The Office of Accessibility Services exists to promote and uphold the values of Saint Leo University by ensuring all members of the University community and guests have equitable access to the programs, opportunities, and activities available at Saint Leo. We do this by working collaboratively with the University community to provide reasonable accommodations; empowering students to be independent, self-advocating, and self-determined; and promoting access, awareness, and advocacy for students with disabilities on the University Campus, at our education centers, and for those who are enrolled in online programs.
The Office of Accessibility Services is dedicated to ensuring equal access for students with disabilities at Saint Leo University. Through education, advocacy, and resources, the Office of Accessibility Services can collaborate with students, staff, faculty, and guests to create an inclusive and supportive environment.
Students on the University Campus, at centers, and online are eligible for accommodations if they have documentation of a qualifying disability. Qualifying disabilities included but are not limited to:
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Deaf/Hard of Hearing
- Learning Disabilities
- Mental Health Disorders
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Visual Impairment
If you are interested in completing an application for supports through the Office of Accessibility Services, please visit the Registering with Accessibility Services page.
Supports and Services
The Office of Accessibility Services is the designated office at Saint Leo University that evaluates disability documentation, determines eligibility, and recommends reasonable accommodations for enrolled students as guided by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and University policy.
We offer a wide range of support for students with disabilities to ensure equitable access to everything Saint Leo University has to offer. Students who submit documentation of a qualifying disability will meet individually with an Accessibility Services staff member to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodations. Some examples include:
- Books in alternative format
- Captioning services
- Dining accommodations
- Extended time for exams
- Housing accommodations
- Note taking software
- Quiet testing environment
Students who are considering, or who currently receive, accommodations through the Office of Accessibility Services can reference the resources on this page to stay up-to-date with information, procedures, and forms related to various services.
Assistive Technology Devices and Software
The Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) defines Assistive Technology (AT) as: “products, equipment, and systems that enhance learning, working, and daily living for persons with disabilities.”
Assistive technology can include something as simple as a pencil grip or as complex as a voice control program. Listed below, you’ll find brief descriptions of the three specific AT software programs that the Office of Accessibility Services most often recommends to Saint Leo students as well as general descriptions of screen reading software and magnification software.
If you have questions about a specific Assistive Technology tool or program, contact Accessibility Services at (352) 588-8464 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sonocent is a digital recorder that allows students to capture the audio content of all of their lectures. Sonocent can be used by students who struggle with print-based text (which can make it difficult to take handwritten notes) or who don’t absorb information well simply by hearing it once. Sonocent allows students to focus on their lectures without worrying about “getting everything down.” The recorded material appears on the screen as a series of bars that students can color code as they listen to add additional context, and they can continue to annotate and add images later on, as well. There is an app version for those who don’t want to take their laptops to class every day. To learn more about Sonocent Audio Notetaker, see Sonocent’s FAQ guide.
ClaroRead Plus is the text-to-speech software most commonly used by students registered with the Office of Accessibility Services. Many of the students who receive their books in alternative format use this software program. ClaroRead appears as a streamlined toolbar on the user’s computer. The program is simple to use and will read text documents, PDFs, and text web content. Accessibility Services pays for a certain number of licenses to distribute to individual students; however, our subscription includes a site license, which allows ClaroRead to be present on all public computers on the University Campus.
Dragon is a type speech-to-text software offered in several versions to meet the needs of various individuals. The Office of Accessibility Services purchases a copy of Dragon for students who qualify on an as-needed basis. Oftentimes, Accessibility Services provides this program to students with orthopedic/mobility disabilities, who use the program to dictate essays, emails, and anything else that requires typing. Once the software is installed on the user’s computer, Dragon launches its own very thorough tutorial.
Similar to ClaroRead, screen readers narrate the content of a computer screen. However, while ClaroRead narrates content for students with learning disabilities, screen readers are used by individuals with more severe visual impairments. Therefore, these products read all of the content on a user’s screen, narrating not just the words themselves but also identifying functionality. For instance, if a word contains a hyperlink, the word will be read, but the software will also announce that the word is a clickable link, and the user can utilize a particular keyboard function to access that link if he or she so desires.
Many screen readers provide customization features for voice and reading speed. Some also combine screen reading capability with magnification and/or the ability to change the color of a screen or the text. Most of the students who have registered with the Office of Accessibility Services who use this type of software use the program JAWS. The NVDA reader is another option that is free of charge.
Screen magnification software allows users to magnify the content of their screens. These programs are used by individuals who have vision impairments but possess some functional vision. Some programs combine screen reading capabilities with magnification. This type of hybrid is useful if an individual’s vision loss will progress over time, as it provides an adjustment period for the individual to learn how screen reading software functions. A popular software that has been used by Saint Leo students and employees was created by a company in Saint Petersburg, FL, near the University Campus, called Freedom Scientific. The software is called ZoomText. SuperNova Magnifier, by Dolphin, is another popular program.
Accessibility Services uses the Accessible Information Management (AIM) platform for student accommodations and documentation. The following links will take you to the relevant portal based on your needs.
Alternative formatting accommodations can refer to assessments, books, and/or supplemental materials that need to be provided to a student in an atypical format. These accommodations might be used by students with visual impairments; however, they may also be utilized by students with learning disabilities who struggle with print-based text and benefit from the use of screen-reading software or some other auxiliary aid.
The Office of Accessibility Services acquires or develops alternatively formatted copies of any required textbooks after the student purchases the books. Faculty members are responsible for providing supplemental materials and assessments (if applicable) to Accessibility Services for formatting purposes if a student in their class receives this type of accommodation. If you receive books in an alternative format, you must provide proof of purchase to the Office of Accessibility Services for every book you wish to receive in the alternative format. Please provide book receipts to our office in-person (in Kirk Hall 112), by email at email@example.com, or by fax at (352)588-8605. The formatting process may take up to one week to complete, so early submission of receipts is encouraged.
Deadline Extensions and Flexible Attendance
Students are expected to follow established classroom attendance and deadline policies; however, some students may have disabilities that are episodic or cyclical in nature which may occasionally prevent the student from attending a class session or meeting an assignment deadline. It is important to note that faculty have the right to establish attendance and late work policies. Flexibility regarding these policies will depend on the nature and impact of the student’s disability as well as the requirements of each course in which the student is enrolled. Detailed information regarding these accommodations can be found in the Deadline Extension and Flexible Attendance Procedures.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services
Saint Leo University provides a wide variety of services for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. All supports are unique to individual students and their needs; however, common examples may include:
- Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART)
- Interpreting services
- Note taking supports
- Preferential Seating
Receiving Non-Academic Accommodations
Saint Leo University is committed to ensuring all students have appropriate access to every experience the University has to offer. Students who register with the Office of Accessibility Services can have their Letters of Accommodations emailed directly to their professors through the AIM Portal; however, students should also plan ahead if those accommodations are needed for other campus events. Students who require supports such as CART or interpreting services for commencement, mass, or any other Saint Leo sponsored activity should contact the Office of Accessibility Services in advance so appropriate supports can be arranged.
Special Note for Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Although all students with disabilities should be proactive in registering for their accommodations in advance, this is especially important for students who are deaf or hard of hearing since certain types of equipment, services, and personnel may take extra planning for the University to procure. Registering early and collaborating with the Office of Accessibility Services is an essential part of ensuring accommodations are provided in a timely manner.
Saint Leo University accommodates guests with disabilities to ensure equitable access to any University sponsored function. Please be sure to allow adequate time for accommodations to be arranged for events, especially when requesting specialized services such as sign language interpreting or reserved seating. Saint Leo University will make every attempt to honor accommodations requests made upon arrival; however, there is no guarantee that all accommodations can be implemented without advanced notice. Any visitors who have questions or need to arrange accommodations should contact the Office of Accessibility Services at (352) 588-8464 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Field Placements and Internships
As part of a student’s coursework at Saint Leo University, he or she may be required to complete a field placement or internship. Students who are participating in such experiences may be entitled to reasonable accommodations in order to access these opportunities. Any student who requires accommodations in an internship or field placement should contact the Office of Accessibility Services as early as possible to begin the process of determining accommodations. It is important to note that accommodation needs at a field placement site may be different than those needed in the classroom, so advanced planning and collaboration is important to ensure all accommodations are in place in a timely manner. Detailed information can be found in the Saint Leo University Field Placement Guidelines and Field Placement Student FAQs.
Housing and Dining Accommodations
Saint Leo University works to provide a wide variety of housing and dining options on-campus that can accommodate the vast majority of disability needs. Students who require housing and/or dining accommodations must complete a New Student Application. Students who are already registered with the Office of Accessibility Services can log into their AIM profile to request additional accommodations. Specific information about housing and dining accommodations can be found below.
Students with disabilities may be entitled to modified housing if the request is associated with a functional limitation of the student’s disability. For example, a student who is deaf or hard of hearing may require a room with a visual fire alarm or a student with a mobility impairment may require a ground floor room or roll-in sink. Students with disabilities who require such accommodations will receive priority in housing assignment; however, it is important to note that it is the student’s responsibility to request accommodations during the housing selection process to ensure appropriate space is made available prior to other students’ room assignments. Students who require modified housing due to a disability cannot be charged a higher housing rate based solely on their need for accommodations.
Students who are requesting new housing accommodations must complete a New Student Application to request housing accommodations. Returning students must inform Accessibility Services of their intent to continue accommodations on a yearly basis. This allows Accessibility Services and Residence Life to ensure students with disabilities are given priority in assignment and to make specific rooms that are no longer needed available for other students who may require a similar space to meet their accommodation needs. Students who are renewing accommodations can inform Accessibility Services of their intent to continue housing accommodations by sending an e-mail to email@example.com. Additional documentation is not typically required for renewing accommodations; however, students who are experiencing temporary conditions, conditions that change over time, or when updated information is needed to effectively provide an accommodation, additional documentation may be requested.
In order to apply for housing accommodations, returning students should ideally make their need for accommodations (new or renewal) known prior to the housing selection deadlines posted annually by the Office of Residence Life. Incoming students should ideally make their requests to the Office of Accessibility Services within two weeks of the enrollment deposit but no later than July 1st. The Office of Accessibility Services accepts requests regardless of posted deadlines; however, students should be aware that housing options become increasingly limited as time goes on. Requests submitted after rooms have been assigned are filled as space becomes available. Students who require modified housing will be given priority on any waitlists when such rooms become available. If a student with a disability is placed on a waitlist, the Office of Accessibility Services and Residence Life will work through the interactive process with the student to determine if there are other accommodations or supports that would be appropriate to meet the student’s needs. Please note the following specifications for housing and dining accommodations:
- All the University’s requirements (ranging from meal plans to residence hall housing terms (related to graduate status and part-time enrollment status) are subject to the Section 504 requirements regarding reasonable modifications for students with disabilities; and
- Students with disabilities who require special housing to accommodate their disabilities will receive priority in housing assignments.
- Students with disabilities who require private housing features (such as a private housing unit, a private bedroom, a private/semi-private bathroom, and/or a private kitchen(ette) as a means of accommodating their disabilities are appropriately accommodated in compliance with Section 504 and not charged a higher housing rate solely based on the need for an accommodation(s).
Requests for housing changes for reasons other than disability accommodations should be filed according to the procedures described in the Saint Leo University Guide to Residential Living.
Per Saint Leo University policy, students living on campus are required to purchase a meal plan. This is to ensure that students have access to quality and nutritious meals while residing on campus. All students (with the exception of those living in Apartments 1-4) must purchase the unlimited meal plan. Students living in Apartments 1-4 must choose from the 5, 10, or unlimited meal plans. Students living on the East Campus (approximately 4 miles from the University Campus) are not required to purchase a meal plan but may also choose from the 5, 10, or unlimited meal plan.
Saint Leo University understands that students adhere to a variety of diets and may experience different food sensitivities. The Dining Services management is committed to providing a variety of options to all students to meet a multitude of pallets. Every effort will be made to accommodate students within the on-campus dining program.
In the rare case that the Saint Leo University Dining Services cannot accommodate a student’s dietary needs, adjustments to, or exemptions from, the required meal plan will be granted.
The following reasons alone are not grounds for a meal plan adjustment or exemption:
- Voluntary diets, such as a vegetarian or vegan diet
- Saving money
- Having more meals than are utilized
- Having a room with a kitchen or kitchenette
Students who have questions about housing or dining accommodations should contact the Office of Accessibility Services at (352) 588-8464 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Service and Support Animals
Saint Leo University recognizes the value of service animals and emotional support animals to assist some students with disabilities and complies with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Fair Housing Act, respectively. Students who require the use of a service animal or emotional support animal must follow all University guidelines as outlined in Saint Leo University’s Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals Policy.
The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.
In addition to provisions for service dogs, revised ADA regulations have new, separate provisions about miniature horses that have been trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Students wishing to use a miniature horse as a service animal on campus should coordinate with the Office of Accessibility Services for guidance.
Students who are not living on campus and are using a Service Animal solely to access the campus environment are encouraged to register with the Office of Accessibility Services but are not required to do so. Students who require a Service Animal in campus housing must register with the Office of Accessibility Services and provide the necessary documentation as outlined in the Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals Policy.
An emotional support animal (ESA) is an animal that provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s existing disability and/or that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. Unlike a service animal, an ESA does not necessarily need to be trained and is not limited to any specific type of animal. An ESA is not a pet or a service animal. ESAs must remain confined to the student’s living area with the exception of trips outside to visit relief areas or to take the ESA for a walk. Since an ESA is not regarded as a service animal, it may not be taken into any other public area of the campus, including the dining hall, classrooms, and administrative buildings. Additionally, ESAs may not be brought to campus events, even if those events are being held outdoors. Students who require the use of an ESA must register with the Office of Accessibility Services.
Students with disabilities who require accommodations related to academics and environmental access must complete an Accessibility Services New Student Application.
Students who require housing and/or dining accommodations must complete the Accessibility Services Housing/Dining Application.
Students who require both academic and housing/dining accommodations should complete the regular new student application and provide additional information related to housing and/or dining requests in the relevant section of the application.
During the application process, students must submit qualifying documentation of a disability. For information about documentation requirements, please see our Documentation Guidelines.
Students who are already registered with the Office of Accessibility Services can access Faculty Notification Letters, request alternative formatting, schedule exams, and more through their AIM student profile.
University staff members who are responsible for providing accommodations can access relevant information through their AIM staff profile.
Faculty members can review accommodations requests for classes they are teaching via their faculty profile.
Some students with disabilities require accommodations in order to demonstrate their knowledge on a test or exam. Common testing accommodations include:
- Additional time on assessments
- Alternative formatting of assessments
- Distraction-reduced testing room
- Permission to use a 4-function calculator
- Use of a screen reader or dictation software
Regardless of whether a student is enrolled at the University Campus, one of our centers, or online, testing accommodations, like all other accommodations, are available when required by a student’s disability; however, these accommodations may look slightly different based on where the student is located.
Although many testing accommodations such as the use of a calculator or enlarged print may be provided in the classroom during a test, others such as additional time, distraction-free testing environment, or the use of dictation software must be administered in the testing center. Students who require the use of the testing center for an exam must sign up for their test time at least five business days prior to their exam. Please see How to Submit a Test Center Request in AIM for step-by-step directions.
Since Saint Leo University’s centers can vary in regards to setup and space availability, students who require accommodations that require a separate space should speak to their professors and/or center director for specifics requirements about scheduling and utilizing testing accommodations. Regardless of the setup of any Saint Leo University facility, all students are entitled to the supports outlined in their Letter of Accommodations. Students who are unsure about who to speak to at their center should contact the Office of Accessibility Services at (352) 588-8464 or email@example.com.
Because of their unique modality, many accommodations are naturally built into online classes. For accommodations such as additional time on assessments, a student’s professor is easily able to adjust the test settings after receiving a Letter of Accommodations from the Office of Accessibility Services. Other accommodations such as a distraction-free testing environment or having questions read aloud can be implemented without any special considerations. Students who require specialized software or alternative formatting should contact the Office of Accessibility Services at (352) 588-8464 or firstname.lastname@example.org to determine how these accommodations will be implemented.
Consistent with Saint Leo University’s best efforts to ensure equal access for students with disabilities, the University aims to ensure the information on its websites is available to all members of the Saint Leo community. To help ensure access for persons with disabilities, Saint Leo University strives to maintain its websites in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, Conformance Level AA. Members of the Saint Leo University community are urged to reach out to the Office of Accessibility Services at ADAOffice@saintleo.edu if you have trouble accessing any part of our website.
Dr. Michael Bailey, Director
Michael Bailey has worked in the field of education supporting students with disabilities since 2007. He has earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Master of Arts in Special Education from the University of South Florida, as well as a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from the American College of Education. Dr. Bailey has presented his research at several conferences including the University Council for Educational Administration, the Education Law Association, and the American Association for Teaching & Curriculum and has published a number of articles in internationally recognized, peer-reviewed journals. His areas of expertise include educational policy, programming for students with disabilities and English language learners, behavior disorders, autism spectrum disorder, and intellectual/developmental disabilities. Read Q&A with Office Accessibility Services Director Michael Bailey.
Director of Accessibilities Services
Phone: (352) 588-8845
Maria Santos, Assistant Director
Maria Santos has been a social worker since 2017. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in social work with a focus in child welfare, Maria served as a Child Protective Investigator before going on to earn her master’s degree in clinical social work from Florida State University. During her graduate studies, Maria worked for Tallahassee Community College’s (TCC) Eagle Connections Program. In this role, she served as a mentor, facilitator for person-centered planning sessions, and curriculum developer, focusing on social, independent living, and employability skills for students with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorder. After receiving her MSW, Maria went on to create TCC’s first ever case management department utilizing social work theory and practices to address barriers to student success such as poverty, homelessness, former foster care involvement, and other common issues experienced by historically neglected student populations. Maria is currently working towards her LCSW in order to diagnose and treat mental health disorders under her own license.
Janet VanGuilder, Senior Coordinator
Janet VanGuilder joined Saint Leo University in the Fall of 2007 as a student and graduated with her BA in business management with a minor in accounting in 2011. In the summer of 2011, following her graduation, Janet became an employee of the University, working as the Senior Coordinator for Student Services. Since the fall of 2018, she has served as the Senior Coordinator for the Office of Accessibility Services and Career Services. Janet has been an advisor for the Leo for St. Jude organization on campus since 2012. While working for Saint Leo, Janet has been awarded the Beth G. Evans Outstanding Staff Member Award 2012-2013 and Outstanding Club Advisor 2013-2014.
Phone: (352) 588-8464
The Office of Accessibility Services is located on the University Campus on the first floor of Kirk Hall. We're next to the Center for Academic Vision and Excellence's reference desk. Our office numbers are 120 and 121. Our mailing and e-mail addresses are listed below.
Office of Accessibility Services
33701 State Road 52
Saint Leo, FL 33574
Phone: (352) 588-8464
Fax: (352) 588-8605
Hours of Operation
Monday - Friday: 8:00a.m. - 5:00p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: Closed