Important terms related to accommodations and the DS office.

Access Planning Meeting

An Access Planning Meeting (APM) is a meeting between you and a DS director, and occurs after you submit an application for accommodations. During the meeting, you share barriers or challenges you face related to your disability to help the director determine which accommodations you may be eligible for. An APM must take place before you can be approved for accommodations.


An accommodation is a modification designed to give you, a student with disabilities, equal access to campus programs and services. All accommodations are determined on an individual basis in conversation between you and a DS director. An accommodation must be “reasonable,” and cannot change the fundamental nature of a course - including essential learning objectives and how the class is taught - or compromise safety (ex: in a lab environment).

Alternative Testing

Alternative Testing is an umbrella term that refers to any and all testing-related accommodations. You request “Alternative Testing” when you request Italics: course accommodations, and later request specific testing accommodations when you schedule individual timed tests (including quizzes, exams, and finals) through myDS.


Under the law, a disability is defined as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” A disability may be temporary or permanent. Major life activities include (but are not limited to):

  • Learning
  • Reading/Writing/Computing
  • Focusing/Thinking
  • Communicating
  • Sleeping
  • Breathing
  • Eating/Digestion


In the context of Disability Services, documentation refers to paperwork (physical or digital) that confirms your disability(ies) and how you’re impacted in the academic or residential environment. Documentation must be from a licensed care provider (physician, nurse, psychologist, counselor, therapist, etc.). You may be required to submit different types of documentation depending on the accommodation being requested.

Documentation GuidelinesĀ 

Emotional Support Animal (ESA)

According to the Link: US Department of Housing and Urban Development, an ESA is a dog or other animal that provides bold: passive support to reduce the impact of a person’s disability and allow them to use and enjoy their dwelling. You may apply for an ESA accommodation through Disability Services. An ESA must be approved by Disability Services before the animal is allowed to live in a residence hall.

Faculty Notification Letter

The Faculty Notification Letter (FNL) is an email sent by myDS to the instructor(s) for each course. It notifies the instructor which accommodation(s) you requested for the course and may include instructions on how to implement the accommodation. The FNL is not sent until you request accommodations for the course through myDS.

Otherwise Qualified

You must be able to meet the same academic requirements and standards, with or without accommodations, as your peers without disabilities.

Prospective Student

A prospective student is one who has not yet started any courses at Seattle U. A prospective student can be thinking about attending SU, or already be accepted into the university.

Service Animal

As defined by the ADA, a service animal is a dog that has been trained to perform a task directly related to the handler’s disability. If a service animal’s role is not apparent to an observer, the observer is allowed to ask: “Is that a service animal for a disability?” and “What service/tasks does it perform for you?” If you have a service animal, Disability Services recommends you contact the DS office so DS can provide support or advocacy if needed.


Under the ADA, you must have equal access to opportunities on campus, but accommodations do not promise success. Your academic success is your responsibility.  

Virtual Lobby

The Virtual Lobby is a Zoom room operated by Disability Services meant to mimic our physical office online. You can login to the Virtual Lobby to ask a quick question, schedule a meeting, or attend a meeting. If you have a meeting scheduled with a DS staff member, you’ll be put into a private breakout room for the meeting.

We are here for you

We're happy to answer questions you may have about Disability Services or accommodations at Seattle University.

Disability Services Office