Parents — Frequently Asked Questions

"Will my student automatically become a DSP student after submitting the 'certification of disability' during the application process?"

No. All students must apply for services, initiating the process by completing online applications; visit the DSP website. Students who are unable to complete the online application process can request assistance from the Receptionist at the DSP office.

After applying online, students should call the DSP Reception Desk to make appointments with their assigned Specialists.

We are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Closed from 12:00 to 1:00 for lunch.) Our telephone number is (510) 642-0518, voice or TDD. Normally it is not necessary for new students to meet with their Specialists before August; however, students who wish to see their Specialists during CalSO orientation may make advance appointments to do so.

"What does my student have to do in order to prove a disability?"

Our website will tell you how to provide appropriate certification for various kinds of disabilities: If your student has already sent us certification and it does not seem sufficient to support a disability diagnosis, or does not give us information that we need in order to plan appropriate accommodations and services, we will send the student a letter informing the student of this fact and requesting additional materials.

"Why did you send my student a letter asking for more learning disability testing?"

Additional or updated testing is requested when the existing testing does not give us enough information to determine appropriate services. Learn more about specific criteria for the diagnosis of learning disabilities and the determination of appropriate services.

"If students were eligible for disability services in high school, will they automatically be eligible at Cal?"

They will not be automatically eligible, and they will not immediately be given services on presentation of their high school Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan. IEPs and 504 Plans are not binding on the University of California or any organizations outside of the schools in which they were developed.

To determine whether your student is eligible, one of our Disability Specialists will conduct a comprehensive assessment and evaluation process that is consistent with established University of California system practices. The assessment and evaluation process will include, but not be limited to, interviews with your student as well as review of documentation provided by physicians and other clinicians (for example, clinical psychologists, audiologists, and optometrists).

At UC Berkeley, students with disabilities are eligible to receive services if they meet the following criteria: The students have documented physical, medical, and/or psychological conditions; Their disabilities limit one or more major life activities; and Professionals have verified that the students need individualized services, the absence of which would impede educational access.

"Will my student get the same accommodations and services as in high school?"

The student may or may not receive the same services. In general, disability services at UC Berkeley are intended to provide access to educational programs and not remediation of the person's disability. For example, extended test time is an accommodation which promotes access by giving the student enough time to demonstrate mastery of course material. Instruction in the phonics method of reading (not offered at DSP) is an example of a service designed to remediate disability.

As part of your student's comprehensive assessment and evaluation process, a Disability Specialist will determine which services are necessary to assure the student's full access to the academic curriculum at UC Berkeley. Some students require program modifications: for example, a reduced course load. Some students require auxiliary services: for example, notetakers or laboratory assistants. Many students require academic adjustments, or modifications in instructional methods: for example, textbooks and class handouts in alternative media, extended time for examinations, or substitution of an essay for a class presentation. In combination, program modifications, auxiliary services, and academic adjustments are often referred to as "academic accommodations."

"Will you report to me about my student's progress at Cal, or answer my questions if I write or phone?

We urge you to keep in close personal contact with your student throughout the years at Cal. DSP cannot give you information about your student unless the student has given us a signed release of confidentiality.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the University policy regarding the release and disclosure of student information prohibit DSP from disclosing confidential information to anyone but the student. The full text of the campus policy can be found online. University-wide policies can be found at the University of California Office of the President website.

"What services does DSP provide?"

For a description of our services, please consult the DSP website.

"What advice would you give to the parents of new Cal students with disabilities?"

Communicate with your students on a regular basis, offering support and understanding. Encourage them to empower themselves and take responsibility for their own education and their own lives. Urge them to visit DSP early and often. This campus is especially rich in resources of all kinds; new students should be prompted to seek out these resources and use them to the fullest.