Office of Disability Services
204E ADUCMorehead, KY 40351Phone: 606-783-5188Fax: 606-783-9190E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please visit our informative pages on safety and emergency evacuations, service animals, and accessibility map, for additional information.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)In compliance with the ADA, all students with a documented disability are entitled to reasonable accommodations and services to support their academic success and safety. Though a request for services may be made at any time, services are best applied when they are requested at or before the start of the semester. To receive accommodations and services the student should immediately contact the Disability Services Coordinator at: 204-E ADUC, 606-783-5188, or email@example.com.Campus Safety StatementEmergency response information will be discussed in class. Students should familiarize themselves with the nearest exit routes in the event evacuation becomes necessary. You should notify your instructor at the beginning of the semester if you have special needs or will require assistance during an emergency evacuation. Students should familiarize themselves with emergency response protocols at: http://www2.moreheadstate.edu/emergency.
What is my role in providing accommodations?Just as with your other students, you carry the ultimate responsibility for conveying course content and assessing the learning of students with disabilities. Typically, you will learn of an accommodation need in one of your classes when a student presents you with a copy of an official Accommodation Letter. The letter, addressed from the DS Coordinator to "Teaching Faculty" (will not individually name the recipients or classes) will include an individualized description of that student's accommodations along with any supportive referrals for you.
A smaller number of students require accommodations that take more lead time to prepare (e.g., captioning of films, adapted materials and assignments, etc.). In these cases, the DS Coordinator will instead notify you via University e-mail as early as possible, ideally by the close of the previous semester (this practice is limited by changes to the student's class schedule and teaching assignments). The email's subject line will always be: “Notification of Disability Accommodations” and it will be marked as a high priority. The content will include the student’s identity, your course number and section, and a description of what must be provided. In these cases, the student will not need to provide you with a separate Accommodation Letter.Although students are generally advised to qualify for services through DS and to present their Accommodation Letter to you early in the semester, some elect to first attempt a course on their own (e.g., take a first exam). Even so, faculty are entitled to adequate lead-time to make course adjustments and test provisions, and students are informed that they cannot simply show up and expect to be accommodated on the spot. Note: rights to accommodations are not retroactive, but are effective as of the date you are notified by DS's e-mail or the student's Accommodation Letter.Accommodation notices and the student's identity are to be treated confidentially and shared only to the extent necessary to provide the services mentioned. It is the faculty's responsibility to select trustworthy proctors and note-takers who agree to maintain confidentiality as well. Except with the student's consent, accommodations should not be arranged through an announcement in class. Even students whose accommodations take place inside the classroom (special seating, receipt of special materials, etc.) would understandably prefer not to be singled out if possible.
How are accommodations determined?Upon receipt of documentation from an appropriate professional, it is reviewed to ensure that it meets DS criteria. Guidelines exist, but specific accommodations are always set on a case-by-case basis based on the current impact of the disability. While the student is an active participant in their determination, the adjustments must also be reasonable and appropriate from the University’s standpoint. Prior to granting an uncommon accommodation, the professor involved will be consulted as to whether it would fundamentally alter an essential element of the course. If a requested accommodation is denied on this basis, the department must be prepared to show that a deliberative process was used, alternative accommodations were considered, and that the decision was free from bias or discrimination.What types of accommodations/services are available?While accommodations/services are numerous and may be uniquely tailored based on individual need, requests frequently include:
Do accommodations apply in an online course (or online portions of a course)? Yes. You will learn of any specific accommodations that you need to provide via email. However, the time to consider the overall accessibility of your course is before a demand is made on behalf of a particular student. Keep in mind that someone who is deaf or blind or has a learning disability in reading may enroll in your course at any time. The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education requires that all online courses be fully accessible at the time they are offered. Captioning audio content and verifying that posted files and linked-to sites are compatible with text screen readers is not something you'll be able to rapidly address in order to meet the legal obligation. Please consult the Distance Education & Instructional Design office if you have any questions about the full accessibility of your course.I am interested in incorporating one or more emerging technologies into my courses. Are there any special concerns about accessibility?Yes. Verification of accessibility features should occur prior to choosing technologies to use in online as well as face-to-face classes (there have been legal consequences for institutions that have by-passed this important phase). Consultation with Information Technology and/or Distance Learning, Office of Procurement Services, and/or Disability Services, will help ensure that all your students will benefit from these new tools in an "equally effective and equally integrated manner" and will keep the University compliant with federal regulations. Visit the US Department of Education website for further information on this topic.With so much emphasis on confidentiality and ADA legislation, must I constantly be on my guard about the legal aspects when working with a student who has a disability? It is not in the typical nature of educators to mistreat, offend, or to exclude any student. Still, even the most naturally progressive among us are more mindful of disability issues because of those legal protections. From the other side, although informed about their legal rights, the typical student with a disability expects only what is reasonable and is not trying to catch you in a blunder. Accommodations should be provided in the manner indicated in the DS notice, discussed with others strictly on a need-to-know basis, and consultation sought for any irregular situations. With advance planning and a willingness to fine-tune accommodations to fit the demands of a particular class, things tend to work smoothly. A guide to disability rights laws may be found at www.ada.gov. Does the DS office offer any devices or materials that I can use for accommodating students?Yes. For your blind and low vision students, tactile drawing boards let you represent graphic content on handouts and tests, and with a Braille label-maker you can identify lab instruments and objects used in class. You may also check out large print and tactile graphing paper, maps in large print and Braille, rulers and protractors in large print and Braille, and a talking calculator. A Braille embosser is located inside DS office space and can produce print conversions of electronic documents. If needed by your hard-of-hearing students, there is an assistive listening device with a microphone for your use. The DS office also has a high speed scanner with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software you may use to convert documents to a form that is available to students with a reading disorder, visual impairment, or other print-related disabilities. How should I handle a student’s informal request for course accommodations? Please refer him/her to the DS Office first. Even though responding immediately may seem more efficient (or friendlier), acting on a student’s self-report is outside of established policy and problems can result (e.g., unwarranted or uneven treatment of students, unnecessary work for you, and it could establish an obligation for other faculty). What if a student is worried about being stigmatized if he/she formally seeks services?The interior door to the DS office is identified only by its room number and the coordinator's name. Disability records are confidential and kept in a locked file cabinet in the DS office. Receipt of accommodations and disability status are not noted on the academic transcript. Providers of accommodations are obligated to keep the identity of users on a need-to-know basis. Accommodations are arranged and provided in as low-key a manner as possible, to reduce drawing attention from uninvolved persons (e.g., classmates). Please share this information with a cautious student.Am I allowed to fail a student with an established disability?Yes, if appropriate academic accommodations were provided yet the student did not meet the essential course requirements. Accommodations should not "water down" nor fundamentally alter essential course content or the academic standards by which all students are graded. Laws exist to ensure equal access to education, not to guarantee a particular student’s success or to create an unfair advantage. Does the student have any obligations in this process?Yes. More self-assertion is required here than in high school. The student must make the first move by contacting the DS office and submitting the requested documentation. At the intake session students review our policies and procedures, many of which rely upon their future assertive behavior. For example, in a test-related accommodation the student must contact you by the class session prior to each scheduled exam and ask when and where to report on the test date. Thus, it is the student who initiates each occurrence of this type of accommodation. In preparation for a semester-long working relationship with you, students are advised to introduce themselves and discuss their accommodations during the first few days of class.What if I am notified of testing accommodations but the student does not come forward to use them?He/she may have forgotten the procedure, perhaps feels intimidated, or has simply decided not to use them in your class. You might privately ask the student's intentions or inform the DS office, although no obligation exists on your part.Where do I turn if I am unable to provide a testing accommodation myself?Look first to your department for someone able to proctor, read, scribe, or provide a reduced distraction location on your behalf. If needed, the Testing Center in 501 Ginger Hall is prepared to assist. To use their services, you will need to coordinate scheduling and materials with as much lead time as possible, and allow some flexibility of test dates during peak times. Unfortunately, the DS office hasn't the resources to widely administer accommodated tests for the campus. However, the obligation for the University does not end at that point, so do think of the DS office as a “back-up to your back-up" if a complex logistical situation arises. Working together we will reach a solution.I've been asked to administer my tests under "reduced-distraction" conditions. How is that possible?Students qualifying for this accommodation are not guaranteed a location free of all potential distractions. Ideally it calls for testing in a closed room with only the proctor present, a seat facing away from windows or complex visual content such as a bulletin board, and from line of sight of another test-taker if testing within a much larger but shared space. It should also be without avoidable interruptions, music, conversation or phones. The DS office has a set of headphones you may check out if controlling for sound is the only issue.What safeguards exist to prevent unauthorized release of materials such as supplemental notes or recordings of my class lectures? What if I am simply uncomfortable being recorded?Accommodated students sign an agreement on file in the DS office stating that any recordings are for their use only and will not be reproduced, broadcast, networked, shared or sold. Accommodations are approved by DS when supported by documentation and a student’s particular access needs, therefore you may not deny a right to record. If your class format includes the sharing of sensitive information by other classmates or yourself that will not be included on a test, you may privately arrange a signal you will use to stop recording during just those portions.Do I have any recourse if I disagree with the accommodations that have been approved in one of my classes?Yes. Start by discussing your concerns with the DS Coordinator. With further explanation you may agree that the accommodations are both reasonable and doable, but if unique aspects of your course were not fully considered, then alterations may be called for on this side. If you still feel the accommodations are inappropriate, please review your objections with your department Chair and forward any additional opinions to the DS office. If the outcome remains unsatisfactory to you, you or your Chair may present the issue to the Office of the Provost, 205 Howell-McDowell Building for further review.The accommodation notice I received did not name the student's disability. Why not?To maximize privacy, notices to professors will not routinely indicate the specific nature of a disability unless that information is essential to the delivery of an accommodation or for safety reasons. Students are encouraged to share this information with you if they are comfortable doing so and believe it would be in their interests, although it cannot be required. Accommodations being provided for your student by others (including by the DS office) are also not disclosed in the notice.What if I suspect that a student has an undisclosed or undiagnosed learning disability that is impacting performance in my class? Does the University offer LD testing?This is a delicate subject. While the potential for discrimination is rarely an issue in this context, directly inquiring about the existence of a disability is generally not recommended. A private academic conference may give you an opening to mention various possible explanations for poor performance, including learning disabilities. If you have a good rapport, the conversation may provide an opening to discuss in further detail. Alternatively, you could address learning disabilities in a general way with the whole class as a follow-up to an exam, and share our contact information. While the University is not obligated to provide or cover costs for diagnostic testing, the DS office may be able to make an affordable local referral based on a free preliminary screening on campus. If a student informs me that DS-approved accommodations are being thwarted in another class or that mistreatment based on disability is occurring elsewhere on campus, where should I direct him/her? What if the complaint is about the extent of the accommodations approved by DS or the actions of its staff?
When students register with DS they are informed of the process for handling all of these situations, however since they infrequently arise, it may have been forgotten. Most often when a student is not appropriately accommodated by faculty, it is due to a misunderstanding about what is required; this can quickly be resolved by further elaboration from the DS Coordinator. However, if the student feels there has been carelessness or refusal to meet the obligation, he/she is entitled to access the University's internal grievance procedure (UAR 303.02) which will result in a timely investigation and resolution. The same rights and process applies to disability-related discrimination should it be encountered anywhere on campus. Your response should be to refer the student to the DS office to file an official complaint. If the student's dissatisfaction lies with the DS office itself, they may of course speak directly to the DS Coordinator about it, or instead contact the VP, Student Life Office at 211 University Center, or 606-783-2070.
Are consultation services available through the DS office?
Yes. The DS Coordinator is available to discuss your referrals, to clarify how to provide a requested accommodation, and to assist you in finding solutions to related problems. On request, programming on disability-related topics will be developed for academic departments and campus organizations. To schedule, call 606-783-5188 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The DS Coordinator also chairs a campus-wide ADA Accessibility Compliance Task Force. Please get in touch if you have information you'd like to be shared with the team or if you wish to attend a meeting at some point.Beyond the mandates, are there any suggestions for becoming (even) more sensitive and helpful to students with disabilities?Yes! Here are some ideas:
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