Disability Services

The Student Disability Services (SDS) unit provide services to students with disabilities to ensure that all activities and programs are accessible. Through partnerships with students, faculty and staff, the unit promotes self-awareness, self-determination and self-advocacy to enhance opportunities for academic success. The aim is to create a campus environment where students are viewed on the basis of ability rather than disability.


How does a student become eligible to receive accommodations?

To become eligible, a student must have a documented disability and inform the University that he or she is requesting accommodations based on that disability.


A Student Must

Contact Student Disability Services unit (SDS) to schedule an intake meeting. -  office number (20.2.2615.3918) to make an appointment

Complete the required documentation and application forms:      

Eligibility Form

Request for Disabilities Services

The SDS team will review the documentation to determine student’s eligibility for accommodations and services

Follow up with the SDS to implement accommodations.

Provide SDS with current documentation of the disability and accommodations from a qualified professional.

Provide professors with a letter of accommodations prepared by SDS identifying the student as having a disability and specifying the authorized accommodations.


SDS provides accommodations for students who have disabilities that interfere with their ability to function and affect their academic performance.

Our office serves students who have:


1- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD):

Academic difficulties are related to:

Time management and organization

Attention to detail

Distractibility in the classroom

Exam anxiety

Sustained attention when reading, writing and solving math problems

Visual disabilities

Goal confusion


Examples of academic accommodations:

Ensure quiet area for exams away from distractions

Provide clear instructions

Breaking assignments and projects into smaller tasks

Extra exam time and to complete assignments


2- Chronic Illness:

There is wide range of chronic medical conditions:




Human immunodeficiency (HIV)

Multiple sclerosis

Muscular dystrophy

Renal disease/failure


Academic difficulties can include:

Mobility around campus and in the classroom

Taking notes in class

Attention and concentration problems

Time management



3- Learning Disabilities:

Academic difficulties are related to:

Difficulty with reading and comprehension

Difficulty solving mathematical problems

Written and oral expression

Listening skills

Spelling, punctuation and grammar

Cognitive, visual and auditory processing, comprehension, knowledge and abstract reasoning


Examples of academic accommodations:

Extra exam time and alternative exam arrangements

Visual, auditory and tactile instructional demonstrations

Computer with speller checker and grammar checker


4- Visual Impairments:

Academic difficulties are related to:

Mobility around campus and in the classroom

Taking notes in class

Ability to see visual aids and writing on board

Difficulty in reading

Examples of academic accommodations:

Seating near front of the class

Large print handouts, magnified materials

TV monitor connected to microscope to enlarge texts and images

Class materials are available in electronic format

Computers are equipped to enlarge screen materials

Audio taped, Braille or electronic formatted lecture notes and texts

Verbal descriptions of visual aids

Tactile models of graphic materials

Braille lab signs and equipment labels, talking thermometers and calculators

Computer with optical character reader, speech output, braille screen display and printer output


5- Hard of Hearing:

Academic difficulties can include:

Listening to and understanding the content of the lecture

Taking notes in class

Working effectively in group activities and in class discussions

Examples of academic accommodations:

Visual aids written assignment and lab instructions

Use of email


​6- Physical Disabilities:

Academic difficulties can include:

Mobility around campus and in the classroom

Taking notes in class

Seating location in classroom

Examples of academic accommodations:

Adjustable tables, lab equipment located within reach

Class assignments made available in electronic format with special input device (voice input, alternative keyboard)


7- Psychological Disorders:

Academic difficulties can include:

Poor concentration

Time management




Fluctuating stamina causing absences


Other Disabilities:

There are other types of disabilities that can affect students’ academic performance such as:

Cardiac conditions

Severe allergies/ respiratory conditions

Our Services

Exam Accommodations:

SDS provides many services for eligible students such as:

Extra time

Taking exams in quiet areas

Provide an alternative method to undertake the exam: Use of computer and scribes

No penalties for poor spelling or grammar unless these are being directly assessed as core part of the course.

Changes to the physical environment in which an exam is taken.

Changing the sequence of exams: long exams can be divided


Academic Accommodations:

Additional time in examinations

Extended deadlines

Ensure that all areas used for teaching purposes are wheelchair accessible


Assistive Technology:

Most computers in Labs have the following software installed:

JAWS (Windows screen reading software)

Kurzweil 3000 (text to speech learning too for Windows or Mac)

Dragon Naturally Speaking (speech to text voice recognition software for Windows and Mac)

Zoom text (screen magnifier for Windows)


Disability Buddy & Note-Taker:

Moving around campus

Provide social support

Taking lecture notes

Proofreading written assignments

Assistance to use libraries and moving around campus

Providing study skills support


Accessible Campus:

AUC provides students with physical and learning disabilities with all accessible facilities and resources that guarantee a smooth education process.

Services for students with physical disability include the following:

Wheelchair accessibility to all campus areas, including the residences

Club cars availability around campus with prior arrangements

Facilitating the student’s learning process according to the different course requirements

Providing support resources in offices around campus

Availability of adaptive technology software to students including: JAWS for Windows, Kurzweil 1000, Zoom Text, as well as hardware such as Braille printers and electronic- vision aids 

Provision of student assistants or staff volunteers are recruited to help students with visual disabilities throughout the semester in the different academic tasks, including in-class note taking, exam transcription, library research and other projects.


Services for Students with Learning Disabilities:

​Students with learning disabilities are entitled to special academic accommodation depending on each student’s special needs. Some of the students are identified through both counseling and mentoring processes. Other seek the support of the disability services on their own accord, or under the recommendation of parents or faculty. Students, whose learning disabilities have previously been identified and professionally diagnosed are required to submit valid documentation to ensure that they are given the necessary accommodation entitled to them by disability laws such the Americans with Disabilities Act. If official document is lacking, students are referred to specialized organizations for relevant assessment, diagnosis and academic accommodation required. Finally, the student’s requests for academic accommodation are communicated to the student's professors as well as the Office of the Provost.


Tips for Faculty and Parents:

The office of Student Disability Services (SDS) encourages faculty members to support eligible students by providing accommodations and assistance. SDS will notify faculty members at the beginning of the semester.


What is a reasonable accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a course, program, service, job, activity, or facility that enables a qualified individual with a disability to have an equal opportunity to attain the same level of performance or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges as are available to an individual without a disability. Some common academic accommodations include extended time on tests, use of peer note-takers, use of computer with spell-checker, and provision of sign language interpreters.


Exam Accommodation: Understand eligible student needs for exam accommodations such as extra time, use of assistive technology and take the exam in a quiet area.

Special adjustments: Consider special course arrangements to accommodate their needs.

Flexible attendance policy: Students with physical disabilities and chronic health conditions may face obstacles in getting to class on time and attend and miss classes.


Won’t provide accommodations on examinations give an unfair advantage to a student with a disability?

“Accommodations don’t make things easier, just possible; in the same way eyeglasses do not improve the strength of the eyes, they just make it possible for the individual to see better. Accommodations are interventions that allow the learner to indicate what they know. Without the accommodations, the learner may not be able to overcome certain barriers.” (Samuels, M. 1992 - Asking the Right Questions. The Learning Center, Calgary)

Accommodations are designed to lessen the effects of the disability. Please contact SDS staff for guidance.

​What do I do when a student discloses a disability?

Ask for the professor’s letter of accommodation documenting the student’s disability provided by SDS. This letter describes the accommodations in details. During office hours or at another convenient time, discuss the letter and the accommodations with the student. Students must present a letter from SDS to receive accommodations. If the student does not have a letter, he or she should be referred to the SDS office to request services.

Discuss any questions about approved accommodations first with the student privately, then, if needed, with a SDS staff member.

What if a student doesn’t tell me about a disability until late in the term?

 Students have a responsibility to give professors and SDS adequate time to arrange accommodations. SDS staff encourages students to identify themselves as having a disability early in the term. Professors can help by announcing in class and in the syllabus an invitation for students to identify themselves early in the term: “Any student who may need an accommodation due to a disability, please make an appointment to see me during my office hours. A letter from Student Disability Services unit at the Office of Student Support authorizing your accommodations will be needed.” Also, add a statement to your syllabus inviting students who have disabilities to discuss their needs and accommodation strategies with you. Read the statement out loud in case students have problems with print format. Repeat the statement within the first two weeks of class.

Example of statement: Students with Special Needs or Concerns:  AUC has numerous facilities available to ensure that your educational endeavors will be successful. Your instructor’s goal is to help you succeed in this course! If you have special needs/disability and want to request special accommodations, in this course, at any time during the semester, please ask your instructor or contact Student Disability Services at extension 3918 or sds@aucegypt.edu. AUC complies with the American Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973. 

Once a student has been identified as having a disability to the instructor and requests accommodations authorized by SDS, the University has a legal responsibility to make reasonable attempts to accommodate the need, even late in the term. There is no responsibility to provide accommodations prior to identification; for example, allowing the student to retake exams with extended time. Professors should feel free to contact the SDS staff for assistance on arrangements for last-minute requests.

Can I review the student’s documentation of the disability?

SDS is the office designated to receive and interpret documentation of the disability. SDS staff approve eligibility for services and determine accommodations. Disability information is confidential and students are not required to disclose this information to professors unless out of their own will.

What if I suspect that a student has a disability?

Talk with the student about your concerns regarding his or her performance. If the concern seems disability- related, ask if he or she has ever received assistance for a disability. If it seems appropriate, refer the student to the SDS office to apply for services. Whether the student identifies him or herself to SDS is the decision of the student; however, to receive accommodations, disclosure to SDS with proper documentation is required.

What if a student with a disability is failing?

Treat the student as you would any student who is not performing well in your class. Invite the student to come in during your office hours to discuss reasons for the failing performance and what resources the student may use to improve. Encourage the student to see a SDS specialist to discuss some additional strategies to improve his or her grades. Contact SDS to discuss any additional concerns/support regarding the student’s performance.

What if a student with a disability is often absent?

Talk with the student to discuss your concerns that absences are affecting class performance. Students with disabilities are expected to comply with class attendance policies. However, there are times when students are approved to have instructors relax class attendance policies for disability-related absences. If so, this will be documented in the student’s SDS memo with specific information for professors. If the student is missing too much class, the professor should contact SDS and refer the student.

What is a note-taker and how can I assist a student with getting notes?

 A note-taker is usually another student in class who agrees to provide copies of lecture notes taken during class, or, a student from outside class assigned by the SDS to take notes during class.

If the student needs note-taking accommodations, this will be documented in the SDS letter. In most cases the student will need to be accommodated by being provided a copy of a classmate's notes. Audio-recording lectures or using a laptop are other examples of note-taking accommodations. When providing copies of class notes, the professor assists the student by recruiting another student in class who is willing to provide notes. The SDS can provide directions for the professors on how to include a suggested class announcement that keeps the identity of the student with the disability private. Please note that student confidentiality is of the utmost importance.


What should I do if my class needs to evacuate the building due to an emergency?

Students should let you know at the beginning of the term if they will need assistance during an emergency. Students who are blind or have low vision may need a “buddy” to assist them in exiting the building.

Students who use wheelchairs should NOT use the elevator but should wait for security or fire personnel to safely assist them to exit the building.

What if a student has a seizure in my class?

SDS encourages students with seizure disorders to inform their professors about what should be done if a seizure occurs during class time. If not, then a professor must contact the emergency number of AUC’s clinic # 4000 or emergency number of security #4444

Seizures happen when there is a sudden electrical discharge in the brain. Each individual has a unique reaction. A seizure can result in a relatively slight reaction, such as a short lapse in attention, or a more severe reaction known as a grand mal, which involves convulsions. Seizure disorders are generally controlled by medication, so the possibility of a seizure in the classroom is rare.

If one does occur, the following actions are suggested:

Keep calm. Ease the student to the floor and open the collar of the shirt. You cannot stop a seizure. Let it run its course and do not try to revive the student.

Remove hard, sharp or hot objects that may injure the student, but do not interfere with his or her movements.

Do not force anything between the student’s teeth.

Turn the student’s head to one side for release of saliva. Place something soft under the head.

Make sure that breathing is unobstructed, but do not be concerned if breathing is irregular.

When the student regains consciousness, let him or her rest as long as desired.

To help orient the student to time and space, suggest where he or she is and what happened.

Speak reassuringly to the student, especially as the seizure ends. The student may be agitated or confused for several minutes afterwards.

Don’t leave the student alone until he or she is clearheaded. Ask whether you can call a friend or relative to help get him or her home.

If the seizure lasts beyond a few minutes, or if the student seems to pass from one seizure to another without regaining consciousness, contact the campus security/clinic. This rarely happens, but when it does, it should be treated immediately.

The office of Student Disability Services (SDS) is accessible for students and their families to discuss their cases and explain the transition from school to University regarding to the services offered by SDS


Families play a key role in supporting students with disabilities as they support them academically, socially and psychologically.

Eligible students must be self-aware about requesting the accommodations they need.