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. On this page you will find common accommodations.
Lamont Dining Hall, which is free of the nine most common allergens, is open to all students; an ODS process is not required to dine there. We encourage registration with ODS for severe food allergies, such as those which require an epi-pen or similar, and any other food-related conditions which rise to the level of disability. If you are unsure whether or not your condition is a disability, please set up a time to meet with one of our staff. You may come to ODS to discuss your needs at any time, with or without documentation.
Please also contact our Manager of Nutrition Services at firstname.lastname@example.org for dining-related questions, and/or if you would like to set up a consultation with the dining dietitian.
Dining Services provides a fully gluten-free dining option located at Dawes House specifically for students with celiac disease or other similar conditions. Students who are allergic to gluten must provide medical documentation of the 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. Please complete a Disability Identification Request Form in Workday and upload supporting documentation. Please contact email@example.com for more information or to schedule an appointment.
Smith College is a residential campus which requires all students to live on campus throughout their entire enrollment. 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 or the preference is otherwise not available.
Students who need housing accommodations must complete the standard housing process, and also must submit 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.
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. Required materials for courses are generally converted by the Library's eReserve system at the request of faculty. In the event that materials are not accessible, please contact ODS. The college will provide support in preparing these materials for you when other materials are not available, and when it does not pose an undue administrative burden on staff.
Online Document Conversion Service
If you wish to access materials independently or need a document converted immediately for courses or research you can send a file to our 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 document sent must be clean; that is, it needs to have no underlining, highlighting, marks on the page, etc.
Materials on the web can be read with screen-reading software or downloaded and read with text-to-speech software.
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, Devices, and Apps
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 and voice-to-text apps. These tools are easy to use, though it generally takes time to learn and get comfortable with them. 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.
Voice-to-text apps allow someone to speak rather than type. Text-to-voice apps read digital PDFs, Word documents, and other digital formats aloud. Low-end versions of this technology 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, copy/paste content, etc. We can assist you in identifying these options.
Text-to-voice apps read 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.
Assistive Technology Labs
Smith's Assistive Technology Lab (ATL) is located in Neilson Library Learning Commons. The ATL offers assistive technology software that is available to all students. Smith's Educational Technology Services (ETS) department will train you on the software.
Many devices and apps have accessibility features which allow users to control the font and contrast when reading, and to navigate using audible headings. If you would like assistance exploring available digital reading materials and devices, please contact ODS for an appointment.
Service or Support Animals
Smith College is committed to ensuring equal access to the campus for disabled students, staff, faculty, guests, and visitors who will be accompanied on campus by service animals. Service Animals may travel with their handler throughout the college, except where restrictions apply for health and safety reasons.
Service animals are defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act as dogs (or miniature horses, with certain qualifications) that are trained to perform one or more specific tasks for a person with a disability. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. In determining if an animal is a service animal, staff may only ask the following questions: (1) is this a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or tasks has the animal been trained to perform.
Students with service animals living in Smith housing are strongly encouraged to provide notification prior to arrival (June 1st for Fall Semester and November 1st for Spring Semester), so that the college can help avoid housing conflicts with other students with disabilities and otherwise facilitate the handler’s campus housing experience, and so that the college will know an animal is present in the event of an emergency. If you wish to request an exception to these dates, please contact ODS to discuss.
Handlers of Service Animals have responsibilities which are detailed in the linked PDFs below.
For the full policy on Service Animals click here.
Emotional Support Animals
The college will permit Emotional Support Animals (ESA) to reside in the houses with students with documented disabilities, where necessary as a reasonable accommodation. This is determined on a case-by-case basis, using the criteria detailed in this policy (linked below), and in accordance with the requirements of the federal Fair Housing Act. Approval for an emotional support animal can take a month or more, and is not guaranteed.
Students who wish to request this accommodation need to review the policy linked below, then take the following steps:
Register with ODS and submit a formal request.
Provide supporting documentation and/or sign a release form for provider.
Meet with an ODS staff member.
Once you have done each of these things, you will receive notice if your request has been approved, denied, or if more information is required in order for the college to make a decision.
If your request is approved by ODS, the next step is to complete the Residence Life ESA process. Residence Life will ask that you sign an ESA agreement. When the agreement is signed and on file, Residence Life will contact you with any remaining questions. Residence Life will confirm final approval for the presence of your ESA on campus. If Residence Life is not able to find a suitable space for you with your approved ESA, ODS may approve you to be released from the residency requirement so that you may find suitable off-campus housing. If you have questions about the Residence Life ESA process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note the importance of beginning the request process far enough in advance of the following deadlines by which all materials must be submitted and meetings must be complete:
Deadline for those wishing to bring an ESA for Fall semester is June 1st.
Deadline for those wishing to bring an ESA for Spring semester is November 1st.
Exceptions to deadlines are considered on a case-by-case basis and are typically only granted when extenuating circumstances (such as withdrawing and being readmitted after the deadline) exist. Failure to plan ahead to ensure all materials are complete by the deadline does not constitute an extenuating circumstance.
Emotional Support Animals must be contained within the privately assigned residential area (room, suite, and apartment) at all times, except when transported outside the private residential area in an animal carrier or controlled by leash or harness. Emotional Support Animals may not be present in any other campus buildings. When outside the residence, the handler of a support animal shall carry proof that the animal is an approved animal.
For the full policy on Emotional Support Animals click here.
NOTE: The deadline for all ESA application materials to be submitted for the Fall 2023 semester passed on June 1. The deadline for the Spring 2024 semester is November 1. Please also note that having an ESA is an accommodation considered for those with a diagnosed disability only. The application process can take up to a month, so please make your appointment soon.
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. We also encourage all students with Service Animals to register with ODS so community staff and emergency personnel will know there is an animal during emergency situations.
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 two weeks in advance whenever possible. Requests for theatrical or other performances should be made at least three weeks in advance to allow time for us to secure interpreters with these specialized skills.
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.
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.