For SSW Students
Students with disabilities considering Smith College School for Social Work (SSW) or who have already been accepted for graduate study are encouraged to contact us to discuss your need for services and accommodations.
If you have never been diagnosed with a disability or chronic health issue, but suspect you might have one, it is important to work on identifying and addressing your needs before you arrive at Smith. If you believe that you might have a learning disability or ADD/ADHD, you may want to consider psychoeducational testing before entering the graduate program so that you can take time to develop new coping strategies and identify possible accommodations that would support your learning at the graduate level. Guidelines for documenting a learning disability or ADD/ADHD are available here.
Getting Evaluated for LD or ADD/ADHD:
It is strongly recommended that students get evaluated before coming to Smith; however, finding a clinician and navigating insurance can sometimes be a problem while taking classes in the short summer months you will be on campus. Some options include:
- checking in with the disability services office at a local college for a possible recommendation of clinicians in your area. Many colleges maintain lists.
- a primary care doctor or mental health professional should be able to make a local referral or provide medication based on their own clinical assessment.
- you may find a list of clinicians who do neuropsychological testing on the website of your insurance company. (It is more likely that your insurance will cover all or some of the testing where you live, rather than out of state while you are at Smith.)
- another option is to contact the vocational rehabilitation agency in your state concerning testing and services.
By getting evaluated before you arrive, you will be able to begin working on any recommended strategies as soon as possible, rather than attempting to make adjustments once you are in the middle of classes. This will also help the Office of Disability Services plan for what accommodations you might need during the summer.
Applying to Smith
Disability is Not a Consideration in Admission
Disability is not considered in the admissions process for the School for Social Work. The unique academic structure and fast pace of the School for Social Work academic program can be both an asset and pose challenges for students with disabilities. It is important to consider a range of factors to determine the type of graduate program that best supports your individual learning needs.
If you have a diagnosed disability and are requesting accommodations in graduate school, you must provide the college with current testing or documentation.
Continuity of Medical and Psychological Supports
All student are encouraged to think through the types of supports and resources they will need to be successful at Smith. The condensed nature of the program can be very stressful physically, mentally, and emotionally so it is important to consider your own needs carefully in advance. Arranging medical and psychiatric care, in particular, will require some forethought and planning to assure continuity of care. Arranging for new local providers in advance of arriving will smooth the transition during those first stressful weeks of adjustment.
Check with your insurance company to find providers in the area and contact them in advance to set up appoinments and confirm that they accept your insurance and are taking new patients. Keep in mind that this is rural area and those needing specialty medical care should confirm that the level of care needed is available here before committing to the program.
Enhanced Strategies for Learning
Students who have been out of school for several years and away from the process of using disability accommodations or specialized learning and organizational strategies are encouraged to seek consultation before starting the program to determine how best to prepare for re-entry to an academic setting. Many students find that the academic demands of graduate study require new or enhanced strategies for learning. Making efforts to strengthen your studying, writing, reading and organizational skills before beginning graduate school will prove to be very beneficial.
Students who will need supports such as books in alternative format, sign-language interpreters or captioning services must contact disability services at least six to eight weeks before the start of classes. Such lead time is necessary to evaluate your request and identify qualified service providers or contractors.