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Services for Students with Disabilities

The Services for Students with Disabilities office at Weber State University might be a larger program than students are aware of. The SSD office serves a wide range of students, students both with noticeable disabilities and hidden disabilities.

Students who fall into the noticeable disabilities category might be those with hearing or seeing disabilities or those in a wheelchair. Hidden disabilities include emotional or learning disabilities. The SSD office is prepared to provide expertise and assistance to students in either category.

Students wanting to learn more about invisible disabilities can attend this year’s Diversity Conference. The theme of the conference is “Unpacking the Knapsack of Invisible (And Not So Invisible) Disabilities.” This is the 13th annual Diversity Conference hosted by WSU. It goes through Oct. 6-7 and kicks off at the Davis campus with a panel discussion about autism. Keynote speaker Laura Mona will be addressing “Understanding Disability and Identity” at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 7 in the Shepherd Union Ballroom.

The assistance offered by the SSD can include accessibility around campus, American Sign Language interpreters and testing accommodations.

According to the SSD office handbook, “In general, accommodating students with disabilities in the classroom may be more a matter of common sense than a change in teaching style or curriculum. Meeting with an SSD adviser is simply common sense for any disabled student. SSD is where the student will find a sympathetic ear and knowledgeable replies — based upon decades of combined experience — to all their questions.”

University policy is in accordance with state and federal laws. The laws require that students with disabilities are provided with effective accommodations based on needs. If a student with a disability approaches a faculty member for certain accommodations, that faculty member works with both the student and the SSD office to implement any aids necessary to that student. This way, students with disabilities may be allowed to participate in all programs and activities on the same basis as students without disabilities.

“I still need to function within the law and the academic standards,” said Colt Mortenson, a WSU student and WSUSA senator. “They have been accommodating. Like when the weather is really bad and I’m in my wheelchair, and I just tell them, ‘Hey, I’m sorry I was late, but this is the reason why I was late. I was having a difficult time getting up the hill.’ I haven’t met a professor who hasn’t been helpful in that way.”

Along with these accommodations, students can expect confidentiality. When students contact the SSD about getting accommodations for their classes, everything is kept private between the student and the SSD office.

“When a student brings in documentation — students need papers explaining their disability to acquire services, and it’s all checked to make sure it’s legal — we make a photocopy and give the original back to the student,” said Don Guthrie, director of the SSD office. “The copies are then kept on file in a locked cabinet that only has one key.”

Students can find out more information about the services offered by the SSD office by visiting it in the WSU Student Services Building, Room 181, calling at 801-626-6413 or visiting its website at


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