Disability Services

Faculty Information, Rights, and Requirements

Understanding Asperger Syndrome

The Organization for Autism Research (OAR) released Understanding Asperger Syndrome: A Professor's Guide, a 12-minute video for use by college students with Asperger Syndrome as a tool to educate their professors, teaching assistants, and others about the disorder. OAR produced video in cooperation with the Global Regional Asperger Syndrome Project (GRASP) and Pace University in New York thanks to a grant from the Schwallie Family Foundation. Please view the video here.

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As a faculty member you have the right to:

  • Maintain the academic standards of your classroom and/or program.
  • Verify that a student has a documented disability with the Student Success Center.
  • Be given adequate notification of the needed accommodation.
  • Choose between appropriate accommodations when a choice exists.
  • Disagree with an accommodation and file a grievance. You must still provide the accommodation until the grievance is resolved.
  • As a faculty member you have the responsibility to:
  • Include the ADA statement on each course syllabus.
  • Provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids for students with disabilities upon a timely request by a student.
  • Ensure that all activities related to the experience of the course are accessible to all students.
  • Determine the conditions under which the exam is to be administered and assure the timely delivery of the exam along with all necessary materials to the Student Success Center.
  • Consult with the student with regard to appropriate accommodations.
  • Discuss with the Student Success Center any concerns related to an accommodation or arrangements that have been requested by a student.
  • Evaluate students on their abilities, not their disabilities.
  • Maintain appropriate confidentiality of records and communication concerning students with disabilities except where disclosure is required by law or authorized by the student.

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Syllabus Statement

  • The University is required by law to widely disseminate information about how students with disabilities can access services. As an institution, we are committed to this goal. All instructors, full and part time, are required to include the following statement on their syllabi and policy statements:
  • “If you are an individual with a disability and require an accommodation for this class, please notify the instructor or Lori Musser, Coordinator of Student Disability Services, at the Student Success Center (659-3725).”
  • Please do not modify this statement as it contains all of the essential features that are required by law.

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Memos to Instructors

Accommodation Memos are issued to a student after appropriate documentation of disability has been submitted to the Coordinator of the Student Disability Services and the documentation has been reviewed. The Coordinator of Student Disability Services meets with each student and creates an Accommodation Plan. The accommodations listed on the plan are based upon:

  • Documentation of the disability
  • Recommendations of professionals in the community who have worked with the student
  • Interviews with the student.

Accommodations follow the guidelines published by the Association On Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), which has done extensive investigation of the law and current practices regarding accommodations in higher education.

Students should ask for an appointment to discuss accommodations. We supply the student with one copy of the Accommodation Memo because of our concerns about confidentiality. If you feel it is important to retain a copy of the student’s memo, please read the section on confidentiality before you make a copy..

The accommodations listed on the Accommodation Memo are meant to be a guideline for the instructor and student. Teaching styles are different and each class requires different skills, the need for accommodations and the manner in which they are given may vary from class to class.

QUESTION: I suspect that a student in my class has a disability and has not sought out services. What should I do?

ANSWER: Students may not have sought out services for the following reasons:

  • The student may not know about Disability Services
  • The student may have not made the time to speak with you about his or her situation.
  • The student does not wish to notify you about their disability.

Do not assume that the student has a disability or needs accommodations. Talk to the student in terms of how he/she is functioning in the class. Explain that the Student Success Center provides various special services. Suggest that he or she may want to stop by the Student Success Center to check out services.

QUESTION: I cannot provide the requested accommodation and/or I feel the requested accommodation is providing the student with an unfair advantage.

ANSWER: A major function of the Coordinator of Student Disability Services is to provide instructors assistance in providing fair accommodations to students. Contact us if you need assistance.

Questions regarding accommodation requests should be directed to Lori Musser, Coordinator of Student Disability Services. Do not deny accommodations prior to meeting with Lori Musser. We recognize that some circumstances may occur in which academic objectives may be compromised by the accommodation. Please discuss any concerns you may have with us. We are knowledgeable concerning the University's responsibility in complying with disability laws and can advise you accordingly. [link to] See "How to Question an Accommodation and Stay Within the Law"

QUESTION: A student has failed his first test and now he gives me the Accommodation Memo. Why didn't he give me the Memo at the beginning of the semester?

ANSWER: Possible reasons for receiving a late notification:

  • The student did not wish to disclose disability.
  • The student did not register with Coordinator of Student Disability Services until after the start of the semester.
  • The student was referred by another faculty during the course of the semester.
  • The student could have been recently diagnosed.
  • The student registered with the Student Success Center but felt accommodations were unnecessary. Upon attending class, student finds that his disability is effecting his performance and accommodations are necessary.

Students are expected to notify teachers as far in advance as possible. If you can provide the accommodation, do so. If you find that providing the accommodation presents a difficulty, discuss your concerns with the student and the Student Disability Services office.

QUESTION: A student is requesting extra time for tests, but does not have an Accommodation Memo. I have no problem giving the student extended time. Should I insist that she see the Student Disability Services office?

ANSWER: Yes. While you may be willing to provide extended time, the student’s next instructor may not. In order for the student to receive consistent, appropriate accommodations, she should register with the Student Success Center. In addition, there may be other accommodations that we can provide that have not been explored.

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Discussing Accommodations and Confidentiality

WHERE:

Students with disabilities have differing attitudes regarding their disability, it is always best to err on the safe side and defer the conversation to your office rather than in the classroom or hallway. Sometimes students will try to talk with their instructor before or after class during transition periods. We would encourage you to have the student make an appointment or stop by during your office hours. As you know, it is nearly impossible to have a meaningful and PRIVATE conversation during class changes.

HOW:

It is best to talk to the student in terms of how he or she will function or is functioning rather than talking about the specific disability. Some students will disclose their specific disability freely and others prefer to discuss only their accommodation needs. The student has the right to withhold information or details of their disability.

Discussions with the Coordinator of Student Disability Services:

The Coordinator of Student Disability Services serves approximately 150 students. Of these students, about 50% give us authorization to discuss their accommodation needs with faculty. Disclosure of the specific disability can only be made by the student or with the student's permission.

Please understand that when an instructor stops a Student Success Center professional in the hall to discuss a student, we may not remember if authorization was given. Allow us to go back to the Student Success Center and check the status. The conversation should be conducted in a private location.

Discussion of Disability Issues with Other Faculty Members or Staff:

Oftentimes other faculty have encountered the same accommodation dilemmas. It is a wonderful idea to brainstorm and problem solve access issues with each other. Remember to talk in terms of functions and refrain from mentioning the student's name.

Accommodation Memos are Confidential:

The information on the Accommodation Memo is confidential.

QUESTION: What If The Student Chooses To Disclose Their Disability?

ANSWER: Information the student gives you regarding his or her disability should be kept confidential. The student is not required to answer any questions you may have about their disability such as type of medication they are taking, treatment or history.

QUESTION: May I reveal the identity of the student with a disability in my class if I am arranging a notetaker or testing accommodations?

ANSWER: This should be discussed with the student. Some students are comfortable with an announcement in front of class and others are not. The instructor should not ask the student to make the request in front of class. Testing accommodations should be kept confidential also.

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Language Choices and Working with Students with Disabilities

ACCEPTABLE

NOT ACCEPTABLE

  • person with a disability/disabled/ disability
  • cripple/handicapped/handicap/invalid (literally, Invalid means "not valid." Do not use it.)
  • person who has
  • victim/afflicted by/afflicted with (e.g., victim of cerebral palsy
  • person who experienced
  • restricted, confined to a wheelchair/ wheelchair bound. The chair enables mobility. Without the chair the person is confined to bed.
  • person with (e.g., person who has cerebral palsy)
  • normal (referring to non-disabled persons as "normal" insinuates that people with disabilities are abnormal
  • uses a wheelchair
  • deaf mute/deaf and dumb
  • non-disabled
  • birth defect
  • deaf/without speech/nonverbal
  • crazy/insane
  • disabled since birth
  • fits
  • emotional disordered/mental illness
  • slow
  • seizures
 
  • developmental delay
 

Other terms which should be avoided because they have negative connotations and tend to evoke pity include:

Preferred Terminology:

  • abnormal
  • burden
  • condition
  • deformed
  • differently abled
  • disfigured
  • incapacitated
  • imbecile
  • palsied
  • pathetic
  • physically challenged
  • spastic
  • stricken with
  • suffer
  • unfortunate
  • blind (no visual capability)
  • visually impaired (some visual capability)
  • deaf/profoundly deaf (no hearing capability)
  • hearing impaired (some hearing capability)
  • hemiplegia (paralysis of one side of the body)
  • quadriplegia (paralysis of both arms and legs)
  • paraplegia (loss of function in lower body only)

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Testing Accommodations

Testing accommodations are the most frequently used accommodations by students with disabilities on our campus. The types of accommodations vary from student to student and are based on appropriate documentation held in the Student Success Center. Students hand carry their Accommodations Memos to their instructors each semester. These memos will list precise test-taking adaptations needed for each student. No two students are alike, therefore the accommodation lists may vary from student to student.

TYPES OF TEST-TAKING ADAPTATIONS:

  • Reader and/or writer (will automatically require additional time)
  • Extended Time (up to TWICE the amount of time allowed on time-restricted tests)
  • Use of Closed Circuit TV or Computer
  • Enlarged Test
  • Distraction-Reduced Environment
  • Sign Language Interpreter
  • Clarification of Test Questions
  • Use of Calculator and/or Formula Sheets
  • Use of Spell-Checking Device

How Are Instructors To Know If And When A Student Requires Testing Accommodations?

Students will give you an Accommodations Memo which outlines all of the testing adaptations that have been approved for them. This memo is most often given to you at the beginning of the semester. If you do not receive a memo and a student requests test-taking accommodations, do not provide the accommodation without contacting the Coordinator of Student Disability Services.

Students might not always use testing accommodations. Therefore, it is their responsibility to communicate their needs to you. If they do not inform you of their need, they run the risk of not receiving their accommodation.

Who Is Responsible For Providing These Accommodations?

Ultimately college faculty and teaching staff are responsible for providing all reasonable test-taking accommodations,

provided that the adaptation does not change the essential function of the test. Consult the Student Disability Services office if you have questions regarding the accommodation.

When providing a student with testing accommodations for the first time, check with the Student Disability Services office.

There are 2 avenues for providing testing accommodations:

1. INSTRUCTORS:

Often instructors are able and prefer to provide the accommodation personally without Student Disability Services office assistance. The accommodations that instructors are most likely able to provide include:

  • enlarged tests
  • extended time
  • clarification of test questions
  • distraction-reduced environment

When providing accommodations, instructors must be aware of what is necessary and appropriate in the situation. Discussing needs privately with the student will help in setting up the provision effectively. The Student Disability Services office is also available for consultation.

2. DISABILITY SERVICES OFFICE:

The Student Disability Services office will assist faculty who cannot personally provide testing accommodations. In many cases accommodations must be provided by the Student Disability Services office because of specialized personnel and/or equipment involved.

What is the process for getting out-of-class testing through the Student Disability Services office?

For each test, at least 48 hours prior to the test, the student will:

  • Acquire a TEST ACCOMMODATION REQUEST form from the Student Disability Services office

Complete the form and turn it in to the secretary or coordinator of Disability Services

  • Acquire a TEST ACCOMMODATION FORM and deliver it to the instructor
How does the Student Disability Services office get a copy of the test?

Upon receiving the TEST ACCOMMODATION FORM from the student, the instructor will:

  • Complete the information requested on the form
  • Sign the form
  • Deliver the form and exam to the Student Disability Services office (The exam can also be sent via campus Email as an attachment to Lori Musser or Glenda O'Dell.)

 GENERAL TESTING POLICIES:

  • Tests must be scheduled the same date and time as when the class is scheduled to take the exam.

NOTE: From time to time it may become necessary for the Student Disability Services office to change the test date/time. Instructors must be consulted by the student before scheduling changes are made.

  • Instructors’ policies regarding absences from tests also apply to testing in the Student Disability Services office.
  • If an emergency causes a student to be absent from a scheduled test, the student is to call the instructor and the Student Disability Services office immediately.
  • If a student is more than 15 minutes late for a scheduled test, the Student Disability Services office will not be able to administer the test.
  • Unless instructors specifically note special directions for administering the test, the Student Disability Services office will not allow students to bring items into the testing session.
  • Students are expected to complete tests in a fair and ethical manner. The Student Disability Services office adheres to the University’s policy regarding the issue of cheating.

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