Frequently Asked Questions

General

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What if I disagree with the disability determination or level of accommodation I receive?

RCPD Specialists are committed to an active partnership with students and employees who make reasonable accommodation requests through our office. In the case you experience a disagreement regarding disability determination or appropriateness of accommodations, you may consider taking the steps outlined in our dispute resolution process.

How do I find housing that meets my unique needs?

MSU offers a variety of housing options with accessible units and apartments in several areas of campus. Accessible housing options can be discussed with an RCPD Specialist to determine which housing option will meet your needs. Visit the RCPD Housing information page for more information.

Psychiatric Disability:

 
If you are requesting a housing accommodation due to a mental health condition, the psychiatric disability specialist will need the following:
 
  1. The PSYCHIATRIC/PSYCHOLOGICAL DOCUMENTATION form completed by a mental health professional to document your psychiatric condition.
  2. A letter written by your mental health professional on his/her professional letterhead explaining in detail why you need a housing accommodation due to your psychiatric condition.
  3. A letter signed by you (with your MSU PID #) OR an email from you using your MSU email account (with your MSU PID #) requesting a housing accommodation and explaining in detail why you need this accommodation due to your psychiatric condition.
 
Once you have all these documents, please contact the psychiatric disabilities specialist to schedule an appointment. The specialist will also be able to answer any questions you may have.
 

What kind of transportation is available on and off campus?

The Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) provides fixed route services on and off campus, covering all of Ingham County. CATA buses are equipped with ramps or lifts, and run every 7 to 35 minutes depending on the route. CATA also provides a curb-to-curb, advanced reservation (1 day prior) transit service for persons with disabilities, called Spec-Tran. For more information about CATA, visit their website at www.cata.org.

What is the procedure for ice and snow removal on campus?

The MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities Department (IPF) is responsible for snow and ice control in support of the University's daily academic operations, conferences, sports events, and evening programs. ​When the crews are called in, they start with roads, parking lots, ramps, and established routes for persons with disabilities. At about 5:30 a.m., a portion of the crew switches to sidewalks.  

If students or employees encounter areas where snow removal has not been sufficient on sidewalks, MSU bus stops, pedestrian crossings, or barrier-free parking areas, please report the area by calling IPF at (517) 353 1760. Visit their webpage for more information at https://ipf.msu.edu/services/snow-and-ice-removal.html​. 

How does MSU facilitate notetaking services?

Students work individually with their Disability Specialist to identify an ideal solution. Visit the Accessing Notetaking Assistance page for a generalized overview of possibilities.

How do I make arrangements to have my service animal in University housing?

Students and employees with a disability who wish to utilize a service animal in the classroom or University office must register with the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD). For use of a service animal by a resident or potential resident in University housing, see Policy, Guidelines and Procedures for Residents with Service Animals in University Housing

What accommodations will I receive for my disability?

Each person is unique and needs will vary. Accommodations are determined during a confidential needs assessment with a Disability Specialist.

What steps has MSU taken to remove barriers and improve accessibility on campus?

Visit Architectural Accessibility at MSU to find an accessibility map, barrier free access statement, projects summary and offer suggestions to improve accessibility on campus. This page also includes specific information regarding accessible entrances and power entrances to buildings on campus.

What are some important guidelines to keep in mind regarding prescribed aids and medication?

Individuals using prescribed aids and/or taking medication to help control or manage their disability are encouraged to review with their doctor the impact of the aid or medication on their academic performance or essential job functions. Changes in aids or medication may produce significant effects on achievement. It is often advisable for changes to occur during breaks. Some medications may have side effects that could require reasonable accommodations.

Will RCPD inform my teachers about my accommodations?

Once registered with the RCPD, the student receives a VISA. Students are responsible for presenting this VISA to each professor at the start of the semester, during office hours. It is important to go over the VISA  to coordinate accommodations.

Should I update my documentation prior to enrolling at MSU?

Persons with learning disabilities must provide recent documentation (a suggested guideline for recency is 3 years) including a case history prior to an initial meeting for a needs assessment.

Documentation of a disability must appear on official letterhead from a licensed medical or diagnostic professional and include:

  • a specific statement of the diagnosis
  • area(s) and degree of involvement (mild, moderate, severe)
  • summary of related functional limitations (such as activities affecting the learning process)
  • recommendations for accommodations

For further important details about documentation please refer to Guidelines for Documenting a Learning Disability.

Will the admissions office take my disability into considerations when making an admission decision?

All applicants are held to the same  Michigan State University admission standards.

What are the advantages for students to disclose their disability?

The ultimate reason for disclosure is to obtain an equal opportunity to demonstrate competencies in all academic arenas. Disclosing a disability gives students the opportunity to receive reasonable accommodations that may enhance their classroom performance. Students who know their strengths and weaknesses are usually more able to develop strategies for achieving higher levels of both academic and personal success.

How do I make an appointment with a disability Specialist?

Each specialist keeps an individual calendar. Contact your Specialist directly to make an appointment.

Accessible Textbooks/Media

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MSU Alumna Innovates World of Technology​

Ben Hicks

Jordyn Castor, MSU alumnus and former RCPD student, continues to innovate the world of technology in her career. During her time at MSU she worked with a team of engineering students increasing accessibility for Windows 10 devices. Click here to read more. Since she graduated from MSU she has helped Apple innovate their technology. Jordyn’s present focus is on "SwiftPlaygrounds," an environment which will teach children how to code. Jorydn's insight has allowed this app to run seamlessly with VoiceOver, allowing low vision and blind children to utilize the app. Click here to read the full story. #SpartansWill​


What other technologies and resources are available?

Students are also encouraged to explore and use any of the MSU Microlab computers to scan reading material and/or access Kurzweil 3000, JAWS, and ZoomText for e-text reading and studying. Every MSU Microlab is equipped with a scanner as well as access to Kurzweil 3000, JAWS, and ZoomText.

An array of equipment, facilities, and services are also available at the MSU main library to enhance access. For more information visit the library's Assistive Technology Center web page.

Can I take my exams in an alternative format?

RCPD provides readers, scribes, electronic, large print, or Braille for examinations. A minimum of five business days notice is necessary to arrange most examination services. Early notification is critical during final exam week. Contact RCPD to schedule these services. Please reference the RCPD Alternative Testing Policy for other procedures relevant to scheduling and taking exams.

How long will it take for my book to be completed?

  • If the book is already in books.rcpd.msu.edu, RFB & D, or any number of other sites described on the Accessible Textbooks/Media page, then the answer is almost immediately. For books not already prepared, RCPD produces texts on a first come, first serve basis, but gives priority to projects for students with no access to printed materials other than through recording, e-text, or readers.
  • A specific time line for completion of RCPD produced materials is unavailable as each project has specific factors affecting production. RCPD strives to meet student goals regarding the completion date for a given project. Early submission of materials is a key factor for timely production of alternative formats.
  • In order to speed up the time for students to gain early access to scanned e-text, RCPD will upload a draft (non-edited) file onto books.rcpd.msu.edu while the whole textbook is being edited. Most students have found the draft files are good enough for regular reading purposes.
  • After the book is done being scanned, it will take approximately an additional two weeks for the cut book to be rebound by an external printing service. Some students do not want the cut book rebound, while other students want to use the cut book first, and ask for it to be rebound toward the end of the semester. Communicate with RCPD Media Specialist your special request in regard to the book re-binding service.

Learning Disabilities

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How can I get help with subjects that will be difficult for me?

First, talk to your professor he or she will probably have some ideas on how to succeed in the class.  In addition, there are many resources available to students at Michigan State University, such as the Learning Resources Center, the Math Learning Center and the Writing Center.

Will I receive the same accommodations that I got in high school?

Not necessarily; talk to a Disability Specialist about the appropriate accommodations for your disability.

Deaf/Hard of Hearing

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How do MSU departments request an interpreter or real-time captioner?

Download the Interpreter and Realtime Service Rates and Request Authorization Form from the RCPD website and return the completed form to the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Specialist. Please allow two weeks advance notice if possible.

What should I do if videos shown in my classes are not captioned?

Have your professor contact the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Specialist to get more information on RCPD's captioning program. RCPD has the ability to caption any type of media and make it available for in-class use.

If I do not know any sign language, what kinds of services can I expect?

RCPD strives to make your classroom experience more accessible. We have realtime captioning as well as FM amplified systems available for loan. RCPD will also help you find note takers.

Are extracurricular activities on campus interpreted?

If there is a specific event that you would like to attend, you may request an interpreter or realtime captioner by contacting the department sponsoring the event.

How do students make a request for an interpreter or real-time captioner?

Stop by RCPD and make an appointment to meet with the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Specialist. The Specialist will assess your individual needs.

Psychiatric Disabilities

Total 2 results.

What are some important guidelines to keep in mind regarding prescribed aids and medication?

Individuals using prescribed aids and/or taking medication to help control or manage their disability are encouraged to review with their doctor the impact of the aid or medication on their academic performance or essential job functions. Changes in aids or medication may produce significant effects on achievement. It is often advisable for changes to occur during breaks. Some medications may have side effects that could require reasonable accommodations.

Are there any social or activist groups for students with disabilities at MSU?

Yes, there is a student organization called the Council of Students with Disabilities, which holds regular meetings, gathers for ice cream socials and gets involved in disability activism on campus and in the community.

Personal Assistance Services (PAS)

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How do I secure funding to pay for personal care assistance?

Visit the Michigan Department of Human Services DHS to identify sources of PCA funding in Michigan. Other sources include the following:

You will also want to contact local resources in your community prior to arriving on campus.

How do I advertise that I need a personal assistant?

First, create an advertisement or posting with your contact information and a brief job description. Your RCPD specialist can assist with PCA advertisement samples for you to review. Individuals are encouraged to post their ads in residence halls, the MSU Nursing School, Medical School, local churches, student organizations, and MSU Broadcasting Services (with guidance from RCPD). For students and employees interested in contracting services from local agencies, you can obtain a listing from RCPD or the Capital Area Center for Independent Living (CACIL).

What is a personal care assistant (PCA)?

A personal care assistant is an individual hired by the student or employee to assist with daily living needs. A personal assistant may be another MSU student or a professional hired from an agency that can assist with laundry, driving, cleaning, bathing, dressing, food preparation, shopping, medical care, etc.

Mobility Disabilities

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Where can I find information about barrier free entrances and parking on campus?

Visit Architectural Accessibility at MSU to find an accessibility map, barrier free access statement, projects summary and offer suggestions to improve accessibility on campus. This page also includes specific information regarding entrances without steps and power entrances to buildings on campus.

Special parking requests can be made if necessary by completing an application form for your vehicle and registering with MSU Police and Public Safety.

Blindness and Visual Impairment

Total 1 result.

MSU Alumna Innovates World of Technology​

Ben Hicks

Jordyn Castor, MSU alumnus and former RCPD student, continues to innovate the world of technology in her career. During her time at MSU she worked with a team of engineering students increasing accessibility for Windows 10 devices. Click here to read more. Since she graduated from MSU she has helped Apple innovate their technology. Jordyn’s present focus is on "SwiftPlaygrounds," an environment which will teach children how to code. Jorydn's insight has allowed this app to run seamlessly with VoiceOver, allowing low vision and blind children to utilize the app. Click here to read the full story. #SpartansWill​