Accommodating Students with Disabilities
“You are the Key to Accessibility”
Disability Resource Services Staff and Individuals with Disabilities Advisory Committee
Developed by Utah State University, Project supported by a grant from U.S. Department of Education Office of Post Secondary Education. P33A990006
Student Affairs and other noninstructional staff need to be informed about disability laws and recent legal decisions that impact post-secondary education.
How does this affect your unit?
In General everyone is responsible for:
Meeting legal mandates Having accessibility statements in publications Providing alternative formats when requested Paying for accommodations
Looking at each request on a case by case basis
Maintaining confidentiality Having resource/referral information available
Disability Resource Services is available as a resource. Feel free to contact us.
Who pays for accommodations?
It depends on institutional policy. The institution has the responsibility for the
The federal government doesn’t care who makes
the arrangements or where the money comes from.
What is important is that the accommodation is in
place if appropriately requested.
•Prohibition against pre-admission inquiry.
•Application process, forms, brochures, etc. – accessible??
• Eligibility Criteria.
•Use of standardized testing in making admission decision.
•Confidentiality: Documentation may be sent to the admissions office – needs to be sent to designated office (DRS)
Reduced Course Load and Full Time Status
Disability related expenses can be factored into the cost of schooling. Don’t discount work study opportunities for students with disabilities.
Financial Aid con’t.
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA)
-- has individuals who are knowledgeable about financial aid issues for students with disabilities. Contact Joan Berkes at: (202) 785-0453 or at: email@example.com
Heath Resource Center has information about scholarships for people with disabilities. The DVR agency may be able to help pay for tuition, books and fees.
Records and Registration
Students with a legitimate disability-related need may
qualify to take a lowered course load without jeopardizing their full-time status and/or pre-register for classes.
Not every student with a disability needs or should be
given a reduced course load or be able to pre-register.
Not all students that need a reduced course load one
semester need it the next semester.
The purpose of these accommodations is not to make life
easier but to give equal access.
When making room assignments you need to know the ramifications of the student’s disability and functional levels.
Providing a single room may be a reasonable accommodation and should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
That leads to many questions…
When is a private room an accommodation and when is it a benefit for the person with a disability? What payment plan should be in effect? ETC…
Questions are ok but…
You need information so you
have to ask questions… very specific questions. you ask the questions.
The issue becomes WHEN can
WHEN is really not so difficult.
You ask when the request has been made.
Who let the dogs in?
No question that it is
appropriate for a blind student to have a guide dog in residence. All service animals must adhere to the same standards of behavior of all guide dogs.
If a student has a very
restricted diet due to a medical condition how should their request for a special diet on the meal plan be handled?
What to eat?
An individually prepared diet could be denied based on it not being a reasonable accommodation.
However, changing the rules to allow a student
to access the diet he/she needs is reasonable.
An advanced request for access to the menus
and/or ingredients would appear to be reasonable.
Counseling & Testing, Student Health Center, Student Life and Advising
Are your programs responding to the mandate for access under the ADA?
Clarify what opportunity/programs you are providing.
Whatever you are providing must be accessible to the individual with a disability.
Does the student truly understand what you are saying and vice versa? (Verbal vs. Non-verbal language disability) Is a Sign Language interpreter needed during a counseling session? (Hearing Impairment)
Is the student having difficulty maintaining a train of thought? (ADHD)
Is the student able to retain information? Do you provide written analysis or instructions/recommendations? (Memory deficits – LD, ADHD, brain injury, medication based memory issues)
Other things to keep in mind:
Level of counseling needs to be the same for all students.
Students with disabilities must adhere to the same behavioral and academic standards as everyone else. Do not assume that being disabled is the central focus of the individual’s personality or actions. Most of the counseling issues brought to you by students with disabilities will have nothing to do with their disability.
Student Activities and Centers
All events and activities must be accessible. If open to the public, accommodations must be provided for them also.
Announcements, publicity, posters, etc. should give a phone number of contact person who is responsible for ensuring access.
If UW-L sponsors classes, programs or
activities in private facilities, steps should be taken to use facilities which are accessible. Contractual or lease agreements shall reflect efforts to ensure accessibility.
Institutionally sponsored Student
Organizations are subject to Title II of the ADA.
Athletics, Intramurals & Recreational Sports
Qualified students with disabilities who are participants in College programs or activities shall be provided with an equal opportunity to participate.
Reduced course load for eligibility…
Career Services & Human Resources
Title 1 Employment
Title 1 of the ADA prohibits discrimination in regard to employment (public or private).
application process hiring/firing compensation advancement training any other terms, conditions or privileges of employment
A “qualified individual with a disability”
Has skills, experience, and education.
Meets job-related requirements of a
position. Can perform the essential functions of that position, with or without reasonable accommodation.
What is a reasonable accommodation?
Modifications or adjustments to the job duties that enable a qualified applicant with a disability to perform the job duties.
What is an essential function?
A job task that is fundamental to the position.
What can career services personnel do?
Help students understand that the ADA is a
tool not a weapon in securing employment.
Convey to students that they need to be
informed and current on available technologies that can be used to accommodate their disabilities in the workplace.
Most importantly you can:
Become knowledgeable about the ADA so
you can answer questions, help students prepare for their job search, and, at the very least, point them in the right direction where they might go to learn.
Federal law prohibits directing someone
with a disability into a more restrictive career path because of their disability.
To tell or not to tell.
One of the biggest decisions facing job applicants with a hidden disability is: Should I disclose to the employer that I have a disability and if yes, when and how?
What do we know?
The laws refer “to any qualified person with a disability in
the U.S…” this includes international students attending UW-L.
Exclusion from programs … No control or authority over physical access outside the
Not obligated to forego opportunities just because the
facility is not accessible.
Sponsoring school (school where registration for program
is financed, i.e. – continuing education) is responsible for making every effort to try to facilitate participation despite problems in access from host site. provided should be provided.
Programmatic aspects of access that can be reasonably
Postsecondary Issues Involving Assistive Technology:
Faculty and staff members refuse to allow technology assisted accommodations requested for a student by the disabled student service office.
Denying accommodations involving computers and
word processors with spell checking programs for testing purposes.
Campus Planning & Development
• Redesign of equipment and/or facility requires an individual case review. • Need consideration for provision of appropriate signage. • Reassignment of services to accessible buildings. • Delivery of advisory, and support services at accessible sites needs to be in compliance with ADA and Uniform Building Codes. • All remodeling projects must be consistent with the Uniform Building Codes.
• must be designed and built so as to be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.
During the planning stages of new construction, the executive body in charge of the construction project shall have responsibility for seeking input from the ADA Advisory committee, Disability Resource Services, and persons with disabilities regarding accessibility of any new building. ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG)
Perceptions and Attitudes are the real barrier
Revising our perceptions and attitudes is
the first step in accommodating students who learn or perform in ways that are different from others.
– It is vital to remember that similarities among all students are much more significant than their differences: we are dealing, first and foremost, with students.
What can you do to change this perception?
Be visible in your
welcome to all students.
Post a sign like this.
This information is available in alternate media on request
Or like this.
Please let us know if we can assist you in some way.
Get the word out!
Include topics on how to deal with issues of disability at workshops.
Include photos of people with disabilities in publications.
Disability Access Statement
Is the single most effective practice to providing access, as well as protect the university in providing reasonable accommodations. “To request disability accommodations, please contact (name, dept. address,phone)
This publication is available in alternative
formats upon request. please contact (name, dept. address,phone)
So the Buck has been passed to you
Institutions often pass the payment of
accommodation back to the individual unit. (UW-L has a policy)
This increases the possibility that the
student with a disability, will be discouraged or denied access.
In the End…
The best response to these issues may be to fall
back on the philosophical issues that drove the passage and implementation of the ADA.
Whether or not full participation is legally
required is open to discussion, but everyone agrees it is the right thing to do.
Our society’s emphasis on human rights and
human dignity suggest that people be acknowledged for their abilities and respected for their contributions-current and future.