Student Accessibility Services

Best Practices

General

  • Students with disabilities will not always ask for help. It is important to notify all students of Student Accessibility Services.
  • Accommodation are deemed reasonable by a professional in Student Accessibility Services. Accommodations give equal access, not an advantage. 
  • It is important to not accommodate the student beyond what is reasonable.
  • Expect students with disabilities to meet the same standards of academic performance as other students.
  • Students with disabilities enrolled at SCSU have met academic qualifications for admission.
  • Make a general announcement at the beginning of the semester when going over the syllabus to encourage students to seek out services who may need it.
  • Include an accommodations statement in your syllabus.
  • Students with disabilities know themselves best and are the best sources of information regarding their disability. Do not hesitate to ask them questions about how you can facilitate their participation. 
  • Each student has a unique accommodation plan. Accommodations are not automatically applicable to all students with disabilities. Disabilities can vary in degree of limitation, the length of time the person has had the disability, the stability of the condition, etc.
  • Students with disabilities are not getting unfair advantages.

Disability Specific

Blind or Low Vision

Suggestions for working with students who are blind or have low vision:

  • Recording lecture options is a common accommodations for student who meet this need.  It allows the student to listen to the lecture as many times as necessary. 
  • Preferential seating is important for a students who are blind or have low vision. Since visual cues may not be available, make sure they are getting all the auditory cues possible.
  • If the student has a service animal, it would help if the student were given an assigned seat so that the animal can aid them in getting to their seat. The service animal is not to be treated as a pet. When a service animal is with their owner they are working. Ask the student if it is okay before interacting with the animal. Service animals must be allowed in the classroom with the student.
  • Ask the student if they would like some help and then wait for a response before acting.
  • Give students plenty of notice in the event that research papers are assigned. They may have an accommodation for extended time on written assignments.
  • To assist students who have low vision, when presenting, lessen the glare as much as possible and write in large letters.
  • Important information that is written should also be emphasized verbally.
  • Common accommodations for students who are blind or have low vision include alternative print formats, magnification devices, bright incandescent lighting, raised lettering, tactile cues, adaptive computer equipment, readers for exams, print scanners, early syllabus, priority registration, audio recording lectures and/or note taking support and lab assistants.

Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Suggestions for working with students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing:

  • Make sure you have a Deaf or Hard of Hearing student’s attention before speaking. This can be done by vibrations, lights, or waving in their line of vision. 
  • Look directly at the Deaf or Hard of Hearing student during a conversation, even when an interpreter is present. Speak normally, without shouting. If you have problems being understood, rephrase your thoughts. Writing is a good way to clarify.
  • Make sure that your face is clearly visible. Keep your hands away from your face and mouth while speaking.
  • Maintain eye contact. If you turn away from a Deaf or Hard of Hearing student, pause your conversation until eye contact is re-established.
  • Use facial expressions and gestures to help clarify your message. Pointing to appropriate objects or using visual aids can also be very helpful.
  • If you are in a group situation, only one person should be talking at a time.
  • Circular seating arrangements offer Deaf or Hard of Hearing students the best advantage for seeing all class participants.
  • Allow the student the same anonymity as other students (ie. Avoid pointing out the student or the alternative arrangements to the rest of the class).
  • When in doubt about how to assist the student, ask them.
  • Common accommodations for Deaf or Hard of Hearing students include sign language or oral interpreters, assistive listening devices, signaling devices (e.g., a flashing light to alert individuals to a door knock or ringing telephones), priority registration, early syllabus, note takers, and captions for films and videos.

Disabilities Impacting Mobility

Suggestions for working with students with disabilities impacting mobility:

  • Most students who use wheelchairs will ask for assistance if needed. Don’t automatically assume that assistance is required. 
  • If a classroom or faculty office is inaccessible it is necessary to make the area accessible to the student or locate an alternate class site that is accessible.
  • If breaks between their classes are short, a student who uses a wheelchair or has difficulty walking may frequently be a few minutes late. Do not penalize the student for being late.
  • In a class that involves fieldwork or a field trip, ask the student to participate in the selection of sites and modes of transportation. Announce field trips early so that students can plan ahead for their transportation. Do not penalize student if they are unable to attend.
  • Classes taught in lab settings usually require some modifications of work stations. Considerations include furniture with a universal design. Working directly with the student is the best way to determine needed modifications.
  • Ask the student if they will need assistance during an emergency evacuation and assist in making a plan if necessary.
  • Common accommodations for students with disabilities impacting mobility include priority registration, note takers, accessible classroom/location/furniture, and alternative ways of completing assignments, lab or library assistants, assistive computer technology, and testing accommodations.

Systemic Disabilities (Cancer, Diabetes, MS, etc.)

Suggestions for working with students with systemic disabilities:

  • Students affected by systemic disabilities differ from those with other disabilities because systemic disabilities are often unstable. This causes a person's condition to vary; therefore, the need for and type of reasonable accommodations may also change.
  • The condition of a student with a medical disability may fluctuate over time, causing the need for a type of accommodation to vary.
  • Some of these conditions may cause the student to exceed an attendance policy. 
  • A student may need to leave the classroom early and unexpectedly; The faculty should be accommodating with this.
  • Ask the student if they will need assistance during an emergency evacuation and assist in making a plan if necessary.
  • Some common accommodations for students with systemic disabilities include conveniently located parking, note takers, extended time to complete a task, flexible deadlines, relocation of a meeting or class, early syllabus, priority registration, and testing accommodations.

For more assistance on how to create the best possible classroom and learning environment visit The Faculty Room or contact SAS to discuss solutions.