their own needs better than you do.
    4. Many people with disabilities intentionally hide the fact that they are disabled due to societal stigma. People you know may have a hidden disability without telling you.
    5. Many people do not realize that their condition qualifies as a disability and do not ask for the assistance that they need. If you suspect a friend may be struggling with a disability, it is ok to try to recommend some of the resources on this page to them, but try not to pressure them or label them if they disagree with you.
  8. What about intersectionality?
    1. A student with disabilities may also require advice from the LGBTQIA resource center, women’s resource and research center, cross cultural center, etc. Encourage them to seek out these resources and let them know that you are there to listen if they want to talk about their experience.
    2. Contact the graduate ally coalition through the gsa vice chair
  9. What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)
    1. What are your employment rights as an individual with a disability?
    2. A Guide to Disability Rights Laws

Useful links:

  1. UC Davis Student Disabilities Center: https://sdc.ucdavis.edu/
  2. UC Davis Diversity Resources: https://www.ucdavis.edu/diversity/resources/
  3. UC Davis Graduate Student Association: https://gsa.ucdavis.edu/gac/
  4. UC Davis Planned Educational Leave Program (PELP): https://registrar.ucdavis.edu/registration/leave/pelp
  5. GoGrad – Graduate School Success for Students with Disabilities: https://www.gograd.org/resources/students-with-disabilities/
  6. UC Davis Graduate Council Time to Degree Policy: https://grad.ucdavis.edu/sites/default/files/upload/files/grad-council/time_to_degree_policy.pdf
  7. Department of Rehabilitation Benifit Resources: http://www.rehab.cahwnet.gov/Public/Benefit-Links.html
  8. Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 504: http://www.parentcenterhub.org/section504/
  9. Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/28/part-35
  10. Funding Accomodations (for staff): http://accessibility.ucdavis.edu/staff/fundingaccommodations.html
  11. Faculty Training Modules: http://meded.ucsf.edu/msds/faculty-training-modules