Accessibility Resource Center

We offer a variety of services or reasonable accommodations intended to reduce the effects that a disability may have on your performance in a traditional academic setting.

Services do not lower course standards or alter degree requirements but instead give students a better chance to demonstrate their academic abilities.

Essential Functions and Technical Standards Guide (pdf) ARC Forms on MySAU Portal

Photo of Sarah Barker

Here to Help

One month before her 18th birthday, Sarah Barker '19 was in a traffic accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Learn how the Accessibility Resource Center worked with Sarah to create a path forward to her degree. 

Watch This Video


Resources During COVID-19 Campus Closure

Mar. 13, 2020 – Email from Ryan Saddler, Associate VP for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and ARC Director; Alyse Schmidt, ARC Assistant Director

ARC is currently working on a plan to continue to support our students during these transitions and uncertain times. We are confident that the support we have on campus will allow us to do this successfully.

In the meantime, if you believe that you may struggle with online learning, even for two weeks, please let your ARC provider know. We are still available and we can work with you to create a plan for the next two weeks.

If you've been approved to stay on campus and you absolutely need to meet, we can do that as long as we use precautions: Hand washing, keeping a distance from one another, shorter meetings, etc. Please reserve these meetings for students that have a real need to meet face-to-face.

How will you (the student) handle this?
This is going to be an extremely inconvenient couple of weeks and I would like you to consider what will come up for you during this time as you try to navigate through this: anxiety? fear? frustration? These are normal responses and if you are prepared to experience discomfort with all of these changes, my hope is that you are able to prepare for how you will need to handle that discomfort while also completing your course work.

Please try to be patient with your professors!
Please keep in mind that this is new territory for faculty and staff, as well. Faculty need time to move their courses online, figure out the best way to teach their course in an online manner, etc. They have questions, we have questions, and you have questions. Our leadership is working hard to provide answers to everyone but this issue unfolds a little bit more each day so things are constantly changing.

SAU Library/students without computer access:
The library will be open via card access only. No campus buildings will be open to the public. Students questioning their ability to continue their course online due to technology limitations should communicate with their instructor. Instructors will work through their department chair and college dean to resolve the issue. Students not on campus or not able to stay in the Quad Cities and question their high speed internet access should look into a local library, coffee shop, or other establishment with Wi-Fi.

As a reminder, SAU has a webpage dedicated to providing information about COVID-19, things the SAU community needs to know about the virus, and our response. We are encouraging you to check their first regarding all questions.

Please keep an eye on your emails for more details and more information about how the ARC will support if you are off campus.

Accessibility Resource Center Resources

Our Services

Academic Advising
The learning disability specialist or SDS director can act as an academic advisor for students with disabilities during their first year. SDS staff assists students in selecting courses while taking into consideration their disability.

Students receive support in practicing self-advocacy with faculty and others when identifying and requesting appropriate accommodations.

Alternative Exam Arrangements
Exam modifications, including extended time, large-print tests, separate testing room, or use of a reader, scribe or computer, give students the chance to better demonstrate their understanding of the course content and adjust for the limitations caused by their disability when taking certain kinds of exams. Click here to see the list of forms

Assistive Technology
Students may take advantage of a number of assistive and adaptive devices and equipment to help compensate for disabling conditions.

Books in Alternative Format
Textbooks or other printed class material may be obtained in an alternative format. Click here to see the list of forms

Assistive Listening Devices
Persons who are hard of hearing may use the FM hearing assistance system. Individual receivers and a variety of headset adaptations are available. These units receive an FM transmission directly from the sound systems in Galvin Fine Arts Center and the Chapel. Personal transmitters and receivers are also available for the classroom.

Learning Disability Specialist
The learning disability specialist provides one-on-one skills instruction in strategies to compensate for their learning disability. The frequency of sessions depends on individual need.

Liaison with Outside Agencies
The office works with local and state agencies such as the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the Department for the Blind. Students may be referred to these agencies for help with funding or to receive services that are not available on campus.

Note Takers
If the student's disability interferes with taking notes in class, he or she can obtain a copy of class notes from a note taker. Click here to see the list of forms

Screening and Referral for Diagnosis of a Disability
The office may refer students suspected of having a disability to area psychologists or other appropriate professionals for diagnostic testing.

Sign Language Interpreters
Interpreters are provided for classes and other campus activities.

Other Accommodations
Services are not limited to those described above. Students are encouraged to meet with the office staff to request accommodations that are not currently provided.

Documentation Guidelines

To determine eligibility for services, SDS requires current and comprehensive documentation of the student's disability from the diagnosing physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other appropriate professional. Submission of documentation is not the same as the request for services. Students are required to initiate requests for services and/or reasonable accommodations once they have confirmed their enrollment at St. Ambrose University.

A student's school plan such as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan may not be sufficient documentation because St. Ambrose University, a postsecondary school, is governed by different legal standards.

St. Ambrose University recognizes that currently enrolled students may have a record of a disability, be regarded as having a disability, or have a desire to be screened for a disability. Professional staff with SDS will interview students and temporary services and reasonable accommodations may be offered to the student based on the limited information available.

Students without appropriate documentation may receive services and accommodations for the remainder of the semester they identify with SDS. A list of local diagnosticians is available for each student without proper documentation with the expectation that proper documentation will be obtained prior to the beginning of the following semester if services are to be continued. If St. Ambrose provides provisional accommodations, academic modifications or adjustments, it does not guarantee that the student will continue to receive those services.

Standards for documentation are based on the guidelines used by Educational Testing Services (ETS). Appropriate documentation at St. Ambrose University should:

  • Include the student's identifying information (full name, etc.)
  • Clearly state the diagnosed disability or disabilities
  • Describe the functional limitations resulting from the disability or disabilities
  • Be current - that is, be completed
    • within the last 5 years for a learning disability (LD) or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or
    • within the last 12 months for psychiatric disabilities.

(NOTE: This requirement does not apply to physical or sensory disabilities of a permanent or unchanging nature)

  • Include complete educational, developmental and medical history relevant to the disability for which accommodations are being requested
  • Include a list of all test instruments used in the evaluation report and relevant subtest scores used to document the stated disability (this requirement does not apply to physical or sensory disabilities of a permanent or unchanging nature)
  • Describe the specific accommodations requested
  • Adequately support each of the requested accommodation(s)
  • Be typed or printed on official letterhead or SDS verification form and be signed by an evaluator qualified to make the diagnosis (include information about license or certification and area of specialization)

Click here to access verification forms

Read & Write Gold

Read & Write Gold helps all individuals with reading, writing, organizing, and studying regardless of ability or learning style.

The key functions of the software include: Screenshot Reader, Speech Maker, Phonetic Spell Checker, Text-to-Speech, PDF Aloud, Translator, Fact Mapper, Voice Notes, Vocabulary Builder, Study Skills Tools, and Fact Finder.

Only St. Ambrose University students, faculty, and staff members may use this software.

Workforce Recruitment Program

The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities (WRP) is a recruitment and referral program that connects public and private sector employers nationwide with highly motivated postsecondary students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through paid summer or permanent jobs.

The WRP provides students with disabilities in all fields of study the opportunity to market their abilities to a wide variety of potential employers across the United States, sharpen their interviewing skills during a required one-on-one meeting with a WRP recruiter, and gain valuable skills, experience, and contacts on the job.

Applicants for the program must:

  • have a disability AND
  • be a U.S. citizen AND
  • be enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education on a substantially full-time basis (unless the severity of the disability precludes the student from taking a substantially full-time load) to seek a degree OR
  • be enrolled in such an institution as a degree-seeking student taking less than a substantially full-time load in the enrollment period immediately prior to graduation OR
  • have graduated from such an institution within the past year.

The WRP is run on an annual basis and requires student applicants to have an interview with one of our recruiters during an on-campus recruitment visit. The interviews take place during the fall semester of each year. The WRP is coordinated on college campuses by Disability Services or Career Services offices. Currently, over 270 colleges and universities participate in the program and additional campuses are added each year.

The school registration process will take place in the spring. If you are an eligible student, share this information with your school's disability services or career services coordinator, and ask him or her to contact the WRP Coordinator at Please understand that we work directly with college coordinators, and cannot respond to inquiries from individual students.

If your college or university does not participate in the WRP you may be able to interview for the program on the campus of a participating college or university in your area. The recruitment schedule is available under the Resources section of the WRP Website at

The WRP is co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the U.S. Department of Defense's Office of Diversity Management & Equal Opportunity (ODMEO), with support from other federal agencies.


Ryan Saddler, Director

Lindsey Ekblad, Service Provider
Carol McCoy, Service Provider
Alyse Schmidt, Service Provider


Ryan Saddler, Director

Accessibility Resource Center
Cosgrove Hall, Lower Level
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803
563-333-5810 (TTY)

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