Frequently Asked Questions

 

DEPARTMENT OF ACCESSIBILITY

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for disability services?

Students who meet the Americans with Disabilities qualified criteria.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has a three-part definition of disability. Under ADA, an individual with a disability is a person who: (1) has a physical or mental impairment that 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.  Students requesting services and accommodations are required to register by submitting documentation of the medical, psychological and/or learning disability from a qualified practitioner that clearly states a diagnosis and provides supporting information of the need for accommodations.  Services and accommodations are determined by the manner in which the disability creates a barrier to equal participation in programs and services.

What is an accommodation?

An accommodation is a modification, adjustment, or elimination of a barrier to a program or services to enable a disabled individual to participate on an equitable basis.  Examples are extended time for test-taking, quiet testing environment,  note takers, assistive technology, etc.

How do I know if a student is registered with the Department of Accessibility?

Students are asked to provide the Accessibility Office with their class schedules each semester.  Where appropriate, a letter with specific recommendations for accommodation(s) will be prepared by the Accessibility Counselor for the student to hand-deliver to his/her instructor(s).  This is done to promote dialogue.  If a student comes to you requesting accommodations outside of the above procedure, you should ask that the student contact the Accessibility Office. This is done to protect both you and the University.

What should I do if I receive a notification letter from Accessibility about a disabled student?

When a student discloses her/his disability to you, you should meet with the student and establish a means of providing the indicated accommodation(s) that is satisfactory to you and the student.  Remember: the object is not to make the class easier, but to make it equal for all students.

What should I do if I know that a student would qualify for disability services, but the student has not contacted me about the need for accommodations?

Instructors are responsible for providing reasonable accommodations in a timely manner.  Students are responsible for making a specific request for reasonable accommodations directly to the instructors.  Instructors are not expected to anticipate the special needs of a student. Notification letters are provided to the student to hand-deliver to the instructors to address their special circumstances.  Many students find that accommodations are not needed in a class, so they choose not to meet with you to discuss their disability.  You are not responsible for providing accommodations to a student unless that student “self proclaims” with a notification letter from the Accessibility Office.  A highly recommended practice would be to document any unusual circumstance, including the student’s behavior, taking place in your classroom.  This will promote both a reporting mechanism to Student Services and can protect you in case of possible threat of legal action. If you see a student struggling, we welcome new referrals to the office of Accessibility. If we are unable to help, we can link students to resources within the community.

What should I do if the student has requested an accommodation but I haven’t received a letter of notification from the Dept. of Accessibility?

Please refer the student to the Accessibility Office. It is the responsibility of the student to self-proclaim disability.

How do I know if the accommodations are reasonable?

Students are expected to fulfill the essential academic functions (your Syllabus) of the course.  Accommodations are developed to modify barriers caused by the disability to enable the student to participate or to be evaluated on an equal basis as their non-disabled peers.  Accommodations are not intended to alter the requirements of the course. If you have questions about the appropriateness of a request for accommodation, you should contact our office for clarification. 

Who is responsible for accommodations?

Instructors who have been contacted by the student are required to fulfill the accommodation requested. Any faculty member who fails to do so may be held liable for this noncompliance.

What assistance is available to me when testing accommodations are requested?

The most commonly requested accommodation is extended time for test-taking.  If taking the test in the classroom or elsewhere in your building is not possible, students may take the test in the Rhodes Testing Center.  Students who need tests read aloud are best served when you administer the test, but the Accessibility staff and the Testing Center are willing to assist in these cases.

What is the policy on confidentially?

Information regarding students with disabilities is confidential.  For example, if a non-disabled student questions why a classmate is given more time to take a test, you should simply respond that an accommodation is being made for the student.

And what if I have other questions about this?

Feel free to contact Kelly Bonice (kbonice@rio.edu) at 245-7439 or Marshall Kimmel (mkimmel@rio.edu) at 245-7339.

Edited 1/30/14