Office of Disability Support 2019-10-03T08:53:12+00:00

Office of Disability Support

Northwestern State University and the Office of Disability Support (ODS) are committed to making students with disabilities full participants in university programs, services, and activities through its compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The ODS coordinates services and accommodations for students with disabilities and also serves as an information center concerning disability-related issues. The ODS is committed to providing equal educational opportunities to students by minimizing the impact of functional limitations upon their academic and non-academic lives through providing reasonable accommodations to ODS registered students.

Reasonable accommodations are modifications to a course, program, service, or employment that do not fundamentally alter the course or program. Appropriate accommodations are determined through the individual intake appointment by reviewing documentation submitted by a qualified and licensed professional, discussion with the student, and evaluating the essential requirements of a course or program. After the intake appointment, a student will have approved accommodations available for use at their discretion.

Counselor in Disability Support: Abby Ferguson, Friedman Student Union, Rm. 234, 318-357-4460,


To Register for ODS Services:

1) Please complete the intake form HERE. Return the application and supporting documentation to:

Office of Disability Support, Attention: Abby Ferguson, Counselor.

Electronic submission, please submit to
Mail Submission, please mail to NSU, Box 5251, Natchitoches, LA 71497
Hand Delivered, please deliver to Friedman Student Union, rooms 234 or 240A.

2) Once the intake application is completed and submitted, please make an appointment with Abby Ferguson for consultation.

3) Finally, the ODS director will prepare Accommodation Letters for qualified students. Face-to-face students will pick up hard copies of their Accommodation Letters in the ODS office and deliver them to their instructors. For online classes, Accommodation Letters will be emailed to the instructors.

So why should I register? What’s in it for me?

Services and Equipment: ODS provides services in cooperation with other departments on campus and may make referrals for specialized services and equipment. Below is a list of services and equipment available to ODS registered students.

  • Extended Time for Testing
  • Readers for Exams
  • Scribes for Exams (including assistance with scantrons)
  • Reduced Distraction Location for Test Taking
  • Flexibility with Spelling or Grammar Errors
  • Materials in Alternate Format
  • Use of Word Processor for Essay Exams
  • Assistance with Note Taking
  • JAWS Reader Program on Lab Computers
  • Magnifying Equipment
  • Laptops and Computers with Visual Enlargement
  • Large Screens/Monitors in all Student Computer Labs
  • Some Textbooks in Alternative Formats
  • Open Book Scanning and Copying (available at Watson Library)
  • Modified Table and Chair Classroom Seating Accommodations
  • Live Scribe Pens and Notebooks
  • Braille Pacmate
  • Digital Recorders

Priority Registration:
Priority registration is a service that assigns an early registration date for students with disabilities. It does not entitle students to a seat in classes with full enrollment, but priority registration is provided so that arrangements for services and auxiliary aids (such as preparing textbooks in alternate formats and scheduling real time captioning) must be made in advance and that courses may likely be scheduled around any medical needs. Priority registration will not override holds on student records that block registration such as outstanding fines or unpaid bills and do not guarantee registration in a course that is already full.

Accessible housing is available at each Campus Living Village. In addition, many disability needs can be accommodated by making modifications to standard student housing. ODS will provide advice about housing options that best suit your disability needs and facilitate accommodations with properties are managed by the University’s housing partner, Campus Living Villages. The Campus Living Village staff and ODS office will confer and then follow up regarding specific placement.

The ODS and campus police schedule shuttle service for persons with permanent or temporary disabilities. Students registered with ODS who have need for transportation will be approved as riders for this service. In order to maintain eligibility for this service, riders must follow the policy and procedures of ODS. Contact the ODS at (318) 357-4460 or campus police (318) 357-5431 for more information.

Accessible parking is available on campus and is managed by Campus Police in consultation with ODS. All parking on campus requires the purchase of an appropriate NSU permit. Accessible parking requires a valid State-issued Parking Placard to be registered with Campus Policy. For full information on purchasing your permit and registering your vehicle, please go to:

Service Animals:
Seeing-eye dogs or other trained, assisting animals are allowed on campus for ODS registered students. Although these animals are permitted within the buildings and facilities, said animals must remain under the control of the owner at all times. The care or supervision of an animal is solely the responsibility of its owner. NSU reserves the right to exclude animals whose behavior poses a threat to the health or safety of others. NSU is not obligated to provide personal aids and services, such as trained assisting animals.

Lecture Recording:
Recorders in classrooms are allowed for ODS registered students. The ODS will notify instructors of this accommodation. If an instructor necessitates, the institution may require the student to sign an agreement so as not to infringe on a potential copyright or limit freedom of speech.

Note Takers:
Based on the ODS registered student’s individual needs and the nature of the classes being taken, ODS provides volunteer peer note-takers who provide copies of class notes to students with visual disabilities. ODS will assist in coordinating the use of note takers, but the faculty members in the classes in which notes are needed are usually the primary recruiters of volunteer note-takers. When recruiting volunteers, it is important for the faculty member to keep in mind that permission must be obtained from the student with a disability before that student’s identity can be disclosed to a note-taker.

Academic Testing:
The ODS office provides for testing environments accessible to all people, while working toward the goal of full inclusion. Accommodations are provided on an individual basis. The ODS office works with instructors to determine ways to developed alternatives for students in order to guarantee that access and equality are achieved during testing, while academic rigor is preserved. ODS offers extended time, distraction free environments, modifies and alternate format-converting from computerized test to pen and paper, calculators, access to spellcheck, scribes and readers, and oral exams.

Student Responsibility and Procedures for Testing Accommodations:
1. ODS registered students must deliver the Accommodation Letter to all face-to-face instructors before testing begins. For online classes, an email from the ODS director is sent to the instructor.

2. Notify the instructor and ODS office 48 hours, at least two days, before the test. ODS registered students should complete this form Request ODS Exam. Completion and submission of the form will inform ODS staff and your instructor of your request.

3. The instructor will deliver the test to the ODS office. If the test will be taken on Moodle, the instructor will contact an ECE’s Support Specialist to make accommodation arrangements.

4. Students must arrive on time, which is strictly during your actual class testing period, at the ODS office in order to take the test.

5. Please call (318) 357-4460 or email if you have questions about the test taking procedures.

Voter Registration

You can register to vote through the Louisiana Secretary of State website: HERE.


Chief ADA Officer: Marcus Jones, JD, Vice President of University Affairs, 01 VPU Infirmary Building, 318-357-5701,

Interim Director Facilities Services: Dale Wohletz, Facilities Services Complex, 318-357-5066,


Title IX Notices, Policy Statement Regarding Alcohol & Drugs, and Notice of Non-Discrimination:                                                                                                                        

Student Complaints and Grievances: