Please note: Due to COVID-19, day-to-day operations of the Office of Disability Services are being performed remotely. As such, all corresponence, forms and medical/educational documentation must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org in order to ensure timely receipt.
If you have been newly accepted and plan to enroll at Smith, please make every effort to contact our office well before you arrive on campus. Without sufficient advance notification and proper documentation, we may not be able to meet your requests or there may be delays.
Disability Identification Form
New first-year and transfer students must email the Disability Identification Form included in the acceptance packet, along with proper disability documentation. This form is due by June 1 for fall admission. January transfer students should submit the form by October 1 and contact us in the fall before your arrival.
Contact us directly to discuss what accommodations and services will be provided. Be aware that housing accommodation requests received past the June 1 deadline may not be able to be met. Please call us by the end of June if you need supports such as sign language interpreters, alternative print materials, etc., so that the appropriate services are in place when you arrive in the fall. Early registration may be arranged if necessary to facilitate this process.
First-year students needing extra assistance in developing academic and personal skills for independence are offered the opportunity to participate in Advancing Student Success in Educational Transitions at Smith (ASSETS). ASSETS provides structured support for entering students with disabilities that impact learning, such as LD, ADD/ADHD, emotional or physical challenges, to smooth the initial transition from high school to college and to help develop the independence, self-confidence and skills essential for academic success.
The goals of the program are to:
- build individual strategies and skills for academic success.
- enhance students' ability to communicate knowledgeably and effectively about their learning needs in the Smith College environment.
- understand academic and social opportunities and expectations at Smith.
- become familiar with assistive technology options for learning.
This session helps students with learning disabilities or ADD/ADHD and their parents understand how to enhance success in the Smith learning environment. It covers academic requirements and social expectations, Smith academic support and residential programs, disability services and accommodations at Smith, requirements for disability documentation, and student rights and responsibilities.
Student workshops will take place once a week for the first four weeks of the semester; the final one will be held in the last week of October. Workshops are led by the Office of Disability Services (ODS) learning specialist. Presenters may include class deans, disability services staff, learning specialists and representatives from relevant departments across the campus, as well as student mentors.
Individualized Consultation with Learning Specialist
Students will be scheduled for a one-hour individualized consultation with Smith's learning specialist to discuss learning challenges and strengths and identify areas to work on individually or through other Smith resources. Students participating in ASSETS will have priority in scheduling additional consultation sessions with the learning specialist.
Peer Mentor Relationships
Several Smith disabled students are available as mentors to new students with disabilities. Students participating in ASSETS will be given the option of connecting with a mentor who has a similar disability. The Disability Peer Mentors network brings students with various disabilities or significant health conditions together from time to time to share stories, socialize, offer mutual support and encourage creative solutions to academic and other problems.
Peer Mentoring Program
The Peer Mentoring Program matches older students with disabilties to incoming disabled students in a mentor/mentee relationship. These older students provide support and advice to their mentees based on their own experiences navigating Smith with a disability. The Peer Mentoring Program hosts monthly mentor/mentee bonding events, an annual Disability Awareness Day event, and a special first-year orientation. Individual weekly meetings between mentor and mentee are encouraged.
If you would like to have a mentor, please fill out the peer mentee application. We will work to match you with someone who fits your interests and disability concerns.
Preparing for Success at Smith
Prospective and entering students should begin as soon as possible to prepare for the demands of the reading load at Smith. Strengthening your reading strategies is the first line of defense, but you may need alternatives to reading print, such as text-to-speech software or the use of audiobooks. All students should arrive at college with a reliable and effective method for reading required materials and for pursuing your own research to complete assignments.
It is essential to talk with your teachers and/or parents and use the resources within your current school and community to find out what alternative reading options are available. It is important to learn how to use technology, improve reading strategies and practice using reading resources before coming to Smith.
Colleges have a responsibility to make curriculum materials accessible by providing print alternatives to students who have documented disabilities that significantly impair reading, but learning to use these alternatives independently and effectively will require training and practice. Professional assessment of your reading challenges may be necessary to determine the best methods for you. Documentation of a reading disability will help us understand how to support your learning and reading at Smith.