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Accommodations & Services

Academic Accommodations & Services

Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis considering an individual's challenges and the academic demands and responsibilities of residential life at Smith College. Contact the Office of Disability Services to talk about the accommodations you may need. Common accommodations made by the college include:

  • extended time allowed for examinations
  • computer access for examinations
  • distraction-reduced testing locations
  • additional time for written assignments
  • classroom note takers
  • audio books or books in electronic format
  • sign language interpreters/C-Print real-time captioning

Mobility Accommodations

The ACCESS van provides on-campus transportation for students, faculty and staff with temporary or permanent disabilities affecting mobility. Van riders who will need to use the van for more than two days are asked to register with us and to provide medical information concerning their need for the service.

Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m.–7 p.m. (in 15-minute intervals)

To request a ride, call 413-695-0065. Receipt of a return call will confirm your scheduled ride. Standing reservations are available for a semester.

Rules & Regulations

Public Safety is not responsible for transporting students.

Reservations

Please make your reservation at least two hours in advance. It is preferable to schedule rides one week in advance of the ride date. Rides are a first-call, first-served basis.

Missed Rides & Repeated Cancellations

Repeated last-minute cancellations or failure to show for a scheduled ride may compromise your access to the van service. Drivers will wait five minutes past the scheduled pick-up time and then they must go on to their next rider. If you miss a ride, call the van service and the driver will make every effort to get back to you as soon as the schedule allows.

Inclement Weather & Snow Days

If driving conditions become too dangerous, the van service will not be available. In this event, all riders with scheduled rides will be notified of cancellations. A message will also be placed on the cell phone voicemail to let callers know that the service has been interrupted.

Off-Campus Rides

Off-campus rides must be approved in advance by the director of disability services. Please note that off-campus rides are not the primary purpose of the van service and that authorization is dependent upon several factors, including available time in the ride schedule. The van cannot provide transportation to areas outside the immediate Northampton area. Van transportation to other campuses in the Five College area via UMass Transit is available by advance request through the Office of Disability Services (ODS) to individuals with disabilities who cannot use the bus system.

Driver Restrictions

Drivers are not responsible for carrying or lifting items in or out of buildings, nor will they come into a building to look for a rider. Riders must be at the designated pick-up point. Drivers will not sit and wait for riders while they are at meals. Rides are from one designated pick-up point to one designated drop-off point only. Drivers are responsible for transporting riders with temporary or permanent disabilities. A rider may be accompanied by one other person.


Dietary Accommodations

Students needing dietary accommodations for specific allergies, diabetes, eating disorders, gastrointestinal disorders or other medical conditions must register with disability services. You need to submit a written description of your food concerns and meet with the disability services director. You must also provide information from an appropriate clinician about any specific dietary restrictions or needs. We will then refer you to dining services to develop a food plan. You may come in to discuss your needs at any time, with or without documentation.

Gluten-Free Dining

Dining Services provides a fully gluten-free dining option located at Dawes House. Students with celiac disease or other conditions that cause gluten intolerance may request access to the Dawes dining option by registering with disability services and providing medical information about your condition and any additional restrictions or allergies that need to be addressed. Students granted access to Dawes must carefully adhere to those rules designed to keep the location free of gluten contamination. Depending on your level of need, you may be offered more limited gluten-free options at other locations.


Housing Accommodations

Smith College is a residential campus that requires all students to live on campus throughout their entire enrollment at the college. To the extent feasible, housing accommodations will be made for students with documented disabilities or significant medical conditions. Students' preferences for specific houses will be considered but may not always be met in situations where the unique character and age of a particular residence hall limits access.

Students needing housing accommodations must apply through the standard housing process, while also submitting their request for accommodation to the Office of Disability Services with supporting medical documentation by the appropriate deadlines. Failure to submit complete information by these deadlines may delay or prevent the college from meeting the request.

Service or Support Animals in Houses

Service animal handlers and those with Emotional Support Animals (ESA) who wish to have an animal in the residence halls will need to meet/talk with the disability services director and submit the following information:

  1. Completed ODS Accommodation and Services Request Form to register, including a written statement explaining your reasons for requesting a support animal
  2. Completed Animal Housing Contract
  3. Proof of registration of the animal where required
  4. Medical information about the animal's health including necessary shots
  5. An emergency care plan for your animal that does not rely on other students
  6. A written plan for animal care during school breaks
  7. Roommate Agreement Form, if applicable

Students applying for or requesting permission to have an ESA in the residence halls will need to submit information from a clinician documenting their disability and the need for this type of support animal.

Bringing an animal to stay in campus housing takes planning and preparation on the part of students and staff from several college departments. Please allow up to a month for this request to be processed.

It is important that you consider the needs of the type of animal given that it will be alone for long periods of time. Think through your own willingness and ability to focus time on its care while going to school.

Please take note of the timeline for submitting these requests found in the Service Animal Policy.


Print Alternatives

There are different types of print alternatives and you must determine with us what works best. It is suggested that you become comfortable with more than one reading strategy, since print materials may not always be available in your preferred format.

Audio Books

Audio formatted books can be obtained commercially in bookstores and through websites like Audible.com and iTunes. Audio books are also available to individuals with disabilities through several sources such as Learning Ally, a subscription service for people with print disabilities.

Digital Books

Books can be obtained commercially through products and services like Kindle, Nook, and Ibooks. Textbooks can be obtained in digital formats from publishers by requests from the Office of Disability Services on your behalf. To comply with the college's digital rights management obligations, you will be required to show proof of purchase of the book in order to obtain the book from the publisher in an accessible format or obtain permission for ODS to scan the book in its entirety. You may also independently use other sources such as bookshare.org.

Scanned Electronic Materials

Books, articles or other materials can be scanned and turned into PDF, Word or other formats to be read by text-to-voice software. The college will provide support for preparing these materials for you when other sources of materials are not available. When disability services is not able to obtain your books from the publisher in digital format you will need to provide the book to us. We will cut the binding of the book for scanning, edit the book and rebind it with a simple spine.

Online Document Conversion Service

If you wish to access these materials independently or need a document converted immediately for courses or research you can send a file to our new online conversion service at www.robobraille.org/web3/smith/.

A PDF or Word file can be converted to a digital version for use with Adobe, Voice Over on Mac, etc., or you can request an MP3. The turnaround time is usually a few minutes to an hour depending on the size and quality of the document. The service will not return a good result, if the document being sent is not clean; that is, it has no underlining, highlighting, black marks on the page, etc.

Large Print

Books, articles or other materials can be enlarged to preferred font size on paper or can be scanned for enlargement using Word or other software. The college will assist in the process of enlarging materials. We also have a CCTV available in the Assistive Technology Lab in Neilson Library which enlarges print to be viewed on an attached TV screen.

Web-Based Materials

Materials on the web can be read with screen-reading software or downloaded and read with text-to-speech software.

Braille

Braille materials are available through electronic conversion of print materials to formats compatible with refreshable Braille devices or printed on Braille paper when appropriate. The college will seek out available Braille resources and provide this service to the greatest extent possible. Students will need to work closely with disability services and plan ahead.


Reading Assists

Students with disabilities such as vision impairments, learning disabilities or other disabilities that impact reading may need alternatives to standard print in order to read effectively while in college. There are many forms of assistive technology that can help, such as text-to-voice software and voice to text software. These tools are easy to use, but will take time to get comfortable learning in a different format and to develop more efficient reading and learning strategies. If you are struggling to keep up with your reading due to a disability, these alternatives can be life changing and worth the time investment.

Assistive Technology Labs

Smith maintains two assistive technology labs with assistive technology software that is available to all students. Smith's Educational Technology Services (ETS) department must train you on the software.

Commercial Reading Devices

A variety of new sources of digital reading material are becoming available as well as new devices and software with which to read them. Devices like an iPad, Kindle or Nook, and sources like Google Books, allow you to obtain mainstream media along with some classic literature.

Educational materials for these devices are still limited but are expected to grow in coming years. These devices have some accessibility features that allow you to control the font and contrast when you are reading and navigate using audible headings. Some materials on these devices are able to be read with the installed voiceover function, but be aware that not all materials available are also audible.

Text-to-Voice Software

This software reads digital PDFs, Word documents and other digital formats aloud. Low-end versions of this type of software simply read what is on the page without much other functionality. Higher-end versions often include other educational functions, such as dictionaries and thesauruses, as well as the ability to highlight, underline, bookmark and so on. You can also search and clip content into a notepad for later use. Digital materials are increasingly available through a variety of commercial and private sources. Textbooks can often be obtained from publishers, and many online scholarly journals use accessible formats. We can assist you in identifying these options.

Audio Players and Software

Recorded materials can be played with many devices, such as tape recorders and CD players. Computer software and devices like iPods can also play digital materials such as MP3s.


Service or Support Animals

Smith College is committed to ensuring equal access to the campus for disabled students, staff and faculty, as well as for guests and visitors requiring service animals. It is the college’s policy to permit service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act in most areas of the campus. The college may permit Emotional Support Animals (ESA) to reside in the residence hall with a student with a documented disability on a case-by-case basis, according to the requirements defined by the Fair Housing Act amendments.

Service or Support Animals in Houses

Service animal handlers and those with Emotional Support Animals (ESA) who wish to have an animal in the residence halls will need to meet/talk with the disability services director and submit the following information:

  1. Completed ODS Accommodation and Services Request Form to register, including a written statement explaining your reasons for requesting a support animal
  2. Completed Animal Housing Contract
  3. Proof of registration of the animal where required
  4. Medical information about the animal's health including necessary shots
  5. An emergency care plan for your animal that does not rely on other students
  6. A written plan for animal care during school breaks
  7. Roommate Agreement Form, if applicable

Students applying for or requesting permission to have an ESA in the residence halls will need to submit information from a clinician documenting their disability and the need for this type of support animal.

Bringing an animal to stay in campus housing takes planning and preparation on the part of students and staff from several college departments. Please allow up to a month for this request to be processed.

It is important that you consider the needs of the type of animal given that it will be alone for long periods of time. Think through your own willingness and ability to focus time on its care while going to school.

Please take note of the timeline for submitting these requests found in the Service Animal Policy.

Students with service animals not living in Smith housing are encouraged to register with ODS so we may ensure you have the best possible experience on campus and to help avoid classroom conflicts with other disabled students who may have severe animal allergies.


Sign Language Requests

Requests for interpreters for meetings and one-on-one communication should be made by or on behalf of a specific deaf individual at least one week in advance whenever possible. Requests for theatrical or other performances should be made at least two weeks in advance to allow time for us to secure interpreters with these specialized skills.

Event Planners

If you are planning an event that will be open to the public, please post notice several weeks in advance with instructions about how to request an interpreter and an appropriate deadline. You can then notify us at least three weeks in advance of the date, sooner if you are planning a large event that might require several interpreters.


Studying Abroad

One of the most rewarding Smith College experiences is spending a semester or a year abroad. Attend the Study Abroad Fair at Wright Hall or find answers and valuable resources on the Study Abroad website.