Flowers on the St. John's Campus

Disability Services

About the Office

The goal of Disability Services is to aid students with all types of conditions including physical and learning disabilities, temporary injuries, and chronic illnesses to access the educational possibilities at St. John’s University as per federal law. We work in collaboration with all departments and programs at the University to facilitate accommodations, advocate for our students and, assist students to maximize their potential while helping them develop and maintain independence.

Why Is Accessibility Important?

Accommodations allow students with disabilities to access the programs and services offered here at St. John’s, as is their right under federal law. These accommodations do not give students an advantage, but rather allow them the opportunity to achieve to their fullest potential regardless of their disability. We believe that barriers faced by those with disabilities are often not solely resulting from their diagnosis or condition, but by an inaccessible environment. Our goal is to help students implement and utilize accommodations that will address these barriers they face.

How to Request Accommodations

In order to request any type of accommodation, students may access Accommodate through and follow the instructions on the landing page.

Accomodate app icon in signon

Students who have never requested accommodations should begin by filling out the registration form from the menu by selecting Accommodations > Registration Form.


Students diagnosed with physical and/or mental impairments qualify as persons with disabilities when their conditions substantially limit them in one or more major life activities. St. John’s University provides reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities with consultation from their academic programs when necessary. Reasonable accommodations are adjustments to policies, practices, or procedures that facilitate equal access and opportunity for students with disabilities to the University’s programs, activities and services. Services for students with a documented disability are available through Disability Services.

The goal of documentation is twofold: to verify and support the student’s status as disabled and to address the way in which the disability impairs the student’s access to education. The documentation should provide a meaningful understanding of the student’s limits and, importantly, detail reasonable accommodations which will effectively equalize the student’s ability to perform in the university setting.

All documentation is kept confidential and should be submitted directly to Disability Services. Students requesting accommodations should schedule an appointment with an Disability Services administrator and identify their needs as early in their tenure at St. John’s as possible.

Documentation Requirements

  • St. John's University students requesting accommodations for a disability must present verification of eligibility through documentation of the disability and current functional limitations.
  • An evaluation must have been completed by a qualified, certified and/or licensed professional (physician, health care provider, psychologist and/or psychiatrist) who has experience with an adolescent and adult population. The professional's credentials/licensing information must appear on the documentation.
  • The evaluator must include in the test report evidence that the instruments selected are reliable and valid for use with an adolescent or adult. Documentation of impairment alone may not be sufficient to require that the student be provided a reasonable accommodation. It must be demonstrated that the impairment rises to the level of a disability according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, the impairment must substantially limit or restrict a major life activity (i.e., learning, reading, concentrating, and/or thinking). The documentation must provide information to support the need for all accommodations requested.
  • A Disability Services administrator will evaluate the documentation and requested accommodations. When necessary, specific academic units will be consulted regarding the accommodations. Additional documentation may be required to support the student’s request.
  • Temporary accommodations are considered.
  • A student having dissatisfaction with the decision for accommodation granted has the right to appeal the decision in accordance with the University's "Policy Against Discrimination and Sexual Harassment and Related Grievance Procedures."
  • A Disability Services administrator may be contacted for information regarding specific documentation required or for explanation of this policy.              


Types of accommodations provided are, but not limited to:

  • Extended time for exams (specific amounts dependent on student need and supporting documentation — most commonly 1.5x (time and a half)
  • Separate, quiet location for exams
  • American Sign Language interpreters
  • Readers for exams
  • Scribes for exams
  • Assistance with course or program accessibility
  • Note taking assistance
  • Assistive technology
  • Early registration

Note-Taking Services:

Students eligible for note-taking accommodations should contact ODS via email at [email protected] indicating in which classes they require notes and include the following information:

  • Course Title and Code
  • Instructor name and email address
  • Days and Times of class meeting

This is best done in the first 2 weeks of classes.  Once ODS has this information, we will contact the instructor for your course(s) and indicate that ODS is seeking a student to serve as a note-taker for that class.  You will remain anonymous in this process unless you indicate that you wish to have direct interaction with your note-taker.

Exam Scheduling Information

Students must be registered with ODS to utilize testing accommodations and instructors must be aware of testing accommodations via a current accommodation letter.

Students eligible for testing accommodations should schedule their exams via the Test Booking tab within Accommodate. Exams must be booked at least 1 week in advance of the exam and should be scheduled for the same day and time the class is taking it unless there is a conflict. Students may indicate concerns about conflicts in the exam form or contact the office at [email protected] for assistance.

Testing Room Availability:

Monday to Thursday, 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m.
Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

If your class normally meets or ends after regular business hours, we will work with you to adjust your start time so that you may complete it in the testing room, or work with you and your instructor to administer the exam at a mutually agreeable time.

Verification of Documentation/Letters for Extended Time on Standardized Tests

If you are a currently registered with Disability Services or a student that was registered with our office in the past, you may contact us for a verification letter for standardized tests.  If you received extended time in your undergraduate studies, you may be eligible for extended time on standardized tests such as the GMAT, LSAT, GRE, or other standardized testing. 

Contact [email protected] to request a letter be mailed to you verifying you as a registered student and your accommodations. We will mail this letter directly to you, which you can then provide to the testing board.  Please allow 1-2 weeks to process such requests.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is a person with a disability?

A person with a disability is someone who has one, or a combination of several physical, mental, and learning impairments which substantially limits one or more of the person’s major life activities. Major life activities include seeing, hearing, walking, or learning. A person may be considered to have a disability if he/she has a history of such an impairment or is regarded as presently having such an impairment.

Disabilities may include:

  • Medical Conditions, such as: Asthma, diabetes, fibromyalgia, HIV-AIDS, cancer, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, lupus, heart disease, Crone’s Disease, sickle cell anemia, etc.
  • Learning Disabilities: Reading, writing, math disabilities, processing disorders, etc.
  • Neurological Impairments: ADHD, brain injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.
  • Deaf and hard of hearing
  • Visually impaired, legally blind, and blind
  • Mobility Impairment: arthritis, polio, spinal cord injuries, scoliosis, and other conditions which cause mobility difficulties or result in the use of a cane or wheel chair.
  • Temporary conditions: broken leg, sprained ankle, wrist injury, etc.

What Is a reasonable accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment to the way in which a program or service is provided that allows a qualified person with a disability to achieve meaningful access to that program or service. For example, a reasonable accommodation may consist of a modification of the University's policies or procedures, or the provision of auxiliary aids or services. Reasonable accommodations do not alter the nature of the course or the degree requirements in any way.  St. John’s University is not required to make accommodations which fundamentally alter the nature of its curriculum, programs or services, or which are unduly burdensome either in terms of cost or administrative difficulty.

How do I receive an accommodation for a disability?

If you have a disability, or if you suspect that you have a disability, you may request accommodations through Accommodate, our online platform available through You must be enrolled in the university in order to make an accommodation request through Accommodate. If you are not a student and are seeking information about the accommodation process, you may contact the office at [email protected] or call at 718-990-6768 to speak with a staff member.

Accessible parking spaces are limited and, pursuant to law, only individuals with appropriately issued permits  can park in these locations. Any member of the University community with a disability requesting permission to park in accessible parking areas must apply to the appropriate municipal authority to secure a New York State parking permit for people with disabilities.  A parking zone identified with a sign bearing the international disability symbol is restricted at all times for use by vehicles bearing BOTH a valid SJU parking permit and New York State issued accessible parking permit.

Temporary Accessible Parking Permits

St. John’s University supports the provision of disability parking spaces at a reasonable proximity to campus buildings for people with a temporary disability. Accessible parking privileges will be granted only after submission of documentation of need to Disability Services. Medical documents or physician’s letter, which include diagnostic statement and healthcare provider’s license number, must indicate that the applicant has established physical limitations. Upon the approval of documentation, a temporary accessible parking permit may be obtained from Public Safety, provided that the community member has a valid parking permit and a valid photo ID.

Students may need to request specific accommodations for housing in order to access Residence Halls.  In order to make a Housing Accommodation Request, students must do the following:

  1. Submit ODS Registration Form
  2. Submit Disability documentation of  disability from a qualified professional
  3. Submit a personal statement explaining why a housing accommodation is being requested

ODS will confirm receipt of these items once they have been received.  Please note, ODS will not review incomplete requests for housing accommodations.  Additionally, it is important to understand that ODS cannot make guarantees regarding approval of an accommodation request or specific room assignments. Students should also be aware of important Residence Life housing deadlines, which may impact available housing options.

Please note that learning to share space and connecting with others is an essential part of living in a residential community. Requests for disability related accommodations based on preferences, as opposed to need, will be declined. For example, a student diagnosed with a disability seeking a single room to serve as a distraction-free, undisturbed place to study represents a preference, not a disability-related required accommodation.

How Accommodations Are Determined

In collaboration with the Office of Residence Life, accommodation requests are determined by committee on a case-by-case basis, according to documented need and industry standards for reasonable accommodations. Housing accommodations are made after a determination of:

  • Student’s disability status
  • Whether student’s disability necessitates adjustments to the living environment
  • Potential alternative accommodations, and what, if any, housing accommodations would be appropriate for the student
  • Available housing options

Students with a qualifying disability requesting an assistance animal within the Residence Halls should review the Service and Assistance Animal Policy and follow the steps outlined in this policy.

Please note the application deadlines below. It is essential to follow these deadlines as even if an assistance animal is approved, roommates and suitemates must be informed prior to the animal being brought to campus to ensure there are no conflicting health conditions such as allergies. Requests for assistance animals after posted deadlines generally will be reviewed for the following semester.

Students approved for assistance animals are not automatically assigned to a single room. If a single room is desired as a housing accommodation, a separate request must be made for that accommodation which includes appropriate supporting documentation.

Application Deadlines

Incoming Students:
First-time undergraduate, graduate, and law students

  • Fall housing deadline: May 1
  • Spring housing deadline: November 1

Continuing Students:
Returning first-year undergraduate, transfer, graduate, and law students

  • Fall housing deadline: February 1
  • Spring housing deadline: November 1

Forms and Policy Information

Service and Assistance Animal Policy
This document describes the Service and Assistance Animal Policy and the steps students need to take to qualify for the process as well as to return to school.

Veterinarian Verification Form
This form is to be completed by veterinarian regarding the health of your assistance animal.
Authorization for Release of Health Information and Health Care Provider Verification Form
Release form that students should complete and sign so their health care provider can communicate with the St. John’s University regarding the need for an assistance animal.

CTL Resources: Office of Disability Services

“Need to Know” Information about Disabilities for Faculty

  • Accommodating students is a shared responsibility between the student, faculty and Disability Services based upon the documented needs of the student and in keeping with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, section 504.
  • Most common accommodations include: alternative testing (extended time in a separate location), reader or scribe for testing, alternative texts, assistance with access challenges, note taker, and sign language interpretation.
  • Maintain confidentiality. Please be aware of what a sensitive issue it is to be a person with a disability, even during current times. You will be notified that the student has a disability and the required reasonable accommodations, but the nature of that disability is a private matter which the student is not obliged to reveal to you.
  • When in doubt, ask. Disability Services welcomes your consultation regarding issues and concerns you have about your student. ADA requires that we “level the playing ground” and protect students from discrimination, not that we provide unfair advantages. If you have questions regarding the reasonableness of an accommodation, please contact us.
  • Visit the “Faculty Room” (website below), an excellent website providing a wide range of information for postsecondary school faculty and administrators.

Student Accommodation Letter for Faculty

A student seeking reasonable accommodations must register with a Disability Services administrator, who reviews his/her documentation in order to determine if the student has a verifiable disability.

If the student’s documentation meets requirements, a Disability Services administrator meets with the student to determine appropriate reasonable accommodations which are noted in an Accommodation Letter.  Students must present current accommodation letter to their instructors each semester in order to notify them of approved accommodations on the basis of disability.

Faculty Frequently Asked Questions

Q. CONFIDENTIALITY: Is the information regarding a student's disability and her need for academic accommodations confidential?

A. Privacy of student information, including that regarding student's disabilities or accommodation needs, should generally be handled according to guidelines of FERPA, the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Personal information of this nature should only be shared with those people within the institution who have an educational need-to-know.

Q. ANNOUNCEMENT: How can I encourage students with disabilities to talk with me about their accommodations?

A. Announce at the beginning of a course that you are available to discuss instructional methods and appropriate course modifications with students who have disabilities. In addition, include a note to this effect on your course syllabus. For example:

"To request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disability Services at 718-990-6867. If you have a letter from their office indicating that you have a disability which requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to me so we can discuss the accommodations that you might need in this class."

Q. CONFIDENTIALITY: Is it acceptable to ask a student who is having obvious difficulties whether he has a disability or to refer the student to the office that provides disability support services?

A. No. It is not a good idea to ask directly about a possible disability for a couple of reasons. First, the Americans with Disabilities Act states that a public entity may not make unnecessary inquiries into the existence of a disability. These inquiries usually relate to hiring or pre-admission screening, but when talking with students such inquiries should also be avoided. A direct inquiry such as this could also be considered intrusive or insensitive. You may simply tell the student that you notice she is having academic difficulty and encourage her to come talk with you about gaining assistance, just as you would with any student.

Q. QUALIFIED STUDENTS: How do I know a student is qualified to receive disability-related accommodations?

A. On most campuses, a student who wishes to receive disability-related accommodations must register with the campus office that supports disabled students and provide documentation from an appropriate professional about his condition before services are rendered. Once a student is registered, faculty must provide the academic accommodations that this office determines reasonable. The student or disability services office provides faculty with a letter written by Disability Services, which documents the disability and the need for academic accommodation.

Q. REFERRALS: How can I encourage students with disabilities to register with the campus office for disabled student services?

A. You may make an announcement to your class and print a statement on your syllabus referring students with disabilities to the office for disabled student services. You may also encourage students to meet with you to discuss their learning needs. For example, you could say to a student: "I noticed that you seemed to have difficulty organizing your paper. You might consider using some of the special support services we have on campus such as the skills center, the peer tutoring program, and disabled student services."

Q. TAPE RECORDING: Can a faculty member forbid a student with a disability to use a tape recorder in class?

A. An instructor is typically required to allow a student to tape record her course if taping the class is determined to be an appropriate accommodation for a student's disability. Tape recorders are specifically mentioned in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act as a means of providing full participation in educational programs and activities. Occasionally, classroom discussion reveals items of a personal nature about students. If open discussions tend to reveal personal information, it would be appropriate to ask the student with a disability to turn off the tape recorder during these discussions. Contact Disability Services with questions or concerns about tape recording lectures.

Q. REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS: How do I know what a reasonable academic accommodation is?

A. Your campus student disabilities office determines which accommodations are reasonable. The student may provide you with a letter from this service office, outlining appropriate accommodations. The student may also share with you accommodations that have proved successful for him in other classes. You can consult with the disabled student services office if his requests do not seem reasonable.

Q. DISAGREEMENTS: What if I do not agree with a recommended accommodation?

A. The institution is required by federal regulation to establish formal grievance procedures for providing prompt and equitable resolution of disagreements. When a dispute involves the conduct of a course or academic program, those procedures provide for consultation between the faculty member responsible for the course, the student, and a representative from the disabled student services office. Contact your disabled student services office to learn about the grievance procedures on your campus.

Q. EXAMINATIONS: Some students with disabilities are provided extended time on examinations. Is this fair to other students?

A. The Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states: "The results of an examination should accurately reflect an individual's aptitude or achievement level or whatever the test purports to measure, rather than reflecting an individual's impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills." The courts have held repeatedly that a lengthening of the standard examination period is an appropriate accommodation for some students with disabilities. For example, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered the State Board of Bar Examiners to allow double the standard time on the bar exam for an applicant with Dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder. Similarly, the State District Court for the Western District of New York ruled that a State Bar applicant with a visual impairment must be allowed a four-day examination period rather than the standard two-day period.

Q. NOTICE: How are instructors informed that a student needs an academic accommodation?

A. Students who wish to exercise their right to disability-related accommodations must provide the campus disabled student services office with documentation of their disability.  Instructors are notified that specific accommodations are necessary via an accommodation letter from OSD which the student will deliver. Instructors receive written notification describing the nature of the appropriate academic adjustments for the student. Students are encouraged to request accommodations prior to the beginning of the academic term; however, the student may request accommodations at any time during the course.

Q. FAILING: May I fail a student with a disability?

A. Yes. It is possible to fail a student with a disability. The laws mandate access to education, not guaranteed academic success. When a faculty member has provided reasonable academic accommodations, as is required to comply with the law, and the student does not meet the course requirements, then failing a student is proper and lawful. The following is a compliance checklist that may be helpful:

  • Stand by academic standards and freedoms, which include full and equitable access to academic programs.
  • Provide verbal and written notice to your students of your willingness to accommodate. For example: "I encourage students with disabilities to discuss accommodations with me."
  • Communicate clear and concise expectations for performance to your students. Distinguish between essential and non-essential components of the course.
  • Respect requests for reasonable accommodations. (The disability student services office facilitates obtaining these alternative formats).
  • Permit students to use auxiliary aides and technologies that ensure access (examples: note takers, sign language interpreters, readers, scribes, research assistants, tape recorders/players, assistive listening devices).
  • Assure that your course materials, whether printed or electronic, are accessible and available in alternative formats (examples: Braille, computer electronic text, large print, internet, CD/cassettes).
  • Consult with your disability student services office if you have questions when a student requests accommodations.
  • Keep student disability-related information strictly confidential.

*From the website “Do-It: Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology, University of Washington: The Faculty Room.”

© 2001-2004 DO-IT. Permission is granted to copy material in this site for educational, non-commercial purposes provided the source is acknowledged.

To access captions for each video, please click the red "CC" button on the right side of the video player.

Accommodations Explained

Accommodations Explained 2


Parents as Partners

St. John’s University is pleased to have the privilege of working with your son/daughterthroughout the upcoming year. Please use the resources below which you may find helpful.


Federal regulations protect adult (18 years old or older) students’ confidentiality, even regarding disclosing confidential information to parents. Students can provide a release of information, permitting us to communicate with parents. However, should your child provide us with permission, please know that the permission allows, but does not require, us to disclose confidential information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  Do you have a tutoring program for students with disabilities?
Disability Services does not provide tutoring services. However, St. John’s University provides all students with academic assistance through the University Learning Commons and the Writing Centers. Students with documented disabilities are encouraged to use both of these resources, as needed.

Q. Is public transportation part of the accommodations?
No. Disability Services does not offer public transportation. However, if the student participates in a program which provides transportation, that transportation must be accessible to the student,.

Q. Can parents request accommodations on behalf of their son/daughter?
No. All requests for accommodations must come directly from the student and supported by documentation from a health care provider. Parents may be present with the student’s consent during the initial appointment with Disability Services.

Q. Does ODS provide psychoeducational assessment?
No. Neither the Americans with Disabilities Act nor Section 504 require that institutions of higher learning provide evaluations or assessments of students with disabilities or suspected disabilities. However, Disability Services may provide referrals to qualified professionals and agencies.

Q. In high school, teachers kept me informed as to how my child was performing academically. Will I be able to communicate with the University professors or any other offices about my son/daughter’s academic performance?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1976 (FERPA) dictates that once your son/daughter enrolls in an institution of postsecondary education and reaches the age of majority, 18 years old, he/she becomes the sole guardian of all records maintained by the institution. The student has the right to his/her own records with written request. The parent or guardian does not share this right as the information is kept confidential. The student may provide a written release form authorizing his/her parents or guardians access to requested records or information.

Q. With my son/daughter’s consent, can I visit Disability Services on behalf of my son/daughter to discuss concerns or ask questions?
Yes, but the student must always be present during the meetings.

Q. My son/daughter had some subjects waived in high school, are they automatically waived in college, too?
There are no “automatic waivers.”  Depending upon the documented disability and the required accommodations, specific subjects may be waived or substituted.

Q. Can I provide assistance for my son/daughter in the classroom or during testing, such as reading or note taking?
No.  If your son/daughter is entitled to such accommodations, based upon the submitted documentation, Disability Services will assist the student with arranging the accommodations. Parents are not allowed to attend classes with their son/daughter unless permitted by the instructor. In such cases, parents’ presence must be neutral and pose no distraction.

Q. Does my son/daughter’s disability warrant any immunity against any disciplinary charges that may be posed against him/her as a result of a complaint?
No. Students with documented disability are subject to the same code of conduct as are all other students. Their conduct will be reviewed by college officials should their behavior pose any danger or concern to self or others, regardless of disability.


Pregnant students may request academic adjustments, special services, excused absences, or leaves of absence by contacting the Office of Disability Services, which is located in Marillac Hall, Room 134. ODS can also be contacted through email ([email protected]), phone (718-990-2609), or fax (718-990-2609).

Federal law prohibits discrimination against a student based on pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery from any of these conditions. If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination because of any of these conditions, contact Danielle Haynes, the University’s Director of Equal Opportunity & Title IX Coordinator, at [email protected] or 718-990-2660.

Disability, Access, and Technology Resources

  • Kurzweil 3000: The Office of Disabilities Services has made available to ALL students Kurzweil 3000 is a powerful reading, writing, test-taking, and study skill tools that makes curriculum accessible to all students.
    •  It is particularly appropriate for students with learning disabilities such as Dyslexia, those who require reading intervention, students struggling with reading comprehension.
    • The software can read PDF, word, and other documents aloud as well as web page content, which can offer critical support for students with print-based disabilities.
    • Kurzweil also allows the user to highlight and extract specific content from readings, assisting students with focusing on key concepts while studying.
      • To access Kurzweill 3000, students can sign up via this user self-registration link
      • Select St. John’s University from the dropdown list; then create your desired user name and password
      • You may then use this account to log in on the Kurzweil website
  • Read&Write is a software toolbar that helps students create and access content with the literacy support features needed to engage with a personalized learning experience — helping every member of the class meet their full potential.
  • Screen Readers for students who are blind or visually impaired: NVDA Free Open Source Screen Reader
  • Freedom Scientific provides software solutions for blind and low vision needs and is offering  JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion free of charge for personal computers at home, until June 30, 2020

Accessibility tools are features on your computer or mobile device to assist with dictation, speech to text, enlarging fonts and more.

Lavelle Fund for the Blind
Legally blind students enrolled in graduate programs at St. John’s University are eligible to apply for the Lavelle – Brother Kearney Scholarship.

Our Office

Queens Campus  
Marillac Hall, Room 134
Tel: 718-990-6867
Fax: 718-990-2609
[email protected]

Monday to Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m

Summer Hours:
Monday to Thursday, 8:30 a.m.  to 4:30 p.m.
Friday: Closed


  • B.A. from Brooklyn of CUNY, major psychology
  • M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Brooklyn College.

Relevant Experience

Over 15 years of experience wearing multiple hats as a Disability Service Provider in multiple universities, ranging from Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), to The New School and Columbia University. Jason has been the Associate Director of ODS at St. John's since June 2018 and possesses vast knowledge of accommodations and access concerns for people with disabilities. 

Professional Interests

Utilization of Assistive Technology solutions to facilitate appropriate access for students who are blind or visually impaired, as well as Universal Design approaches to programs and curricula to build ease of use and access from the ground up. Research into how video games and computer games are made more accessible for people with disabilities and how AI usage may bolster access to digital content.

Fun Facts

Jason is a big Grateful Dead fan and attended numerous Dead and Company concerts with his wife. Jason’s in-laws owned a kosher meat business, A-Z kosher meats, based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn dating back multiple generations to the early 1950s.