- To set academic standards
- To evaluate the student based on the standards of the class and to grade accordingly
- To advise the student to contact DSPS if the student requests an accommodation and
the instructor has not received written notification from the DSPS office
- To work with DSPS to provide for accommodations in a fair and timely way
- To adjust instruction without fundamentally altering the program
- To provide handouts in a timely way for alternate media provision
- To select textbooks in a timely way so that e-text can be ordered from the publisher
- To respect and maintain a student's right to confidentiality about his/her disability by not announcing or discussing the student's disability in the presence of other students or staff
- To contact the DSPS office if there is disagreement about the accommodation
- To work with DSPS to ensure that instructional web pages are accessible to students who use assistive technology
- To work with DSPS to ensure that instructional videos/DVDs are captioned
- To post materials on school websites in an accessible format for students
- To ensure that test accommodations do not impact lecture time or other course meeting requirements
The accommodation process will vary depending upon the following factors: the type of accommodation provided, the setting for the accommodation, the student’s disability, and the instructor’s comfort level in working with students with disabilities.
The following examples demonstrate varying levels of instructor involvement in the accommodation process. The examples are not designed to guide the selection of accommodations for a particular student.
Accommodations which require little or no involvement by the instructor
Recording class lectures and discussions might be a necessary accommodation for some students. If DSPS approves use of a recording device for a student, faculty must allow it. Recording devices are specifically mentioned in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act as a means of providing full participation in educational programs and activities. As a general rule, any classroom material on which a student typically would take notes might be recorded. Occasionally, classroom discussion reveals items of a personal nature about students. If open discussions tend to reveal personal information, it would be appropriate to ask the student with a disability to turn off the recording device during these discussions.
A student with a physical disability who cannot use the standard classroom desks might need to use a chair designated for that individual. The instructor’s role might be simply to assist the student in reserving the chair for his/her use.
Accommodations which require the instructor to be minimally involved
Note taking devices
A blind student might use a braille note taking device which stores information electronically. The instructor would need to remember to verbalize what s/he writes on the board or to describe verbally other items used in instruction.
A note taker, who might or might not be a student enrolled in your course, attends each class session in order to take notes for a student with a disability. You can assist by helping DSPS identify students who could act as note takers, some notetakers may qualify for priority course registration as an incentive (see DSPS).
Assistive listening devices
Some students with hearing impairments use assistive listening devices which amplify and transmit sound. Usually the person speaking wears some type of microphone, which transmits sound directly to a receiver being worn by the student. The instructor might be asked to wear a transmitter or microphone during class. Faculty might also need to restate questions or comments that are made by other students so that this information is transmitted to the student with the hearing impairment.
Interpreters or Real-Time Captioning
Students who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing might use an American Sign Language interpreter or a Real-Time Captioner who transcribes the lecture so that the student can access instruction and participate in classroom discussion. The instructor should speak directly to the person who is deaf or hard of hearing rather than to the interpreter.
Extended time on tests
When a recommended accommodation is additional time on tests, instructors might choose to proctor the exam themselves or arrangements can be made to have DSPS proctor the exams at a distraction-reduced site.
Accommodations which require more significant involvement by the instructor
Testing in different format or alternative methods of recording answers
In some circumstances, an alternative testing method will be an approved accommodation for a student. Some disabilities make it very difficult to accurately fill out a Scantron or other computer-scored answer sheet. On a multiple-choice exam an instructor might need to permit a student to circle his or her answers on the test document. The instructor will then need to hand-score the exam. Other examples include permitting a student to speak answers into a recording device or to a scribe or to type answers on a word processor.
Alternative testing formats
Permitting students to show their knowledge or mastery of the subject matter by using an alternative testing method might be a necessary accommodation, provided that the change in method doesn't fundamentally alter the education program. For example, permitting an oral exam in lieu of a written exam might be permissible unless the purpose of the exam is also to test the writing ability of the student. Likewise, permitting an essay exam in lieu of a multiple-choice exam or vice versa might be acceptable in some situations.
Adaptations such as these ensure evaluation of the student’s achievement in the course, rather than reflecting the student’s impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills.
Providing technical vocabulary
Technical vocabulary might be unfamiliar to students and an interpreter. Preparing a list of such terms will help students and interpreters keep up with the lecture.
Academic accommodations should not be used to lower academic standards. They are, rather, changes to a classroom environment or task that are necessary to provide equal opportunity to eligible students with disabilities. Accommodations are designed to assist students in overcoming functional limitations resulting from their disability. Students with disabilities will still be responsible for meeting course and conduct requirements.
Under the ADA, a "fundamental alteration" is a change that is so significant that it alters the essential nature of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations offered.
If you feel that an accommodation fundamentally alters a course and/or program, please contact the Director to discuss the process of completing the Determination of Fundamental Alteration of Course/Program form.
What is a Service Animal?
Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog or miniature horse that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task performed by the dog must be directly related to the to the person’s disability.
Are Faculty/Staff allowed to ask an individual about their service animal’s purpose if one enters their office or classroom?
No, only Public Safety can as two questions permitted by law. Faculty/staff cannot ask a person about their disability or their service animal.
What are some basic etiquette rules for service animals and their handlers?
- Do not feed or pet service animals when you see them on campus
- Do not try to separate the handler from service animal
- Do not harass or startle a service animal
What needs to happen if a service animal is behaving aggressively towards their handler or others, or if there are other concerns around the service animal’s behavior?
Call Public Safety at SLO: 805-546-3205/NCC: 805-591-6205
Do service animals have to wear a vest or patch or special harness identifying them as service animals?
No, the ADA does not require service animals to wear a vest, ID tag or specific harness.
Do service animals need to be on a leash?
The ADA requires that service animals be under the control of the handler at all times. The service animal must be harnessed, leashed or tethered while in public places unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the person’s disability prevents the use of these devices. In that case, the person must use voice, signal or other effective means to maintain control of the animal.
For further reference please review the ADA guidance provided by the DOJ or, for questions, please contact the DSPS Director.
Currently, DSPS is not proctoring tests in the testing center. Please contact DSPS if you have any questions about testing accommodations.
Distance Learning Accommodations (for courses conducted entirely online)
- The student will send the course instructor a faculty notification letter via the DSPS Student Portal AIM. The testing accommodation (extension of time allowed) is outlined in this letter and serves as authorization for the instructor to increase the test/quiz time.
- A DSPS test form is not used for a test/quiz conducted online.
- If the instructor needs assistance setting up the testing accommodation, please contact the DSPS testing services office.
How to extend time in Canvas
Visit the module page in the Canvas Teacher Community.
How to modify proctored online exams
Students using the Kurzweil text-to-speech browser extension may not be able to access exam content without disabling Proctorio features.
If the students need to open the program while in the exam, or if they need to open it in a new tab, please make sure that the "Force Full Screen" and "Disable New Tabs" settings are not enabled.
In addition to that, "Disable Clipboard", "Disable Right Click", and "Disable Printing" must also be disabled so that the students can highlight the sentences.
Alternate Media Services allows students to obtain classroom materials in alternate form such as braille, tactile graphics, enlarged print and electronic text. Materials converted to electronic text can be utilized in a variety of programs that allow for student accommodations. For questions regarding alternative media, please contact the DSPS Alternate Media Facilitator.
- When talking with a person with a disability, speak directly to that person rather than through a companion or sign language interpreter.
- When introduced to a person with a disability, it is appropriate to offer to shake hands. People with limited hand use or who wear an artificial limb can usually shake hands. (Shaking hands with the left hand is an acceptable greeting.)
- When meeting a person who is visually impaired, always identify yourself and others who might be with you.
- When conversing in a group, remember to identify the person to whom you are speaking.
- If you offer assistance, wait until the offer is accepted. Then listen to or ask for instructions.
- Treat adults as adults. Address people who have disabilities by their first names only when extending the same familiarity to all others.
- Leaning on or hanging on to a person’s wheelchair is similar to leaning or hanging on to a person and is generally considered annoying. The chair is part of the personal body space of the person who uses it. Never patronize people who use wheelchairs by patting them on the head or shoulder.
- Listen attentively when you’re talking with a person who has difficulty speaking. Be patient and wait for the person to finish, rather than correcting or speaking for the person. If necessary, ask short questions that require short answers, a nod or shake of the head. Never pretend to understand if you are having difficulty doing so. Instead, repeat what you have understood and allow the person to respond. The response will clue you and guide your understanding.
- When speaking with a person who uses a wheelchair or a person who uses crutches, place yourself at eye level in front of the person to facilitate the conversation.
- To get the attention of a person who is deaf, tap the person on the shoulder or wave your hand. Look directly at the person and speak clearly, slowly, and expressively to determine if the person can read your lips. Not all people who are deaf can read lips. For those who do lip read, place yourself so that you face the light source and keep hands, cigarettes and food away from your mouth when speaking.
- Above all, relax! It’s okay to use accepted common expressions, for example to invite a person in a wheelchair to “go for a walk” or to ask a blind person if he “sees what you mean.” Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you’re unsure of what to do. DSPS is committed to helping you and the student succeed together.
Words with Dignity
- Person with a disability
- Person who has multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy
- Person with epilepsy or seizure disorder
- Person who has muscular dystrophy
- Person who uses a wheelchair
- Person who is blind
- Person who is deaf or hard of hearing
- Person who is unable to speak or uses synthetic speech
- Person with psychological
Words to Avoid
- Handicapped/crippled/the disabled; physically/mentally challenged
- Afflicted by MS, victim of CP
- Epileptic fits
- Stricken by MD
- Restricted/confined to a wheelchair; wheelchair bound. (The chair enables mobility. Without the chair, the person might be confined to bed.)
- The blind
- Suffers a hearing loss, the deaf
- Dumb, mute. (Inability to speak does not indicate lowered intelligence.)
- Crazy, insane, nuts