College Students with Disabilities:
A Desk Reference Guide For Faculty and Staff
This resource guide is designed to assist faculty and staff to provide reasonable
accommodations for students with disabilities. The mandate to provide reasonable
accommodations comes from federal law and from the mission of the institution to provide
an educational opportunity to all its students.
Faculty and staff need to know:
• What the laws require.
• What recent legal decisions further defined the requirements of the law.
• Who is responsible for what.
• What are reasonable accommodations for different types of disabilities.
• Tips that facilitate student learning.
• Tips for disability awareness.
• What are the university resources.
The university is not required to lower its standards.
Section 504 does require the university to provide reasonable accommodations that
afford an equal opportunity for students with disabilities. Achieving reasonable
accommodations for a student with a disability involves shared
responsibility between students, faculty, and staff.
This Guide is designed to serve as a quick reference for information, accommodations,
and legal requirements in providing equal access for Grand Valley State University
students with disabilities.
This resource guide was developed by Project PAACS
(Postsecondary Accommodations for Academic and Career Success),
a three-year demonstration project funded by the U.S. Department of Education,
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
(PR Award No. H078C50060)
Anne R. Thompson, Ph.D., C.R.C., Director
Leslie Bethea, M.S., C.R.C., Coordinator
Department of Counselor Education and Educational Psychology
Mississippi State University
P.O. Box 9727
Mississippi State, MS 39762-5740
601-325-7917 or 601-325-7919 (Voice)
1-800-582-2233 (TDD Relay System)
Selected Resources Consulted in the Preparation of this Guide
A Faculty Handbook—Corning Community College
Accommodating Disabled Students: A Resource Guide for Faculty and Staff, Mississippi State University
Access to Education: A Guide to Accommodating Students with Disabilities, University of New Mexico
Alert Newsletter, Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)
Brinckerhoff, L.C., Shaw, S.F., & McGuire, J.M. (1992). Promoting access, accommodations, and independence for college
students with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 25(7), 417—429.
Career Connections Project, University of Minnesota
College Students with Disabilities: A Resource Guide for Faculty and Staff, Calhoun Community College
Disability Accommodation Handbook, Metropolitan Community Colleges
Disability Handbook: Department of Rehabilitation Education & Research, University of Arkansas
HEATH Resource Center, American Council on Education
National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHY)
Reasonable Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities, Hudson Valley Community College
Section 504: The Law & Its Impact on Postsecondary Education, American Council on Education
Students with Disabilities: A Faculty Guide, Duluth Community College
The Impact of Section 504 on Postsecondary Education: Subpart E., AHEAD
University of New Orleans Disabled Student Services Faculty Manual
O.A.S.I.S. Online Asperger’s Syndrome Information and Support,
Office of Academic Support
Grand Valley State University
Table of Contents
What to Expect If You Have a Student with a Disability In Your Classroom…………………………10
Descriptions of Common Disabilities
Orthopedic/Mobility Impairments (MI)……………...………………………………….……….….12
Blindness/Visual Impairments (BVI).………………...…………………………….…………….…14
Learning Disabilities (LD)..……………………………..……………………………….……………16
Tutoring Strategies for Working with Students with Learning Disabilities……..…………..18
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)…………………………………….……………19
Teaching Writing to Students w/Learning Disabilities and ADHD………….……..………….20
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)………………………………………………………….…..………….23
Deafness/Hearing Impairments (D/HI)…………………………………….…………….………….24
Speech and Language Disorders……………………………………………………….....…….….26
Psychological Disorders (PSY)………………………………………………………….…………..27
Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome……………………………………………………...…….…….28
Other Disabilities (OTHER)……………………………………………………………………….…..29
Tips That Facilitate Learning ...………………………………………………………………………………31
Tips For Disability Awareness …..…………………………………………………………………………….32
A Sample Memorandum …………………………………………………………………………….….35
B Agreement Form for Tape Recording Lectures ………………………………………………….36
C Test Accommodation Form …..…………………………..……………………………………….…37
D Receipt for Test Accommodation Requests ..……………………………………………….……39
E Berkowitz Handicapped Scholarship……………………………….…………………….………...40
F Disability Related Resources …………………………………….……………………….………...41
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that:
“No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States…shall,
solely by reason of … disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from
participation in, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or
activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
A person with a disability includes…
“any person who (1) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially
limits one or more major life activities, (2) has a record of such an
impairment, or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.”
A “qualified person with a disability” is defined as one…
“who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or
participation in the education program or activity.”
Section 504 protects the rights of qualified individuals who have disabilities such as, but
not limited to:
Blindness/visual impairment Chronic illnesses, such as:
Cerebral Palsy AIDS
Deafness/hearing impairment Arthritis
Epilepsy or seizure disorder Cancer
Orthopedic/mobility impairment Cardiac disease
Specific learning disability Diabetes
Speech and language disorder Multiple sclerosis
Spinal cord injury Muscular dystrophy
Tourette’s syndrome Psychiatric disability
Traumatic brain injury
Under the provisions of Section 504…
University may not discriminate in the recruitment, admission, educational process, or
treatment of students. Students who have self-identified, provided documentation of
disability, and requested reasonable accommodations are entitled to receive approved
modifications of programs, appropriate academic adjustments, or auxiliary aids that
enable them to participate in and benefit from all educational programs and activities.
Section 504 specifies that universities may not…
limit the number of students with disabilities admitted, make preadmission inquiries as to
whether or not an applicant has a disability, use admission tests or criteria that
inadequately measure the academic qualifications of students with disabilities because
special provisions were not made, exclude a qualified student with a disability from any
course of study or establish rules and policies that may adversely affect students with
Modifications and accommodations for students with disabilities include:
• removal of architectural barriers
• provide services such as readers for students with blindness, visual impairments or
learning disabilities, qualified interpreters and note takers for students with deafness or
hearing impairments, and note takers for students with learning disabilities or
• allow extra time to complete exams
• permit exams to be individually proctored, read orally, dictated, or typed
• use alternative forms for students to demonstrate course mastery
• permit the use of computer software programs or other assistive technological devices
to assist in test-taking and study skills.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act contains more specific information about compliance
issues in postsecondary education than the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The
ADA did extend the law to cover private institutions of higher education as well as those
receiving federal funding. Universities and colleges can also expect to see more rigid
enforcement of the law with the passage of the ADA.
The university must provide the Altered form of exam. The form of an
accommodation. Students are not exam must be altered if the testing
required to assume the responsibility for procedure puts a student with a disability
securing a necessary accommodation. at a disadvantage based on the student’s
The university is required to provide documented disability. There may be an
reasonable accommodations for exception when the purpose of the test is
student’s known disability so that the to measure a particular skill.
student has an equal opportunity to
participate in the courses, activities, or Accommodation must be
programs. The Office of Civil Rights documented. The university may refuse
(OCR) ruled that a university may not to grant a student’s request for an
charge students for necessary accommodation which is not specifically
accommodations. recommended in the student’s
Expense of accommodation is not
undue hardship. Providing an auxiliary Handouts in alternate format. If a
aid or incurring an expense to ensure student with a visual impairment is
access would not constitute undue enrolled in a class, the instructor must
hardship to the university. In determining provide all handouts in the alternate
what constitutes an undue hardship, the format requested by the student. In
OCR views the entire financial resources addition, all handouts must be made
of the university rather than any single available to students on the same day
department or college. they are distributed to nondisabled
Classroom must be accessible. A
classroom’s location must be changed to Material on reserve in library. The
provide accessibility for a student with a instructor must make course material on
mobility impairment. The university does reserve in the library available in alternate
not need to make every classroom formats for students with visual
accessible but must provide for the impairments enrolled in the course.
participation of students with disabilities
when “viewed in its entirety.” Diagnostic information confidential.
Faculty/staff do not have the right to
Extended time. Extended time is a access diagnostic information regarding
reasonable accommodation for a student a student’s disability. Faculty/staff need
whose documentation specifi-cally calls only know the accommodations that are
for that accommodation. The university is necessary to guarantee an equal
required to ensure that the student is opportunity for the student.
provided additional time to complete
tests and/or course work in order to Personal liability. An individual faculty
provide an equal opportunity for that member who fails to provide an
student. accommodation to a student with a
documented disability may be held
Academic freedom. Academic freedom Bulletin identify 504 coordinator. The
does not permit instructors to decide if name of the Section 504 coordinator
they will provide special aids and must be identified in recruiting materials
services for students with documented such as application forms and school
disabilities in the classroom. bulletins.
Testing accommodations. Housing options. A student with a
Accommodations for testing such as disability is entitled to have more than one
readers, scribes, or the use of adaptive housing option presented if options exist
equipment must be provided for a student for nondisabled students.
with a documented disability.
Student may file grievance. A student
Personal services and aids. The with a disability may not only file a claim
university is not required to provide with the U.S. Department of Education’s
personal services such as attendant care, Office for Civil Rights, but may also file a
or personal aids such as wheelchairs or complaint with HUD.
Housing room assignments. A student
Accessible programs. The university with a disability who needs attendant care
must operate its programs in the most is not automatically assigned to a single
integrated setting appropriate. room.
Preadmission. Preadmission inquiries Off-campus housing. If the institution
as to whether a person has a disability provides assistance to nondisabled
are not permissible. students for off-campus housing, then the
institution must provide options to
Accommodations for ACT testing. students with disabilities for accessible
Scholarships based on ACT scores must off-campus housing.
allow for accommodations for students
with documented disabilities. Weight training. University must provide
comparable opportunities for weight
Admissions criteria. The university may training to students with disabilities.
not use as sole criteria for admission or
rejection a test that has been shown to be Career counseling. Career counselors
discriminatory for persons with are prohibited from counseling a student
disabilities. with a disability into more restrictive
career paths than are recommended to
Job announcement postings. nondisabled students with similar abilities
Postings for job announcements must be and interests.
readily accessible to students with visual
Responsibilities of the Students
Students with disabilities have the responsibility to:
1. Self-identify concerning disability status to OAS in a timely manner.
2. Provide disability documentation that is as recent as within the last five years.
3. Request necessary accommodations.
Responsibilities of Faculty/Staff Members
If Notified in Writing
Faculty/staff members have the responsibility to cooperate with OAS in providing
authorized accommodations in a reasonable and timely manner. Faculty/staff should meet
with students who provide a letter of request for accommodations to establish the means of
If Not Notified In Writing
If a student requests accommodation and the faculty/staff member has not been
notified of the student’s need for accommodation, the faculty/staff member should refer the
student to OAS. If the disability is visible and the accommodation appears appropriate,
the faculty/staff member should provide the accommodation while awaiting written
If Question Appropriateness of Accommodation
If a faculty/staff member has questions about the appropriateness of certain
accommodations, OAS should be contacted for further clarification. The faculty/staff
member should continue to provide accommodations while the issue is being resolved.
When a student uses a tape recorder in the classroom, it is appropriate to ask the student
to sign an agreement not to release the recording or otherwise obstruct the copyright.
(See Appendix for agreement form.)
The physician’s/psychologist’s report concerning the disability or condition.
The physician’s/psychologist’s specific recommendations of strategies, technology,
or aids needed to provide the student with equal access to an education.
Faculty and staff do not have the right to access the student’s diagnostic
information or fail to provide the authorized accommodation.
Faculty and staff have the right to request the specific reasonable
Students with disabilities have the first responsibility to report their needs to the faculty in a
timely manner as faculty are not required to anticipate special student needs. Faculty/staff
members should keep students in mind when making special class arrangements such as
field trips. Faculty/staff should state on the syllabus that students inform them of their
special needs to ensure that those needs are met in a timely manner:
“If there is any student in this class who has special needs because of a learning,
physical, or other disability, please contact me or the Office of Academic Support
(OAS) at 331-2490.”
This approach demonstrates to students that you are someone who is sensitive to and
concerned about meeting the needs of ALL students you teach. Such an invitation to
discuss individual needs can go a long way toward encouraging the student with a
disability to approach the instructor early.
If a student waits until the day of an exam to ask for extended time or a separate testing
area, the student has failed to make the request in a timely manner. If the student fails to
ask for extended time until late in the semester, the instructor is only required to provide
accommodations from that time and does not need to offer make up exams.
When a student discloses a disability, faculty/staff members should ask for what they can
do to facilitate learning. Often it is as simple as allowing the student to sit in the front of the
Faculty/staff members may not discourage students from specific fields of study if they
student meets the admission requirements and maintains the appropriate grades and is
otherwise qualified. Faculty/staff members are responsible to provide an education and
the student is responsible to maintain the academic requirements.
WHAT TO EXPECT IF YOU HAVE A STUDENT WITH A DISABILITY IN YOUR
1. If a student with a disability has identified her/himself with OAS and has requested
documentation to professors, the student will present you with a memo from OAS
verifying the disability and outlining requested classroom accommodations (see
sample, page 35).
2. If the student is eligible for alternative testing (extended time and/or alternative format)
you will also receive a Test Accommodation Form from the student for you to fill out
each time an exam will be taken through OAS or an OAS proctor will be requested (see
sample, page 37).
3. If a student with a disability does not need specific accommodations, but has a
condition that may interfere with her/his coursework, the memo will explain this
(examples: diabetes, epilepsy, heart condition, cancer).
4. If you have a student with a disability in your class and you have not received an OAS
memo from the student, the student may have chosen to notify the professor or may not
know about OAS. If you feel comfortable referring the student to our office, please do
so. Many students do not identify themselves prior to matriculation.
5. Keep in mind that students with disabilities are our best resource in our attempts to
provide accommodations. They usually know what works for them. Students are
encouraged to speak with professors and discuss their accommodations. During this
discussion is a good time to ask any questions that you may have of the student.
6. If you suspect a student in your classroom may have a learning disability, be aware that
GVSU does not provide diagnostic evaluations. OAS does maintain a list of sources
available to refer students for diagnostic testing.
7. If you do have a student with a disability in your classroom, we need your help and
assistance so that the student may gain the full benefit of your course. Whenever
necessary you or your office staff may be asked to deliver/pick up tests/testing material
and/or provide the alternate testing space either in your classroom or office. Thank you
in advance for your cooperation.
A variety of orthopedic/mobility-related disabilities result from congenital conditions,
accidents, or progressive neuromuscular diseases. These disabilities include conditions
such as spinal cord injury (paraplegia or quadriplegia), cerebral palsy, spina bifida,
amputation, muscular dystrophy, cardiac conditions, cystic fibrosis, paralysis, polio/post
polio and stroke. Functional limitations and abilities vary widely even within one group of
disabilities. Accommodations vary greatly and can best be determined on a case-by-case
Accommodations may include:
1. accessible location for the classroom and place for faculty to meet with the student
2. extra time to get from one classroom to another, especially during inclement weather
3. special seating in classrooms
4. notetakers, use of tape recorders, laptop computers, or photocopying of peer notes
5. test accommodations: extended time, separate place, scribes, access to word
6. special computer equipment/software: voice activated word processing, keyboard
7. extra time for assignments due to slow writing speed
8. adjustable lab tables or drafting tables for classes taught in lab settings
9. lab assistance
10. accessible parking in close proximity to the building
11. customized physical education class activities that allow the student to participate
within their capabilities
12. taped/scanned textbooks
13. advance planning for field trips to ensure accessibility
If the university provides student transportation, it must provide accessible transportation
on a field trip.
If you want to know more about orthopedic/mobility impairments…
Students with orthopedic/mobility impairments may have any of the following
• pain, spasticity, or lack of coordination
• flare-ups of intensity of the symptoms
• periods of remission in which little or no symptoms are visible
• inability to walk without crutches, canes, braces, or walkers
• ability to stand or walk but may use wheelchair for total mobility
• limited lower body use but full use of arms and hands
• limited use of lower body and limited use of arms and hands
• impairment of speech or hearing
• limited head or neck movement
• decreased physical stamina and endurance
• decreased eye-hand coordination
Disabilities that generally restrict mobility functioning:
The term applies to a number of non-progressive motor disorders of the central nervous
system. The effects can be severe, causing inability to control bodily movement, or mild,
only slightly affecting speech or hearing. The term is a general classification for stable
cerebral lesions that usually occur at or before birth.
Spinal Cord Injury
In damage to the spinal cord, the extent of the resultant paralysis and sensory loss is
determined by the level of injury. Injuries below the first thoracic nerve root (T1) level result
in paraplegia, a spastic paralysis of the lower extremities. Injuries above the T1 level result
in quadriplegia, a spastic or flaccid paralysis of the lower and upper extremities. The injury
may be complete or incomplete.
Progressive diseases include muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis that may limit
gross motor functions and/or fine motor activity.
A variety of problems are presumed to be the late effects of polio and the symptoms may
include fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and pain.
Motor Neuron Diseases
A group of disorders such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Progressive Bulbar
Palsy (PBP), Progressive Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
produce symptoms such as pain, numbness, weakness, loss of upper and lower motor
functions, and problems in breathing.
Visual impairments include disorders in the sense of vision that affect the central vision
acuity, the field of vision, color perception, or binocular visual function. The American
Medical Association defined legal blindness as visual acuity not exceeding 20/200 in the
better eye with correction, or a limit in the field of vision that is less than a 20 degree angle
(tunnel vision). Legal blindness may be caused by tumors, infections, injuries, retrolental
fibroplasis, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes, vascular impairments, or myopia. Visual
disabilities vary widely. Some students may use a guide dog, others a white cane, while
others may not require any mobility assistance.
Accommodations may include:
1. reading lists or syllabi in advance to permit time for transferring into alternate format
2. textbooks ordered in the preferred medium for the student
3. seating in the front of the class without glare from windows
4. tape recording of lectures and class discussions
5. notetaking devices such as pocket braille computers
6. handouts in the medium that the student prefers
7. clear black print on white or pale yellow paper for students with visual impairments
8. testing accommodations: taped tests, reading of tests, scribe, extended time,
separate place, enlarged print, computer word processing software with speech
9. materials presented on the board or on transparencies read out loud
10. lab assistance
11. advance notice of class schedule changes
Types of alternative formatting of printed material for students with
blindness/visual impairments include:
• e-text or audio tape
Most textbooks can be ordered on disc or tape from Recording for the Blind and
Dyslexic (1-800-221-4792). OAS does scan textbooks for qualified students.
• large print
Standard sized materials can be enlarged on a copier using 11”X17” paper.
• computer disk
Convert the text of materials to ASCII format.
Adaptive equipment will be necessary to provide alternate format in braille;
however, braille is probably the least requested alternate format for students with
If you want to know more about blindness…
Students with no light perception or no functional vision may rely on a white cane, a guide
dog, or a sighted guide for mobility purposes. Guide dogs should not be petted. When
serving as a sighted guide, let the student take your arm just above the elbow.
A lower noise level in the classroom is important for hearing. Students may require a
reader for assignments and exams and may use a note taking device in class to take
Passageways through the door and aisles should be kept clear. When furniture is moved
students should be advised of the new arrangement. Any changes in class locations
should be given to students in advance or a nondisabled student assigned to wait at the
door and guide the student with blindness to the new location.
It is helpful to identify yourself first when speaking with a student with blindness.
If you want to know more about visual impairments…
Approximately 80% of all legally blind individuals have some usable vision. Students with
visual impairments benefit from seating at the front of the class. Lighting is very important
and should be discussed with the professor. Glare may be especially troublesome. Poor
quality print or copies and written materials on colored paper may reduce legibility for the
Students with visual impairments may use individually prescribed low vision aids such as
magnifying glasses or monoculars, large print books, enlarged screen reading programs
for computers, and/or felt tip markers for note taking in class.
The instructor should use a black felt tip marker when making remarks on written
assignments or grading on exams to assist students with visual impairments to read the
A learning disability is a permanent neurological disorder that affects the manner in which
information is received, organized, remembered, and then retrieved or expressed.
Students with learning disabilities possess average to above average intelligence. The
disability is demonstrated by a significant discrepancy between expected and actual
performance in one or more of the basic functions: memory, oral expression, listening
comprehension, written expression, basic reading skills, reading comprehension,
mathematical calculation, or mathematical reasoning.
Accommodations may include:
(No student will need all of these and specific accommodations are based on the
diagnostic information that is on file in OAS.)
• reduced course load • taped text books
• priority registration • reader
• extended time to complete • extended time for in-class
assignments assignments to correct spelling,
Note taking • word processor with spell checker
• tape recorders
• copies of classmate’s notes Math
• photo copies of instructor’s • calculator for a student with a disability
notes/outline in the area of math processing
• extended time
• proctored testing in a quiet, separate
• test read to student
• student respond orally to essay test
• alternative type of exam
• blank card or paper to assist in
If you want to know more about learning disabilities…
Learning disabilities vary from one person to another and are often inconsistent
within an individual. Some of the terms associated with learning disabilities
♦ dyslexia – inability to read
♦ dyscalculia – inability to do mathematics
♦ dysgraphia – inability to write words with appropriate syntax
♦ dysphasia – inability to speak with fluency or sometimes to understand others
♦ figure-ground perception – inability to see an object from a background of other objects
♦ visual discrimination – inability to see the difference in objects
♦ auditory figure-group perception – inability to hear one sound among others
♦ auditory sequencing – inability to hear sounds in the right order.
Students may demonstrate one or more problem characteristics and the form may
be mild, moderate, or severe:
Study Skills Reading Skills
• inability to organize and budget time • slow reading rate
• difficulty taking notes/outlining material • inaccurate comprehension
• difficulty following directions • poor retention
• difficulty completing assignments on • poor tracking skills (skip words, lose
time place, miss lines)
• difficulty with complex syntax on tests
Writing Skills • incomplete mastery of phonics
• frequent spelling errors
• incorrect grammar Math Skills
• poor penmanship • computational skill difficulties
• poor sentence structure • difficulty with reasoning
• difficulty taking notes while listening to • difficulty with basic math operations
class lectures (multiplication tables)
• problems with organization, • number reversals, confusion of
development of ideas and transition symbols
words • difficulty copying problems
• difficulty with concepts of time and
Oral Language money
• difficulty understanding oral language
when lecturer speaks fast Social Skills
• difficulty attending to long lectures • spatial disorientation
• poor vocabulary and word recall • low frustration level
• problems with correct grammar • low self-esteem
• difficulty in remembering a series of • impulsive
events in sequence • disorientation in time
• difficulty with pronouncing multi • difficulty with delaying problem
syllabic words resolution
TUTORING STRATEGIES FOR WORKING WITH STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES
1. Before determining what to work on, both you and the student must understand the
student's specific strengths and areas for improvement. Your first few sessions
together should be spent discussing the student's learning disability, how it may affect
him/her in school, and techniques for compensating for it. This is also the time to build
trust. We believe this can be accomplished by:
• Treating the student as an equal. The student may have a learning disability, but he/she
also possesses knowledge and talent that others may not have.
• Listening to what is important to the student. What areas of learning does he/she want
to focus on?
• Creating an atmosphere that permits the student to confide in you. It is important to find
a location away from peers and teachers, where students with a learning disability can
feel comfortable to tackle problems without fear of being embarrassed.
2. Final determination of what to work on is based on the following factors:
• The nature and severity of the student's learning disability
• The student's concerns
• The course requirements
3. We suggest listing information under each factor. Then use this information to
determine priorities for the tutoring program. Some students may just require
assistance with papers and reading assigned in their courses. Others also may want to
work on supplementary materials. For example, a student planning to take a statistics
course may want to review basic algebra concepts and overcome problems
understanding fractions. A student with reading comprehension difficulties may want to
focus on ways to improve his/her vocabulary.
4. When working with a college student with a learning disability, it is important to ask
what he/she would like to work on each session. The student knows where help is
needed. Because of the help the student requests with course work, in the majority of
sessions you may not be able to work specifically on supplementary materials. For
example, he/she may need help with learning the difference between "affect" and
"effect," with developing an outline for a research paper, or with monitoring an English
theme for errors. These items should be dealt with at the beginning of the session.
Once the student's immediate concerns are alleviated, you may begin to work on the
5. Begin working on supplementary materials by reviewing previously learned material.
Periodic review provides necessary reinforcement. If there is satisfactory progress,
then the remainder of the session can be used to introduce the new material.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is officially called Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and is a neurological-
based medical problem. It is a developmental disability characterized by inattention,
impulsivity, and sometimes hyperactivity. The results can lead to lifelong problems.
Students with ADHD may demonstrate one or more problem characteristics and
the form may be mild, moderate, or severe:
• starting/organizing, and completing tasks
• following directions
• making transitions
• interacting with others
• producing work at a consistently normal level
• organizing problems that involve multiple steps
Characteristics of ADHD in Traditional/Non-traditional Age College Students
1. Freshmen students with ADHD may demonstrate great deal of anxiety related to
increased expectations at the post secondary level.
2. The significant maturational lag (of up to three years) found in students with ADHD may
compromise their transition to the college environment and adjustment (Barkley 1993).
3. For some, after years of "special" education, may wish to leave their disability behind
by denying a need for continued support (Leonard 1994).
4. Some externalize frustration, blaming problems on faculty or advisors. Others may take
it out on themselves in a manner that results in feelings of anger and/or depression.
5. Students who have not gained insight about the symptoms of their disability, may
struggle with unrecognized transition issues by finding fault and reacting with anger to every
situation that poses challenges.
6. Students who were either "bright enough," or had "good enough social skills" to
compensate for their deficits at the elementary and secondary levels, and did not
misbehave or fall two-three years below grade level have frequently gone unidentified until
they "hit the wall" of academics or adjustment at college.
Teaching Writing to Students w/Learning Disabilities and AD/HD
Students with disabilities encounter many problems with writing:
· Many problems are in mechanics.
· Past embarrassment by earlier English teachers resulting in deep seated inferiority
· Some students have problems with word retrieval.
· Writing situations where instructors are constantly evaluating what the student is writing;
after a while, students become traumatized and this effect ruins a student’s creativity.
Students with disabilities encounter one main developmental problem in particular -- essay
organization or premature organization (commonly don’t write an outline first).
Solution: Students should first have something on paper and then the organization can be
done (How can you organize when you don’t have anything to organize?).
The biggest problem with these students is that they try to organize first.
Steps for the Writing Tutor
1. If possible, gain a better understanding of the student’s learning disability.
2. Check the student’s understanding of their disability and what they think is wrong with
3. Ask the student about the process that they take when they begin to write (get a fix on
how they write).
4. Try an exercise (a demonstration) that will prove they can write:
A. Analyze a writing assignment that the student has.
B. You (the tutor) write a title at the top of a computer screen (check with the student to
see if the point size is large enough for the student to read from the screen); you are
the hands for the student or you can use a tape recorder.
C. Ask the student to simply talk on the topic (blab); they can look at the screen or not;
• Do this for at least 20 minutes and don't let them stop talking; encourage the
student to talk in sentences.
• When 20 minutes is up, print out a copy for both of you to read.
• Read it out loud--you and student.
• Ask the student what is the main point they are trying to say -- this becomes
the thesis statement.
• Go through the text and pick out the list of ideas.
• Order this list of ideas.
D. The result is a thesis statement with a list of supportive ideas--the student can later
write a paragraph on each idea expanding;
E. Work with the student to write an introduction:
• Ease into it.
• Ask the student what would introduce that thesis statement.
• Together come up with three to four possible introductions to choose from.
F. Do a conclusion:
• ease them back out
• Help the student by asking, "So what?" and "Why is this important?"
This can be a successful process because:
1. the students themselves do it;
2. the students forget about making errors;
3. computers with spell and grammar checkers;
4. first time they can successfully express themselves on paper.
⇒ Proofreading includes punctuation and spelling that is O.K. to be done by tutors.
However, editing and restructuring should be done by the student with guidance from
the writing tutor.
⇒ Rhetorical consciousness: keep in mind that students with disabilities usually don't
have an idea of their audience--help them be aware of their audience during rewrites.
⇒ Students with disabilities find it helpful to explain their difficulty to the writing tutor.
⇒ Be patient and allow extra time when working with students with disabilities.
(Caroline Summer, UC Berkeley, AHEAD presentation, July 21, 1995.)
COLLEGE FACULTY, STAFF and TUTORS
TEACH: (TECHNIQUES, ENCOURAGEMENT, ACCOMMODATIONS, CLASSROOM
POLICIES, HELP) FOR AD/HD STUDENTS
• provide clear, concise written course expectations
• begin lectures with review and an outline
• vary instructional methods
• incorporate basic skills (e.g., reading, writing)
• provide visual and hands-on experiences
• use overhead, chalkboard, or handout for new vocabulary
• give clear, concise instructions
• provide assignments orally and in writing
• break long assignments into smaller parts
• provide feedback frequently
• permit tape recorders during lectures
• acknowledge effects of ADD on academics
• provide positive reinforcement
• reassure and encourage
• look for opportunities for displays of leadership or expertise
• utilize reasonable modifications upon documentation
• offer accommodations that provide equal opportunities
• provide alternative test-taking arrangements
• extend deadlines
• obtain note takers
• encourage the use of tape recorders
• suggest utilization of laptop computers
• test with extra time, over a period of time, or in short intervals
• find alternative physical environments for test taking
• allow long assignments to be completed in stages
• make syllabus available before registration
• accept reports in non-written forms
• allow partial credit, if not full, for late assignments
• encourage promptness, but do no penalize grades for tardiness
• refer for counseling
• refer to tutors
• give assistance during office hours
• make time to talk with student alone
*Bramer, J.S. (1996). Succeeding in College with Attention Deficit Disorders: Issues and Strategies for Students, Counselors,
Educators (Permission given by author for distribution to college students, administrators, faculty.)
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Head injury is one of the fastest growing types of disabilities especially in the age range of
15 to 28 years. Over 500,000 cases are reported hospitalized each year. There is a wide
range of differences in the effects of a TBI on the individual, but most cases result in some
type of impairment. The functions that may be affected include: memory,
cognitive/perceptual communication, speed of thinking, communication, spatial reasoning,
conceptualization, psychosocial behaviors, motor abilities, sensory perception, and
Students with TBI may demonstrate one or more problem characteristics and the
form may be mild, moderate, or severe:
• organizing thoughts, cause-effect relationships, and problem solving
• processing information and word retrieving
• generalizing and integrating skills
• interacting with others
• compensating for memory loss
Accommodations may include the accommodations for students with learning
If you want to know more about TBI…
There are important differences which affect the educational program of a student with an
acquired head injury as compared to students with learning disabilities.
A student with a TBI may:
• need established routine with step-by-step directions
• need books and lectures on tape
• need repetition or some type of reinforcement of information to be learned
• demonstrate poor judgement and memory problems
• need a tutor
• exhibit discrepancies in abilities such as reading comprehension at a much
lower level than spelling ability
More individuals in the United States have a hearing impairment than any other type of
physical disability. A hearing impairment is any type or degree of auditory impairment
while deafness is an inability to use hearing as a means of communication. Hearing loss
may be sensorineural, involving an impairment of the auditory nerve; conductive, a defect in
the auditory system which interferes with sound reaching the cochlea; or a mixed
impairment involving both sensorineural and conductive. Hearing loss is measured in
decibels and may be mild, moderate, or profound. A person who is born with a hearing
loss may have language deficiencies and exhibit poor vocabulary and syntax. Many
students with hearing loss may use hearing aids and rely on lip reading. Others may
require an interpreter.
Accommodations may include:
1. seating in the front of the classroom
2. written supplement to oral instructions, assignments, and directions
3. visual aids as often as possible
4. speaker facing the class during lectures
5. speaker repeating the questions that other students in the class ask
6. note taker for class lectures
7. test accommodations: extended time, separate place, proofreading of essay tests,
access to word processor, interpreted directions
8. unfamiliar vocabulary written on the board or a handout
9. small amplification system called an FM loop system
10. interpreter seated where the student can see the interpreter and the lecturer
11. excess noise reduced as much as possible to facilitate communication
If you want to know more about deafness/hearing impairments…
Hearing aids and lip reading:
Some students may use hearing aids and lip reading to assist in discriminating sounds;
but only 30% of spoken words in the English language can be lip-read. It is important when
speaking to a student with a hearing impairment to look at the student, keep hands away
from the mouth, use shorter sentences, speak slowly, and use appropriate facial
expressions and gestures. Technical and unfamiliar vocabulary should be written down for
the student. Standing in front of a window or a source of glare may limit visibility for the
student. It is not helpful to shout or exaggerate lip movements.
Interpreters: If the student uses an interpreter remember to look at the student, not the
interpreter. The interpreter should be seated so that the student can see the lecturer and
the interpreter. If overheads or videos are used, some light should be left on so that the
student can see the interpreter. A note taker or copies of another student’s notes may be
necessary as the student cannot watch the interpreter and take notes at the same time.
Interpreters are professionals with specialized training and they will not give opinions about
the student’s progress in the course. Consideration of a brief break during a long lecture
will give the interpreter and student a much needed rest.
Other considerations: Classroom discussions are difficult and should be followed by
summaries of the relevant information. Questions raised by other students should be
repeated by the instructor. Videos without captions require a written summary or outline of
the important points. Verbal assignments, due dates, changes in schedule and other
information may be missed by the student and should be provided in writing. Oral tests
may be impossible for the student and can be solved by a written exam. The student may
not hear what is said while the instructor writes on the board. The use of overheads and all
types of visual aids provide better communication.
Speech and Language Disorders
Speech and language disorders m result from hearing loss, cerebral palsy, learning
disability, or physical conditions. The disorder may result in stuttering, problems with
articulation, voice disorders, or aphasia.
Accommodations may include:
1. modifications of assignments such as one-to-one presentation or use of computer with
2. substitutions for oral class report
If you want to know more about speech and language disorders…
Speech and language disorders may be managed by computerized voice synthesizers or
electronic speaking machines. Speech therapy is frequently used to improve certain
disorders. Anxiety and stress often accompany oral communication and exacerbate the
The student may speak slower in class and should be given time to express his/her
thoughts. Interrupting or completing a sentence for the student is not helpful and may lead
to embarrassment. It is appropriate to ask the student to repeat the statement.
Summarizing the message helps the student to check for accuracy of understanding. The
instructor’s acceptance and support of the student is important to facilitate communication
and manage the speech disorder. If an oral presentation is required the instructor should
discuss alternatives with the student.
Psychological disorders cover a wide range of disorders such as neuroses, psychoses,
and personality disorders. The majority of psychological disorders are controlled using a
combination of medications and psychotherapy. If the student self-discloses to the
instructor, it may be appropriate to discuss problems and side effects associated with
medications. Only a limited number of court cases have been conducted to set precedents
for reasonable accommodations for students with any of these disorders. Based on court
rulings on other types of disabilities it is probably that some of the following
accommodations may be considered appropriate and reasonable.
Accommodations may include:
• extended time for exams, quiet testing area with a proctor
• notetakers, readers, or tape recorders in class
• seating arrangements that enhance the learning experience of the student
• incompletes or late withdrawals in place of course failures in the event of prolonged
• assistance with time management and study skills
• encouragement to use relaxation and stress reducing techniques during exams
• flexibility in the attendance requirements in case of health-related absences
A student is required to make up missed assignments and tests.
If you want to know more about psychological disorders…
Psychological disorders fall into the group of invisible disabilities that may have little or no
impact on learning. With proper diagnoses and treatment, students with psychological
disorders are productive and successful in the academic environment.
Depression is a common occurrence that may affect social functioning, concentration and
motivation, and the ability to tolerate stress. Episodes of lower level academic functioning
related to t e disability may be time limited. In some cases the student may need to
withdraw from school or take an incomplete in course work to allow time for the conditions
to stabilized. Flexibility with assignments and exams may need to be negotiated between
the student and the instructor.
Medications or changes in the medications that a student is taking may cause sleep
disturbances, interference with concentration, diminished ability to attend to lectures or
successfully complete assignments or exams. Accommodations may be needed for the
presenting disability and the side effects of medication.
Some students may exhibit negative behavior such as indifference or occasionally
disruptive behavior. In the event of disruptive behavior, the student should be informed
about the specific limits of acceptable behavior in the classroom and on campus. The
Student Code of Conduct must be followed.
Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome
Autism is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain.
Autism impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and
communication skills. Children and adults with autism typically have difficulties in verbal
and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities.
Asperger’s Syndrome is considered a disorder at the higher end of the autistic continuum.
Accommodations may include:
• extended time for exams, quiet testing area with a proctor
• notetakers, readers, or tape recorders in class
• assistance in finding a group for group work
If you want to know more about autism and Asperger’s Syndrome…
Insistence on Sameness
Students with AS are easily overwhelmed by minimal change and are highly sensitive to
environmental stressors. They are anxious and tend to worry obsessively; stress fatigue
and sensory overload easily throw them off balance.
Impairment in Social Interaction
Students may show an inability to understand complex rules of social interaction; may not
like physical contact; talk at people instead of to them; use an unnatural tone of voice; are
insensitive and lack tact; misinterpret social cues; have well-developed speech but poor
communication; and usually have a desire to be part of the social world.
Restricted range of Interests
Students have eccentric preoccupations or odd, intense fixations. They tend to relentlessly
“lecture” on areas of interest and sometimes refuse to learn about anything outside their
limited field of interest.
Students with AS are often off track, distracted by external stimuli; are very disorganized;
cannot figure out what is relevant; and have difficulty learning in group situations.
Poor Motor Coordination
Students are physically clumsy and awkward; are unsuccessful in games involving motor
skills; and experience fine-motor deficits than can cause penmanship problems, slow
clerical speed and affect their ability to draw.
Students with AS usually have average to above-average intelligence but lack high level
thinking and comprehension skills.
A large number of students have disabilities that do not necessarily fall into the major
categories already discussed by are covered by Section 504/ADA. The degree to which
these disabilities affect students in the academic setting vary widely. At times it is not the
condition itself but the medication that is required to control symptoms that impairs
academic performance. Common side effects of medications include fatigue, memory
loss, shortened attention span, loss of concentration, and drowsiness. In some cases the
degree of impairment may vary from time to time because of the nature of the disability or
the medication. Some conditions are progressive and others may be stable.
A partial list of other disabilities include:
• AIDS • Hemophilia
• Arthritis • Lupus
• Asthma • Motor neuron diseases
• Burns • Multiple sclerosis
• Cancer • Muscular dystrophy
• Cardiovascular disorders • Renal-kidney disease
• Cerebral palsy • Respiratory disorders
• Chronic pain • Sickle cell anemia
• Diabetes mellitus • Stroke
• Epilepsy • Tourette’s syndrome
Accommodations may include:
1. extended time for exams
2. enlarged printed materials
3. tape recorded course materials
5. computers or other adaptive equipment
7. flexibility in attendance requirements in case of health-related absences
8. other accommodations found elsewhere in this guide
A student is required to make up missed assignments and tests.
If you want to know more about other disabilities…
Students may have invisible disabilities and desire confidentiality about their condition.
When discussing an accommodation, it is important to respect the rules of confidentiality.
If a student requests accommodations, the student must have medical documentation on
file in OAS.
Some disabilities are temporary but may require accommodations for a limited time.
Students who are recovering from surgery, injury, or severe illness may be unaware of
accommodations that may be reasonable for a limited time period. Encouragement to
contact the office of disability services and to talk with faculty and staff may prevent
students from dropping out of school. The student, faculty/staff member, and disability
services staff may work together to establish reasonable accommodations.
Students who are subject to seizure disorders may have impaired consciousness,
involuntary movements, and brief lapses of attention. Usually the seizures will be brief and
infrequent. When a seizure occurs there is a brief change in the normal functioning of the
brain’s electrical system.
Permission to Leave Class
Some disabilities result in the need to consume large quantities of fluids and urinate often.
The student may need to leave the classroom more frequently than nondisabled students.
Chronic pain may result in limitations to strength, standing, walking, climbing, sitting,
kneeling, stooping, and carrying. Cold or sudden changes in temperature may increase
the onset of pain. Students with chronic pain may need to stand or change positions
intermittently during class. Severe pain may increase the number of absences but the
student would still be required to complete the course assignments.
Some respiratory disorders can result in significant limitations to activities such as walking
and climbing. Tolerance to temperature changes or extremes in temperature may be
limited. Wet or humid conditions, along with fumes and dust may result in exacerbation of
the problem. Environments where smoking is permitted should be avoided.
Tips That Facilitate Learning
Many teaching strategies that assist students with disabilities are know to also benefit
nondisabled students. Instruction that is provided in an array of approaches will reach
more students than instruction using one method. The following are teaching strategies
that will benefit students in the academic setting.
Required text Laboratory
• select a text with a study guide • Discuss safety concerns with the
student and OAS. Depending on
On the syllabi her/his disability, ensure that safety
• include a statement that students need equipment is adapted with Braille or
to inform faculty members of their large print labels, pull-chains are
special needs as soon as possible to lengthened, and visual or auditory
ensure that those needs are met in a warning systems are in place.
timely manner. • Assign group lab projects in which all
students contribute according to their
Before the lecture abilities.
• write key terms or an outline on the • Arrange lab equipment so that it is
board, or prepare a lecture handout easily accessed. Give oral and
• create study guides written lab instructions. Provide
• assign advance readings before the raised-line drawings and tactile
topic is due in the class session models of graphic materials for
• give students questions that they students with visual impairments.
should be able to answer by the end of • Work with the student and OAS to
each lecture identify, modify, and provide
appropriate lab equipment, such as
During the lecture adjustable tables, ramps, talking
• briefly review the previous lecture thermometers and calculators, liquid
• use visual aids such as overheads, level indicators, large print and tactile
diagrams, charts, graphs timers, and computers
• allow the use of tape recorders
• emphasize important points, main Grading, Evaluation and Fieldwork
ideas, key concepts • Measure knowledge and
• face the class when speaking comprehension rather than physical
• explain technical language, performance of a task when testing a
terminology student’s understanding of material.
• speak distinctly and at a relaxed rate, • Allow extra time to complete exams. If
pausing to allow students time for you give double time on a two hour
notetaking test, consider giving the student half of
• leave time for questions periodically the test on two days.
• administer frequent quizzes to provide • Ask student how s/he might be able to
feedback for students do specific aspects of field work.
• give assignments in writing as well as Attempt to include student in field work
orally opportunities, rather than
automatically suggesting non-field
Tips for Disability Awareness
1. People with disabilities are people first. The Americans with Disabilities Act officially
changed the way people with disabilities are referred to and provided the model. The
person first and then the disability. This emphasizes the person and not the disability.
2. Do use the word disability when referring to someone who has a physical, mental,
emotional, sensory, or learning impairment.
3. Do not use the word handicapped. A handicap is what a person with a disability cannot
4. Avoid labeling individuals as victims, or the disabled, or names of conditions. Instead,
refer to people with disabilities or someone who has epilepsy.
5. Avoid terms such as wheelchair bound. Wheelchairs provide access and enable
individuals to get around. Instead, refer to a person who uses a wheelchair or someone
with a mobility impairment.
6. When it is appropriate to refer to an individual’s disability choose the correct
terminology for the specific disability. Use terms such as quadriplegia, speech
impairment, hearing impairment, or specific learning disability.
1. When introduced offer to shake hands. People with limited hand use or artificial limbs
can usually shake hands. It is an acceptable greeting to use the left hand for shaking.
2. Treat adults as adults. Avoid patronizing people who use wheelchairs by patting them
on the shoulder or touching their head. Never place your hands on a person’s
wheelchair as the chair is a part of the body space of the user.
3. If possible, sit down when talking to a person who uses a wheelchair so that you are at
the person’s eye level.
4. Speak directly to the person with a disability. Do not communicate through another
person. If the person uses an interpreter, look at the person and speak to the person,
not the interpreter.
5. Offer assistance with sensitivity and respect. Ask if there is something you might do to
help. If the offer is declined, do not insist.
6. If you are a sighted guide for a person with a visual impairment, allow the person to take
your arm at or above the elbow so that you guide rather than propel.
7. When talking with a person with a speech impairment, listen attentively, ask short
questions that require short answers, avoid correcting, and repeat what you understand
if you are uncertain.
8. When first meeting a person with blindness, identify yourself and any others who may
be with you.
9. When speaking to a person with a hearing impairment, look directly at the person and
speak slowly. Avoid placing your hand over your mouth when speaking. Written notes
may be helpful for short conversations.
Office of Academic Support
Academic Year 2003-2004
TO: GVSU Professor
FR: XXXX, Director
Office of Academic Support (OAS)
RE: NAME (000-00-0000)
Name is a Grand Valley State student who has been diagnosed as having Attention Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is characterized by a short attention span, a
difficulty with focusing for any length of time, auditory and visual distractibility, and often
slow motor skills.
In keeping with the University’s commitment to students with disabilities and the legal
guidelines, Name is entitled to certain accommodations that will enable her to perform
better. The accommodations she has requested include:
• Alternate testing arrangements (1.5x the permitted testing, quiz and in-class
assignment time), oral and/or the use of test proctors, separate location
• Please assist Name in finding a volunteer note taker, if requested. This can usually be
accomplished by making an announcement in class without disclosing Name’s identity.
• Tutoring as requested and available
These would be appropriate for Name. The Office of Academic Support (OAS) is
available to help with accommodations as necessary; however, it is Name's responsibility
to initiate discussion with you regarding her needs.
It is reasonable to expect students with disabilities to learn all that is expected of
their peers. What may differ is the manner in which they learn and the way in
which they express what they know.
Thank you for your consideration of this student. If you have questions, please contact me
at ext. 331-2490. Please treat the contents of this memo as confidential
cc: OAS file
For information on students with ADHD: For information on professor’s responsibilities:
Agreement Form for Tape Recording Lectures
Under Section 504, Subpart E Postsecondary Education, of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act
and the Americans with Disabilities Act, institutions of higher education must provide
reasonable accommodations to a student’s known disability and may not deny equal
access to the institution’s programs, courses and activities. Tape recording lectures is a
reasonable accommodation for students whose documentation calls for this
Faculty have the right to require a student who uses a tape recorder to sign an agreement
for tape recording and present the form to the instructor.
I, ________________________________________________, agree that I will
not release the tape recordings, or transcription, or otherwise hinder
ability to obtain a copyright on lectures that I have taped in
(department, course number, and title)
(date) (student signature)
This form is to be submitted to the instructor/professor upon completion.
BERKOWITZ HANDICAPPED SCHOLARSHIP
Purpose: The purpose of this scholarship is to provide financial assistance to a Grand
Valley student who is handicapped with a preference for, though not limited
to, a student whose disability substantially affects his or her mobility. The
scholarship is to go to a student who because of this disability finds it more
difficult to obtain an education.
Amount: Minimum of $500; number may vary.
Eligibility: Applicant must have a physical or learning disability.
Applicant must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a degree-seeking
student of Grand Valley State University.
Currently enrolled applicants must be in good academic standing.
Financial need will not be the sole factor in determining eligibility.
Renewal: Not automatic. Past recipients will be invited to re-apply.
Selection: The Scholarship Committee will recruit and select via an application process
at least three students who meet the above scholarship criteria as finalists
and put together profiles on these students. The application deadline is
The Scholarship Committee, with the advice and consent of a representative
of the University's support program who advises students with disabilities,
will choose the recipient. The final selection will be made by April 15 prior to
the fall of entrance.
Funding: Endowment Fund.
APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE BEGINNING ON FEBRUARY 15 AT THE OAS OFFICE OR
FINANCIAL AID OFFICE IN THE STUDENT SERVICES BUILDING.
DISABILITY RELATED RESOURCES:
Library of Congress
This web site will provide the latest information about the activities of the United States
Congress, as well as resources on the information available throughout the library.
National Council on Disability
The National Council on Disability is an independent federal agency working with the
President and Congress in increase the inclusion, independence, and empowerment of all
Americans with disabilities.
National School-to-Work Learning and Information Center
School-to-Work Internet Gateway
400 Virginia Avenue, Room 210
Washington, DC 20024
(202) 401-6211 (FAX)
The School-to-Work Internet Gateway is designed to promote awareness of the School-to-
Work (STW) Initiative, increase communications between federal and state-level sponsors,
and the national community. This site contains current STW publications, resource and
research material, media announcements, and information on STW practices across the
President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities
1331 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 376-6205 (TDD)
The Committee provides information, training, and technical assistance to America's
business leaders, organized labor, rehabilitation and service providers, advocacy
organizations, families, and individuals with disabilities to enhance the employment of
people with disabilities. The site provides access to the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA), employment issues, job accommodations, and data related to the employment and
empowerment of people with disabilities.
U. S. Department of Education
Office of Educational Research and Improvement
555 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Room 214B
Washington, DC 20208-5725
(202) 219-1817 (FAX)
This web site provides information on a variety of programs and initiatives sponsored
through the various agencies at the Department of Education. It also provides grants and
contract information, newsletters and press releases, Department contacts, Department
priorities, and links to education-related web sites.
U. S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue NW, Room S-1032
Washington, DC 20210
This web site provides information on the programs and activities sponsored through the
Department of Labor. It also provides grants and contract information, labor-related data,
media releases, and links to labor-related web sites.
1600 Research Boulevard
Rockville, MD 10850
ACCESS ERIC provides information on the 16 Clearinghouses, Adjunct Clearinghouses,
and Support Components available through the Educational Resources Information
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
10801 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852
(301) 897-5700 (V/TTY)
ASHA is the professional, scientific, and credentialing association for audiologists,
speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. This site is
a resource for ASHA members, persons interested in information about communication
disorders, and for those wanting career and membership information. Access to
resources, publications, and grant announcements are also available.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Regional Disability and Business Accommodation Centers
(800) 949-4232 (V/TTY)
The Americans with Disabilities Act, signed into law in 1990, is an important piece of
federal legislation prohibiting discrimination against qualified applicants or employees on
the basis of their disability. It also requires most public accommodations, buildings, and
transportation systems to be accessible to persons with disabilities. Callers are referred
to the regional office for their state. The regional offices provide information and technical
assistance to employers and to persons with disabilities to facilitate the appropriate
implementation of the ADA, successful employment outcomes for individuals with
disabilities, and greater accessibility in public accommodations.
Association for Persons in Supported Employment (APSE)
1627 Monument Avenue
Richmond, VA 23220
APSE is an international membership organization formed to promote the concept of paid,
integrated employment for individuals with severe disabilities. APSE educates the public,
improves practices, promotes policy, and develops opportunities with business and
community settings to improve the full social and economic inclusion of all persons.
Center for Special Education Finance (CSEF)
American Institutes for Research
1791 Arastradero Road
P.O. Box 1113
Palo Alto, CA 94302
(415) 858-0958 (FAX)
CSEF is a research center focused on special education policy, funding, and outcomes.
The Center has prepared a series of policy reports addressing important national issues
related to the allocation of state and federal funds to special education. CSEF also
publishes a regular newsletter.
Council for Exceptional Children
1920 Association Drive
Reston, VA 22091-1589
The Council for Exception Children provides information and resources on all issues
related to youth with disabilities. The CEC web site provides users with publication
information, conferences and meetings, other disability-related resources, CEC
membership and division information.
ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education (ERIC)
The Council for Exceptional Children
1920 Association Drive
Reston, VA 22091-1589
(800) 328-0272 or (703) 487-9432
(703) 264-9449 (TTY)
(703) 264-9494 (FAX)
This site provides information on youth with disabilities for all ages. The site includes
information on publications, journals, newsletters, ERIC Digests, conferences and
meetings, and other related Internet resources.
HEATH Resource Center
American Council on Education
One Dupont Circle, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036-1193
(202) 939-9320 (V/TTY)
(800) 544-3284 (V/TTY) outside DC
The HEATH Resource Center operates the national clearinghouse on postsecondary
education for individuals with disabilities. Support from the U.S. Department of Education
enables the Center, a program of the American Council on Education, to serve as an
information exchange about educational support services, policies, procedures,
adaptations, and opportunities on American campuses, vocational-technical schools, adult
education programs, independent living centers, transition, and other training entities after
high school. The Center collects and disseminates this information so that people with
disabilities can develop their full potential through postsecondary education and training.
Helen Keller National Center —Technical Assistance Center (HKNC-TAC)
111 Middle Neck Road
Sands Point, NY 11050
(516) 944-8900 x 311
(516) 944-8900 x 202 (TTY)
(516) 944-8751 (FAX)
The HKNC-TAC's goal is to facilitate the transition of youth who are deaf-blind, from
education to adult services, leading to full integration into the community and the
enhancement of the individual's quality of life. Services are provided to public, state, and
local agencies, organizations, or programs that work with youth who are deaf-blind.
National Clearinghouse for Professions in Special Education
Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
1920 Association Drive
Reston, VA 22091
(800) 641-7824 or (703) 264-9476
(703) 264-9480 (TTY)
(703) 620-2521 (FAX)
The Clearinghouse is concerned with the supply, demand, recruitment, and retention of
qualified special education personnel. The Clearinghouse provides information and
services to promote an adequate supply of professionals to provide early intervention,
special education, and related services to infants, children, and youth with disabilities. Staff
collect, analyze, and disseminate information on current and future needs in special
education and related services professionals. Information about career opportunities in the
disability field is available, as is information about personnel preparation programs and
sources of financial aid. A publications list is available upon request.
National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials
Oklahoma State University
816 West 6th Street
Stillwater, OK 74078
(800) 223-5219 or (405) 624-7650
(405) 624-0695 (FAX)
The National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials provides information to
rehabilitation professionals and others. The collection of materials includes training
materials produced by RSA projects, and reports and monographs from Research and
Training Centers, Education Development Centers, demonstration projects, and other
sources. Requests for information are taken by phone, fax, mail, and on the electronic
bulletin board at (405) 624-3156.
National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY)
Academy for Educational Development
P.O. Box 1492
Washington, DC 20013-1492
(800) 695-0285 (V/TTY) or (202) 884-8200 (V/TTY)
(202) 884-8441 (FAX)
NICHCY provides information on disabilities and disability-related issues, links people with
others who share common concerns, publishes newsletters and issue papers, and
generally helps information flow between people who have it and people who need it.
National Information Center on Deafness (NICD)
800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002-3695
(202) 651-5052 (TTY)
(202) 651-5054 (FAX)
NCID is a national resource for information on all aspects of hearing loss and deafness.
The Center maintains a variety of resources and develops publications.
National Information Clearinghouse on Children Who are Deaf-Blind (DB-LINK)
Western Oregon State College
Teaching Research Division
345 North Monmouth Avenue
Monmouth, OR 97361
(800) 854-7013 (TTY)
(503) 838-8150 (FAX)
National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS)
The Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20542
(800) 424-8567 or (202) 707-5100
(800) 424-9100 (TTY– English) or (800) 345-8901 (TTY– Spanish)
(202) 707-0744 (TTY)
NLS is a free library program of braille and recorded materials for persons who are blind or
unable to read standard printed materials due to a physical challenge. Books and
magazines in recorded form are delivered by postage-free mail.
National Rehabilitative Information Center (NARIC)
8455 Colesville Road, Suite 935
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3319
(800) 227-0216 or (301) 588-9284
(301) 587-1969 (FAX)
NARIC collects and disseminates the results of federally-funded research projects with
funding by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). This
site provides access to the ABLEDATA and REHABDATA databases, publications,
calendar of events, and other disability resources.
4826 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55417-1098
(800) 53-PACER or (612) 827-2966
PACER Center is a nonprofit organization that serves families of children and adults with
disabilities. Established in 1977 and staffed primarily by parents of youth with disabilities,
and by persons with disabilities, PACER carries out the philosophy of PARENTS
HELPING PARENTS through workshops, individual assistance and written information.
Throughout Minnesota, PACER's services reach families of children and adults with ALL
disabilities: physical, mental, learning and emotional. PACER also has local, state,
regional, and national projects, including several that deal with transition issues.
Project HIIT: Internet for the Hearing Impaired
This site provides resources and database for the hearing impaired. It includes a
community calendar, a list of electronic publications, and links to hearing impaired related
Regional Resource and Federal Centers Network
Academy for Educational Development
1875 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 884-8200 (TTY)
(202) 884-8443 (FAX)
Regional Resource and Federal Centers Network comprises six centers and one
coordinating center that serves all states and outlying jurisdictions. These projects are
funded by the Office of Special Education Programs, Office of Special Education and
Rehabilitative Services within the U.S. Department of Education. All Centers have the
expertise to help educators and human service providers strategize, develop, and improve
policies, practices, and programs, particularly those affecting children and youth with
disabilities. This site will guide you to all of the Regional Resource Centers on the World
Special Education Resources
Information on inclusion and other service delivery options.
Teaching Research Assistance to Children Experiencing Sensory Impairments (TRACES)
Western Oregon State College
Teaching Research Division
345 North Monmouth Avenue
Monmouth, OR 97361
(503) 838-8821 (TTY)
(503) 838-8150 (FAX)
TRACES is a federally-funded program providing technical assistance to improve the
quality of existing services for youth with deaf-blindness.
Technical Assistance for Parent Programs (TAPP)
Federation for Children with Special Needs
95 Berkeley Street, Suite 104
Boston, MA 02116
(800) 331-0688 (in MA) or (617) 482-2915
(617) 695-2939 (FAX)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal special education law,
establishes a grant program to support organized parent-to-parent efforts. The purpose of
these programs, known as Parent Training and Information (PTI) Centers is to enable
parents to participate more effectively with professionals in meeting the educational needs
of children with disabilities. The TAPP Project represents an important initiative in our
nation's efforts to fulfill the promise of the IDEA and fundamental principles about the rights
and potential of children
with disabilities and their families. The TAPP Project's primary responsibility is to serve
the PTIs who are currently funded under IDEA. Grassroots groups in urban and rural
settings are served through the developing Experimental PTI Project Initiative. PTIs
seeking specialized help in the areas of Transition and Supported Employment are served
through the SEPTA/TA Project. Parent organizations and groups meeting specific criteria
set forth in IDEA wishing to establish a program under this grant authority may also receive
assistance through TAPP.
The Web Server for the Visually Handicapped
This site provides information pertaining to those with visual impairments. It includes a list
of electronic publications and links to other web sites on visual impairments.