How to Refer a Student to DSPS

Do you have a student you think might benefit from DSPS services? Not sure how to refer him or her?

The best time to bring up your concerns would be in a private meeting, when other students are not present. Following are some suggestions on how you might express your concerns; please keep in mind that students benefit most from honest yet kind feedback about their performance in class, whether they have a disability or not.

  • If you are uncomfortable bringing up the subject of a possible disability, you could gather information about a few resources on campus that you think this student might benefit from, in addition to DSPS, such as the Student Success Center, Student Health Services, Counseling, Career Services, etc.. You might say, "I want to share some information on campus services that you might find helpful."
  • If you feel a little more comfortable, you could ask the student, "Do you think you would qualify for DSPS services? DSPS provides a number of services for students with a variety of disabilities."
  • Some students feel their disability isn't "severe enough" to warrant utilizing DSPS services and feel guilty because they don't want to take away from "more deserving" students. You may assure your student that DSPS serves all types of disabilities and that requesting services through DSPS in no way affects the level of services someone else with different needs shall receive.

Asking directly if the student has a disability might put him/her on the defensive and cause some discomfort. Ultimately it is up to the student to decide whether or not to disclose a disability and pursue DSPS services. However, do feel free to let students know that you are willing to work with them and DSPS to ensure that they have equal access to your curriculum. (Check out our sample syllabus statements [hyperlink].)

Once you have broached the subject and your student wishes to pursue DSPS services, what can you do to facilitate the process?

  • You may advise your student to go to the Santa Barbara Building, where he or she may initiate the process of becoming a DSPS student.
  • Some students will benefit from being walked over, which is certainly acceptable as long as it is what the student wishes. Please keep in mind that students with disabilities are not required to utilize DSPS services.
  • Please advise your student that he or she will need to provide documentation of a disability and that we will provide a simple form for his or her doctor or other professional to complete. We must have documentation of a disability before an appointment will be scheduled. Many students will qualify based on having received services in high school, in which case they may bring in their IEP and psycho-educational testing report to serve as disability verification.
  • Students who suspect they have a disability that has never been identified may be referred to their primary care doctor, a therapist/other professional.