Disability and Accommodation Determination Process
Definition of a Disability
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act share a common definition of disability. The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act provide further definition of major life activities.
A person with a disability is defined as:
- Has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more of a person’s major life activities.
- Has a record of such impairment.
- Is regarded as having such impairment.
- “Major life activities” include functions such as caring for yourself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.
- A “Major life activity” also includes the operation of major bodily function, including, but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions. (Defined by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008)
Documentation of Disability
Students requesting academic accommodations and services at Butler Community College must provide documentation of the disability. Documentation consists of an evaluation by an appropriate professional that describes the nature of the disability, current impact of the disability as it relates to the academic accommodations requested and the functional impact of the disability. A brief statement written on a prescription pad from a treating professional is not sufficient documentation.
All contact information received is kept in a separate confidential file within the office of the Director of Disability Services. No information concerning inquiries about documentation will be released without written consent.
How is documentation reviewed to determine eligibility?
After a student submits documentation, the information is reviewed by the Director of Disability Services. The student and a staff member then meet to discuss the types of accommodations and services that are requested and recommended by the supporting documentation.
How do I refer a student to the Office of Disability Services?
If you suspect that a student may benefit from services, you may be able to approach the student in a private setting and express concern about their performance. It could be that the student is under-prepared and may be able to benefit from some assistance at the Tutoring Center or other campus resource. Key words to listen for in your private conversation are IEP, ILP or 504 Plan. It is acceptable to mention that there are free services available on campus for students with disabilities and provide the office contact information. Please note that at the postsecondary level, students must self-identify prior to services being initiated.
How can I help maintain student confidentiality?
A student with a disability is entitled to confidentiality under the law. This means that if a student with a disability happens to be in class, do not mention that student by name (i.e. “Teressa, here’s your test so you can go take it in the Disability Services Office” or “We need a note taker for Teressa, so I need someone to volunteer”). Also, please not discuss the student by name with anyone else, including other faculty. It is always the student’s decision to self-disclose. The Office of Disability Services is able to verify that we are working with a particular student but are generally not permitted to share the nature of the disability with faculty. Exceptions, however, are made for medical emergencies and direct threat to others. The Office of Disability Services encourages students to discuss the nature of their disability with faculty members.
Accommodation Procedures and Policies
How do I know if a student requires accommodations?
The Office of Disability Services distributes official accommodation letters at the beginning of each semester, as well as, at each part of term interval (12 weeks, 8 weeks, 5 weeks etc). Each faculty member will receive a letter listing all students and their approved accommodations. Letters for face-to-face classes are distributed through campus mail. It is important for faculty in Andover to check each building for a mailbox! Online faculty will receive their letters via email. If a student asks for accommodations and they are not on the approved list, please contact the Office of Disability Services. It is strongly recommended that faculty only accommodate those students who are registered with the Office of Disability Services.
What if a student discloses that they have a disability but doesn’t provide me with an accommodation form?
Please refer the student to the Office of Disability Services so we can ensure that the student is qualified to receive services. If we do not follow the proper procedures, we place ourselves at risk for legal action by giving services to students without documentation.
What if I have questions regarding an accommodation?
If a student has self-identified, provided appropriate documentation, and has an accommodation form, they are entitled under law to receive the specified accommodation. Please contact the Disability Services Office if you have any questions or concerns. You may reach the Director of Disability Services and the El Dorado office at (316) 322-3166 or the Andover office at (316) 218-6214. The office email is email@example.com.
What are reasonable accommodations?
A reasonable accommodation is always based on an individual’s documented need. Persons with similar disabilities may not require the same accommodations. According to the law, a reasonable accommodation cannot require an “undue hardship” on the college. In addition, the accommodation cannot require a fundamental alteration of any essential aspect of a program or activity. Any service that is personal in nature like a tutor or personal aide is not considered a reasonable accommodation in most cases.
The following is a sample list of accommodations that a student may be eligible to receive:
- Note taker
- Alternative Text
- Real-Time Captioning
- Extended Test-Taking Time
- Non-Disruptive Testing Room
- Proof Reader
- Sign-Language Interpreter
- Reasonable Excused Absences Due to Disability
Who provides the accommodation(s) to the student?
The accommodation of a student with a disability is a responsibility shared between the student, faculty, and the Office of Disability Services. The student is responsible for self-identifying and requesting that accommodations be put in place. The student is also responsible for utilizing their accommodations and following the policies and procedures of the Office of Disability Services. Faculty are responsible for ensuring special seating arrangements, providing copies of tests with proper test cover sheet to the Office of Disability Services when requested by a student, assistance to provide a student note taker or faculty notes. The Disability Services Office is responsible for reviewing documentation to ensure appropriate accommodations are identified, distributing accommodation letters to faculty, obtaining alternate formats of text, test proctoring or reading, and arranging for contract services like a sign language interpreter.
How do I find a note taker?
Students who require notetaking assistance as an accommodation will be listed on the accommodation letter. A note taker is employed by the Office of Disability Services to provide better study tools for students that are unable to take adequate notes for themselves. Note takers are students that have good academic records and attend class regularly. Notes must be adequate for studying, detailed, and neat. If you currently have a student in class who you think will fill this position well, please send them to our office or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not already have someone in mind, please read the following script to your class at the beginning of each class meeting for the first month of the semester or until a note taker is found. If you provide notes for the students or if notetaking is not essential in the course, please contact the Office of Disability Services so that it can be documented that the accommodation is being met.
NOTE: Please remember not to identify the student with disability by name when seeking volunteers!
“The Office of Disability Services needs to hire a note taker for this class. It is a paid position. If anyone is interested in this position or would like more information, please contact the Office of Disability Services.”
Many disabilities cause students to be unable to focus on multiple sensory activities during a classroom lecture. Some disabilities are physical, while others may be hidden and not outwardly obvious. A student with a disability should not be singled out as lazy or unmotivated because they are not taking their own notes. For example, it is best for some students with attention or autistic diagnosis to not be focused on writing each word that is being spoken by the faculty member to the point that they miss the full context of the lecture.
How do I work with a student who needs testing accommodations?
The student is responsible for reminding their faculty member the testing accommodations and scheduling and appointment with the Office of Disability Services to take the test. All tests must be scheduled to ensure adequate staff to monitor the testing process.
All tests must be received directly from the faculty. Tests delivered by students will not be accepted. Faculty may deliver test via physical campus mail, in person or by emailing the information to email@example.com.
All tests must have an Office of Disability Services Cover Sheet attached. This is important to ensure that proper testing parameters are being met. Test that do not have a testing sheet attached will be returned to the instructor, thus delaying the student in taking their exam. Fillable Testing Cover Sheets can be accessed under “Faculty Quick Clicks” on Pipeline. Faculty will also receive a form with their Accommodation Letter.
At the end of the week, all uncompleted tests will be returned to the instructor. It is the responsibility of the student to contact their faculty member and the Office of Disability Services to re-schedule a missed exam. It is the responsibility of the student to make arrangements with the instructor to take the test. Tests will not be given to students past the testing due date without the approval of the faculty member. Completed tests will be returned promptly in the manner that is indicated on the test cover sheet.
Students are monitored by staff during testing. Our staff does due diligence to maintain a secure test environment. Students are not allowed to bring book bags, purses, cell phones/electronic devices in the testing area. Only materials listed on the Test Cover Sheet are allowed in the testing room. The Office of Disability Services provides scratch paper, if not provided by the faculty member. However, despite due diligence, acts of dishonesty occur. If a student is observed in an act of dishonesty, a staff member will speak with the student about what has been observed and the faculty member will be notified. The student will be allowed to complete the test. A detailed incident report will be attached to the student’s test and returned via the method indicated on the Test Cover Sheet. Students with disabilities are held to the same Student Code of Conduct and Academic Integrity standard as all students.
Why do students need extra time on tests?
The use of extended time is the most frequently used accommodation for students with disabilities. The reasoning behind extended time for testing situations is to allow the student with a disability to have additional time to read and understand the questions. Students with learning disabilities may have difficulty with processing information. Students with ADHD or mental health issues may have difficulty concentrating. Some students need the test questions read to them which takes additional time. Students are given time and a half of the classroom test time based on time given to rest of class, as listed on the Test Cover Sheet. A testing time other than the standard time and one half will be noted on the Accommodation Letter. Please refrain from stating, “no time limit” or “as long as the student needs”. Students with certain disabilities can take information very literally. Testing is not an open ended activity. Our office has hours of operation, time schedules and lives outside of the workplace!
What about quizzes and pop quizzes?
Quizzes are designed to assess the knowledge of a student and therefore will require the student to have accommodations. If you are giving a “pop” quiz, please to contact the Office of Disability Services prior to the class to discuss testing arrangements.
What is a non-disruptive test environment?
A non-disruptive testing environment is a designated room free from stimuli that may disturb the concentration of the student. Students with ADHD or mental health issues may have difficulty concentrating in the classroom with noises such as paper shuffling, coughing, sneezing or movement of the instructor in the classroom. A student with a learning disability, observing others finishing their tests, may feel pressure and rush through the test questions. Furthermore, empty classrooms, an office or a hallway are not considered non-disruptive environments.
The Office of Disability Services has dedicated rooms for non-disruptive testing. The Butler Testing Centers is not equipped for distraction free testing.
What are my rights if a student wants to tape a lecture?
Some students are provided with the accommodation that allows for them to tape lectures. Tape recording of materials is specifically listed as an auxiliary aid under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Accommodation Letter will denote” Tape Record Lectures”. Recording can be audio or video. The student is advised to speak with the instructor prior to the first taping session so the instructor is aware of this situation. The instructor has the right to ask the student to stop the recording if sensitive or private information is being discussed. However, the student cannot be assessed on material that they do not have access to via their accommodation. Please contact the Director of Disability Services with concerns.