Frequently Asked Questions - General

I think I might have AD/HD or a learning disability, but I’ve never been diagnosed. Can SDS help?

SDS can provide students with referrals for local area medical providers and agencies that perform psychoeducational and neuropsychological evaluations for learning disabilities or AD/HD. SDS does not perform or fund evaluations for learning disabilities or AD/HD. However, there is a benefit available on the UCSF Anthem Student Health Insurance plan that provides some coverage for evaluations of learning disabilities or AD/HD. Students who think they may have AD/HD or learning disabilities, should contact SDS to set up an appointment to discuss their needs. UCSF Student Health & Counseling - Counseling & Psychological Services and the Medical Student Well-Being Program (for Medical students only) can also provide a clinical screening and diagnosis for AD/HD. Students with concerns about attention and concentration may wish to schedule an appointment with a mental health provider first to discuss their concerns further.

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Are there services that SDS does not provide?

Student Disability Services does not diagnose learning disabilities or AD/HD nor provide funding for any diagnostic evaluations. SDS also does not provide personal services, including but not limited to, content-based tutoring, reimbursement for transportation, AD/HD coaching, personal care attendants, medical treatment, or private transportation around campus.

Note that the Student Health Insurance (UC-SHIP) does provide a benefit for psychoeducational and neuropsychological evaluations. If you would like to learn more about this benefit, please contact SDS to discuss.

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My partner or child has a disability and lives with me in UCSF housing. Can SDS help me to arrange for accommodations for them?

SDS does review requests for disability accommodations for individuals living with UCSF students in UCSF housing. Complete information about the disability housing accommodations process can be found on the Housing page.

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I am a resident, postdoctoral candidate, or staff member. Does SDS help me to make arrangements for disability accommodations?

SDS does not coordinate accommodations for residents, faculty/staff or postdoctoral candidates. Accommodations for these individuals are considered and coordinated by Disability Management in the UCSF Human Resources department:

Judith Rosen

Manager, Disability Leave and Administration


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I am worried that my documentation doesn’t meet the UC practice guidelines for documenting disability. What should I do?

Students who are not certain their documentation will be sufficient to support their request for accommodations should submit what information they have to SDS. SDS will evaluate with the student what, if any, additional documentation is needed to fully support the student’s request.

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I want to meet a current student with a disability similar to mine to learn about their experiences. Does SDS have a mentoring program?

SDS does not currently have a formal mentoring program. However, in some cases, SDS has been able to match a student with a similar peer to discuss their experiences. If a student is interested such an arrangement, please contact the SDS Director.

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I need to take a professional licensing exam – can SDS help me to arrange for accommodations?

SDS does not make accommodation determinations for any professional licensing exams. Each exam has their own identified process for making requests for accommodations, and staff to review such requests. Students should research the procedures for accommodation requests for the specific exam. SDS can assist these students by providing a letter verifying approved accommodations at UCSF, and/or can complete appropriate forms required for providing such confirmation. SDS can also assist by providing referral to evaluators or medical providers if updated documentation is needed to complete such a request. Finally, SDS is also happy to consult with students who are assembling their accommodation request package, and if necessary, who are assembling an appeal of denied accommodations for such exams.

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I feel that I have been discriminated against because of my disability. Where can I go for help?

There are a number of resources available to students who feel they have been discriminated against because of their disability. Information and options for addressing your concerns can be found on the Appeals & Grievances page of the SDS website.

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I’m looking for a group of students with disabilities to share experiences, resources, and strategies for being a successful health sciences student with a disability. Where can I find that at UCSF?

SDS is always interested in developing new programming for students with disabilities. If you are interested in a possible group or program, speak to the SDS Director to determine what might be possible. The UCSF Multicultural Resource Center and Student Life are also good resources. Student Life provides resources for registered campus organizations, and within specific parameters students can form and register their own groups.

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Can I obtain a copy of my disability documentation from SDS?

Yes, students can request a copy of their disability documentation at any time. SDS asks that students make their requests in writing. This request can be made by email to SDS or dropped off at the SDS office (CL 111). Documentation can be provided via a student’s preferred mode of delivery – by email, mail, fax, or a copy can be picked up in person.

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I have a service animal. Do I need to register it with SDS?

Students with service animals do not need to register them with SDS. However, SDS can provide guidance about areas of campus where service animals may not be permitted, can discuss questions about service animals and clinical rotations, assist with arrangements for appropriate campus housing (if applicable), or provide any additional disability-related information you might need.

Note that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, a service animal is defined as a dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Any animal whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support does not qualify as a service animal under the ADA, but may considered an Assistance Animal, which may be permitted in University Housing. See UCSF's procedures for Accessible Housing and Disability Accomodations, and discuss with SDS for more information. 

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Should I register if I am not certain I will need or use accommodations?

It is not uncommon for students to be unsure whether they will need accommodations in their program – either because a student is unfamiliar with the structure and requirements of a new program, or because they have a disability that fluctuates in nature and is currently in a period of remission. The use of accommodations is always a student’s choice, even after SDS determines their eligibility status. Because of the time involved in gathering documentation and conducting an eligibility review (the evaluation process can take 2-3 weeks), SDS would encourage a student to establish their eligibility early, even if they are not yet sure if they will access recommended accommodations. This will ensure that if a need for accommodations arises, SDS can work with the student to quickly implement them. Further, if a student’s status changes, SDS will be in a position to quickly evaluate new accommodation requests based on information previously provided (though, at times, updated documentation may be needed depending on the circumstances). Students are encouraged to discuss their circumstances with SDS to determine an individualized plan to address their concerns.

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If I don’t use an approved accommodation, or don’t formally register with SDS and I do poorly in my program, will I have the opportunity to retry the assessment or requirement with accommodations due to my disability status?

While all circumstances will be taken into consideration on a case by case basis in determining the outcome of a situation, the University is generally not required to make accommodations retroactively. As such, SDS recommends that students register with SDS early and make timely requests for accommodations. Students always have the right to choose to forego accommodations. However, if this does not go well, students are generally held to their performance without accommodations.

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