Accommodating Students with Disabilities Responsibilities and Recommendations for

Accommodating Students with Disabilities Responsibilities and Recommendations for

Accommodating Students with Disabilities Responsibilities and Recommendations for Faculty Accommodating Students with Disabilities Legal Basis The Test Accommodation Process Strategies for Faculty Legal Basis Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1998

These acts require: No otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall, solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity of a public entity. Information technology procured, developed or used on a college campus needs to be accessible to students with disabilities. Otherwise Qualified Students who have been admitted to

Northeastern are otherwise qualified. They are capable of fulfilling the obligations of their coursework, but may need reasonable accommodations to do so. ADA Amendments Act of 2008 In effect as of January 2009 Since 1973 a series of Supreme Court decisions severely narrowed who was covered under the law.

After Congress determined some court rulings were too restrictive, the 2008 amendment was passed which makes it easier for those who face discrimination on the basis of disabilities to establish their need for protection. The Disability Resource Center (DRC)

The Disability Resource Center (DRC) is the office on campus designated to oversee accommodations for all types of disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder. One important role of the office is to ensure that procedures are being followed according to the law so that students receive what they need and the university is not put at risk. The DRC provides testing accommodations as well as other accommodations according to the needs of the students. It assigns each student a specialist, whom you may contact with questions or concerns. Services are free to students who have been granted

accommodations. The Learning Disabilities Program (LDP) The Learning Disabilities Program (LDP) is an adjunct to the DRC. It offers a more comprehensive program, serving students who need more personalized and intensive

help. A fee is charged for these services. Whereas the DRC supports students with all types of disabilities, the LDP program is limited to students with learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder. Students are assigned specialists who may be in touch with you regarding the students progress. They are available to answer your queries or discuss concerns about your student. The Process of Obtaining Accommodations Any student who would like to receive ac commodations

mus t submit documentation to the DRC T he do cume ntation i s th en eva lu ated. If the do cume ntation su bstan ti ates a di sa bi li ty whi ch l imi ts th e stud ent, h e or sh e wi l l be

el i gi bl e fo r se rvi ce s. How will I know if one of my students has a disability? Students must disclose to professor if they want to be able to use the accommodations they have been granted. The means of disclosure is either a letter from the Disability Resource Center (DRC) or a packet from the Learning Disabilities

Program (LDP) What if a student presents evidence of a disability from another source? Letters or reports from any other source are not acceptable. Ask the student for a letter from the DRC or a packet from the LDP. DRC

LDP If student has neither, direct her/him to the Disability Resource Center. What information will I find in the letter or packet? It will contain a list of approved accommodations. In addition, contact information will be provided should you have questions. Some Common Accommodations:

Note-takers and/or taped lectures Extra time on examinations Distraction reduced testing environment Use of computer for essay examinations Answers written directly on multiple choice exam rather than on scantron sheet Purpose of Accommodations: Level the Playing Field It is important to make certain that students receive the accommodations that have been approved unless a department and the university have ruled that doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of a particular program.

It is equally important that students do not receive any accommodations above and beyond those granted without consulting with the DRC or LDP. Being Too Helpful An Unfair Advantage In general, if a particular accommodation is not listed on a students information sheet, and is not going to be granted to the rest of the class, seek information from the students specialist before making any adjustments. Being too helpful

Examples Allowing a student to use notes during an examination when the rest of the class does not have this privilege Discarding the results of an examination on which a student did poorly and creating an individualized exam for that student. Sitting with a student while she/he is taking an examination to clarify each question Overlooking spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors on papers done outside of class Exceptions to the Rule The Need for Flexibility

There are instances when it is necessary to grant students privileges, which are not on their accommodations list, and which are not given to other students in the class. One important case is the need at times to allow a student to change the time or date of an examination.

Because many students have the accommodation of extended time on examinations, they may miss or be late for a class which follows. During final exams, a student may have multiple exams on one day, which might take upwards of seven to eight hours to complete. Such consequences would deny students with learning disabilities or Attention Deficit Disorder their rights under the law. Should you have any questions regarding a students request

First, check the students Accommodation Letter or information packet to see if the accommodation is listed. Although students may make requests not specified in their documentation, not all requests may be appropriate. When in doubt as to the validity of the request, contact the students specialist as soon as possible. Each students request must be considered on an individual basis. A discussion between the professor and specialist often will result in a satisfactory solution.

Facilitating Success There are numerous ways professors can help students, which also meet the letter of the law. Most important is to contact the students specialist if she/he appears to be struggling. Then the professor and specialist can work together to ensure that the student has access to the educational opportunities to facilitate a good outcome.

The Test Accommodation Process Student Obligations To take a test with accommodations, the student must: 1. 2. 3. Present the professor with a letter or packet from the Disability Resource Center or the Learning Disabilities Program, which may describe the students disability and will include the accommodations she/he has been granted.

Reserve a room in the DRC to take the exam, first finalizing the day and time with the professor. Provide the professor with an Exam Accommodation Form to fill out, which the student will bring to the DRC before the day of the exam. Why might a student need to take an examination in the DRC? A student may need extended time to complete the examination. Time and a half to double time

are the most common accommodations. Many professors have other obligations following class and are unable to proctor their students. Even if a professor is able to arrange to monitor her/his student, some students need a distraction reduced environment. What is the Exam Accommodation Form?

This form enables the professor to specify how the exam will be delivered to the DRC, and how it will be returned. Also, it affords the professor the opportunity to provide instructions for the exam proctor. In addition, it includes information about how the professor can be reached in the event of questions. It can be viewed at www.northeastern.edu/drc under Forms. Examination Dates

Students need to reserve rooms in advance so the DRC can arrange a schedule to accommodate all students who require a testing room. The students also need advance notice to prepare for an examination since they may have other exams and projects due around the same time. Thus, the earlier the students know of the dates for examinations, the better. Please keep in mind that there are legitimate reasons why a student may need to take her/his examination on a different date or time from the rest of the class. Why No Scantron?

Some students who have perceptual disabilities and/or Attention Deficit Disorder need to indicate their answers directly on their examinations. The process of transferring answers to a scantron sheet may cause them to make unnecessary errors. Pop Quizzes

Pop quizzes present a number of logistical difficulties because most of the students with accommodations have been granted extended time to take their tests. One complication is that the student will not have the opportunity to reserve a room in the DRC. The DRC will accept room reservations made by the professor; however, sending a student to the DRC when class begins is likely to breach the students right to confidentiality. In addition, the student will miss some of class once the quiz is over. Giving a quiz at the end of class may interfere with a class the student

has which follows or it may conflict with an appointment the student has, which you are not aware of. It is possible to overcome these roadblocks. However, it is much less complicated when working with students who have disabilities, to give quizzes which are announced to the class in advance. Communication Should you have any questions or concerns about the test taking process, the students specialist can offer suggestions to help alleviate any potential roadblocks or concerns. Having a conversation with the specialist about

possible options can ensure that the students needs are met and you are comfortable with the arrangement. STRATEGIES FOR FACULTY Syllabus Do provide students with a detailed syllabus at the beginning of the term. Include due dates for all assignments, quizzes, and exams as well as the reading to be covered and your grading policy. Syllabi which are handed out piecemeal and are updated frequently are easily misplaced and can be confusing.

Include your contact e-mail, phone, and office hours. Do Use Blackboard Many students with disabilities may easily misplace their possessions. Having their syllabi, assignments, and other course materials easily

accessible at the one site is an invaluable resource. Posting power point presentations on Blackboard before lectures has many benefits. It is often difficult for students to listen, read and write during a lecture. Having the slides available in advance gives students an opportunity to become familiar with the content. The end result is students are less likely to miss key points and can focus on elaborating. They will have a much better opportunity to understand and learn. Using Blackboard to post examination study guides, sample tests, and model answers helps students to assess their level of understanding before they are tested formally. If you dont use power points

Providing a detailed outline or advance organizer on Blackboard prior to a lecture will help students differentiate between key points, examples, and minor points. It is good teaching practice to incorporate some visual elements into lectures. This is of great importance to students with auditory processing difficulties, ADHD, and other disabilities. Students without disabilities can benefit as well. Do give assignments in written as well as oral form.

Confidentiality and Support Do encourage students to attend office hours or make an appointment to disclose and to discuss their concerns. When students give you a letter from the DRC or LDP, hold on to it and read it to help you better understand their needs. Respect students right to privacy. Take care not to identify a student as having a disability in class.

Note Takers Many students have the accommodation of a note taker. Your student may ask you to read an announcement from the DRC asking students to volunteer for this task for which they will be compensated. If no one comes forward at first, please repeat the announcement during another class. If there is still no response, consider asking a capable student if he/she would take the job. Faculty-Advisor Communication Tool (FACT) If any one of your students (with a disability

or not) is having difficulty, do submit a case on FACT. This resource can be used for warnings, attendance issues, as well as progress reports. This will alert the students advisor and specialist (if the student has a disability). The sooner he or she is aware of difficulties, the more likely it is the student will have a better outcome. Requests for Information

A students specialist may seek information about the status of a student and what difficulties, if any, the student is having. Do make an effort to respond to e-mails or phone messages promptly. Students also need a timely response to their requests for information. Some professors find it useful to set up an e-mail account dedicated to students, or to assign the task of responding to inquiries to their teaching assistants. Questions? Should you have any questions about the legal basis for providing for students with disabilities,

the test accommodation process, or strategies for faculty, please feel free to contact either the DRC or the LDP by phone at the numbers on the following resource page. Further information is provided on our websites, which are also listed. RESOURCES For further information, contact: The Disability Resource Center at (617) 373-2675. The Learning Disabilities Program at (617) 373-4526. Visit our web pages at: www.northeastern.edu/drc/

www.northeastern.edu/uhcs/ldp/index.html

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