This guide was created to assist faculty members in understanding the needs of students with disabilities in higher education and to provide information about accommodations that ensure equal access to curricular and co-curricular activities.
Visit the Disability and Accessibility Resources homepage for additional information or contact us at 616.395.7925 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We encourage you to read this guide in its entirety and reference it as needed.
Table of Contents.
- Confidentiality and Disclosure of Information
- Syllabus Statement
- Disability and Accessibility Resources Purpose and Process
- Supporting Students with Disabilities
- Rights and Responsibilities
- Accommodating Disabilities
- Specific Disabilities
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Blindness and Low Vision
- Chronic Medical Conditions
- Deafness or Hard of Hearing
- Suggestions for Working with Sign Language Interpreters and Cued Speech Transliterators
- Learning Disabilities and Cognitive Impairments
- Psychological and Emotional Disabilities
- Temporary Disabilities
- Test Proctoring through DAR
- Essential Course Components
- Disability and Grievance Procedure for Students
- Dispute Resolution for Faculty
- Failure to Deliver Proper Accommodations
- Resources and Links
- On-Campus Student Resources
Disability and Accessibility Resources (DAR, pronounced D.A.R.) strives to ensure that students with disabilities have similar experiences, opportunities, and access to information as fully, equally, and independently as peers without disabilities. We do this by promoting and advocating for accessibility. When barriers are still present, we discern appropriate accommodations to ensure access to academics, programs, services, student life, and the Hope College community. DAR addresses all types of needs (e.g., academics, housing, food allergies, etc.), whether the disability is permanent or temporary.
Laws that helped establish Disability and Accessibility Resources
Hope College is committed to upholding the letter and spirit of the laws that ensure non-discrimination and equal access for people with disabilities. The College has established DAR as the office responsible for determining reasonable accommodations and providing disability-related services to students that afford equal access to college programs and activities. The federal laws that provide guidance to DAR regarding accommodations are The Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Fair Housing Act.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was established and made federal law in 1990 and amended in 2008 (ADAAA). The law prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications and telecommunications relay services.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects qualified individuals from discrimination based on disability. The nondiscrimination requirements of this federal law apply to employers and organizations that have received financial assistance from any federal department or agency. These include hospitals, nursing homes, mental health centers, institutions of higher education and human services programs. Section 504 forbids organizations and employers from excluding or denying individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to receive program benefits and services. It defines the rights of individuals to participate in, and have access to, programs, benefits and services.
Students with disabilities are admitted to Hope College under the same process and based on the same requirements as are other students. It is not mandatory for students to disclose a disability during the admissions process or at any point during their time at Hope. Disclosure of disabilities is always a voluntary process. However, in order to qualify for accommodations, students must self-identify as having a disability with DAR and, when appropriate, submit documentation. Any documentation is considered confidential and will be treated in accordance with federal and state regulations. This documentation is also kept separate from students’ general academic file; however, students may choose to share this documentation with another campus department at their own discretion. Information related to a disability may be disclosed by DAR only with the student’s permission or as permitted by federal law. Faculty and staff are advised that disability matters are confidential and should not be shared with others. Likewise, academic accommodations should be handled discreetly.
DAR encourages faculty to include a statement in their class syllabi about the procedures for obtaining disability-related accommodations. Below is an example statement:
- If you have questions about access or are a student needing accommodations for a disability, please contact me. I will ask that you connect with Disability and Accessibility Resources if you haven't already.
Questions or feedback can be directed to email@example.com.
“A powerful feat of imagination is to go beyond ‘welcoming’ disability and actively expecting it.” —Margaret Price
DAR exists to ensure that students with disabilities have similar experiences, opportunities and access to information as fully, equally and independently as do peers without disabilities. DAR fulfills its purpose by:
- Promoting accessible design in all aspects of campus life.
- Ensuring reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities.
- Promoting and supporting students in self-advocacy.
- Raising awareness about disabilities and accessibility among faculty, staff, and students.
In order to receive accommodations, students must register with DAR and, when appropriate, submit proper documentation. DAR will meet with students and review documentation to determine accommodations. The following are some of the questions DAR asks when determining eligibility and reasonable accommodations:
- Does the student meet the criteria of having a disability as defined by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008?
- How does the impairment impact the student’s ability to participate in educational programs and services (i.e., functional limitations)?
- What are possible accommodations, modifications and/or adjustments that might remove barriers?
- If the student did not receive accommodations, would he/she still have meaningful access to programs, services or activities?
- Would these accommodations compromise essential components of the course?
- Would these accommodations require a fundamental alteration in the nature of the programs, services or activities?
Students are responsible for initiating the interactive process and may meet with DAR staff at any point in the semester. Accommodations begin only after students have completed the process and do not cover situations retroactively. DAR may not be able to meet personal preferences but will provide reasonable accommodations for equal opportunity and access. DAR will not automatically approve accommodations recommended by healthcare providers.
DAR collaborates with faculty to provide reasonable, individualized accommodations and support services based on student self-disclosure, observations and third-party documentation. DAR can help facilitate conversations between faculty and students regarding implementing approved accommodations. Faculty should contact DAR about any questions or concerns.
If you’re not sure how to address a situation when a student self-discloses a disability or medical condition directly to you, or if a student is struggling, try to engage with him/her directly and share campus resources.
When a student discloses to you that he/she has a disability you might ask:
- What will that mean for you in my classroom?
- Is there anything about the class that you’re nervous or unsure about?
- Have you spoken with DAR about any accommodations you might need?
- Let me give you their contact information: Jeanne Lindell and Carrie Dattels at Disability and Accessibility Resources. You can call 616.395.7925, stop by Van Zoeren 261 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When a student is really struggling in your class, you might ask:
- (Student name), I’ve noticed that you are struggling with (name the skills/behaviors he/she is struggling with). What are your thoughts about that?
- (Student name), I have some ideas or resources that may be helpful to you. May I share them?
- Hope offers tutoring, counseling and other services to support students. Here is contact information for all of them. Would you like me to help you connect with any?
Academic Success Center (ASC)
616.395.7830 | VanZoeren 261
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
616.395.7945 | Bultman Student Center, Suite 203
Disability and Accessibility Resources (DAR)
616.395.7830 | VanZoeren 261
616.395.7585 | Dow Center
Campus compliance with the ADA is a shared responsibility. We all play an important role in providing students with disabilities equal access to academics, programs and facilities.
Disclosure of a disability is a voluntary process. Faculty do not have the right to ask students if they have a disability. Disability-related information shared by students should be treated and protected as confidential medical information. This includes oral communication, email and printed information. Academic accommodations should always be handled discreetly.
- Receive equal and fair treatment and be treated with respect and dignity.
- Receive equal access to educational and co-curricular programs, activities, services, jobs and facilities throughout the College.
- Given reasonable and effective accommodations for a disability after the completion of the interactive process.
- May request accommodations at any point during their time at Hope.
- Receive information in an accessible format.
- Treated with confidentiality regarding all documentation and educational records.
- Permitted to discuss problems related to accessibility and accommodation(s) with DAR staff and, if necessary, to seek redress through appropriate administrative channels.
- Self-identify as a qualified person with a disability and initiate the interactive process with DAR staff.
- Provide appropriate documentation as needed, according to DAR guidelines.
- Request accommodations in a timely manner to ensure that they are in place as soon as possible.
- Work collaboratively with DAR staff to determine reasonable accommodations.
- Act as self-advocate and monitor personal progress.
- Notify DAR about assistance with accommodation-related issues as soon as possible.
- Self-identify to faculty as a student with a disability to discuss learning needs in a confidential environment.
- Understand that requests for accommodations are not retroactive.
- Accommodations begin once registration has been completed and accommodations have been determined.
- Keep DAR updated with any changes to disability status.
- Request testing accommodations in a timely manner as needed for tests and quizzes.
- Follow all policies and procedures when using the DAR testing space.
- Abide by Hope’s Code for Academic Integrity, by which students pledge not to plagiarize, cheat, steal or lie in matters related to academic work.
- Notify DAR as soon as possible about needed textbooks or other printed materials in an alternative format.
- Contact DAR with any accessibility issues.
- Accept responsibility for a successful education. This includes maintaining satisfactory academic levels, attending classes, completing assignments, behaving appropriately and communicating regularly with appropriate offices and/or individuals regarding specific needs.
- Maintain the academic integrity of course content.
- Require students to demonstrate mastery of essential knowledge and competencies of course content.
- Expect the same behavior standards from each student in a course.
- Request verification of students’ eligibility for any requested academic accommodations. DAR is the only office designated to review disability documentation and determine eligibility for appropriate accommodations.
- Administer an accommodation only as approved by DAR. If students believe accommodations are not meeting disability-related needs, refer them back to DAR.
- Expect students to initiate accommodation requests.
- Expect DAR staff to administer exams in a secure and monitored environment.
- Maintain confidentiality.
- Identify and establish essential functions, skills, abilities and knowledge of course content and use this information to evaluate all students in a course.
- Provide accommodations only to students who are registered with and have accommodations approved by DAR.
- Refer students to DAR who have self-disclosed about a disability but may not be registered and could benefit from services.
- Provide students with accommodations as approved and outlined.
- Contact DAR to discuss any concerns about approved accommodations.
- Use a syllabus statement and class announcement to invite students to discuss privately their learning needs.
- Complete testing accommodation request forms.
- Be sure audio-visual materials are accessible. Contact DAR about questions about captioning or when needing help to create a transcript.
DAR serves as a central point for information and coordination to ensure equal access and full participation for students.
- Request and receive current documentation that supports requests for accommodations.
- Grant a requested accommodation with modification.
- Deny a request for accommodations if documentation and continued communication with a student indicates an unreasonable request.
- Request faculty to identify and establish essential components and functions of their courses, programs, services and activities, and to evaluate students on this basis.
- Deny an unreasonable accommodation, i.e., one that imposes a fundamental alteration of key components of a course or activity and places an undue burden on the College.
- Provide material to students with disabilities in accessible formats when requested.
- Ensure that Hope College courses and activities are available in the most integrated and appropriate settings.
- Assess students on their abilities, not their disabilities.
- Provide or arrange for reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities in Hope College courses and activities.
- Maintain confidentiality of communication and records unless permitted to share information or required by law.
- Provide students with access to a step-by-step grievance procedure.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADAAA), service animals must be allowed to accompany persons with disabilities in all areas of a facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, on a college campus, it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as residence halls, classrooms or dining halls. The ADAAA defines a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.
Who is responsible for the service animal?
- The care and liability of the service animal is the sole responsibility of the handler.
- The handler must have control of the service animal at all times. Generally, this will include the animal being leashed, unless a leash interferes with the animal’s ability to complete the trained task(s).
If the service animal barks, growls or poses a direct threat to others, the handler/student may be asked to remove the service animal from the classroom. However, this cannot be based on prior experience with or personal assumptions about animal behavior. Service animals are trained to remain calm in crowds and focus on their trained tasks.
May a student be asked about the service animal?
- If it is not apparent that an animal is indeed a service animal, it is acceptable to inquire if 1) the animal is needed for a disability and 2) what service or task the animal has been trained to perform. That's it. Others may not judge whether the animal is necessary or ask the student to provide documentation, inquire about the disability or ask for the animal to demonstrate a trained task.
- If a student has not answered these two questions satisfactorily, he/she may be asked to remove the animal. DAR should be contacted to ensure appropriate follow-up.
Where can a service animal walk on campus?
- Service animals are considered an extension of the handler and must be allowed to move through any public space that students usually have access to, including dining halls, sports facilities and transportation vehicles.
- If there is concern about a service animal entering an otherwise sterile environment (e.g., labs), DAR should be contacted.
- Restricted areas may include but are not limited to custodial closets, boiler rooms, facility equipment rooms, research laboratories, classrooms with research/demonstration animals, areas where protective clothing is necessary, sterile environments and areas outlined by state law as inaccessible to animals.
Can anyone pet a service animal?
- No one may engage with the service animal unless given express permission by the handler. While a service animal is out in public with its handler, it is “on the clock.”
- No one is obligated to feed or water the service animal during class; however, if offering a bowl of water is possible and desired, the handler should first be asked.
What are the differences between service animals and assistance animals?
|Service Animal||Assistance Animal|
|Service animals are dogs. The ADAAA includes a provision that allows for a modification to this definition to include miniature horses when they have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.||Assistance animals can be any type of animal or breed.|
|Service animals are trained to perform a specific task for an individual with a disability, including physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability. Tasks performed can include, among other things, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving items, alerting a person to a sound, reminding a person to take a medication or pressing an elevator button.||Assistance animals may not have any specific training, but may perform tasks, provide emotional support or alleviate functional limitations as a result of a disability.|
|Service animals are considered an extension of the handler, so they are allowed anywhere on campus with a few exceptions. They may be in the classroom, residence halls, cafeterias, athletic facilities, concert halls, etc.||Assistance animals are considered reasonable accommodations for housing. They are only allowed in the housing unit except when being taken out to relieve itself.|
|Individuals with service animals are not required to self-identify with DAR but are strongly encouraged to do so. Service animals living in campus housing must register with the Associate Dean as indicated in the Student Handbook and the Service and Assistance Animal Guidelines.||Assistance animals are considered reasonable accommodations in housing and, therefore, all requests for reasonable accommodations must be made through DAR. If the request is granted, assistance animals must register with Student Development as indicated in the Student Handbook and the Service and Assistance Animal Guidelines.|
|Service animals are defined by the ADAAA and regulated by the U.S. Department of Justice.||Assistance animals are defined by the Fair Housing Act and regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.|
The purpose of academic accommodations is to enable students to access information and ensure they demonstrate what they have learned rather than the effects of their disability. Reasonable accommodations refer to modifications or adjustments to the materials, tasks, methods or environment that allow students equal access to academic content, programs and student life. Students may use accommodations after they have completed the interactive process with DAR.
Faculty who need assistance implementing an accommodation without compromising academic standards or who believe the accommodation requested does constitute a fundamental alteration of an essential component of the program should contact DAR. Accommodations are subject to a reasonableness standard and are not appropriate in every circumstance.
Faculty should outline clear and measurable objectives for their course on a syllabus or on Moodle. To ensure that students are able to meet these objectives, faculty must provide equal access to classroom and course activities. In many cases, students with disabilities will need accommodations in order to make course content truly accessible and work with DAR to determine appropriate ones.
Below are the most frequent academic accommodations provided for students with disabilities as well as some teaching strategies to help faculty enhance accessibility.
- Extended time to take quizzes and tests (e.g., 1.5x, 2x).
- Teaching Strategy: Testing accommodations are directly impacted by the nature of the test and the kind of learning you hope to evaluate through it. Test planning can take place very early on in the course-planning process. As you put together your course, first consider the important concepts, principles and skills you want students to master. This will help you design your course with end results (student learning) in mind rather than specifics such as tests and assignments.
Once you have defined the learning outcomes and course goals, decide how your tests will fit into this larger context and write them accordingly.
Do the questions achieve course goals? Will the amount of time given to students allow them to show what they have learned? What is the best format for the test (e.g., multiple choice, take-home, Moodle, open-book)? The timing and format of a test can be just as important as the material being taught.
- Reduced-distraction environment for testing: The DAR testing space provides this through desk partitions, blank walls, noise-canceling technology and other available options (e.g., earplugs).
- Exemption from Scantron or Scantron Scribe: Students are allowed to write answers on the test packet or have the answers transferred to a Scantron by the test proctor.
- Use of a computer for word-processing responses to essays.
- Allowance of spelling errors on in-class work or tests: This accommodation should
be provided only if spelling is not an essential function of the course.
- Teaching Strategy: There is a difference between local errors and global errors. Local errors typically do not impede readers from understanding the text (e.g., basic misspellings, comma splices). Global errors often make the meaning unclear or incomprehensible. Severe misspellings that mask intended words could be considered global errors.
- Note taking assistance: DAR is committed to providing students with reasonable and effective accommodations. When note-taking assistance is granted, students have multiple options that may include electronic means, such as using a computer to take notes or an electronic device to audio-record lectures. For audio recording, students must first sign the Audio Record Agreement form. Faculty may request a copy of this agreement.
If deemed most appropriate and effective, in-person note takers may be approved. Students approved for this accommodation are responsible for requesting to use them for specific courses. DAR staff will ask and hire appropriate students in the course who regularly attend class, have legible handwriting and are engaged during lectures. Students may request a note taker at any point during the semester.
- In-class use of a computer to access books and/or take notes.
- Teaching Strategy: Technology has become a basic part of our daily lives. Computers and other electronic devices can make learning and class participation easier for all students. The many technology-based activities that could be used in the classroom include YouTube clips, iClickers and social media as a supplement to class discussion.
Technology should only be used in the classroom if it is helping, not interfering, with the learning-teaching process, since it risks students’ using it to access unrelated material. You should include guidelines for the appropriate use of technology in the classroom within your syllabus or on Moodle.
- Adjusted Attendance: A reasonable modification of attendance policies may be granted to accommodate a student’s disability, with the student understanding that he/she is responsible for any missed class work. Faculty who need assistance in making this accommodation work for their students without compromising academic standards or who believe a requested attendance-policy modification constitutes a fundamental alteration of an essential element of the program should contact DAR. This accommodation is subject to a reasonableness standard and is not appropriate in every situation. In cases when attendance is an essential part of the class, a withdrawal or an incomplete may be considered a reasonable accommodation if absences become excessive.
- Alternative Text: Students may request textbooks and other reading material in an electronic or audio format. Arrangements for these alternative formats can be made through DAR and the Hope College bookstore.
- Copies of class presentations (e.g., Powerpoint slides) when available.
- Copies of faculty notes when available.
- Breaks during class: Due to a disability a student may need to step out of the classroom
for a short period of time to return as soon as possible. The student is responsible
for all missed material or class work.
- Teaching Strategy: Students need to be in class and paying attention. If you are concerned about the student not returning, consider implementing a participation grade that is measured by contributions to discussion or other class activities.
- Paper-formatted exams: Due to a disability, a student may be allowed to receive otherwise electronic or online tests in a paper format. Specific arrangements can be made between you and the student. DAR staff can help if you need assistance.
- Classroom Furniture: Due to a disability, a student may require alternative classroom seating (e.g., chair, stool, adaptive table).
- Assistance with Group Projects: Faculty must provide a student with a disability careful
placement in and monitoring of group assignments.
- Teaching Strategy: Group projects can create difficult social dynamics and be challenging to manage. Before determining how groups will be formed, consider your goal for the assignment. What do you hope to achieve and how will the use of groups aid in the effectiveness of the project? Answering these two questions can help you determine what kind of group structure will be most effective. You should consider playing a role in the formation of all groups. If students are left to do this by themselves, they may form groups for a variety of reasons unrelated to the learning outcomes for the project.
- Scribe: Due to a disability, a student may need a scribe to complete tests, quizzes, or in-class assignments.
- Preferential Seating: Due to a disability, a student may need a specific seat so he/she can clearly hear and/or see lecture material.
- Assistive-Listening Devices/Systems: Due to a disability, a student may need to use an assistive-listening device/system.
- CART or CPRINT: Due to a disability, a student may need information in a transcribed format via Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART). CART translation is verbatim, whereas CPRINT provides a meaning-for-meaning representation of the spoken information.
- Sign Language Interpreter/Transliterator - A student who is Deaf or hard of hearing
may need a sign-language interpreter(s)/transliterator(s), who will manually sign
what is being spoken by the instructor or presenter and also voice what is signed
by the student.
- Teaching Strategy: When you need to refer to complex ideas or use technical terminology unique to the course or field, you should consider providing students with illustrative definitions, explanations and examples to support their understanding. This can help all students make deeper connections to course material and learn more effectively.
DAR is the only office permitted to determine accommodations for a disability. This may include, but is not limited to, accommodations in academics, housing, campus accessibility, dining services, parking and study-abroad programs. If a student with a disability shares concerns with you about accessibility beyond these areas, please refer the student to DAR.
Our desire is to see all students enabled to acquire knowledge and show what they have learned, whether they do or do not have a disability. In recent years, higher education has taken on the principle of universal design to promote accessibility in teaching, which involves the creation of coursework and classroom environments that work for all students without any adapted or specialized design. The hope is that universal design will simplify life for everyone by making communication, products and environments accessible, instead of having to provide accommodations to students who disclose disabilities.
Despite how accessible we think our courses may be, unforeseeable situations may still necessitate accommodations. Thus, universal design does not completely attain accessibility for all but helps us strive toward it.
Universal Design Examples:
- Put a statement in your syllabus inviting students to meet with you to discuss disability-related accommodations and other learning needs.
- Use a variety of formats to present content (e.g., lecture, discussion, hands-on activities, Internet-based interaction, fieldwork).
- Provide printed and/or web-based materials that summarize content presented orally.
- Use accessible web pages (text descriptions of graphics).
- Face the class and speak clearly.
- Use captioned videos.
- Provide printed materials in electronic format.
- Provide printed materials early so that students can prepare to access the materials in alternate formats.
- Create printed and web-based materials in simple, consistent formats.
- Provide assignment feedback in a clear, orderly format.
- Provide multiple ways for students to demonstrate knowledge.
- Make sure classrooms are accessible to students with a wide range of physical abilities.
- Make sure equipment and activities minimize sustained physical effort, when appropriate.
Call or email DAR (616.395.7830 | email@example.com) with any questions or concerns.
This section overviews the characteristics of each disability.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is characterized by the persistent pattern of difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior that interferes with function or development on a daily basis.
Strategies for teaching and support:
- Provide clear explanations of course objectives, with specific due dates, on the syllabus or Moodle.
- When assigning large projects or papers, break them down into smaller tasks.
- Present course material in a varied format to help sustain attention.
- Give verbal reminders for upcoming tests or assignment due dates.
- Provide a lecture outline and a summary of material at the beginning of class.
- If possible, conclude lectures with a summary of major points addressed.
Students with ADHD are encouraged to use the following strategies:
- Use a daily planner to write down all assignments and commitments.
- Take notes during lecture and rewrite them after class.
- Break assignments down into manageable tasks and set reasonable goals.
- Use checklists to track the progress of tasks.
- Work on projects with someone who has strong organizational skills.
- In addition to taking notes, capture lecture material with an audio recorder.
- Get feedback from a trusted friend on social behavior.
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by difficulties with social interaction and communication. Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) falls within this spectrum and is sometimes referred to as “high functioning autism.” Each student with ASD experiences unique strengths and challenges.
Strategies for teaching and support:
- Provide direct feedback and set clear boundaries.
- Be clear about times and reasons for office visits.
- Allow a laptop for note taking if handwriting is poor.
- Avoid cold-calling in class.
- Avoid idioms, metaphors or sarcasm unless you plan to explain your usage explicitly.
- Consider assigning group roles.
- Provide visual learning tools when possible (e.g., pictures, charts).
- Supplement oral instructions with written instructions.
- Explain the purpose of assignments.
- Keep directions simple and declarative. Ask students to repeat directions in their own words to check comprehension.
- Clearly indicate course requirements, test dates and other important due dates in the syllabus or Moodle, and provide advance notice of any changes.
- Be prepared to re-explain information as concretely as possible.
- If a student is disruptive, arrange to meet privately; let him/her know what behavior is disrupting others and help him/her understand why. He/she may be disruptive unintentionally.
- Give reasons for your requests to help students understand your point of view.
- Avoid arguing if a student gets “stuck” on a topic. Instead, stick to your reasoning and let him/her know that the conversation is over.
- Avoid words such as “always” or “never” unless that is exactly what you mean.
- You may need to set limits on participation (e.g., allow the student to answer only three questions per class period).
- Allow for breaks during class.
- If a student’s head is down on the desk, consider the possibility that rather than sleeping, he/she may be experiencing sensory overload.
- List or number changes on an assignment to provide guidelines for students when working. Use clear and detailed directives when referring to revisions that need to be made.
The two main categories of visual impairment are low vision and blind. The extent of visual disability is dependent on the physical sensory impairment of the eyes, the age of onset of the vision impairment and the way in which the impairment occurred. There may be fluctuations in vision depending on factors such as lighting, light glare or fatigue. There is no "typical" student with a vision impairment. Low-vision students are usually print users but may require special equipment and materials. Legal blindness covers a broad spectrum of visual impairments. The major challenge in an educational setting is the overwhelming amount of visual content to which students are exposed in textbooks, course outlines, schedules and lecture material.
Strategies for teaching and support:
- Announce when you enter and leave a room or site.
- Clearly explain course objectives and specific due dates on a syllabus or Moodle.
- Call students by name to get their attention.
- Use descriptive words (e.g., straight, forward, left) in relation to the student's body orientation. Be specific in directions and avoid vague terms with unusable information, such as "over there," "here" or "this."
- Describe pertinent visual occurrences in detail.
- Describe and tactilely familiarize students with the classroom/laboratory and any related equipment, supplies, materials or field sites.
- Give verbal notice of room changes, special meetings or assignments.
- Offer to read written information, when appropriate.
- Identify yourself by name; don't assume that students who are visually impaired will recognize you by your voice, even though you have met before.
- If you are asked to guide a student with a visual impairment, identify yourself, offer your services and, if accepted, present your arm to the student's hand. Announce when to step up or step down, if the door is to the left or right and possible hazards.
- When seating students who are blind or vision-impaired, guide their hand to the back of the chair and allow them to seat themselves.
- Do not leave students unless they know where they are.
- Do not push or steer students; let them take your hand or elbow.
- Ask students if they need help rather than assuming they do.
- Let students know if you need to move or need to end a conversation.
- Routinely check the classroom to make sure it is physically accessible to students with visual impairments.
- Don't move objects without telling students.
- Do not pet or touch a service animal. Service animals are working animals. It can be hazardous for visually-impaired persons if their dog is distracted.
- Be understanding of the slight noise made by a portable brailler.
- Use an auditory or tactile signal when a visual signal is normally used.
- Explain sudden noises.
- Describe where things are placed and let students pick up and feel objects, when appropriate.
- Don't leave doors ajar. Close or open them completely.
- It is appropriate to use words like "look" and "see."
- It is appropriate to refer to objects’ color.
- Let students have hands-on experiences whenever possible, but don't force them to touch new things if they are unsure about them.
- Orally spell out new or technical words.
- Allow a student to record class.
- Make all handouts and assignments available in an appropriate format (e.g., regular print, large print, Braille, audio recording), depending on students’ optimal modes of communication. Contact DAR for needed assistance.
- Ask students if you have questions regarding their approved accommodations or contact DAR for further assistance.
Chronic medical conditions are diseases or states of health that substantially impact an individual’s ability to perform major life activities, such as hearing, seeing, walking, breathing, speaking, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, learning and working. Chronic medical conditions are persistent or long-lasting. Many medical conditions require clinical care to effectively manage them but also social, behavioral and environmental attention. Below are some common chronic medical conditions:
- Back Conditions
- Brain Injuries
- Cerebral Palsy
- Chemical Sensitivity
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Chronic Pain
- Gastrointestinal Disorders
- Heart Conditions
- Lyme Disease
- Migraine Headaches
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Respiratory Disorders
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Sleep Disorders
- Spinal Cord Injury
The effects and symptoms of these medical conditions vary significantly and accommodation strategies largely depend on how the disability is manifested at a particular time. Not all conditions are static so special strategies or accommodations may change throughout the semester. Contact DAR with questions or concerns (616.395.7830| firstname.lastname@example.org)
Deaf usually refers to an individual with very little or no functional hearing and who often uses sign language to communicate. You may see deaf with either a capital or lowercase D/d. When referring solely to the hearing loss, a lowercase “d” is used. When referring to individuals who identify as culturally deaf and when referring to aspects of Deaf culture, an uppercase “D” is used. Hard of Hearing refers to an individual who has a mild-to-moderate hearing loss, who may communicate through sign language, spoken language or both. The many different circumstances under which individuals develop hearing loss can affect the way they experience sound, communicate with others and view their disability. For example, some individuals may use American Sign Language (ASL), while others may rely on lip reading and voice.
Strategies for teaching and support:
- Use visual aids to reinforce spoken presentations and provide these materials prior to class, when possible.
- Avoid talking with your back to the class, such as when writing on the board. This muffles speech and removes any chance of the student getting facial or speech-reading cues.
- Keep your hands away from your face and mouth while speaking so your face is clearly visible at all times.
- Use a closed-caption version of any audiovisual presentation, if available. If closed captioning is not available, provide an outline or summary of the materials.
- Repeat questions asked by the class before answering or phrase answers in such a way that the questions are obvious.
- Beware of giving procedural information while handing out materials. Loss of eye contact may mean the loss of information. Make sure students clearly understand such information. Likewise, allow students time to read materials that are passed out before beginning any discussion of them.
- Avoid predetermined groups of deaf and hearing students to work together. Before establishing groups, ask students privately for their preferences.
- When using a laser pointer, allow it to remain on the highlighted object for an extended period of time. This allows deaf and hard-of-hearing students to locate it, read the highlighted content and return their attention to the speaker or interpreter.
- Use proper names when possible and avoid using pronouns. Being specific helps all students understand.
- Be patient when an interpreter voices for students. Interpreters do not always accurately reflect students’ comments when voicing for them. As do all students, deaf and hard of hearing students vary in their communication skills. If you don’t understand a student’s question or statement, it is appropriate to ask for it to be repeated.
- Be aware of processing time. There may be up to a 5–10-second lag between what is said and when the interpreter signs the material to the student.
- Slow down. While this can be difficult, the rapid pace of instruction is a frequent concern for deaf and hard-of-hearing as well as hearing students.
- Allow deaf, hard-of-hearing and deaf-blind students access to the first few rows in class on the first day. They frequently need to sit at or near the front of the room in order to have a clear view of the speaker, the interpreter, the captioning and any classroom materials.
Interpreters are specially trained to facilitate communication between people who do not share a common language. While an interpreter is not an expert in an instructor’s course, the interpreter is an expert in communication between deaf/hard-of-hearing and hearing individuals.
Cued-speech transliterators are similar to sign-language interpreters except that they use a hand code or cue to represent each speech sound.
- Interpreters will interpret everything that occurs in the classroom, both the content and spirit of the speaker. Speakers should use their normal rate and direct all questions and comments to the deaf-or-hard of hearing student, not the interpreter.
- Instructors should provide the interpreter with material relevant to the course (e.g., the syllabus, handouts, lecture notes).
- Instructors should give specialized terms and proper names to the interpreter before class to help the interpreter convey information more accurately.
- Instructors should use visual aids and write new words, phrases, concepts and ideas on the board whenever possible.
- Interpreters operate under a professional code of ethics. They keep all information pertaining to the class confidential within the educational team working directly with the student. Their code of ethics requires them to sign or voice everything seen or heard in the classroom. Speakers who ask the interpreter “not to sign this” place the interpreter in violation of their code of ethics. Likewise, interpreters voice for the instructor and class everything the deaf or hard of hearing student signs, with the exception of brief questions directed specifically to the interpreter for communication clarification.
- Remind other students to slow down when they are reading aloud in class, which they often do at a faster pace than when speaking extemporaneously. If possible, provide interpreters with a copy of any materials to be read aloud in class.
A learning disability is a neurological disorder that affects how an individual with average or above average intelligence receives, processes, retains and/or expresses information. Learning disabilities are not synonymous with generalized low ability. They are ‘invisible’ and may affect a student's ability to read, write, speak, do mathematics, determine orientation in space and time and/or organize. Areas of difficulty are dependent on the individual and his/her diagnosis.
Strategies for teaching and support:
- Provide specific due dates, reading assignments, additional audiovisual or supplemental materials in library collections, descriptions of projects and papers, grading expectations, attendance policies and rubrics in the syllabus. Provide the syllabus online as well as in print.
- Clearly define course requirements.
- Give advance notice for any reading requirements in a course from semester to semester when possible. This is helpful for students who need recorded audio presentations as an alternative format.
- Provide advanced notice of any schedule changes.
- Share lecture notes or outline prior to class to support visual and auditory preparation.
- Encourage students to make appointments during office hours to discuss accommodations and other concerns.
- Write new or technical terms on the board or supply them in handouts.
- Break important tasks, concepts or theories into smaller steps or pieces.
- Paraphrase key points from lectures or reading material.
- Provide examples when appropriate.
- Pause occasionally to allow students to comprehend lecture information and catch up with writing notes.
- Provide step-by-step or bulleted-list directions for large projects.
- Provide time for questions and clarification during class.
- Experiment with teaching techniques. All students, both with and without learning disabilities, have unique learning styles.
- Give information in both written and oral formats, when possible, especially when making changes to schedules, assignments or exams.
- Emphasize important concepts by pausing, gesturing or using other forms of body language to help students follow.
- Avoid speaking while facing the board or away from the students.
Emotional and psychological disabilities are characterized by clinically significant disturbances in an individual’s behavior, emotion regulation or cognition. These conditions reflect a dysfunction in the biological, psychological or developmental processes underlying mental functioning. They are usually associated with significant distress or disability in social, occupational and/or other important life activities. Symptoms and effects vary, depending on the individual and the diagnosis. These conditions may not be static and may need special strategies or accommodations throughout the semester. Common psychological and emotional disabilities include:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Strategies for teaching and support:
- Provide information that is organized, well-written and complete with required readings, assignment descriptions, due dates and clearly defined expectations. This information should be provided in a syllabus or on Moodle.
- Encourage students to tell you about any accessibility concerns. Faculty should express this orally early in the semester and provide an accessibility statement on the syllabus. Specify that these conversations are confidential and are strictly for the purpose of meeting any learning or accommodation needs to access course content.
- Clearly express essential components of the course and recognize that students could show understanding of essential course content in many ways. Consider including a variety of assignment formats and/or allowing exceptions to enable all students to demonstrate their specific talents and abilities (e.g., oral presentations, poster presentations, written assignments).
- Incorporate a variety of learning styles (e.g. auditory, visual, kinesthetic, experiential).
- Set behavioral expectations for all students in your class.
- Embrace diversity to include people with psychological and emotional disabilities.
- Provide course material (e.g., list of reading requirements, lecture notes/slides) in a digital format to all students when possible.
Temporary disabilities are short-lived conditions that impact major life functions or activities (e.g., concentration, attention, fine motor skills, mobility). The registration process for students with temporary disabilities is the same as for permanent disabilities. DAR offers support to students with temporary disabilities while the disabilities significantly impact their ability to complete Hope College coursework and programs. Common temporary disabilities seen at Hope College include:
- Pregnancy complications
- Post-surgery recovery
- Short-term injuries due to accidents (e.g., concussions, broken bones)
DAR is dedicated to upholding the highest level of academic integrity. To best meet this goal, all testing spaces are closely monitored. Students using the DAR test-proctoring services agree to adhere to the Hope College Code for Academic Integrity and the Testing Contract. Violation of the Code or Contract may result in discontinuation of services and is subject to disciplinary action and/or suspension of services. Any incident of suspected cheating or of a student caught cheating will be reported to the class instructor (with the instructor determining the consequences for the class) and the Director of DAR. Before any further test accommodations are provided by DAR, the student must meet with the Director.
Examples of testing accommodations:
- Extended Time (Standard extended time is time and a half)
- Quiet Setting
- Use of Laptop
- Alternative Test Formats
- Exemption from Scantron or Scantron Scribe
Students must be registered with DAR and be approved for testing accommodations to take tests at DAR. If instructors are able to administer an exam with the approved accommodations, students may either choose to take the test with them or use the DAR testing space. DAR does not need to be informed about a test an instructor is administering and providing the approved accommodations.
Students registered with DAR will complete a semester request in Accommodate (our data management system) to inform DAR they would like to use their accommodation(s) for a given course. An email will be sent to instructors to verify that a student is registered with DAR and will identify approved accommodations. Once the semester request is completed and the accommodation letter has been emailed to instructors, the student may begin to schedule tests.
How Students Schedule Tests
Students complete and submit the online Request for Testing Accommodations form. Instructors will receive an email to review the form to make sure all information is correct and to add any special instructions. Instructors will receive a Google calendar invitation verifying that the student is scheduled.
Students must submit the request form at least three business days prior to the scheduled test. DAR cannot guarantee that there will be space and/or a proctor available for late schedules. If a student requests to take an exam at a different time/day than what was originally submitted on the request form, DAR will need direct communication (e.g., email, phone) from the instructor of the new approved time/day.
Test proctoring occurs during normal business hours, Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m., and every effort is made to schedule a test as close as possible to when the rest of the class is taking it.
The deadline to schedule final exams at DAR is 6 business days prior to the start of exam week. Students will receive an email letting them know the deadline. DAR is open from 8 a.m.–6 p.m., Monday through Friday of final exam week. DAR will make every effort to schedule final exams at the same time the class will be taking them. DAR staff will contact instructors if there are extenuating circumstances requiring a time change.
Testing Policies and Procedures
Once a student is approved for testing accommodations, he/she reviews and signs the following contract before using the DAR testing space.
Disability and Accessibility Resources Testing Agreement
Students who have documentation on file with DAR verifying their eligibility for testing accommodations must meet with each of their professors prior to scheduling a test to discuss their learning needs. Students complete the semester request in Accommodate and DAR sends an email notification to their instructor. Students must submit the form before scheduling their first test.
Testing Accommodations are provided under the following conditions:
- Once the semester request form is submitted online, students may schedule tests at the DAR testing center. Tests must be scheduled no less than three (3) business days in advance by completing the “Disability and Accessibility Resources Request for Testing Accommodations” scheduling form. Final exams are scheduled no less than six (6) business days prior to Exam Week. Scheduling instructions will be sent to those students who have scheduled tests with the DAR during the semester.
- If a student arrives late to her/his scheduled test, she/he loses that time (since this is what would happen if the student took the test under normal classroom circumstances).
- All electronic devices (cell phones, Apple watches, etc.), coats, hats, and backpacks must be left in the DAR office and will not be taken into the testing room. Only those items indicated on the Testing Accommodations form are allowed (e.g., calculators).
- If a student is suspected of cheating, the test will be terminated immediately and returned to the professor. The student will be referred back to the professor, who will determine the consequences.
- Students should plan to use the restroom prior to starting their test. If they need to use the restroom once the test has started, they must first check in with the test proctor or DAR front-desk staff.
Students using the DAR test proctoring service agree to adhere to the Hope College Code for Academic Integrity and the Testing Contract. Violation of the Code or Contract may result in discontinuation of services and is subject to disciplinary action and/or suspension of services. Any incident of suspected cheating, or if a student is caught cheating, will be reported to: 1) the class instructor, who will determine the consequences for the class, and 2) the DAR Director. Before any further test accommodations are provided by DAR, the student must meet with the DAR Director.
Identifying the essential components of a course or program plays a critical role in determining whether or not an individual meets all the necessary objectives and whether or not a disability-related accommodation fundamentally alters a course or program.
Essential components must be met with or without reasonable accommodations. Non-essential components are those for which alternative methods or products may be substituted. In discerning appropriate accommodations, DAR staff rely on instructors to know their course’s essential components. DAR staff may discuss alternative methods or products with faculty that would equally assess students’ mastery of the essential components but will allow them to demonstrate what they know. An example would be allowing an oral instead of a written assessment (unless writing is itself an essential component of the course).
DAR staff have begun talking more to instructors about essential components of courses. However, for more information about what essential components are or how to determine them, please read the following:
Important questions to ask when assessing essential components:
- What is the purpose of the program or course?
- What outcome variables are absolutely required of all participants?
Specifically for a course:
- What academic skills must be demonstrated?
- What percentage of the subject-area knowledge must be mastered?
- What specific knowledge, principles or concepts must be mastered?
Specifically for a program:
- What skills or competencies will be needed in the field after graduation?
- What are the requirements for licensing or professional accreditation?
- What methods of instruction are non-negotiable, and why?
- What methods of assessing outcome variables are absolutely necessary and why?
- What are acceptable levels of performance for these measures?
This information has been adapted from Brown University’s Accessibility website: http://www.brown.edu/campus-life/support/accessibility-services/.
DAR is responsible for determining a student’s need for accommodation and does so through a two-part process by 1) engaging the student in an interactive dialogue regarding his/her disability, and 2) reviewing documentation of the disability. If the DAR specialist determines the student is eligible for accommodations, DAR is responsible for coordinating the accommodations with the student, the instructor and any third-party service providers.
Students may follow the grievance procedures below in any of the following circumstances. If they:
- disagree with a decision to deny accommodations;
- believe the final accommodation(s) provided are not reasonable;
- believe the accommodations were not provided as agreed to;
- feel they are being denied access to necessary facilities;
- believe for any other reason that they have been subjected to unlawful discrimination or violation of rights with respect to the granting or implementation of their request for accommodations under the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
During the grievance process, any approved accommodations put in place will continue uninterrupted. DAR recognizes that it is important to address students’ concerns promptly. The goal of all college personnel should be to accomplish each step of this grievance process as quickly as possible.
Informal Grievance Process
Students may first make an appointment to meet with the DAR Director, who will review the matter, allowing all interested parties the opportunity to submit relevant information, statements and documentation. The Director will make a decision regarding the informal grievance within five (5) college business days of the meeting with a student and attempt to notify her/him immediately. The Director’s decision will be in writing and may be sent to the student by email. If the student’s dispute involves a decision of the DAR Director, the student may forgo the Informal Grievance Process and file a Formal Grievance.
Formal Grievance Procedure
Students may, at any time, initiate a formal grievance by completing a Discrimination and Harassment reporting form through the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance (hope.edu/reportdiscrimination) and submitting it to that office within 21 college business days of the date of the incident.
After the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance receives a grievance form, a formal investigation will be conducted. This review will involve meeting with the student and may also involve meeting with DAR staff, faculty members and/or other concerned staff members. The student has a right to present information in person to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance. A written decision will be issued by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance within 30 college business days of receipt of the grievance form.
Alternatively, if it is determined the grievance is employment-related, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance has the sole discretion to engage the supervisor of DAR to hear the complaint. In that case, the final written decision will be issued by the supervisor of DAR within 30 college business days of receipt of the grievance form.
INQUIRIES MAY BE MADE EXTERNALLY TO:
Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
Customer Service Hotline #: 800.421.3481
THE LOCAL OFFICE OF CIVIL RIGHTS CAN BE CONTACTED AT:
Office for Civil Rights (Cleveland Office)
U.S. Department of Education
1350 Euclid Avenue, Suite 325
Cleveland, OH 44115-1812
The faculty dispute-resolution process will be utilized when a faculty member (or department) challenges a DAR-determined academic accommodation based on fundamental alteration to an academic course or program. The process is as follows:
- An accommodation decision is made by DAR based on information gathered from the interactive interview with the student, careful review of relevant documentation and knowledge regarding legal requirements. DAR then sends an email to the instructor (and copies the student by email) with the accommodation(s) that has been determined.
- If the department/instructor has a concern about the accommodation decision based
on a perceived fundamental course alteration, DAR must be contacted within one college
business day to discuss it. When determining whether or not the accommodation does
alter the course fundamentally, DAR will ask the department/instructor to consider
the following questions:
- What are the essential academic standards of the course (i.e., course/program requirements that relate to the very nature of the subject matter or that are of the utmost importance in achieving the course/program objective)?
- What are the specific requirements that instructors believe are fundamental to the course/program?
- What are the unique qualities of the course/program in relation to its overall objectives and any program in which the course is required?
- Have you engaged in “reasonable deliberation” as to whether modification of the course/program would change the fundamental academic standards?
Note: An instructor may not deny an accommodation to a student at the time of concern. The accommodation must be provided pending resolution of any dispute.
- The dispute resolution process proceeds as follows:
- The instructor will explain the reasons for concern, preferably in person or by phone.
- DAR will explain the accommodation decision to the instructor. (Note: DAR specialists cannot legally share the specific disability or the nature of the medical documentation they have received.) If the instructor continues to have a concern about the specific accommodation, DAR will work with her/him to determine if the accommodation would result in a fundamental alteration to the course. (To accomplish this, DAR may need to engage with other instructors teaching the same course, the department chair or the dean.) If it is determined the accommodation would fundamentally alter the course, all involved will work with the instructor to determine potential alternatives.
- If the instructor has a concern with the alternate accommodations offered, DAR will forward it to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator.
- This process should be completed within three to four college business days in most cases.
- When a concern is presented to the ADA Coordinator, the following information will
be collected and evaluated:
- Is the academic requirement an essential component of the academic course or program?
- What are the determined reasonable accommodations?
- What are the current concerns of the instructor?
- If questions remain about whether the academic or technical requirement is essential to the academic course or program, the ADA Coordinator will consult with the Provost (or her/his designee).
- The Provost (or her/his designee) is the final authority on whether an academic component is essential and whether the proposed accommodation would fundamentally alter the academic program.
- If the course requirement and/or the evaluation process is deemed essential, the accommodation is not provided. The ADA Coordinator will contact DAR regarding the decision and DAR may then suggest alternative means to assist the student, if appropriate.
Failure on the part of an instructor to provide accommodations will be referred for an investigation and disciplinary action.
- Hope College
- Disability Specific
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Blind and Visual Impairments
Mental Health/Psychiatric Disorders
- Instructional Strategies
CAST Universal Design for Learning
Academic Success Center
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DeWitt Student Cultural Center
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Residential Life and Housing
DeWitt Student Cultural Center
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The Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Fair Housing Act.
CART and CPRINT Frequently Asked Questions. (2018). Retrieved August 6, 2018, from Rochester Institute of Technology, https://www.rit.edu/ntid/cprint/support/common-faq
Disability Services Faculty Guide. (2017, Dec). Retrieved on May 14, 2018, from George Mason University, https://ds.gmu.edu/faculty-guide/
Faculty Guide: Universal Design. (2018). Retrieved on May 25, 2018, from Texas A&M University, http://disability.tamu.edu/facultyguide/ud
Student and Employee Accessibility Services. (2018). Retrieved on October, 2017, from Brown University, http://www.brown.edu/campus-life/support/accessibility-services/
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Archives. Notice on Assistance Animals and Reasonable Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities. (2013, Apr). Retrieved August 6, 2018, https://archives.hud.gov/news/2013/pr13-060.cfm
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. ADA Requirements: Service animals. (2011, July). Retrieved August 13, 2018, https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm
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