Resources for Disabled Students

Accommodation Process

The following provides information related to how accommodations and services related to disabilities are provided.

What You Need to Do Reasonable Accommodation
Service Animals Assistive Technology
Other RDS Support Priority Registration
Transportation Support  Advocacy and Awareness

Accommodations/Auxiliary Aids/Services


In order to receive reasonable accommodations based on the effects of a disability, a student must first identify as a student with a disability with the university.  In general, that identification occurs through Resources for Disabled Students (RDS).  Disabilities encompass impairments that affect a person's ability to move, see, hear, or learn as well as physical or mental illnesses/conditions that impact a student's ability to effectively participate in campus life.

If you have a disability and are in need of an academic accommodation, you must first meet with one of the RDS accommodations/advocacy specialists for an assessment of your needs and for recommended accommodations.  To make an appointment with a specialist, please call the RDS office at (970) 491-6385.  If you do not know whether you have a disability or not, meeting with a specialists may allow you to receive an accommodation for one semester until further proof of disability is discovered.

If an accommodation involves an adjustment related to specific classes, the RDS specialist will issue you a memo to take to your instructors that verifies your eligibility and need for that adjustment.  The most common adjustment that is made is for extra time and/or an alternative testing location (Alternative Testing).

If you are requesting another type of accommodation that involves another campus unit, RDS may be involved in the process of verifying your need.  That verification will also require you to meet with one of the RDS specialists.

Students are required to provide supporting documentation for their requests for accommodations.  Documentation must confirm the student has a particular disability and provide information on how the disability might affect the student in a particular setting (e.g., in a class, in housing, etc.).  A particular accommodation request must be reasonable and consistent with the manifestations of the disability.   For more information about documentation, please go to Documentation Guidelines.


The university is required to provide reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities once the need for such accommodations are made known by the student to appropriate personnel.  Some accommodations are provided through auxiliary aids and services.  Others may require modifications to academic procedures and practices.  All accommodations must be related to disabilities defined as substantially limiting a major life activity.

Not all requests for accommodation may be determined to be reasonable and/or appropriate. Simply because a student received support at another institution or in elementary/secondary school does not guarantee he/she will receive it at Colorado State University (or any other higher education institution).

Whether a request for an accommodation is reasonable and/or appropriate is a decision that takes into account the individual need of a student, the resources available to the university, whether the accommodation is related to the limitation and whether it affects the essential elements of a course or major area of study.

The following services (as auxiliary aids and/or accommodations) provided by RDS are commonly utilized by students and are considered reasonable accommodations for the university: alternative testing; alternative text; sign language/oral interpreting (including RTC); and note-taking support.  For a description of these services, please see Accommodative ServicesIn addition, RDS provides priority registration and   transportation support.  This list is not all inclusive; other accommodations can be provided depending upon a student's particular situation and need.

Service Dogs and Assistance Animals

Some types of disabilities may require a person to have the assistance of an animal as an accommodation.  To be considered an accommodation, the animal must be trained to provide a specific service and/or have a verifiable relationship to a person's disability.  Unless otherwise evident, supporting documentation for the need of the animal may be required.  Approval of the animal as an accommodation may be required from RDS before an animal is allowed in certain areas on campus (e.g., housing).

Service Dogs/Horses:

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a service animal is one that has been trained to provide a specific service for the individual with a disability.  The Act designates dogs and miniature horses as the primary animals to be considered service animals.  Examples of dogs as service animals include dog guides for those who are blind, hearing dogs for those who are deaf, alert dogs for those who have chronic physical or mental health conditions, and dogs who perform manual tasks for those who are mobility limited.

In some instances, miniature horses may also be considered for use by an individual with a disability if the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability. To determine whether a miniature horse may be an appropriate accommodation, the following will be considered:

  • (i) The type, size and weight of the miniature horse and whether applicable University facilities accommodate these features;
  • (ii) Whether the handler has sufficient control of the miniature horse;
  • (iii) Whether the miniature horse is housebroken; and
  • (iv) Whether the miniature horse's presence in a specific facility compromises legitimate safety requirements that are necessary for safe operation.

Beyond this, other considerations as may be required or allowed under federal or state disability laws may apply. Requests for use of a miniature horse for acommodation of a disability will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Emotional Support Animals:

An animal providing emotional support is generally not considered an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.   However, the need for an animal to provide emotional support may be appropriate as an accommodation in campus housing facilities under the Fair Housing Act.  These animals are not considered service animals and therefore, would not be allowed generally in other campus buildings.

An animal approved as an accommodation needs to be in the control of the student at all times.   The animal is expected to be non-intrusive in all public areas and to be non-threatening to others.  There may be certain areas of campus where an animal may not be allowed for safety reasons; in those cases, other accommodations may need to be arranged.

If a student is living on in university supported housing, the student may be required to abide by additional requirements in terms of the care required to maintain the animal.  For more information, go to Service and Emotional Support Animals.

Assistive Technology

While the campus takes care to provide access to on-line information in an accessible manner, there may still be times when access becomes problematic due to both hardware and software.  The university is committed to access through electronic means and students are encouraged to seek adaptive technology through the Assistive Technology Resource Center.  Student can be referred to this office through one of the RDS counselors.


RDS acts as a "home-base" for students with disabilities, as determined by the student. Through individual assessment of needs, students have the opportunity to receive counseling and advice from staff that are familiar with the effects of specific disabilities in an academic environment. Each student will be regarded first as a student and then as a student with a disability. RDS considers the presence of a disability as merely another diversity characteristic of the student.  Students will find RDS supportive of them as individuals with an expectation that students with disabilities are capable and responsible members of the CSU community.

Other services provided to students include priority registration and accessible transportation as well as support from the RDS specialists to discuss and problem solve in dealing with both academic and personal issues.  RDS specialists also are available to act as an advocate for students if they encounter barriers from people, procedures, and/or policies.

Priority Registration

The registration process begins the semester prior to the semester for which classes are selected.   Access to the computer-based web system is assigned according to class rank (graduate students first, freshman last).  Priority Registration allows students to access the system earlier than the time they would normally be assigned. 

Earlier access gives a student the opportunity to arrange a schedule with sufficient time for RDS to put in place auxiliary aids/accommodations such as interpreting services or books in alternative formats.  It also allows a student to select specific course times/course locations/instructors that may be necessary as an accommodation for specific needs. A student must be on the current university computer system in order to receive Priority Registration privileges.  Therefore, this service is not available unless a student has been enrolled for the prior consecutive semester. 

Students with mobility limitations or who have may have other needs directly related to their specific disability will also be given automatic Priority Registration status. Other students must request the service through a RDS Accommodations/Advocacy Specialist or the Director.  The request must be substantiated as a need due to a student's disability.  Once given Priority Registration, students will receive the service until they have graduated and/or left the university.

Priority Registration is valid only during the registration periods for each following semester (October for spring semester, April for fall semester). Students who use interpreting services or require alterative text formats will automatically be placed on Priority Registration status.  A list of students eligible for Priority Registration status is submitted to the Registrar approximately one month into a particular semester for the following semester registration period. Therefore, students who miss this deadline as a new request may not be given the status until the following semester.

Students who drop out for a semester and then return MUST re-initiate contact with RDS, and/or request this accommodation from a RDS Specialist and/or Director once they are re-enrolled, to be reinstated for Priority Registration.

Students who have difficulty using the computer system for registration due to their limitations should contact RDS as early as possible for registration assistance.

Transportation Support

Transportation Support Services are provided through an accessible van (with ramp) or through the use of a golf cart (not suitable for those using wheelchairs).  This service is available to assist students across campus only.  Rides are arranged as close to the times requested as possible.  Reservations for scheduled rides is on a first come, first serve basis and dependent upon the availability of drivers.  This service is only available during the academic school year (Fall and Spring semesters) and is not conducive to last minute requests. 

First priority are given to rides associated with academic obligations for students with permanent mobility limitations or other restrictive disabilities.  Other rides may be negotiated with RDS depending upon the availability of drivers.  Students who experience temporary mobility limitations may also be eligible for this service.

Requests for Transportation Support Services for a semester is required at least one week prior to the beginning of classes.  Three to five days notice is required in order to accommodate other requests.

Because this service is meant to be a supplement to the public transportation system for campus activities only, students are also encouraged to utilize other alternatives for their transportation needs.  Contact the RDS Transportation Coordinator for more information.

For more information regarding policies and procedures, please click on: Transportation Support Services.

Advocacy and Awareness

RDS represents and promotes the needs of students with disabilities both individually and as a group, on and off campus through Advocacy efforts and activities. General advocacy activities are aimed at sensitizing and changing the environment so that it meets the needs of all students with disabilities. Individual advocacy efforts on behalf of students are provided on a case-by-case request and/or need.

In addition, RDS also acts as an informational resource to the university and local communities, providing current and relevant information about disability. Awareness programs and presentations can be requested by the CSU campus community directly from RDS staff.  However, RDS encourages other programming entities on campus to consider disability as any other intersectional human characteristic.  The RDS Director also teaches a course about the disability experience called The 'Handicapped' Individual in Society (OT 355).  This course is open to all majors at the sophomore level and above.


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