It is important to understand federal laws and effective accommodations to ensure higher education is accessible for students with disabilities.
- Faculty Responsibilities
- Federal Laws
- Available Technology
- Accommodation Letter Process
- Instructional Strategies
- Compliance with the legal mandates.
- Provide Access*Ability Resource Center (ARC) information in your syllabus.
Provide reasonable accommodations after being provided with accommodation letter and implement accommodations (ASL interpreters are provided by the Access*Ability Resource Center).
- Maintain confidentiality.
- Contact an ARC Coordinator if you have any questions or concerns about approved accommodations.
Section 504 Rehabilitation Act 1973:
Prohibits discrimination based on a disability in programs or activities in public postsecondary educational institutions receiving federal assistance. Public Postsecondary institutions programs and activities must be accessible to students with disabilities.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act 1998:
Requires public postsecondary educational institutions electronic and information technology to be accessible to students with disabilities.
Americans with Disability Act 1990 (ADA):
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. The ADA law ensures that individuals with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as individuals without disabilities.
Title II of the ADA requires individuals with disabilities to have equal access to postsecondary educational institutes. Title II requires public postsecondary institutions to offer auxiliary aids and services unless it causes an undue hardship. The ADA applies to all postsecondary educational institutions, regardless of receiving federal funding.
Academic adjustment, and/or auxiliary aid that minimizes or eliminates the impact of a disability, allowing the student to gain equal access and opportunity to participate in the college courses, programs, and activities.
Reasonable accommodations do not:
- Fundamentally alter admission requirements and academic requirements.
- Create an undue financial hardship for the college.
- Cause a direct threat to the health and safety of others.
Types of accommodations:
The accommodations provided include, but are not limited to:
- Extended time for tests and quizzes
- Testing in quiet or low distraction area
- Peer note taking(volunteers)
- Audio recording of lectures
- Extension of due dates for assignments, when appropriate
- Flexibility in attendance (based on students’ disability), when appropriate
- Assistive technology (lighted magnifiers, electronic magnifiers, MagnaSight or CCTVs)
- Software for screen enlargement (ZoomText)
- Text-to-speech (JAWS and Kurzweil)
- Alternative text presentation of textbooks
- Alternative desks and chairs
- Testing services
There are many technologies available for students. View all of the technology available.
What accommodations do Deaf and Hard of Hearing students use?
- If the student uses American Sign Language to communicate, an interpreter will be brought into class.
- The student may require another student to be a designated note taker so they can focus their full visual attention on the lecture, interpreter, lipreading, or any visual media (i.e. PowerPoint).
- Closed captioning on all videos may be required. (Often times hearing students enjoy having captions as well - just food for thought.)
- The student may request reserved seating up front to better see or lipread.
Won't an interpreter in my classroom be disruptive to other students?
- Nope! Interpreters are trained to assimilate to the situation and be as discreet as possible.
- While other students may think the interpreter a novel concept, after a few classes they won't think twice of it.
How do I use an interpreter?
- Everything said during class will be conveyed in ASL to the Deaf student. Conversely,
everything the Deaf student signs will be interpreted into spoken English. The interpreter
does this automatically so need to say "tell her/him..." before you speak to the student.
Do not say anything in front of the student that you would not want them to hear, because it will be interpreted.
- You may call on the Deaf student to answer a question just the same as you would anyone else in class.
- When speaking with the Deaf student, making eye contact with the student is important. Try not to look at the interpreter when speaking because the conversation is between you and the student, not the interpreter.
- When you are speaking, be aware that the Deaf student will probably be watching the interpreter. This isn't rude, they need to see the information from the interpreter.
- Be cognizant that there is a bit of a delay or lag from when you finish talking and the interpreter finishes signing. If you ask the class a question, pause before accepting answers so the Deaf student has time to participate if they wish.
I still have questions, what do I do?
- If you have questions about your specific student's preferences or needs, ask! Usually, people are more than happy to explain - just as long as you do it at an appropriate time. In front of the whole class is typically not a great approach and can make the student feel called-out.
- Feel free to contact the Access*Ability Resource Center (ARC) with any other questions you may have..
- Each faculty member is responsible for administering or making provisions for their students with disabilities to take class tests, quizzes, and to provide other classroom accommodations.
- Faculty must complete and submit the Test Administration Permission form if a student is approved to test in the ARC.
When the ARC must be involved, the following can be provided:
- Assistive technology
- Monitoring of tests
The ARC Testing Coordinator Summer Musanje can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). (2020, January 10). https://www.ed.Gov/. Retrieved July 15, 2021
Nondiscrimination in Higher Education – What’s the Law? NETAC Teacher Tipsheet, 1999
SECTION 508 SURVEYS and REPORTS: Main Overview Page. (n.d.). ADA.Gov. Retrieved July 15, 2021, from https://www.ada.gov/508/