We are often asked how to politely and appropriately refer a student who is struggling in class for DSPS services. The key is not to inquire if the student has disability unless he or she voluntary discloses that information. If self disclosure occurs, then it makes your job easier. Simply inform the student that there are certain services that can help him or her succeed in your class. These services are coordinated in Disabled Students Program and Services.
If you suspect a student in your class who is not performing well has a disability but has not mentioned having a disability, DSPS or academic adjustments, meet with the student privately and explain that you are interested in seeing the student succeed in your class. Next, describe the classroom-related observations you have made that lead you to believe that he/she is not performing well, i.e. poor performance on homework and/or quizzes and exams, behavior with you or classmates, excessive absenteeism, etc. Inquire if there is something more that you, as the professor can do to assist the student. Ask the student if he or she had these issues at another school, high school, or another college and how they were assisted. Advise the student of all sources of academic support, such as tutoring, the various labs on campus such as the Learning Assistance Center (LAC), Math Lab, Writing Center, and Reading Lab. Let the student know there is assistance from EOPS, LAC, Student Health Center, DSPS. Ask the student if he or she would like you to make an appointment for him or her right now with someone from any of these resources.
If the student refuses any additional assistance, it is his/her right to do so. It is up to the student to register with DSPS as DSPS is a voluntary service.
If the student approaches you to provide academic adjustments that have not been authorized from DSPS, provide only those accommodations that you would provide for any student, regardless of disability. If you are not comfortable with the academic adjustment requested by the student, tell the student right away. You can then refer the student to DSPS.