Steps for Faculty Working with Students with Disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act protects qualified individuals with disabilities. An individual with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities. To ensure that Durham Tech is fully accessible to students with disabilities, students are provided a document called an Accommodation Plan. This plan identifies the student’s goals and outlines approved accommodations the student will use while in attendance at Durham Tech. Accommodations are approved based on information provided by the student and qualified examiners. The Accommodation Plan does not provide diagnostic or other detailed information about the student’s disability. It is unlawful for Accessibility Services staff members to disclose any information about a disability to others or for an instructor to require information about a disability from the student without written consent from the student.
- Receive the Accommodation Plan. In order for a student to receive accommodations, the student must provide you with an Accommodation Plan that has been approved by the appropriate program director and signed by the student and accessibility services staff member. Without these two signatures, the Accommodation Plan is invalid.
- Check the date on the Accommodation Plan. The Accommodation Plan remains in effect for one term only. Students do not have to resubmit paperwork to the Counseling, Accessibility, and Resources office unless the disability is a medical or temporary condition, but they do need to obtain a new Accommodation Plan through the Counseling, Accessibility, and Resources office every term. Faculty should check the date on the Accommodation Plan to make sure it is appropriate for the current term.
- Have a conversation with the student. Once you receive the Accommodation Plan, it is important to have a conversation with the student discussing any issues regarding attendance, personal assistants, assistive technology or testing needs within the classroom setting concerning the disability. You must keep this information confidential. You may only discuss this information with the student, Accessibility Services, or your supervisor (if needed).
- Determine the accommodations specific to your course. Based upon the accommodations listed in the plan, make decisions regarding any modifications that may be made to your calendar or syllabus; changes in seating arrangements; placement of recording devices or microphones, testing procedures, etc. If you have questions about the accommodations and need help, call Accessibility Services at 919-536-7208.
If there are testing accommodations, arrange the time and place for providing extended time on tests or testing in a distraction minimized environment. Unless specifically stated, it is not necessary that a student be isolated for testing. You may choose to begin tests early; have the student remain after class; test with you earlier or later the same day; or test the next day, for example. In the event that the student cannot take the test within the classroom setting and needs to schedule a time with Accessibility Services, the student should make an appointment one week in advance. Like you, Accessibility Services may not be able to provide the accommodation without adequate notice. It is not the responsibility of the instructor to schedule tests or quizzes unless it is an unannounced pop quiz. In that event, the instructor should contact Accessibility Services for more information.
- Document your decisions and provide accommodations. Document your specific plan in the notes section of the Accommodation Plan. Sign and date your copy to document the date you communicated the specifics to the student. Most importantly, follow the plan.