A: According to federal law, accommodations in the post-secondary setting commonly refer to: a) modifications to the manner of instruction in order to provide equal access to educational materials and b) modification to the manner of testing or measuring competence in a particular course.
Depending on the nature of the disability and its impact on major life activities, a student may need instructional materials provided in an alternative format (enlargement of handouts, books on tape/CD/audio files, Braille) or may need an auxiliary aid (Lecture Microphone as part of a closed FM radio system, scanning text reader, text to voice software) or services (sign language interpreters). Students with learning disabilities, for example may need extra time for exams or permission to use a laptop/word-processor for writing essay exams or taking notes.
Students with disabilities are expected to meet the same standards of academic performance as other students but may be allowed an accommodation in the manner in which performance is measured, for example, allowing extra time for testing or allowing a Reader for exams. Accommodations are allowed so that it is academic competency which is measured rather than the effects of the disability. The most common accommodation granted in postsecondary institutions is “extended time for quizzes and exams” since many types of disabilities affect the capability of retrieving and expressing information in time limits.
Each academic accommodation is evaluated and granted individually; accommodations are not granted as a package. Accommodations are based on the interactive process required by law and documentation provided by each student. Confidential Diagnostic information is not included in any academic accommodation letters to faculty and each student is advised to not share that confidential information.
A: Students who are granted accommodations are provided with letters from the Director of Accessible Education explaining their accommodations, which are to be given to professors. The receipt of the letter, which is hand-delivered by the student to the respective faculty from the director, indicates that the appropriate protocols under the law have been met for determining a student’s eligibility under ADA. Letters to faculty do not describe the student’s disability, illness or condition as that information is protected by law. Some students choose to disclose additional information to faculty, but are not required or advised to do so.
A: Faculty should consult with the Office of Accessible Education as soon as possible if there is any question or concern about an accommodation. Furthermore, If a faculty member is concerned that a specific accommodation may fundamentally alter the academic integrity or nature of the course, the instructor should contact the Office of Accessible Education as soon as possible so that the concern may be addressed.
The Director of Academic Resources is always willing to brainstorm with faculty possible ways for the College to meet its obligations under ADA.
A: Academic accommodations are ideally requested by the student in a timely manner which will allow the Director to review documentation, determine eligibility, and establish the accommodations. Since it is the student’s responsibility to request academic accommodations each semester, occasionally there are some students who do not make the semester request early enough Some students (especially first years or students with new conditions or injuries) do not become aware of their need for accommodations until after the start of the term.
On any occasion that a faculty member has not been given reasonable notification (within ten business days of an exam) for accommodations, (i.e.extended time on exams and/or the use of a separate room for testing) it is within the faculty member’s discretion to not grant said accommodation for an immediately upcoming exam. However, the faculty member is expected to grant the accommodation on subsequent exams.