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Welcome to the DSS Office Homepage

The DSS Office

Location:    Parmer 010J


Phone:       708-488-5177

Hours:       Mon - Thur  7:00am - 7:00pm

                 Fridays  7:00am - 5:00pm 

Additional hours by appointment only.


Mari Callahan Ross, MEd - LD Specialist

Location:    Parmer Hall, room 010J


Phone:       708-488-5177

In-office hours:   Tuesday and Wednesday     12pm - 7pm
                          Thursday and Friday           7am - 2pm


Judy Paulus - DSS Coordinator
Location:    Parmer Hall, room 010I


Phone:        708-524-5940

In-office hours:    Mondays 7:00am - 3:00pm
                          Tuesday - Friday  8:30am - 4:30pm

DSS Mission statement

Disability Support Services promotes and facilitates full access by empowering students with reasonable accommodations, training, collaboration, and innovative programming to create opportunities for diverse learning environments that are usable, equitable, inclusive, and sustainable and is an aspect of diversity that is essential to the larger mission of Dominican University.
While documentation is required, DSS recognizes that barriers exist and can create hardship for students with regard to having and presenting documentation. Thus, we encourage students to meet with the Disability Support Services Coordinator without the need for documentation in hand at the time of the first conversation. Determinations on individual documentation needs will be made during the initial meeting with the student. 
Documentation & Exam Forms

Please fill out an form for each individual text and include receipt or proof of purchase. Students must also complete an Electronic Text Distribution Agreement. Requests may be emailed to or delivered to Parmer 010C.

(.docx, 29K)

Please fill out the Electronic Text Distribution Agreement and submit along with your Alternate Text Request Form. Texts cannot be retrieved without an agreement form.

(.docx, 16K)

Criteria for Appropriate Documentation:

Dominican University is a member of the Association of Higher Education and Disabilities (AHEAD) and follows their best practices recommendations on appropriate documentation.  

The Disability Support Services (DSS) Office recommends that all students provide documentation that can either verify a diagnosis and/or enhance the information available to an LD Specialist when assessing each situation. It is in the best interest of the student to provide the DSS office with documentation updates as they become available. Students are also encouraged to update documentation at least every five years, as this will have personal benefit to the student and assists students who will request accommodations in other situations (graduate school exams, licensure exams, employment opportunities, etc.).

While documentation is required, DSS recognizes that barriers exist and can create hardship for students with regard to having and presenting documentation. Thus, the DSS encourages students to meet with the Disability Support Services Coordinator without the need for documentation in hand at the time of the first conversation. Determinations on individual documentation needs will be made during the initial meeting with the student. 

It should be noted that documentation policies differ from one institution to another. The Disability Support Services office documentation policy is designed to fit the Dominican University campus climate and does not consider documentation requirements external to Dominican University. If a student will attend another institution after attending Dominican University or take a standardized test (GRE, MCAT, etc.) administered by an outside agency, the student is responsible for researching those documentation policies and should investigate requirements at least six months prior to an anticipated start date or test date. Due to these documentation differences and depending on the student's documentation on file with the Disability Support Services office, it may not be appropriate for Disability Support Services staff to complete the required supporting paperwork to certify eligibility for standardized testing. In such cases, the staff member will explain the reasons why completing the supporting paperwork is not appropriate.

How to file a Grievance

Students with disabilities who believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of their disability may receive a review of their complaint by doing the following:
1. The student, who has provided documentation, should submit a letter to the Dean of Students that sets forth clearly and specifically the nature of the complaint and the remedy sought. The submission of the complaint shall be made within the semester in which it arises. Specific details should include: what the issue is, when it occurred, where it occurred, who was involved. Also included should be any pertinent documentation supporting the complaint, including possible witnesses. The Dean of Students shall investigate the circumstances of the complaint and shall attempt to resolve it, using whatever procedures or calling upon any individuals that may be helpful toward resolution. The Dean of Students will issue his/her opinion in writing within ten (10) working days of receipt of the complaint. The University reserves the right to extend this investigation period if conditions are so warranted. The student will be informed if an extension is necessary on or before the 10th day of the complaint resolution period.


2. If a satisfactory resolution of the complaint is not achieved with the Dean of Students, the complainant may request that the complaint be referred to the Disability Grievance Panel for a hearing. This appeals request should be submitted in writing to the Office of the Dean of Students within ten (10) working days of receipt by the student of the resolution. The hearing will be convened as soon as possible upon receipt of the request. The student will be notified by the Dean of Students at least five (5) working days prior to the hearing of the date, time, and location. The student has the right to bring an advisor to the hearing. If the advisor is a private legal counsel, the Dean of Students must be so notified in order that Dominican University Counsel can be in attendance. All communication regarding the hearing may be verbal, but must subsequently be confirmed in writing.

3. If the student is not satisfied with the panel’s decision, the student can request that the panel’s decision be reviewed by the appropriate area Vice President. The request must be made in writing to the Dean of Students within seven (7) days of receipt of the panel decision.
The Dean of Students will provide all materials relevant to the case to the Vice President for review upon receipt of the request. The Vice President will review the matter in the light of materials presented. His/her written decision on the case shall be final.  
Disability Grievance Panel: 
The Disability Grievance Panel shall consist of one representative from the following administrative areas of the University - Administrative Affairs, Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and the applicable Student Government Association. Each representative shall be appointed by the respective area vice president or dean. If necessary, at-large substitutes may be appointed to fill a panel vacancy.
Grievance Panel Procedure:
Formal hearings before the Disability Grievance Panel shall be open only to the student, witnesses and counsel, except as the panel may otherwise direct. The Dean of Students will serve only as a resource to the panel at the panel’s request. All advisors, including private legal counsel, will serve only in an advisory capacity for the student during the hearing.

The panel shall determine all matters of procedure, evidence, relevance and admissibility it deems helpful and fair in the total decision process, without regard to judicial rules which could be applicable to such issues.

After the hearing, the panel shall meet in executive session to decide upon the complaint and make its decision. The decision shall be communicated to the Dean of Students in writing within two (2) working days of the hearing. The student will be informed in writing by the Dean of Students within five (5) working days after the panel has sent its decision to the Dean of Students.

Difference between High School and College

Transition to college can be difficult for students with disabilities. Students who come to DominicanUniversity after receiving services through their high schools must adjust to the different laws regarding access to services. At the elementary and secondary levels, the school district’s services were mandated by the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, P.L. 94-142, which puts the responsibility on the school district to identify students with special needs, test them, and provide them with accommodations.

At the college/university level, however, procedures change dramatically for the student with a disability. The law changes and special needs services are governed by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990. Now the responsibility shifts, and the student becomes responsible for self-identification to the college/university. The student must find the disability support services provider on campus and provide appropriate documentation of the disability. While the institution is responsible for providing the student with reasonable accommodations, it is the student who must demonstrate eligibility and ask for services.

Self-advocacy is a skill that students with disabilities must learn and practice inside and outside of classroom. Students benefit when they understand the limitations and strengths of their disabilities and can communicate these to their instructors. Students must also know what kind of classroom assistance will help them maximize their academic abilities. Students are encouraged to approach their instructors early in the semester in order to explain their disabilities and request accommodations.

College Accessibility for Visually Impaired Students

Students with visual impairments face a unique set of challenges transitioning to college life, from accessing materials to finding a social scene. While Student Services offices can be a great help, we wanted to provide a central source of information and resources for visually impaired college students, completely free of charge. We encourage you to review the guide!

The resource covers:
  • School resources and legal rights available
  • Hand-selected list of scholarships for blind and visually impaired students
  • Assistive technologies for students with visual impairments
At, we strive to make our site accessible to all visitors by, among other best practices, creating a clear site structure and navigation, using differentiated title and text styles and sizes, and separating stylistic elements from site copy to make the site compatible with assistive technologies.
Attending college courses online while living with a learning disability presents unique challenges. However, you are not alone in your fight to overcome these obstacles. There are plenty of strategies for addressing learning disorders so that you can make the most of your academic potential. With a little prep work and a lot of dedication, your college career can be a successful step toward the career that you’ve always wanted.