General Disability Accommodations Questions

When students identify themselves as having disabilities, what should faculty and staff do?

Interaction with students with disabilities is the same as with any other student. However, be aware that when students self-identify as having disabilities, it is frequently because they will require an accommodation and not all students with disabilities are at ease with this process. Listen to what they have to say and ask questions only about how and if the disability will impact them in the class and about the accommodations they may be requesting.

In order to have their requests for disability accommodations verified, students must be registered with DR. Ask students who are self-identifying with disabilities about their Disability Resources registration status. Students who are registered will have been assigned to professional staff who can facilitate the accommodation process. Students requesting disability accommodations who are not working with DR must be informed and referred directly to DR in order to establish their eligibility for disability accommodations.

Are students required to identify their disabilities or provide copies of disability documentation to faculty and staff?

Students are not required to disclose the nature of their disabilities or provide faculty and staff with copies of their disability documentation. Students requesting accommodations are only required to provide a signed form from their DR Coordinator stating that they have a documented disability on file at DR . To review what type of disability documentation student must supply click on Documentation.

Is it required to provide the requested disability accommodation's?

Faculty and other teaching staff have a legal responsibility to provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations for qualified students with disabilities, and it is prudent to consider accommodating the student in the manner requested. However, there may be effective alternatives. By clearly defining the essential elements of each course, e.g., meeting requested deadlines for course reading lists to insure that DR has adequate time to complete alternative print formatting and working closely with the students and DR , the appropriateness of the requested accommodation will become clear or can be negotiated. If the essential course elements are not clearly defined, inconsistencies in standards may occur which could open the door to litigation.

NOTE: The laws that protect the rights of individuals with disabilities also protect the standards of the institution. Having a disability does not preclude a student from meeting the essential course elements or from following the established policies and procedures.

What are faculty/staff responsibilities to students who are working with DR regarding textbook and other in-class information that needs to be in alternate formats (e.g. CDs, electronic text)?

Textbooks: Adequate time must be allotted for completing the process of translating textbooks into alternative print formats (i.e., Braille, enlarged print, audio tapes, electronic text) and sign language and oral interpreter preparation to insure that qualified students will have access to required course materials at the start of the semester. Faculty and other teaching staff must provide names of textbooks and other reading materials as well as a reading list to the student with a disability or DR if requested.

In-class materials (syllabus, handouts, overheads, videotapes): Faculty and other teaching staff have a legal responsibility to insure that appropriate alternative formats are available to qualified students with disabilities along with their peers. DR has resources for translating materials to assist teachers in meeting this obligation. However, it is essential that DR receive materials with adequate lead-time to translate them into the appropriate formats. Interpreters must also be given copies of all printed materials in advance. Audiovisuals, such as slides and overheads should be copied and given to deaf and hard of hearing students prior to the class. If you will be showing a videotape, it is important to check for captioning capabilities, i.e., equipment and/or captioned videotape. DR can assist with this process as well.

What accommodations are required if a student discloses a disability after-the-fact (e.g., after failing an exam)?

Consistency in standards for all students is the guide for response to such requests. If exceptions are not made for other students after-the-fact, none are required for students with disabilities. However, if exceptions are made for other students, requests such as this must be considered.

Are there special admission requirements for students with disabilities?

No. There are no special admission requirements made for students with disabilities. All students, regardless of disability must meet the University's admissions requirements.

Do University processes and procedures differ for qualified KU students with disabilities?

No. Students with disabilities must meet University standards and follow established policies and procedures. However, if policies and procedures are unclear and bottom line standards are not well defined, inconsistencies in standards may occur which could open the door to litigation.

Are breeches of the Student Code of Conduct (e.g., academic misconduct or behavioral conduct) handled differently for students with disabilities?

No. All students, including students with disabilities, are subject to the University's Code of Conduct. If a behavior issue arises with a student with a disability, follow the departmental and University procedures designated for all students.

Is it possible for some students with disabilities to get through the majority of their program without using accommodations or even knowing they have a disability?

Yes. For example some conditions/disorders do not manifest to the level of a disability at all times, e.g., Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Similarly, some Physical Disabilities, e.g., early stages of multiple sclerosis, are not immediately apparent.

In the case of learning disabilities, the diagnosis requires measured intellectual ability within the average to superior range of general intellectual ability. It is a heterogeneous disorder and manifests itself differently for each individual in terms of impact and severity. As such, there can be a significant variance in both point of diagnosis and accommodation usage within this population as well.


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