STUDENT DISABILITY SERVICES
To be eligible for disability-related service, students must have a documented disability condition as defined by the American’s with Disability Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Under ADA and Section 504, a person has a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the life activities (walking, standing, seeing, speaking, hearing, sitting, breathing, learning, or taking care of oneself). Another helpful resource regarding Disability Discrimination can be found at : http://www.publicadministration.net/resources/disability-discrimination/
At SCSU, Student Disability Services is the designated office that obtains and files disability-related documents, certifies eligibility for services, determines reasonable accommodations, and develops plans for the provision of such accommodations. Reasonable accommodations are provided to help ensure access to all SCSU courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities.
Student Disability Services provides or arranges a variety of auxiliary services to the SCSU community, such as sign language interpreting, document conversion, assuasive technology, exam modifications, and academic assistance. Students with disabilities are also offered career services, counseling services and advocacy. The SDS office location and phone number is, Centennial Hall-202, 320-308-4080 (Voice).
Staff from Student Disability Services request disability related documents from the appropriate licensed professional to certify a student as having a disability and to determine reasonable accommodations. The cost of obtaining documentation is borne by the student. If the initial documentation is incomplete or inadequate to determine the extent of the disability and reasonable accommodations, the director has the discretion to require additional documentation. Any cost of obtaining additional documentation is also borne by the student.
Students reporting learning or attention difficulties are interviewed and given referrals for comprehensive and diagnostic testing in the community. The student is responsible for testing costs.
The Student Disability Services Director certifies that a student has a disability and registers the student with a disability for services provided through Student Disability Services; students who are found to be non disabled are referred to other campus and community resources for assistance. Pending receipt of documentation, Student Disability Services reserves the right to deny services or accommodations.
A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a course, program service, job, activity, or facility that enables a qualified student with a disability to have an equal opportunity. An equal opportunity means an opportunity to attain the same level of performance or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges as are available to a similarly situated student without a disability. SCSU is obligated to make a reasonable accommodation only to the known limitations of an otherwise qualified disabled student. To determine reasonable accommodations, Student Disability Services may seek information from appropriate SCSU personnel regarding essential standards for courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities. Final determination of reasonable accommodations is made by Student Disability Services. Reasonable accommodations are determined by examining;
1. The barriers resulting from the interaction between the documented disability and the campus environment;
2. The possible accommodations that might remove the barriers;
3. Whether or not the student has access to the course, program, service, job activity, or facility without accommodations; and
4. Whether or not essential elements of the course, program, service, job, activity, or facility are compromised by the accommodations.
Reasonable accommodations are individualized and flexible, based on the nature of the disability and the academic environment. Below is a partial list of common academic accommodations.
- accessible classroom/location/furniture
- advance notice of assignments
- alternative ways of completing assignments (e.g., oral presentation versus written paper)
- assistive computer technology
- assistive listening devices
- auxiliary aids and services (note takers, readers, interpreters, lab or library assistants)
- captions for film and video material
- course or program modifications
- course substitution (e.g., second language or math substitutions)
- document conversion (alternative print formats: Braille, large print, tape, electronic, raised lettering)
- early syllabus
- exam modifications:
- alternative test formats (short answer, multiple choice, oral, essay)
- computer or basic calculator for exams
- exam administered in several segments
- private, non-distracted exam room
- readers and scribes
- priority registration
- study guides and strategies training
- taped lectures
- Students with disabilities who require accommodations must seek assistance at Student Disability Services in a timely manner, usually prior to the start of classes or as soon as a disability becomes known.
- Students with disabilities will provide documentation of their disability and how it limits their participation in courses, programs, services, jobs activities, and facilities at SCSU.
- Student Disability Services will file official documentation of the student’s disability, including information about the manifestations of the disability.
- Student Disability Services will ensure that disability related documents are kept confidential and shared with SCSU personnel on a limited and need to know basis only.
- Student Disability Services and the student will discuss the interaction between the disability and the academic environment and determine the reasonable accommodations. Consultation with faculty, staff, and outside professionals regarding essential elements and reasonable accommodations will occur in situations that are new, complex, or sensitive.
- Student Disability Services will outline the process for the provision of reasonable accommodations which will be presented to the student. In determining reasonable accommodations the following questions will be answered: what accommodations will be provided; why will they be provided; when will they be provided; who is responsible for providing them; and how will they be provided.
- Student Disability Services will write individualized letters to faculty members certifying that the student has a disability and stating the determined reasonable accommodations. The provision of accommodations is shared with the concerned faculty. The letter details the provision of the recommended accommodations, including who is responsible for the provision of the accommodation; when the accommodations will be provided; and how they will be provided. The letter also invites faculty to contact Student Disability Services if there are concerns or questions about the accommodations. Instructors will be expected to assist with the provision of accommodations when reasonable and necessary. Instructors are not expected to compromise essential elements of the course or evaluation standards.
- Student Disability Services will be responsible for delivering the individualized letters to faculty. If faculty is unavailable the SDS office will consult the appropriate department chair.
- Students with a disability will be responsible for contacting Student Disability Services if reasonable accommodations are not implemented in an effective or timely way. Student Disability Services will work with SCSU personnel and the student to resolve disagreements regarding recommended accommodations.
1. Sign Language Interpreting
Interpreters are professionals who facilitate communication between hearing individuals and people who are deaf or hard of hearing. The role of the interpreter is similar to that of a foreign language translator: to bridge the communication gap between two parties.
Requesting an Interpreter
Students who are deaf or hard of hearing may request interpreters from Student Disability Services when they register for services. In the unlikely event that a student shows up for the first day of class without an interpreter, the student should be referred to Student Disability Services where she or he can complete an application for services. The SDS director will then schedule an interpreter. SCSU departments that receive requests or anticipate needing an interpreter for course programs or events should contact the SDS director. To ensure the availability of interpreters, Student Disability Services encourages people to make requests at least one week in advance. The Student Disability Services office is not responsible for scheduling interpreters for non academic programs. If an interpreter is needed for such non academic events contact the Regional Service Center (see Appendix section).
Guidelines for Working with Interpreters
Interpreters are bound by the code of ethics developed by the national Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, which specifies that interpreters are to serve as communication intermediaries who are not otherwise involved; thus, when an interpreter is present, speak directly to the deaf or hard of hearing person rather than to the interpreter, and avoid using phrases such as "tell him" or “ask her.”
- Relax and talk normally, noting that there may be a lag time between the spoken message and the interpretation.
- When referring to objects or written information, allow time for the translation to take place. Replace terms such as "here" and "there" with more specific terms, such as "on the second line" and "in the left corner."
- In a conference room or class environment, the deaf student and interpreter will work out seating arrangements, with the interpreter usually located near the speaker.
- Inform the interpreter in advance if there is an audiovisual element in a presentation so arrangements can be made for lighting and positioning.
2. Assistive listening Devices and Captioned Videos
Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)
Students who are hard of hearing may use an ALD in the classroom to enhance the voice of a speaker. The most common ALD is a personal FM system; the speaker wears a microphone and the student wears a receiving unit.
An increasing number of educational videotapes as well as television broadcasts are being "closed captioned" for deaf and hard of hearing viewers. Closed captions are similar to subtitles in foreign language films; captions appear at the bottom of the screen so the viewer may follow narration and dialogue. Television monitors manufactured after July, 1993, have built-in decoders that can be activated through the remote control. All SCSU departments, divisions and programs must use or purchase films or videos with either open or closed captioning effective 12/31/94. The exception to this policy is:
- Material that will not be used for on-going training.
- Material that will be shown to a specific known audience which does not require captioning for equal access.
- Any films/videos which were purchased before 12/31/94 that are not captioned may continue to be used, but will be captioned upon request or as a requested reasonable accommodation.
- Instructors can determine whether or not videos are captioned by asking SCSU Film and SDS or by looking at the video container, which usually contains a short statement about captioning or carries the initials “CC” or a Q- like symbol.
3. Document Conversion
Alternative print formats (audiotape, Braille, electronic, and large print) allow individuals with vision impairments and other disabilities to have access to standard print materials. All SCSU publications, including course syllabus, are required to carry a Disability Access Statement (see Appendix section):
"This publication is available in alternative formats upon timely request. Please contact (name department, address, and phone).”
Individuals, individual departments, and individual programs are responsible for arranging document conversion. Student Disability Services will provide the SCSU community with information regarding document conversion; contact the SDS office.
Many textbooks, novels, and periodicals are available on audiotape and can be obtained from public libraries, the Library of Congress, and Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic. If determined appropriate, students requesting taped materials should first investigate these resources. Costs for the services will be borne by the individual student. (See Employment Practices section to contact Student Disability Services).
Documents that are not available on audiotape may be submitted to SDS for recording. Students can make requests through the SDS director. Faculty, staff and departments can make requests directly by contacting the SDS office. Recordings will be completed in a reasonable time, allowing for possible time extensions of reading assignments.
E-Text - This service is primarily used by students who are trying electronic version of textbooks and textbook taping for students with emergency short-term needs. Students can make requests through the SDS director.
Audiotape recording takes a significant amount of time, depending on the size of the print document. Requests should be made preferably as soon as possible or at least three weeks in advance of when the material is needed.
Original documents may be converted for Braille transcription. Contact the Student Disability Services director with questions or requests.
Computers with synthesized voice or Braille output devices are made and some people may require an electronic version of material. SCSU does own two such computers and are available for the students who are authorized to use them. Contact the Student Disability Services Director with questions or requests.
Anyone with access to a computer or copy machine can create large print documents by following one of the procedures below (ask the person making the request how much enlargement is needed).
With a computer: If a document has been created using a standard word processing program (either an IBM or Macintosh), it can easily be enlarged before printed. It is best to use a font that is sans serif. Geneva or Helvetica fonts are the clearest. An eighteen point type is generally the best. When the type is larger than eighteen points, fewer words appear on each page, making it difficult for a person to make sense of the document. Bold characters also make the print clearer.
With a copy machine: Documents can also be enlarged by duplicating them on a copy machine that can print on eleven-by-seventeen inch paper. This is a useful procedure for course packets (such as those available at a copy center) or articles in periodicals or books. The quality of the enlarged version will depend on the clarity and condition of the original document.
4. Assistive Computer Technology
SCSU is in the process of improving services and guidelines to ensure that its electronic information space is accessible to students with disabilities. The Learning Resource and Technology Services (LR&TS) provides general access to public computing sites.
The computer accommodations available include:
- screen enlargement
- large print
- print enlargers
- Computer with voice activated Dragon and a computer having a scanner with voice output.
SCSU Assistive Technology is located on the first floor of the LR&TS behind Reference Desk. Reference librarians are available to assist individuals and answer questions.
Individualized accommodations are arranged in instances where an individual has specific needs to access a specific information tool that is not provided in the general guidelines. Students registered with Student Disability Services are assisted with individually determined reasonable accommodations.
5. Exam Modification/Alternative Testing
Students with disabilities are best served when accommodated in the most integrated setting possible. Student Disability Services provides the Exam Modification/Alternative Testing service. Test administration handled by Student Disability Services involves only physical assistance in accordance with the student's functional limitation (e.g., reading, writing, marking answer sheets, time extensions, and quiet non interruptive space).
A. Student Disability Services hosts exams for students with disabilities who require test accommodations.
- The service is structured to provide students with a fair opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of course content without resulting in a competitive academic advantage over other students.
- The student is not allowed to use notes, books, tapes, or any supplementary material unless specified by the instructor to Student Disability Services staff.
- Student Disability Services does not make copies of exams and does not maintain an exam file.
- Exams are received and returned according to prearranged instructions
B.The following procedures should be followed by the student:
- Alternative Testing Forms are available in Student Disability Services.
- Alternative Testing Forms must be signed by the faculty member and delivered to Student Disability Services three office days prior to the scheduled test date.
- The student is responsible for making sure the Alternative Testing Form is signed by the faculty member and delivered to Student Disability Services three office days prior to the test date.
- Faculty members must indicate the following on the Alternative Testing form:
- Date and time test should be taken
- Special instructions i.e. open book, calculator use, etc.
- Whether the test will be delivered or should be picked up by SDS staff
- If the test should be picked up, the building and room number must be clearly indicated
- Must be signed by the faculty member
The goal of Student Disability Services is to have students be as responsible and independent as possible.
6. Academic Assistance
Library Access and Assistance
Assistance with using library resources is provided by staff of the LR&TS and by staff of Student Disability Services, depending on the type of assistance needed. For intensive or long-term research, Student Disability Services assigns an assistant to provide a prearranged service. Short-term assistance with retrieval of materials may be provided by LR&TS staff.
Students should contact Student Disability Services to discuss whether or not library assistance is a reasonable accommodation. When appropriate, Student Disability Services staff will contact LR&TS staff to arrange the accommodation. Students are expected to provide all information necessary for the retrieval of materials and to request library assistance at least two weeks prior to when the assistance will be needed. Students are responsible for fines or penalties.
Assistants can provide hands-on support in laboratory courses and other classroom settings. In-class accommodations may include scribing, verbal description, print or graphic enlarging, and reading. Students should contact Student Disability Services for more information. Student Disability Services with the help of faculty members will identify an in class volunteer to provide laboratory assistance.
7. Note takers
Students with disabilities who need class notes should obtain them from classmates who volunteer to share their notes. This process is facilitated through Student Disability Services who engage faculty members to help identify an individual who would be willing to become a volunteer note taker. Every effort should be made to avoid pointing out the student or the alternative arrangements to the rest of the class.
Faculty members are essential in identifying note takers for students with disabilities. If note takers are needed, Student Disability Services will notify each faculty member at the beginning of the semester asking their help.
Note taker Responsibilities are as follows:
- Obtain note taker training packet
- Take notes at every class session, including film days and speakers
- If absent find a note taker replacement
- Take notes to SDS within 24 hours from when the class was held. SDS staff will photocopy the notes and return the original to the note taker. Carbonless paper is available in limited cases.
Note takers receive volunteer credit on their Co-Curricular Transcript equivalent to the clock hours of the class, (i.e., 3 credit class equals 3 hours for each week the class is in session).
- Students can choose to email the notes.
- SDS does not keep a copy of the notes.