The Catholic University of America

 Reasonable Accommodation Descriptions:

Accommodations are updated in response to student and faculty feedback and to stay in within best practices. If you have any questions or concerns regarding an accommodation description, please contact DSS. 
 

Classroom Accommodations 

Access to teacher handouts, slides, overheads: Having access to handouts is needed either because a student needs to have the extra time to read them, they may need to be put in electronic format or they may be beneficial to a student who has trouble focusing while listening to the lecture or has trouble with organization. For classes where all materials are posted to Blackboard, that would suffice for meeting the needs of the student with this accommodation.
 
Additional time on in-class writing assignments:  Some students due to their disability may require additional time on any in-class writing.  DSS recommends that the faculty member and the student work out how to best handle this situation directly.  If there are any questions, please feel free to contact DSS. this would not apply to an on-line course where the assignment is essentially completed at home over a pre-determined period of time.
 
Assistive listening device (ALD):  Some students who are hard of hearing may require an assistive listening device. Each device is different.  In most cases, unless there is an audio system in the room that has a built in ALD, the instructor will be required to wear a small device with a microphone so that the student can hear.  It will be important for the instructor to repeat any comments from other members of the class.
 
Assistive Technology (laptop, notetaking device):  There is a variety of assistive technology available to students with disabilities.  Some students may need to type their tests on a computer with or without special software.  In some cases, students may use their own computer and in other cases, they may need to use a computer on campus.  DSS also has some laptops available for testing purposes.  If you have questions about this, please contact DSS.
 
Closed Captioned Videos: Students who are Deaf or hard of hearing will need to have all videos shown in class to have captioning.  If the copy being shown is not captioned, please contact DSS to determine what needs to be done to have the video captioned or to look for alternative solutions prior to the time of the class.
 
Information on board read aloud for students with visual disabilities:  Students who are either Blind or have limited vision, may not be able to see information that is written on the board.  Therefore, it is important for the instructor to read aloud all information that is written on the board in order to provide the student equal access to the information.
 
Interpreting/ Transcribing:  An interpreter/transcriber is simply one who bridges the gap between the spoken and Deaf world. When the teacher or a classmate speaks, the interpreter/transcriber translates the spoken words into the language preferred by the Deaf or hard of hearing student.   The student likewise participates in the classroom by signing or typing the information and the interpreter voices it (talks) for the class. The interpreter is not meant to be a participant in the classroom, but a communication facilitator, making sure that communication is easily accessible for the deaf and hearing populations equally.  
 
Leave classroom when symptoms occur:  Some students with medical conditions may need to leave the class if problems due to their medical condition occur.  It is recommended that students who have issues during class, email or contact their instructor as soon as possible after the incident occurs and then work with the instructor to make up any missed work.  If this happens continuously, DSS recommends that the instructor talk with the student and also talk with DSS to determine appropriate action.
 
Notetaker:  At times some students have difficulty taking notes due to their disability.  Some students would benefit from copies of course notes from another student in the class.  With the student’s consent, the professor, instructor or teaching assistant can make a general announcement that there are students in the class who have disabilities which preclude them from taking comprehensive notes and that it would be appreciated if other students could give the student with a disability copies of their notes.  If a student agrees to be a notetaker, please have them email Disability Services. We request that you conduct this process in the most confidential manner.  We do not want other class members to be made aware of which student is requesting the service.  For more information on this process, click here.  
 
Occasional exceptions to the absentee/tardiness policy: The Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990, specifies that case-by-case exceptions should be made to established policy in order to avoid discrimination on the basis of a disability.  To address this, DSS has developed a disability related absence protocol. The student is required to notify the faculty member as soon as possible.  We also encourage them to let DSS know as well. Each faculty member makes the determination as to how many absences in general are acceptable in order to pass the class.  A set number of classes must be determined in advance by both the student and the teacher with the consultation of DSS. In general, this should be nore more that 2-3 additional absences.  For a student with a disability, we must also look at: What are the essential elements of the course? How many absences would fundamentally alter the student’s ability to experience; or ability to participate in; or to contribute to and demonstrate learning? More information about this accommodations is available by clicking here.
 
Personal Care Attendant:  Some students with significant physical disabilities may require a personal care attendant to travel with them.  Depending on the needs of the student, the attendant may or may not sit with the person in class.
 
Preferential Seating: Students who have limited hearing, vision or difficulty with attention, distraction or an ability to focus will need to sit as close to the instructor as possible.
 
Record Lectures:  Some students may need to be able to record their lectures due to the nature of their disability.  If the material you are presenting should not be indiscriminately distributed due to publishing concerns, copyright concerns or matters of confidentiality, please allow this student to record the class.  A separate agreement ensuring that materials are not circulated beyond the class is provided to the faculty member with the accommodation letters.  More information about this accommodation is available by clicking here.
 

Testing Accommodations

Additional Time:  We recommend giving some students additional for in-class tests. The amount of time appropriate is determined based on the student's documentation.  Students do have the option to take their tests over at the Counseling Center.  However, in the event that the student might have a questions which would be best answered by someone with knowledge of the subject matter, it is more beneficial for the student if the instructor, a teaching assistant or grader from your class or department proctors the tests.  For more information on how this process works and for information about accommodating take home tests, click here.

Alternate exam dates during periods of heavy scheduling:  Some students with a variety of disabilities may need to space their exams out in order to allow for their disability to not significantly impact their ability to take their exams.  Each case is different.  DSS recommends talking about the issues with the student to determine the best way to address this.  DSS is also happy to be a part of the discussion.
 
Alternative testing environment:  DSS encourages all students who require testing accommodations to try as best they can to make those arrangements directly with their instructors.  However, if this is not possible, students may elect to take their tests in The Counseling Center.  In order to do this the student and the faculty member must complete the testing form which is available at DSS.  More information about the test form is available here.

Assistive Technology: Some students, because of their disability, will require assistive technology to be able to complete their test.  They may be able to use a laptop of their own or one from DSS.  However, if that is not an option, then they can use the computer in The Counseling Center. This accommodation may be needed due to a physical or learning disability which require the use of specialized software, hardware or because the student’s disability makes handwriting extremely messy and organization tends to be disjointed.  Using a word processor such as a laptop allows the student to concentrate on organization and producing a legible piece of work. Students who use assistive technology may also use this accommodation so that they can take their tests with the class. Headphones may be used by the student if a speech output program is needed.

Calculator: The use of a calculator helps this student avoid mistakes such as reversing or skipping numbers.  If a test or assignment is designed to measure the student’s ability to perform functions a calculator would perform then this accommodation is inappropriate.
 
No Scantron:  Some students due to visual processing issues or visual disabilities, may not be able to transfer their answers to a scantron.  In this case, we ask that the student be able to answer directly on the test.  If this is not possible, please contact DSS to determine what other options might be available.

Scribe:  Students who are unable to write their exam independently due to either a physical or visual disability, may require assistance writing (i.e. scribe).  However,  DSS encourages students to use assistive technology for this purpose as a better way to ensure that their work is completed independently.  If assistive technology is not an available or appropriate option given the circumstances, DSS can assist with locating a scribe.
 
Spell-check or points not taken off for spelling:  The use of a spellchecker will help this student and may help the grader by making tests easier to read.  If the function of the test or assignment includes measuring spelling ability, this accommodation may not be appropriate.
Print Accommodations
 
Alternative Format Production at DSS:  Students with a variety of disabilities including, but not limited to, Blind or low vision, physical disabilities and learning disabilities, may require their print materials to be produced in an alternative format (electronic, large print or Braille).  Each semester, DSS converts between 50-90 books into an alternative format.  This process takes time.  Therefore, it is critically important for students to get their books into DSS before they go home for the break at the end of the semester.  Faculty can help by getting their book lists into the bookstore early.  For more information on the E-text process, click here.
 
In-class materials (handouts): Students who are blind or low vision will need to have any materials that are needed for the class available in an appropriate alternative format (large print, braille, electronic) so that they have access to the same information as other students.  Many times documents can be emailed to them directly from the professor.  If this is not possible, DSS can assist with the conversion process.  Please submit materials to DSS as far in advance as possible in order to allow time for the conversion process.