Winter Weather Resources

  1. Campus snow removal requests and accessibility campus tractor clearing sidewalks on Bascom Hill
  2. The Campus Accessible Circulator Shuttle – The shuttle can pick students/staff/visitors up and drop them off at campus buildings
  3. Indoor routes on the campus (PDF) – There are two no-step interior routes that connect buildings 1) from University Ave to the top of Bascom Hill ( Bascom Hall, Social Sciences and Ingraham Hall) via Chamberlin Hall, Sterling Hall, and Van Vleck Hall and 2) from University Avenue to Linden Drive, via Medical Sciences Center, Social Work, and the Middleton Building.


Undiagnosed Students

The McBurney Center requires students to have documentation of their disabling condition. Undiagnosed students may contact clinics both on and off-campus to seek a comprehensive evaluation of their condition. Please contact each clinic for more information about services, fees, appointment availability, and possibility of insurance coverage. You should confirm that the clinic will assess your specific concern and provide a diagnosis.

The McBurney Disability Resource Center does not control or guarantee the currency, accuracy, relevance, or completeness of information.

Campus Resources for Undiagnosed Students

Clinic This clinic assesses for:
University Health Services (UHS) & Mental Health Services
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health
  • Mobility, Systemic, or Health-Related Disabilities
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (screening only, additional referral provided for diagnosis)
Student Assessment Services
  • Learning Disability
  • AD/HD (initial screening completed at University Health Services)
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health
  • Autism Spectrum
Counseling Psychology Training Clinic
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health
Psychology Research and Training Clinic
  • Learning Disability
  • AD/HD
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health
UW Speech and Hearing Clinic
  • Learning Disability
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Off-Campus Resources for Undiagnosed Students

Clinic This clinic assesses for:
Capital City Psychology
  • Learning Disability
  • AD/HD
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health
  • Autism Spectrum
Counseling Resources Neuropsychological Associates, LLC
  • Learning Disability
  • AD/HD
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health
Different Minds
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health
  • Autism Spectrum
Elkhart Psychological Services
  • Learning Disability
  • AD/HD
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health
Journey Mental Health Center
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health
Open Door Center for Change
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health
The Psychology Center
  • Learning Disability
  • AD/HD
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health
  • Autism Spectrum
UW Health | UW Hospital and Clinics
  • Learning Disability
  • AD/HD
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health
  • Mobility, Systemic, or Health-Related Disabilities
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Autism Spectrum
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing
UnityPoint Health – Meriter
  • Learning Disability
  • AD/HD
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health
  • Mobility, Systemic, or Health-Related Disabilities
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Autism Spectrum
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing
SSM Health – St. Mary’s Hospital & Dean Medical Group
  • Learning Disability
  • AD/HD
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health
  • Mobility, Systemic, or Health-Related Disabilities
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Autism Spectrum
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Accessibility Taglines for Events

The McBurney Disability Resource Center recommends using an accessibility tagline on all public information advertising your event.  These statements give people with disabilities relevant information on who to contact for accommodations.

Accommodations statement to include on program announcements and registration materials

“If you need an accommodation to attend this event, please contact (name, event host/coordinator) at (phone number/email). All accommodation requests should be made no less than two weeks before the event. We will attempt to fulfill requests made after this date, but cannot guarantee they will be met.”

Dietary statement to include on registration materials if the event includes a meal

“If you have dietary needs, please contact (name, host department) at (phone number/email).”

Alternative formats statement to include for all publications or handouts related to the event

“This document is available in alternative formats upon request by contacting (name, host department) at (phone number/email).”

Adaptive Technology Scholarship Application

Mental Health Resources

Persistent feelings of depression or anxiety can interfere with academic performance and a student’s overall sense of well-being. Likewise, alcohol overuse or illicit drug use can have a very damaging impact on short term and long term academic performance. If you are experiencing these challenges or they are becoming more pronounced in the college environment, counseling support through University Health Services (UHS) is an appropriate next step. UHS provides screening services and intervention for mental health or alcohol and other drug abuse (AODA) concerns.

Personal Care Resources

Students requiring person care for activities of daily living (ADLs) are encouraged to contact the Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of Dane County for information about personal care options in the Madison area, including IRIS (Include, Respect, I Self-Direct), Family Care, and Family Care Partnership Program.   The ADRC is readily available by both phone and email, and they can provide info on funding options, applying for services, local agencies, and transferring services between regions.

Students should apply for and beginning planning for personal care services as soon as they have been admitted and decide to attend UW-Madison, as the process can take several months and may include waiting lists or transferring services/programs.  Some students use programs that permit them to hire their own staff for care, while other students work with personal care agencies that provide the staffing.

Students working with a program where they hire their own personal care staff can contact Access to Independence for resources on managing personal care workers (e.g. advertising, hiring and supervisory issues).  Students commonly recruit personal care staff by posting openings on the Non-UW Positions Student Jobs site.

For students living in UW Housing residence halls, the McBurney Center works with the student and Housing to facilitate card access for personal care staff.

Related links:

Housing Accommodations

University Housing Accommodations

The McBurney Disability Resource Center is the designated entity on campus to collect and review all disability documentation as it relates to disability-related housing accommodations for University Housing (i.e. on-campus residence halls and apartments). While students can contact the University Housing Assignment Office by email or by phone (voice/Relay711) (608)262-2522 with questions about University Housing accommodations, disability or medical documentation is sent to the McBurney Center.

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Who is eligible for University Housing accommodations?

Students with documented long-term or permanent disabilities or serious medical conditions may request University Housing accommodations. To be eligible for housing accommodations the student must have a disability, the disability must necessitate adjustments to the living environment, and the request process must be completed before room assignments are made.

University Housing will work to fill accommodation requests for students who acquire a disability or medical condition after room assignments are made; however, some accommodations may be limited by housing availability.

If you will be living in off-campus housing (including private apartments or private residence halls), please work directly with their leasing contact or office and review the Private (“Off-Campus”) Housing and Accommodations info below

How do I request disability-related housing accommodations for University Housing?

You need to follow the standard University Housing contract and assignment process for all students by the deadline listed in your  My UW Housing portal (Step 1a. OR 1b) AND, in parallel, request disability-related housing accommodations (Step 2.) through the McBurney Center so accommodations can be considered in your assignment.  The My UW Housing portal includes a place for you to indicate if you need disability-related housing accommodations.

Step 1a. Undergraduates: Completing the Standard Steps for University Housing Residence Halls

  1. Students who are offered a Housing contract complete the steps outlined for them in their My UW Housing portal
  2. Review residence hall information.
    1. Some resources include the Residence Hall ComparisonResidence Hall InformationDining Locations & HoursResidential Learning Communities, and the Campus Map (search for “residence hall”), for more information and locations.
    2. Consider a General Residential Hall Tour.
    3. If you have a significant mobility limitation that requires accommodation, tours of some of the halls and rooms can be arranged. Please be aware that very few residence hall rooms have private bathrooms.
  3. University Housing will contact you or your McBurney Center access consultant with any questions about your housing accommodations during or after the hall assignment process.

Step 1b. Undergraduate Students with Families and Graduate Students: Completing the Standard Steps for University Housing Apartments

  1. Read more about the University Apartments.
  2. Apply Online for University Apartments as soon as you are interested in studying at UW-Madison. It is important to apply early as the University Apartments usually fill up quickly.
  3. If you become eligible for a lease, University Housing will contact you or your McBurney Center access consultant with any questions about your housing accommodations during or after the apartment assignment process.

Step 2. Completing the Accommodation Request Steps for University Housing

Note: Students are encouraged to complete the following steps by May 1st. Accommodations for requests made after May 1st may be limited by housing availability.

  1. Indicate in your My UW Housing portal that you need disability-related housing accommodations
  2. Follow the McBurney Center instructions to Apply for Accommodations and indicate you are requesting University Housing accommodations.
  3. After the appropriate documentation has been submitted and you have completed the initial meeting, your McBurney Center access consultant will determine your eligibility for services and make a recommendation to University Housing regarding your housing accommodation requests. All recommendations are made on a case by case basis and through an interactive process. Early contact with both University Housing and the McBurney Center is critical in order to fairly assess your needs and identify reasonable housing accommodations.
  4. New freshman living in the residence halls are encouraged to register for and attend the McBurney Center MOST orientation program so that they can move in early.

Under what circumstances could a housing accommodation request be denied?

Requests are generally denied for three reasons:

  1. Documentation does not indicate a substantial limitation to a major life activity (i.e., the student does not have a disability).
  2. The disability-related need does not require an alteration to the living environment. For example, students with AD/HD, learning disabilities or psychological disabilities who request a private room in order to have a quiet study area can have that need met through use of the libraries and other spaces around campus that are suitable for quiet study.
  3. A student makes a late request for a room that is no longer available. For example, University Housing has wheelchair accessible rooms; however, all rooms are assigned during the room selection process. Once the assignments are made, students are not then reassigned or denied housing to accommodate a late request. To avoid this situation, it is imperative that you contact University Housing and the McBurney Center as soon as you believe you will need a housing accommodation.

Remember, housing assignments will be based on disability-related needs, not requests to live in a specific residence hall. Not all residence halls are able to accommodate students in the same way. If a student’s top choices for residence halls are already filled or are unable to meet the student’s disability-related needs, the student will be assigned to another residence hall. For instance, if a student with a mobility disability is requesting a specific centrally located dorm due to mobility concerns and that dorm is either full or is not equipped with other accessible amenities, the student may be placed in another centrally located dorm that can accommodate their needs.

Requests for Air Conditioning as a Disability-Related Accommodation

University Housing will install air conditioner window units for students who require air conditioning for disability-related reasons and who are not assigned to a room with central air.

Students with a medical need that is not a disability should work directly with University Housing if living in a residence hall without central air or air conditioning.

  • Instructions for requesting air conditioners will be available in the My UW Housing portal after a student has received their assignment. For additional information regarding air conditioners, please contact University Housing directly.

Special Dietary Requirements

If you are concerned about your diet or nutrition, University Housing has registered dietitians on staff that would be available to speak to you. Any questions or comments may be emailed to dining services.

Assistance Animals

Eligibility to have an assistance animal accompany a student in University Housing is determined by the McBurney Disability Resource Center.

Additional Information

For further information regarding University Housing and disability-related accommodation requests, please visit University Housing’s “Accommodation Requests” page .

Private ("Off-Campus") Housing and Accommodations

The resources listed below are for students who will not be living in UW-Madison Housing. Please note that housing options listed as “private residence halls” are not owned by UW-Madison.

Students who need disability-related housing accommodations are encouraged to visit rental units before signing a lease to ensure their individual accessibility needs can be met.

Private Housing Listings

Accessible Housing Resource

Access to Independence is Madison’s Independent Living Center. They provide many services including housing information. They have handouts with tips on locating accessible housing in the Madison area. They are happy to answer students’ specific questions and assist with the accessible housing search. They often get notices from local housing providers advertising accessible units. Ask to speak with one of their Independent Living Specialists.

Related links:

Thinking about UW

These resources are intended to help students and their families learn more about disability-related accommodations and accessibility at UW-Madison.

McBurney Information Session for Prospective UW Students

This 30-minute, one-on-one information session, generally scheduled for Thursdays and Fridays, will provide prospective students with disabilities and their families with information about disability-related services and accommodation processes at UW-Madison. Prospective students will learn about the eligibility process, timelines for requesting accommodations, common accommodations, and other campus resources to support students with disabilities.

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I am applying to UW. Should I disclose that I have a disability?

All applicants go through the same admissions review process and are admitted based on the quality of their academic record. As there is no separate admission process for applicants with disabilities, students with disabilities are competitively admitted to the University of Wisconsin every year.

Federal law prohibits us from making preadmissions inquiry about disabilities. If you believe, however, that some aspect of your academic record was affected by your disability, you may choose to share that with the Admissions Office. Information regarding disabilities, voluntarily given or inadvertently received, will not adversely affect any admission decision. Common examples of events that students choose to share include:

  1. A disability occurring or having been diagnosed during the high school years with a subsequent and substantial improvement in academic performance once appropriate disability-related services or medical treatment are provided.
  2. An uneven grade pattern that results from a disability occurring during high school (e.g., traumatic brain injury or disabling illness) with grades dropping and then improving as the student recovers.
  3. A missing curriculum requirement such as foreign language that was waived in high school as part of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

You can provide a personal statement regarding your experiences as an individual with a disability in an academic setting. Describing the types of services you have received, your particular strengths and/or academic interests, or other relevant information will assist the Admissions Office in understanding your unique high school experience. It would also be appropriate for high school staff (e.g., guidance office, special education department, principal, etc.) to provide a letter confirming your experiences (e.g., the beginning of services or a foreign language waiver) to supplement your personal statement. Because the Admissions Office staff is not trained to evaluate specific disability documentation such as a learning disability assessment, it is neither necessary nor advised that you submit this information with your application materials.

Please note: students who have received disability services and accommodations throughout high school will have their academic record considered in a manner consistent with that of other applicants. Because accommodations are intended to level the playing field, the academic record accomplished with those services will be the record considered for admissions purposes. While the University of Wisconsin will consider extenuating circumstances that occur in any applicant’s high school experience, all applicants who are admitted have met the competitive admissions requirements in place at the time of the review.

Should you be admitted to the University of Wisconsin and want more information about the services provided by the McBurney Disability Resource Center, you may send complete disability documentation to the McBurney Center with a request for a service eligibility review. Our staff will then review your disability materials and notify you regarding your eligibility for accommodation and services through our office.

Temporary Conditions

What are temporary conditions?

Graduate walking in a line using crutches in 2015 graduation ceremony

Temporary conditions include broken bones, recovery from surgery, or other medical conditions which temporarily interfere with a student’s ability to fully participate in academic activities (e.g., the ability to attend class, take notes, write papers, or complete exams as scheduled).

Temporary conditions are not classified as disabilities unless their severity results in a substantial limitation of one or more major life activities. This can only be judged on a case by case basis.

Although the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not obligate an institution to provide services to individuals with temporary conditions, the University of Wisconsin-Madison recognizes the challenges a temporary condition can create. Because a temporary condition can occur at any point before or during the semester, the timing can significantly influence the options a student has for continuing in a particular class or remaining enrolled for the semester. Timely and honest communication with faculty and relevant campus personnel about the nature and duration of the condition and requested academic assistance can often result in satisfactory solutions to the short-term problems caused by the injury or condition.

Who should students talk with FIRST about academic concerns?

Students should first contact instructors to: 1) inform the instructor of the nature of the condition, and 2) discuss alternative ways to complete course requirements. Decisions about if and how to accommodate the condition are at the discretion of the instructor. Instructors may legitimately request a doctor’s verification of a condition, particularly if the condition isn’t visually apparent. Students may share medical information directly with faculty; they are not required to go through the McBurney Center.

Students should also consult their academic advisors. Your academic advisor can help you determine if:

  • the same course is offered by an instructor whose course design does not pose the same access concerns (e.g., writing, consistent attendance, etc.)
  • the specific course is absolutely necessary for you to take in this semester or if enrollment can be delayed until you recover
  • an alternative course that doesn’t pose the same access challenges is available for you to take in the current semester
  • you are eligible to request an Incomplete for a class or classes
  • withdrawal for the semester is the best course of action

Students may also contact the McBurney Disability Resource Center when faculty request that McBurney verify a medical condition, particularly if a student is requesting an accommodation that is not an obvious need. If so, students should ask their physicians to submit a General Disability Assessment Form to McBurney. Students should also submit an McBurney Connect Online Student Application to McBurney. Please indicate on the form that you want McBurney to verify your medical condition to faculty and attach faculty names and email addresses.

What kinds of academic assistance can a student request to complete course requirements?


  • Ask your instructor or teaching assistant if the course notes already exist and whether they would be willing to give you a copy or let you make a copy. Instructors may suggest other possibilities.
  • Find someone in the class who would be willing to let you copy his or her notes. The McBurney Center can provide you with a letter requesting your instructor’s help in recruiting a volunteer notetaker.
  • Talk with the instructor about the option of recording the course audio.

Writing Projects

  • Seek assistive technology on or off campus (e.g., adaptive computer keyboard, speech recognition software, etc.). Speech recognition is software program that converts spoken words into words in a document. Students can use what is already built into: their computer (Mac Dictation or Windows Speech Recognition), their mobile device, and apps provided through UW-Madison licensing including Google Docs Voice Typing and  Office365 Dictation (web, desktop apps, and mobile).  Alternatively, Dragon Naturally Speaking for Windows is a commercial product that can be purchased (an educational version is available) or can be used in the McBurney Learning Resource Room at Memorial Library (ask for the key at the circulation desk).
  • Negotiate extra time to complete papers.
  • Hire writing help. For example, post a listing on the UW Job Center website.
  • Get a volunteer to help with writing or to transcribe from audio (the Morgridge Center could post flyers, with your contact information, in residence halls or you could ask someone from your class).
  • Negotiate a substitute for a written assignment (e.g., oral or taped presentation, weighing other course requirements more heavily, etc.).
  • Use a combination of these options. Be sure to involve your instructors in finding solutions.

Taking Exams

Work with your instructor to make informal accommodations (e.g., using a computer, recording your answers to short-answer and/or essay questions, having someone in the department scribe the exam, using speech recognition – see “Writing Projects” above).

Absences from Class

Talk with your instructors about alternative ways to meet course requirements. Attendance may be mandatory for foreign language languages classes, laboratory classes, and other participatory classes where replicating the classroom experience outside of class may be impossible. You may have no option but to retake these classes another semester. Other classes may provide more flexibility. For example, professors may allow you to substitute a paper for participation in class discussions or may allow you to weigh other components of the class more heavily.

What transportation alternatives are available for helping me get to and from classes?

Getting to and from classes with a temporary mobility condition will take you longer than usual. Whether you are using a standard bus, paratransit, an accessible parking permit, a taxi, or a combination of methods that best accommodate your schedule, allow yourself extra time. Students with permanent mobility disabilities will schedule classes in the same or nearby buildings, or buildings near bus stops; they will avoid back-to-back classes that don’t accommodate needed travel time. Students with temporary conditions are often stuck with a schedule that wasn’t set up with limited mobility in mind.

The following suggestions will help you use the transportation options listed below as effectively as possible:

  • Re-arrange your schedule if it’s early in the semester and other class options are still available.
  • Ask faculty if you can informally attend another section of the class during your recovery.
  • Talk with faculty about leaving class early so you can make it to your next class on time. Ask a fellow student if they can share notes for the time you missed.
  • Consider reducing your class load. It’s better to do well with fewer credits than have a bad semester or jeopardize your recovery because you’ve pushed yourself beyond your physical capacity.

Use campus and city bus service

Also consider whether you are physically able to navigate the distance from designated bus stops to your destinations.

Apply for Madison Metro’s Paratransit Bus Service

The ASM student bus pass provides free paratransit services for students eligible for paratransit.  Madison Metro’s Paratransit Service provides wheelchair accessible, curb to curb service from one building to another, rather than from bus stop to bus stop (Directions for applying for Madison Metro’s paratransit service). Please note that the completed application can be brought with you to the required in-person assessment or mailed in advance. Faxes and emails are not sufficient due to federal regulations which require an original signature on the application. If you have medical documentation supporting your need for mobility assistance, you are encouraged to also bring that to help speed up the application process If you are approved for paratransit, you will also have to show evidence that you are a university student (a Wiscard) and have an ASM Bus Pass.

Before choosing this option think about how much time you have between classes. While paratransit will pick you up and drop you off very close to the building, they may not be able to get you to your next class within the standard 15 minute break between classes. Allowing at least 30 minutes for travel between classes may be more realistic.

Purchase an accessible parking permit

A temporary UW DIS permit may be purchased at any Transportation Services office with a University ID and letter from a doctor. The temporary UW DIS permit is valid for a maximum period of two months and will not be extended without a State DOT permit.

Before choosing this option, think about your class schedule and classroom locations. Some areas of campus, such as the Bascom Hill area, have limited parking and spaces may be filled early in the day, necessitating walking from a more distant lot or catching the campus bus. If you are borrowing a manual wheelchair, do you have the ability to get the chair in and out of your vehicle?

Schedule taxi service

Using a taxi for short trips within campus can be a flexible and immediate transportation solution. Taxis may be able to accommodate a 15 minute window between classes. The cab companies in Madison are: Union Cab and Madison Taxi and both take reservations and accept credit cards. Union Cab also offers wheelchair accessible service (lift-equipped vehicles). When you are trying to make it to class or other appointments, reservations are strongly encouraged.

What other resources are available for people with temporary mobility conditions?

Elevator Access and Keys

The following buildings have elevators with some floors that require an authorized current Wiscard.

  • Van Hise (getting on or off at floors 2-4 is restricted) – Click on the McBurney Connect “APPLY for Services” button to complete the Student Application form. Please indicate on the form that you are requesting elevator access to be added to your Wiscard. Please allow at least 48 business hours to ensure processing time.
  • Computer Science & Statistics Building (the tower 3 elevator has restricted access after business hours). Please contact your instructor or supervisor if this access is appropriate.

Note: If you encounter barriers with buildings or elevators that are not listed above, please contact the McBurney Center for further assistance.

Loaner Wheelchairs

Local businesses rent and sell wheelchairs. Students are also encouraged to work through their medical services to obtain wheelchairs, scooters, crutches or other personal mobility devices.

Information on Physical Accessibility of Classrooms and Buildings

Facilities, Planning and Management’s Disability Resource Guide.

Indoor routes on the campus (PDF) – There are two no-step interior routes that connect buildings 1) from University Ave to the top of Bascom Hill ( Bascom Hall, Social Sciences and Ingraham Hall) via Chamberlin Hall, Sterling Hall, and Van Vleck Hall and 2) from University Avenue to Linden Drive, via Medical Sciences Center, Social Work, and the Middleton Building.

Snow Removal

Snow Removal Service for Individuals with Mobility Conditions.

Accessibility in University Housing (Halls and Apartments)

Housing Accommodation Requests and Contact Info

Still Have Questions or Access Barriers?

If you have questions about the information above, please complete a Student Application by clicking the “APPLY for Services” button at McBurney Connect.  A McBurney staff member will follow up with you within two business days. If you have an emergency situation, please contact our office and ask to speak with one of our Transition Services staff.

If your condition is long-term and/or severe enough that it may qualify as a disability and the resources and suggestions above do not meet your needs, you should Apply for Accommodations.

Most of the resources recommended above are the same as those recommended for students with permanent disabilities. For most students with temporary conditions, becoming eligible for McBurney services may only impact the number of options available for notetaking and test accommodations.

Please note that students approved for McBurney Center accommodations must also meet the same essential attendance requirements as students without disabilities.