Registering for Academic Accommodations
A student interested in receiving support services and/or academic accommodations must register with the Director of Disability Services. An academic accommodation is a reasonable modification and/or auxiliary aid that provides students with disabilities “meaningful access” to education. To receive academic accommodations, a student must provide the Director of Disability Services with appropriate documentation of his/her disability and his/her need for academic accommodations as early in the academic year as possible. This documentation must be provided by a certified diagnostician or medical professional and must be relatively recent, usually written within the previous three years. The Office of Disability Services evaluates clinical documentation submitted for the purpose of seeking accommodations. This evaluation can include consultation with at least one clinical consultant, in addition to a meeting with the student before final determination of formalized services can be made. The Office of Disability Services reserves the right to request additional information should the provided documentation be insufficient in diagnosing and describing the disability or in providing enough information to determine academic accommodations. Furthermore, the Office of Disability Services is not responsible for ensuring academic accommodations for a student who identifies him/herself only to his/her instructor(s) and not directly through Disability Services.
All of the classroom and exam accommodations presented below are also available to a student with a temporary or short-term disability. As is the case above, a student must provide appropriate documentation written by a certified diagnostician or medical professional to the Manager of Disability Services before academic accommodations can be discussed. Once produced, the procedures are identical to those that follow.
Procedures for Requesting Academic Accommodations
Once a student has provided appropriate documentation to the Director of Disability Services and has identified a need for academic accommodations, he/she must schedule an appointment with the Director during the first month of classes or soon after diagnosis to discuss accommodations. During that meeting, the student must complete an Academic Accommodation Request Form with all information pertaining to his/her classes (i.e., course code, course title, professor(s) name(s), and days/times of course) and clearly state academic accommodations requested. There is no guarantee all requested academic accommodations will be granted.
The student is responsible for making an appointment with instructors to deliver letters and discuss granted accommodations. These meetings provide the student with the opportunity to introduce him/herself, to discuss specific needs, and to provide the instructors with the accommodation letter. If, at any point, an instructor expresses concern about the academic accommodations stated in the letter, the student is responsible for contacting the Director of Disability Services immediately.
Tape record lectures
A student may request permission to tape record lectures. If requested, a tape recorder can be provided to a student for lecture use only. It is the responsibility of the student to return the tape recorder to the Director of Disability Services by the date agreed upon when the accommodation request is made.
A student may request a notetaker for assistance in obtaining pertinent information provided in lectures. If this accommodation is granted, the Director of Disability Services will generate an academic accommodation letter, which the student will present to each course instructor. The student should communicate with the instructor to discuss this accommodation. The instructor is responsible for recruiting a reliable student willing to provide his/her classnotes. Notetakers are provided as a necessary academic accommodation and are not considered a substitute for a student’s full participation in the course.
Audio tape recorded texts (books-on-tape)
A student with some difficulty with printed material may receive textbooks on tape or computer disks through the Office of Disability Services in conjunction with the Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D). To assure textbook availability, all relevant textbook information (i.e., book title, author, publisher, and publication date) must be forwarded to the Director of Disability Services within the first three weeks of each semester. Students will also participate in the process to obtain books on tape.
Physically accessible classrooms
Classroom locations may be changed to meet the needs of a student with a temporary or permanent mobility-related impairment. It is the responsibility of the student to speak with the Director of Disability Services prior to the beginning of each semester to discuss this accommodation. If the request is appropriate, the Manager will assume the responsibility of locating an alternate classroom and informing the student.
Assistive Listening Devices
A student with a documented hearing impairment may require an assistive listening device in the classroom. The most appropriate device is a Williams Sound Hearing Helper Personal FM System in which the class instructor wears a microphone and the student wears an amplification unit. A student may borrow a FM System from Media Services on an as-needed basis.
A student with a documented hearing impairment may request a Sign Language Interpreter. It is recommended that students in need of an interpreter communicate with the Director of Disability Services well in advance of the scheduled event. If an interpreter is required for all lectures and academic related events throughout a semester, the student must communicate with the Office of Disability Services several months before the beginning of the semester.
A student may request preferential seating in his/her classes for various reasons. If the request is appropriate, the request will be documented in the accommodation letter and students will assume the responsibility of communicating this need with instructors.
A student may request an alternative chair or table in his/her classrooms to compensate for a temporary or permanent physical Disability. If the request is appropriate, the Director of Disability Services will assume the responsibility of locating alternate chairs or tables and work with Facilities to deliver them to the student’s classrooms.
Permission to Stand or Move About
A student with a temporary or permanent physical disability may request permission to briefly stand or move about during the scheduled classroom time. If the request is appropriate, it will be documented in the accommodation letter and students will assume the responsibility of communicating this need with instructors.
Extended Exam Time
Time and a half is the amount of time students will receive for quizzes and exams unless there are serious mitigating circumstances outlined specifically in the student’s documentation dictating otherwise. A student must not expect to receive more than time and a half unless his/her academic accommodation letter specifically states otherwise.
Distraction-Reduced Test Environment
The Office of Disability Services makes a concerted effort to provide a student with a private room in which to take his/her exams if this request is reasonable. On most occasions, students with this accommodation will make exam accommodation arrangements directly with faculty members. However, on some occasions (e.g., final exam period) when there are a larger number of individuals taking exams at the same time, a student may be asked to take exams in a classroom rather than in a private office. In such situations, those classrooms have reduced distractions in comparison to the normal exam locations. A student will be permitted to use earplugs if he/she so desires.
If requested and appropriate, students may be permitted to take exams orally. First and foremost, however, appropriate documentation must be provided clearly stating the student’s need to take exams orally. Furthermore, this request must be agreed upon by the course instructor(s) directly responsible for providing these exams.
If requested and appropriate, a scribe will be provided by the Director of Disability Services. The job of the scribe is to transcribe the student’s answers verbatim. The scribe and student are not permitted to discuss the exam under any circumstance, nor is the scribe there to assist a student with ideas or content of the exam. Rather, the scribe is there only to transcribe dictated information. A scribe is responsible for writing down punctuation as dictated; he/she is not responsible for grammar or correct spelling of course related terms. The student must understand that he/she is ultimately responsible for the final product. The student is encouraged to review the transcription (if possible) and dictate any needed changes.
Verbatim Text Reader
If requested and appropriate, a verbatim text reader will be provided by the Director of Disability Services. The job of the reader is to read all written material on an exam for the student. The reader and student are not permitted to discuss the exam under any circumstance. A reader will not define any course-related terms or suggest an answer in any way.
Laptop Computer/Word processor
A student with an appropriate disability or impairment may be permitted to use a laptop computer to complete his/her exam. A student will not be permitted to use his/her own laptop computer, unless permission is granted by the instructor. The Director of Disability Services will provide the laptop computer, while students are responsible for carrying a disk.