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Accommodations

Accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

  • Sign language interpreters and CART services
  • In-class notetakers
  • In-class academic testing accommodations
  • Alternative print services
  • Laboratory assistants
  • Variance from degree requirements

Services may include, but are not limited to:

  • Academic and career consultation
  • Campus referrals
  • Community referrals
  • Enrollment information and academic advisement referrals
  • Video phones
  • Adaptive technology

Testing Accommodations

The process of determining reasonable and appropriate testing accommodations for qualified students with disabilities is a collaborative one between Disability Services, faculty, and the qualified student. It is the responsibility of Disability Services to determine student eligibility for accommodations, to recommend reasonable and appropriate accommodations for each class, and to facilitate approved accommodations in consultation with the student and faculty. It is the responsibility of faculty to determine the course standards and to design appropriate methods to measure student knowledge. It is the responsibility of the student to request accommodations in a timely manner, to ensure that Disability Services official testing forms are delivered to or received by faculty, to inform them that certain individual accommodations may be necessary, and to communicate any changes to Disability Services.

Students must provide required disability documentation to Disability Services clearly supporting the need for testing accommodations. The Director of Disability Services will evaluate the documentation, determine eligibility for testing accommodations and meet with students on an individual basis to discuss reasonable and appropriate options. Disability Services arranges and implements testing accommodations for qualified students with disabilities, which may include:

  • Extended testing time (Note: The purpose of accommodation is equal access, not advantage. In making recommendations for extended testing time, Disability Services professional staff consider both student need for a reasonable time extension and fairness to the other students in the class. For this reason, untimed testing is not considered a reasonable accommodation.)
  • Use of a qualified reader, scribe, adaptive equipment, interpreter, or alternative print format
  • A test instrument restructured by the faculty member
  • A quiet or private room.

Disability Services uses official forms to authorize testing, contact faculty, and confirm testing arrangements.

Test Administration Responsibility

Instructors may choose to administer their own tests, quizzes and exams. They should consult with Disability Services regarding appropriate accommodations and test administration procedures.

Disability Services works in conjunction with the Assessment Office to administer academic examinations requiring private rooms, alternative print format, readers, interpreters, scribes, or adaptive equipment. However, Disability Services may not be able to provide scribes or readers in some technical fields (e.g., some foreign language, mathematics, science, and computer courses). Consequently, faculty may need to provide qualified personnel (e.g., graduate assistant, TA, or otherwise qualified student) to administer these examinations at Disability Services or another approved site.

Accommodations in Campus Computer Labs

USAO ensures federally mandated physical and program access for qualified students with disabilities in all USAO computer lab facilities commensurate with the general student population. Although the university may choose to provide a separate facility for students with disabilities, this does not replace the institutional obligation to provide program access in other facilities on campus.

Computer lab site program accessibility should include the following considerations: service delivery, setup procedures, employee responsibilities and training programs, budget allocations, publication conversions, and maintenance and upgrade strategies. Minimal ADA compliance includes: access to computer sites/technology, hardware, software, print materials (e.g., instructions, informational signs, and manuals), and lab assistance.

Although sites must be accessible, it is not necessary for all stations to be accessible. In order to meet computing needs for students with disabilities, it is important to compile available information on the number of students with disabilities who are likely to use each computer site on a year-by-year basis and to predict the types and numbers of accommodations most likely to be requested. It is also imperative to have adequate lead time to research, coordinate, fund, and implement appropriate accommodations.

Although it may take several years to implement full campus-wide computer site accessibility, each department must understand that if a student requires accommodations at a site, the department supporting the site, as well as the department offering the class or activity, are obligated to provide accommodations for the student with a disability on a timely basis, meaning at the same time other members of a class are receiving access and information.

Alternative Format Services

Textbook/print conversion is a time-intensive process, especially for technical subject matter, and can require up to four months (e.g., mathematics, science, foreign language texts) to complete. To facilitate the availability of these accommodations from the first day of class, students must enroll in classes as soon as possible, provide qualifying disability documentation to Disability Services, meet the accommodation request deadlines, and follow specified procedures. Disability Services staff authorize the following services:

  • Facilitate the ordering and acquisition of recorded textbooks from Learning Ally and other sources.
  • Provide recorded portions of textbooks and class handouts for students.
  • Produce certain class materials in alternative formats (e.g., Braille, E-Text, audio text, and large print).

Eligible students can access adaptive equipment on campus. Students requiring enlarged text may use text enlargers and computers with text enlargement software in select areas on campus.

Following a review of the text to be converted and the nature of academic assignments, all printed materials are produced in a format approved by the Disability Services.

Students with personal Learning Ally memberships are responsible for acquiring and returning their own Learning Ally audio-recorded or digital texts. Students who are accessing Learning Ally tapes or digital recordings through the USAO Disability Services institutional membership must return borrowed tapes or digital recordings to Disability Services. The Disability Services staff is available to assist with problems and for backup when tapes or digital recordings do not arrive as scheduled.

Interpreting Services 

USAO provides federally mandated interpreting services and other accommodations for qualified students who are deaf/hard-of-hearing. Services involve a variety of language modes, including American Sign Language (ASL). These services are provided by qualified staff and hourly staff interpreters, or in some cases, freelance agencies. Deaf/hard-of-hearing students may use available interpreting services and/or have access to FM radio systems.

The university is responsible for funding all interpreting services related to all enrolled degree and non-degree students. These services are provided for all academic courses and course-related activities such as internships, field trips, and co-curricular activities. If the academic or co-curricular program includes expenses (e.g., travel, per diem, and lodging expenses) beyond the actual cost of the disability accommodation, the sponsoring department is responsible for the extra costs.

Students must provide required disability documentation, which includes a current audiogram. Services are requested in advance through Disability Services.

All student interpreting services requests are processed through Disability Services. Requests are processed on a first-come, first-served basis with a priority given to currently enrolled students. Questions about USAO interpreting services may be directed to Disability Services responsible for deaf/hard-of-hearing accommodations on that campus.

The need for interpreting services for academic classes takes priority over co-curricular activities and students must follow applicable Disability Services procedures to submit all requests.

Interpreting services through Disability Services are not available for public activities.

Note-Taking Accommodations 

Students must provide required disability documentation to Disability Services that clearly supports the need for note-taking accommodations. Notetakers are solicited, in class, on a volunteer basis.

If no one volunteers as an in-class notetaker, or if the notetaker notifies the student in advance that he or she will be absent, Disability Services implements backup note-taking procedures.

Note: Students are required to attend class in order to receive class notes.

Adaptive Equipment Checkout 

Qualified students with disabilities may be eligible to check out adaptive equipment from Disability Services. Students must provide required disability documentation to Disability Services. Disability Services will evaluate the documentation, verify eligibility, and authorize the service.

The assistive technology available for checkout is provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Disability Services does not provide televisions, large screen monitors, computers, computer accommodations, screen readers, or alternative input or output devices for enrolled USAO students with disabilities who take USAO classes from their homes.

Students checking out equipment are responsible for battery replacement in battery-operated equipment and the care and security of equipment during the term of the loan. Lost, stolen, or damaged equipment must be reported to Disability Services, immediately. Police reports must be filed for stolen equipment.

Before receiving equipment, students must sign an equipment loan form. The length of checkout varies according to the type of adaptive equipment, student need, and equipment demand. The equipment loan agreement specifies a return date. Failure to meet the return deadline will result in a complaint being filed with Student Judicial Affairs. Enrollment, grade reports, and permission to graduate will be put on administrative hold until borrowed equipment is returned.

Laboratory Accommodations 

USAO provides federally mandated laboratory accommodations, including laboratory aides and specialized adaptive equipment, for qualified students with disabilities. To qualify, students must provide required documentation to Disability Services that clearly supports the need for laboratory accommodations.

The departments supporting the laboratory and/or offering the course or activity are obligated to provide accommodations in a timely manner.

Qualified laboratory aides may provide assistance in completing in-class laboratory assignments as directed by the student, but they are not a source of information for the student. A qualified laborator aide is a person who has adequate knowledge and physical ability to follow and implement the student’s directives for the required lab.

Disability Services suggests that faculty announce, on the first day of class each semester, their willingness to make any necessary accommodations for students with disabilities, and their availability to discuss any student requests during posted office hours.

 

Variance from Degree Requirements 

As appropriate, variance from degree requirements in the form of course equivalency alternatives will be recommended on an individual basis for qualified students with disabilities who have met the academic and technical standards deemed essential to their degree program.

Full-Time Enrollment Equivalency

On a semester-by-semester and individual student-request basis, Disability Services will determine eligibility for and recommend full-time enrollment equivalency for qualified students (i.e., full-time student status when registered for less than the number of credit hours defined by the university as full time). Under no circumstances will a full-time equivalency be recommended for credit hours totaling less than half time as published in the university catalog.

Supporting documentation will be required for each semester a full-time equivalency is requested. The documentation must be current and should be submitted at the time the request for consideration of full-time equivalency is made.

Appropriate university offices will receive a completed and signed Full-Time Enrollment Equivalency Verification Form from the eligible student or Disability Services upon its approval. Each university office will determine what administrative benefits, if any, students may be eligible for based on the recommendation for a full-time equivalency. A Disability Services recommendation for full-time enrollment equivalency does not apply to or exempt a qualified student from meeting satisfactory academic progress requirements established by the university or department/degree program. Students should consult with their academic adviser to ensure they are meeting these standards.

Students are strongly encouraged to request full-time equivalency as an accommodation prior to the first week of any trimester to facilitate campus services that would be significantly affected otherwise (Financial Aid, Registrar’s Office, etc.).