What is an accommodation?
An accommodation is a modification or adjustment to policy, practice, or procedure that will enable a qualified person with a disability the opportunity to participate in and benefit from services, such as a university's educational curriculum.
What are the different types of accommodations?
Sign Language Interpreters: a Sign Language Interpreter or Captionist- who will capture all spoken information during the lecture will join the student in class. Please explore other options to ensure accessible content by having videos and audio files closed captioned or subtitled and continue to address any communication to the student- not to the Sign Language Interpreter/Captionist
Note Taking Services: some students may have difficulty with note taking due to limited fine motor skills, a hearing impairment, a visual impairment, or processing deficits caused by a learning or psychological disability. Note-taking services are provided as a supplement to the classroom experience and are not intended to replace regular classroom attendance or participation.
Books in Alternative Format: The conversion of printed materials into an accessible format benefit students with learning disabilities, visual impairments, as well as those who have difficulty processing written material. Student Support Services has an account with Learning Ally, which has an exhaustive catalog of audiobooks. If an instructor needs assistance with the conversion of materials, they can contact Student Support Services.
Preferential seating: Students who are easily distracted, have difficulty sustaining attention or have visual/hearing impairments may require preferential seating in the classroom. Students with medical conditions that require intermittent breaks may also benefit from this accommodation. This includes seating in the front, side, or back of the classroom depending on the individual student's needs. Some students may also require a table and/or chair arranged through Student Support Services.
Tape Recording lectures: Students may tape record lectures and discussions as a means to supplement classroom notes. Instructors can approve/disapprove the recording based on the content discussed within the class. Students provided with this accommodation are required to sign a Tape Recording Policy Form.
Wheelchair accessible rooms: Classroom locations may be changed to meet the needs of a student with a temporary or permanent mobility-related
impairment. Instructors should monitor the classroom layout to ensure doorways and aisles are clear of obstruction. Accessibility should be taken into account when planning field trips required by the course. Laboratory courses may require a modification of tables and the placement of equipment.
Copy of lecture notes/power point slides: Copies of lecture notes/PowerPoint slides serve as a guide for note taking and minimize the amount of writing required to keep up with the information being presented. Notes and overheads can be provided electronically. Instructor should provide their notes/overheads prior to the lecture. Helpful for students who are primarily visual learners and become easily distracted while note taking.
Extended Time: The length of the exam is extended to time and a half or double time. This not only enables the student to perform closer to ability, but also allows adequate time to process the presented information. If an instructor is unable to provide additional time in the classroom, the student may schedule their exams/quizzes with the office of Student Support Services.
Distraction Reduced Environment: The student is placed in a room (either with a limited number of students or alone) with minimal auditory and visual stimuli, to reduce factors that may impact/affect attention, focus, and concentration.
Use of a Calculator: The use of a calculator assists students who may make mistakes such as reversing or skipping numbers. If a test or quiz is designed to measure the student's ability to perform functions a calculator would perform, then this accommodation may be inappropriate. The student may only use the type of calculator specified by the instructor.
Reader: The student is provided with someone to have his or her tests/quizzes read orally. Readers will only read what is on the printed page and cannot be asked to define specific terms or words, nor interpret, explain or reword questions.
- Scribe: The student is provided with someone to write down information exactly as the student dictates. The scribe will only write what is said, cannot provide clarification, and is not responsible for organizing or paraphrasing thoughts into the final draft.
- Scantron: someone will fill in the scantron form from the answers circled on the exam paper.
- Essay: the student will dictate the answers to someone for short answer and essay questions.
- Dragon: the student will use the software package to translate speech into written format.
Use of a Computer (with spell check for essay exams): The student can benefit from the use of a spellchecker for exams and quizzes to aid in addressing fine motor/processing deficits caused by a learning or psychological disability. The Internet function of the computers will be turned off during this period.
Other: Students may qualify for other exam accommodations as determined by Student Support Services (SSS). This may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- breaks during the exam period (students with physical/musculoskeletal impairments or degenerative conditions)
- food or drink available during the exam period (for students who need to take medication at prescribed times)
- re-scheduling exams during convenient time periods (for students who experience adverse reactions to prescribed medications)
Time Extension to Complete Assignments: Students who have difficulties with reading, processing deficits as well as those who struggle with initiating an activity, sustaining attention, inhibiting and organizing ideas may benefit from a time extension on assignments that require extensive language use or have a significant written component.
What is the process for a student to receive accommodations?
Students who wish to receive accommodations must self identify to Student Support Services and provide supporting documentation (recent evaluation from a licensed professional stating the nature of the student's disability) to initiate the Intake Process. IEP's (Individualized Education Programs) are not considered sufficient supporting documentation.
Once students have self-identified, they meet with an education specialist. During this meeting, the education specialist will help the student complete the Intake Packet (which includes a Request for Reasonable Accommodations, Consent for Release of Information, & TRIO form), review their supporting documentation, and provide a cursory overview of our services. The student's application and supporting documentation are then given to the Associate Director for review. Pursuant to review, the student is scheduled for an appointment with the Associate Director. At this meeting the student is assigned an education specialist with whom they will work for the duration of their academic career, provided with detailed information about the program & its services, including policy and procedure, and are given an opportunity to ask questions. An initial appointment is then made for the student and their assigned education specialist. This process happens within a span of two weeks.
What about students who do not have supporting documentation?
Students without supporting documentation meet with an education specialist, are given an Intake Packet, as well as Guidelines for Documentation and a list of Diagnostic Testing Sites.
SSS follows up with these students 2 weeks from their initial appointment and periodically throughout the semester, to assess where they are in the evaluation process. Students who have been evaluated will provide their supporting documentation to the Associate Director. Students who have not will have their files held for a semester – shortly thereafter they will be appropriately discarded.