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Accommodating Students with Disabilities

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  1. Accommodating Students with Disabilities Presented by: Disability Resource Services Staff and Individuals with Disabilities Advisory Committee “You are the Key to Accessibility” Developed by Utah State University, Project supported by a grant from U.S. Department of Education Office of Post Secondary Education. P33A990006

  2. Student Affairs and other non-instructional staff need to be informed about disability laws and recent legal decisions that impact post-secondary education. How does this affect your unit?

  3. In General everyone is responsible for: • Meeting legal mandates • Having accessibility statements in publications • Providing alternative formats when requested • Paying for accommodations • Looking at each request on a case by case basis • Maintaining confidentiality • Having resource/referral information available Disability Resource Services is available as a resource. Feel free to contact us.

  4. Who pays for accommodations? • It depends on institutional policy. • The institution has the responsibility for the accommodations. • The federal government doesn’t care who makes the arrangements or where the money comes from. • What is important is that the accommodation is in place if appropriately requested.

  5. Admissions • Prohibition against pre-admission inquiry. • Application process, forms, brochures, etc. • – accessible?? • Eligibility Criteria. • Use of standardized testing in making admission decision. • Confidentiality: Documentation may be sent to the admissions office • – needs to be sent to designated office (DRS)

  6. Financial Aid • Reduced Course Load and Full Time Status • Disability related expenses can be factored into the cost of schooling. • Don’t discount work study opportunities for students with disabilities.

  7. Financial Aid con’t. • The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) -- has individuals who are knowledgeable about financial aid issues for students with disabilities. Contact Joan Berkes at: (202) 785-0453 or at: • Heath Resource Center has information about scholarships for people with disabilities. • The DVR agency may be able to help pay for tuition, books and fees.

  8. Records and Registration • Students with a legitimate disability-related need may qualify to take a lowered course load without jeopardizing their full-time status and/or pre-register for classes. • Not every student with a disability needs or should be given a reduced course load or be able to pre-register. • Not all students that need a reduced course load one semester need it the next semester. • The purpose of these accommodations is not to make life easier but to give equal access.

  9. Residence Life • When making room assignments you need to know the ramifications of the student’s disability and functional levels. • Providing a single room may be a reasonable accommodation and should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

  10. That leads to many questions… • When is a private room an accommodation and when is it a benefit for the person with a disability? • What payment plan should be in effect? • ETC…

  11. Questions are ok but… • You need information so you have to ask questions… very specific questions. • The issue becomes WHEN can you ask the questions. WHEN is really not so difficult. You ask when the request has been made.

  12. No question that it is appropriate for a blind student to have a guide dog in residence. Who let the dogs in? • All service animals must adhere to the same standards of behavior of all guide dogs.

  13. Dining Services • If a student has a very restricted diet due to a medical condition how should their request for a special diet on the meal plan be handled?

  14. What to eat? • An individually prepared diet could be denied based on it not being a reasonable accommodation. • An advanced request for access to the menus and/or ingredients would appear to be reasonable. • However, changing the rules to allow a student to access the diet he/she needs is reasonable.

  15. Counseling & Testing, Student Health Center, Student Life and Advising • Are your programs responding to the mandate for access under the ADA? • Clarify what opportunity/programs you are providing. • Whatever you are providing must be accessible to the individual with a disability.

  16. Communication • Does the student truly understand what you are saying and vice versa? (Verbal vs. Non-verbal language disability) • Is a Sign Language interpreter needed during a counseling session? (Hearing Impairment) • Is the student having difficulty maintaining a train of thought? (ADHD) • Is the student able to retain information? Do you provide written analysis or instructions/recommendations? (Memory deficits – LD, ADHD, brain injury, medication based memory issues)

  17. Other things to keep in mind: • Level of counseling needs to be the same for all students. • Wheelchair accessibility. • Students with disabilities must adhere to the same behavioral and academic standards as everyone else. • Do not assume that being disabled is the central focus of the individual’s personality or actions. Most of the counseling issues brought to you by students with disabilities will have nothing to do with their disability.

  18. Student Activities and Centers • All events and activities must be accessible. • If open to the public, accommodations must be provided for them also. • Announcements, publicity, posters, etc. should give a phone number of contact person who is responsible for ensuring access.

  19. Off-Campus Programming • If UW-L sponsors classes, programs or activities in private facilities, steps should be taken to use facilities which are accessible. Contractual or lease agreements shall reflect efforts to ensure accessibility.

  20. Student Organizations • Institutionally sponsored Student Organizations are subject to Title II of the ADA.

  21. Athletics, Intramurals & Recreational Sports • Qualified students with disabilities who are participants in College programs or activities shall be provided with an equal opportunity to participate. • Reduced course load for eligibility…

  22. Title 1 EmploymentTitle 1 of the ADA prohibits discrimination in regard to employment (public or private).application process hiring/firing compensation advancement training any other terms, conditions or privileges of employment Career Services & Human Resources

  23. A “qualified individual with a disability” • Has skills, experience, and education. • Meets job-related requirements of a position. • Can perform the essential functions of that position, with or without reasonable accommodation.

  24. What is a reasonable accommodation? Modifications or adjustments to the job duties that enable a qualified applicant with a disability to perform the job duties. What is an essential function? A job task that is fundamental to the position.

  25. What can career services personnel do? • Help students understand that the ADA is a tool not a weapon in securing employment. • Convey to students that they need to be informed and current on available technologies that can be used to accommodate their disabilities in the workplace.

  26. Most importantly you can: • Become knowledgeable about the ADA so you can answer questions, help students prepare for their job search, and, at the very least, point them in the right direction where they might go to learn. • Federal law prohibits directing someone with a disability into a more restrictive career path because of their disability.

  27. To tell or not to tell. One of the biggest decisions facing job applicants with a hidden disability is: Should I disclose to the employer that I have a disability and if yes, when and how?

  28. International Education What do we know? • The laws refer “to any qualified person with a disability in the U.S…” this includes international students attending UW-L. • Exclusion from programs … • No control or authority over physical access outside the U.S. • Not obligated to forego opportunities just because the facility is not accessible. • Sponsoring school (school where registration for program is financed, i.e. – continuing education) is responsible for making every effort to try to facilitate participation despite problems in access from host site. • Programmatic aspects of access that can be reasonably provided should be provided.

  29. Information Technology Postsecondary Issues Involving Assistive Technology: • Faculty and staff members refuse to allow technology assisted accommodations requested for a student by the disabled student service office. • Denying accommodations involving computers and word processors with spell checking programs for testing purposes.

  30. Campus Planning & Development Existing Facilities • Redesign of equipment and/or facility requires an individual case review. • Need consideration for provision of appropriate signage. • Reassignment of services to accessible buildings. • Delivery of advisory, and support services at accessible sites needs to be in compliance with ADA and Uniform Building Codes. • All remodeling projects must be consistent with the Uniform Building Codes.

  31. New Construction • must be designed and built so as to be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. During the planning stages of new construction, the executive body in charge of the construction project shall have responsibility for seeking input from the ADA Advisory committee, Disability Resource Services, and persons with disabilities regarding accessibility of any new building. ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG)

  32. Perceptions and Attitudes are the real barrier • Revising our perceptions and attitudes is the first step in accommodating students who learn or perform in ways that are different from others. • It is vital to remember that similarities among all students are much more significant than their differences: we are dealing, first and foremost, with students.

  33. What can you do to change this perception? • Be visible in your welcome to all students.

  34. Post a sign like this. This information is available in alternate media on request

  35. Or like this. Please let us know if we can assist you in some way.

  36. Get the word out! Include topics on how to deal with issues of disability at workshops. Include photos of people with disabilities in publications. In workshop advertising mention issues of disability as a topic.

  37. Disability Access Statement Is the single mosteffective practice to providing access, as well as protect the university in providing reasonable accommodations. • “To request disability accommodations, please contact (name, dept. address,phone) • This publication is available in alternative formats upon request. please contact (name, dept. address,phone)

  38. So the Buck has been passed to you • Institutions often pass the payment of accommodation back to the individual unit. (UW-L has a policy) • This increases the possibility that the student with a disability, will be discouraged or denied access.

  39. In the End… • The best response to these issues may be to fall back on the philosophical issues that drove the passage and implementation of the ADA. • Whether or not full participation is legally required is open to discussion, but everyone agrees it is the right thing to do. • Our society’s emphasis on human rights and human dignity suggest that people be acknowledged for their abilities and respected for their contributions-current and future.