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The Department of Counseling and Career Services

Frequently Asked Question for Faculty and Staff

How will I know if a student needs an accommodation or that there is a student with a disability in my class?
Students have a choice in whether or not they disclose their disability to the College.  Many students do disclose and follow procedures to access academic accommodations, but not all.  If a student is making a request for an accommodation, the Disability Services Staff (ED100) or Project Connections Staff (JLC230) will prepare a “Classroom Accommodation Form” in consultation with a student and after carefully reviewing formal documentation that the student is responsible to submit.  The student will then be advised to give the form directly to the instructor.  If the faculty member has any questions or concerns regarding the defined accommodations they are encouraged to contact the staff member who prepared the form for consultation.

How are Testing Accommodations handled?
The College provides an Adapted Testing Service which is part of the regular Testing Center in JLC228.  Procedures are in place to proctor exams for students that might include additional time, distraction limited testing environment, reader or scribe services, use of a calculator or the use of assistive technology to test.  Students needing to test in the Adapted Testing Center will present a Green Sheet (Test Cover Sheet) to their instructor that alerts the faculty member that they will take their exam in the Adapted Testing Center.  Faculty then must drop the exam off to the Testing Center in JLC228.  It is the student’s responsibility to make an appointment to take a test with the Adapted Testing Center staff and schedule an appointment, preferably the same day and time that the rest of the class is testing.  There are some situations where an alternate time must be found for the student to test to accommodate schedules.

How is the amount of extended time determined for a student?
Based on research conducted by the Educational Testing Services 150 to 200 percent is typically recommended.  In some cases where a scribe or reader is used, additional time is recommended.  The rule of thumb of time and a half seems to be an effective and widely accepted guideline.  Some studies have suggested that additional time does not benefit students without disabilities.

What if I am unable to accommodate a student?
Faculty are encouraged to contact Disability Services for assistance should they have questions or concerns about any accommodations listed on the Classroom Accommodation Form or wish to discuss appropriate arrangements.

Do I have to provide the accommodation listed on the Classroom Accommodation Letter if the accommodations do not fit with my philosophy or style?
Yes, federal law requires that students who present appropriate documentation be accommodated.  Failure to comply puts the individual instructor as well as the entire College in potential violation of federal laws that protect individuals with disabilities. Recommendations made by the Disability Services staff are the best advice to protect yourself from any personal legal liability.  If you have concerns, however, you may always discuss them with a staff member.

What accommodations are appropriate?
Most frequently, students with disabilities request testing accommodations in class so that they can access an equivalent experience as their non-disabled peers.  Students may also request note taking services, permission to use a piece of assistive technology, sign language interpreters, and books in alternative format or reader services.  You are not, however, required to fundamentally alter the standards of your course in any way nor modify the assignments or the curriculum for the course.  Changing test formats or giving extended time on tests would not be altering the requirement to learn the same course content and therefore may be considered reasonable for a particular student.

Does the Classroom Accommodation Form that I receive include the nature of the student’s disability and do I have the right to question the disability?
No, the Americans with Disabilities Act provides students with the right to decide when to disclose and to whom they will disclose their disability status.  This right is protected by our office procedures and is why only the necessary accommodations are listed on the Classroom Accommodation  Form.  Many students do discuss their disabilities with faculty but they have the right to keep that information personal if they so choose.  Please remember that many disabilities are invisible and may not be readily apparent but please be assured that our Disability Services Staff carefully reviews each students documentation prior to writing an accommodation form.

Are there any general modifications that I might consider to make my classes more accessible?
Faculty are encouraged to include a disability statement on their syllabus that reads “ Any student with a disability requiring accommodations are encouraged to link with Disability Services in ED100 – 906-2546.” Faculty are also encouraged to consider alternate learning styles when planning their lectures and assignments. More information may be found under the Disability Types and Recommendation Section. An approach to consider is teaching methodologies is one of Universal Design, which levels the playing fields for students with disabilities and often improves the teaching/learning for all students.

Is it fair to other students to provide accommodations to a student with a disability?
It would be unfair and actually illegal to not provide the accommodations the College has agreed to.  Students with disabilities often learn and perform differently than other students without disabilities.

What if a student fails a test and then decides to inform me of his/her disability?  What is my responsibility at this point?
If the student with a disability did not inform you of their need for accommodations prior to the exam then the law does not require you to alter or make any changes to what has occurred. However, if the student does follow the necessary procedures and provides you with a Classroom Accommodation form you will then be expected to cooperate with the Accommodations listed.

What is the difference between Project Connections and Disability Services?
Project Connections is a federally grant funded program that has selective admission and only services students with a diagnosed learning disability.  Disability Services may also provide services to some students with learning disabilities who have either chosen not to apply to the program or who were not accepted.   In addition, Disability Services provides services to all students on campus with varying disability issues including physical and mobility impairments, psychological disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder, hearing and vision issues and students with health related concerns.

My class is taking a field trip.  Do I need to do anything different for a student with a disability?
It depends, if the student has a mobility issue and uses a wheel chair you will need to make certain that the site is accessible.  In addition, if the College is providing transportation to the field trip then an accessible means of transportation must be offered to the student with a disability.

Should I provide accommodations even if the student has not given me a Classroom Accommodation Form?
Faculty members are encouraged not to provide disability related accommodations unless the student has followed the established procedures and presents a Classroom Accommodation Form to them.

A student in my class came to class with a service animal, is this permitted on campus?
Yes, service animals are legitimately “working” with the person with a disability and are permitted on campus in order to do so.

My student’s Accommodation Form indicates that he/she will need a Peer Note Taker.  What do I need to do?
If a peer note taker is needed in class, the student will have an attached set of directions on how to handle the request.  Faculty are asked to make an announcement in class that a peer note taker is needed for a student in class with a disability.  Many students with disabilities prefer that they not be singled out in class and that the process be confidential.  At the end of the semester, the note taker may be provided a stipend for their service.  They may also volunteer if they so choose and Disability Services will write a letter of commendation for their services.

Can I discuss the student’s disability directly with them?
Students are coached to discuss their needs with faculty directly.  However, some students are very uncomfortable or choose not to do so and that is their right as well.  Often time, however, students are the best source of information about how they learn and how you may be able to assist them in the class.

What language should I use when referring to a student with a disability?
You are encouraged to use people first language, that is you speak of the student first (i.e. a student who is blind, a person with a learning disability rather than the blind student or wheelchair bound student).  If you are unsure, ask the student.

I am interested in learning more about disability issues, are there places where I can go for further information?
Yes, there are many places that faculty can consult for additional information including the Do-It Faculty Room from the University of Washington (www.doit.org) , the Disability Access and Information and Support (DAIS) (www.dais.org) , Disability legal information:                
http://www.disability.gov/civil_rights/enforcement_actions
http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2010/July/10-crt-803.html

I am teaching a class online, are there any things I need to be aware of concerning the needs of students with disabilities?
Yes, the College has an equal responsibility of ensuring access in online courses and on ground classes.  Faculty need to be certain that any documents used in the class are accessible  to students who use screen readers or other types of assistive technology.  As well, if a deaf student is taking an online class and videos are used the College needs to be certain that all materials are captioned or a transcript is provided.  If you have questions please consult with the College’s Assistive Technology Lab Coordinator and/or Media Services for support.

My department is in the process of selecting text books for next year, are there any issues we need to consider regarding students with disabilities?
Department Chairs and all faculty are encouraged to be mindful of the needs of all learners when selecting materials for class.  As you interact with publishers, it is important to inquire about the availability of the materials in alternate format, if requested.  As well, a recent Department of Justice /Office of Civil Rights letter was sent to all college presidents across the country to alert them to the need to be inclusive in any technology required for students’ use.  Institutions are not permitted to select technology that is inaccessible by a single class of students.