Frequently Asked Questions - Faculty

Frequently Asked DSP Questions from Faculty


There are more than 3500 students with disabilities at UC Berkeley today including undergraduates and graduate students. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, our students with disabilities have a right to full access to all of UC Berkeley’s academic environments. 

The Disabled Students’ Program is the campus department that has the responsibility of determining which accommodations, services, and adjustments each student needs to address barriers in the academic environment.  We do this by reviewing medical, psychological, and educational documentation and interviewing the student regarding their past educational experiences.

If a requested accommodation alters an objective or standard of your course, then it may not be a reasonable accommodation. 

For Example:

  • If a student with a vision impairment is taking a language course that requires manually producing the written language with its characters, a request to use a word processor and type the words would most likely not be a reasonable accommodation. 
  • If a student in a PE course missed enough foundational skills classes and there is no way to make up for the missed skill practice, additional absences may not be reasonable.
  • If you are concerned that an accommodation request is not reasonable in your course, please contact the DSP specialist who sent the accommodation letter right away.  Please do NOT discuss your concerns with the student.
  • We hope that the information below answers many of your questions about DSP and accommodating students with disabilities.  If you have additional questions, feel free to contact any Disability Specialist or the DSP Director at  Contact for specific service areas are below.

The location of my classroom was changed to accommodate a student with a disability. How could a change of classroom location serve as a disability accommodation?

Sometimes a student with disabilities may need to have a classroom location changed in order to have full access to your course. Most frequently, this is because a classroom was not fully accessible for a student who is using a wheelchair for mobility, because the building is in a campus location that the student has significant difficulty physically travelling to and from because of the impact of their disability, or because the classroom lacks the technology needed for real-time captioning.

Are there ways for students to receive approval of or support for academic accommodations other than through DSP?

Yes. Students may request accommodations through other processes and offices, including the Title IX office, Path to Care, and the Center for Support and Intervention. For questions about accommodations for reasons other than disability (for example, Title IX accommodations), please reach out to the referring office with questions. More information is available at Academic Accommodations Hub 

What if I object to a recommendation in DSP's letter of accommodation?

Please contact the Disability Specialist who sent the accommodation letter to resolve any logistical or other concerns you may have. The Disability Specialists know that their recommendations can occasionally inadvertently compromise the purposes or standards of a class, and they are ready to discuss such concerns with you. You are not obligated to fundamentally alter the objectives of your course.

How is the decision made that a student needs accommodations? How does a student become eligible for DSP services?

Not every student with a disability attending UC Berkeley is utilizing DSP services. The decision to connect with DSP is an individual choice for students with disabilities. If a student believes that they will require accommodations to have equal access to participate in their program at Berkeley, they need to take the formal step of applying for accommodations.

How do I assign the captioner to a breakout room?

When assigning a captioner to the student during breakout sessions, please look for the captioner as a participant (DSP-Captioner). Please ensure the captioner is in the same breakout room as the student receiving the accommodation.

Breakout Room Instructions

How do I submit recorded Zoom lectures for captioning?

Please submit recorded Zoom Lectures to us within 24 hours using the Captioning Request Form so captions may be added. You can bookmark this link for quick access in the future.

How do I communicate with the captioner during a Zoom lecture?

You can use the chat window in Zoom to communicate with the captioner. The captioner will be named DSP Captioning in the participant list.  Please send all messages to the captioner privately.

You may also speak to the captioner through the microphone. The captioner will unmute themselves to respond to you. Please do not discuss anything regarding the student over the microphone


What if the clip I plan to use is from YouTube?

If the material is on YouTube, you should check to see if it’s appropriately captioned. If it is not properly captioned, request that DSP have it captioned for you.

A DSP student has an accommodation to use a laptop, and I do not allow laptops in my classroom.

Some students use assistive technology on a laptop to assist them with note taking. If a DSP student has an accommodation for the use of a laptop for disability-related reasons, please allow the DSP student to use their laptop. It is also important to allow the student to sit where they choose as the student may need to sit near the front as an accommodation for their disability as well.