Faculty and staff work with students every day and have enormous impact on students' experience with education. We offer these resources to assist you in ensuring that all students have equal access to the educational opportunities here at Southern Oregon University.
Table of Contents
- Syllabus Statement
- Legal Mandates
- Referring Students to Disability Resources
- General Points for Faculty
- Procedures and Information About Specific Accommodations
- Resources for Working with Students with Specific Disabilities
- Text Conversion Services: Braille and Audio Formats
- How to Use Closed Captioning in the HEC
NOTE: This statement should appear in 12 font or larger on every syllabus for every class.
Include reading it aloud in your introductory session:
"If you are in need of support because of a documented disability (whether it be learning, mobility, psychiatric, health-related, or sensory) you may be eligible for academic or other accommodations through Disability Resources. Call Academic Support Programs at (541)552-6213 to schedule an intake appointment with Disability Resources. The Academic Support Programs office is located in the Stevenson Union, lower level. See the Disability Resources webpage at www.sou.edu/dr for more information."
Students with disabilities are protected from discrimination and ensured equal access to all aspects of college life by two specific federal mandates; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 .
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
“No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States…shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Title II of the ADA
“A public entity shall make reasonable modifications in policies or procedures when the modifications are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless the public entity can demonstrate that making the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity.”
The responsibility of ensuring equal access and non-discrimination is the responsibility of the University as a whole. Disability Resources, the ADA Compliance Officer, individual faculty, Facilities, and other staff all have specific rights and responsibilities in that process.
What do I look for?
If you observe that a student in your class is struggling, and believe that the student may be impacted by a disability, you may wish to discuss this with them.
Keep in mind that discussing disability, even a potential of a disability, may be a very sensitive subject. Choose a time and place for the discussion that protects the student's right to privacy.
How do I discuss this with the student?
Describe to the student the difficulties you observe. Then ask something like "Is there anything you can tell me about yourself which will help me in working with you?" That often gets a student with a known disability to disclose. It may also result in some useful suggestions, whether or not the student knows they have a disability.
What if the student does not disclose a disability? What other resources are available?
If the student does not disclose a disability, you may wish to include an explanation of how to contact Disability Resources along with other resources that may assist the student, such as math tutoring , academic advising, personal counseling, financial aid, or one of the Resource Centers (WRC , QRC, CRC).
If you have questions about how to do this, or working with a student who has disclosed a disability, please feel free to call Disability Resources at 552-6213, or to email us .
Students who have short-term medical issues, such as an injury or illness that prevents them from attending class or otherwise impacts them academically should be referred to the office of Student Support and Intervention for assistance. Please call (541)552-6223 or email SSI .
Provide accommodations in collaboration with the student and Disability Resources.
Disability Resources is the designated campus office to provide appropriate accommodations and auxiliary aids for students with disabilities.
However, in order for most accommodations to occur, faculty, students, and Disability Resources staff must collaborate, communicate, and follow through on commitments in a timely fashion.
Generally, Disability Resources and faculty have seven days to implement accommodations from the time of request.
Include a statement regarding accommodations in your syllabi.
This statement should appear in 12 font or larger on every syllabus for every class. Include reading it aloud in your introductory session:
Work with Disability Resources to provide students alternate format materials, i.e. textbooks, handouts, etc., in a timely manner.
Students need to get materials at the same time as their peers. Therefore, it is critical that you inform the bookstore about the textbooks you plan to order by requested deadlines.
Inform Disability Resources about all other print, audio, or video materials as soon as you are requested to do so either by a student or Disability Resources. Provision of alternate format materials can take up to six weeks for textbooks or videos, or a week for shorter materials. See Alternate Format Requests.
Do not feel obligated to provide accommodations if a student with a known disability has not requested them.
In other words, you are not expected to guess or predetermine what a student may need. Students have the right to choose not to use accommodations.
On the other hand, if a student asks retroactively to fix a problem because he/she has failed to use accommodations, you are not under any obligation to do so.
Do not provide accommodations to a student who does not provide you with an Accommodation Request letter.
Not all students with disabilities are registered with Disability Resources. This office is the only office designated to review documentation of a disability and determine eligibility for specific accommodations for students.
If a request for an accommodation is questionable or seems unreasonable, provide the accommodation and consult with the Director of Disability Resources.
Outside of specific accommodations, treat students with disabilities as you would any other student.
Uphold the essential components and academic standards of your course. Expect quality work.
If you have flexible arrangements for deadlines, test make-ups, etc., for other students, allow these for students with disabilities. However, you do not need to allow them solely because a student has a disability, unless specifically designated on the Accommodation Request letter.
Accommodated Testing (CHANGES)
Accommodated Testing : One of our most common accommodations because it is applicable to so many different types of disabilities.
Accommodated testing provides students with:
- extended time (generally time and a half or double time)
- a reduced-distraction environment
- necessary assistive technology
- and/or scribing and reading services.
Instructors must now provide students using accommodated testing services with a Testing Contract. Once you receive a faculty accommodation letter informing you of student accommodations, scroll down to an outlined box which provides a link to click on to enter ONE testing contract per class (AIMS will automatically copy your testing contract to ALL DR students in your class).
Students can now schedule exams WITHOUT A TESTING CONTRACT in place. This will generate another email to you, including a link to enter a testing contract if you did not enter one earlier. If you do not enter a contract within 24 hours, a default contract will be entered for you. Once this happens, you will have to contact the Disability Support Specialist to make changes (541-552-6213, opt.2).
Pop quizzes are also covered by testing accommodations.
Memory Prompts on exams: Some disability impacts can be appropriately minimized by instructor-approved memory prompts on exams and quizzes.
Notetaking Services (CHANGES)
Notetaking Services : We provide notes through three mechanisms
- An online notetaking service, NTE (Note Taking Express)
Students record lectures and upload them to the NTE website to receive typed notes.
- Instructor notes provided on Moodle for all students, and (if unable to provide in one of those two ways)
- Instructor notes provided only to the student needing this accommodation.
We no longer use student notetakers in the classroom.
Alternate Format Materials
Alternate Format Materials : We can provide a number of different alternate formats to suit the needs of the student, from Braille and large print to audio texts to captioned media.
Most often, faculty's only responsibility will be enlarged fonts on handouts or providing electronic versions of handouts.
We do also work closely with faculty for students who need more specialized formats (such as Braille).
Accommodation Request letters
Accommodation Request letters : The Accommodation Request letter is an email that verifies that the student has a documented disability and is eligible for specific accommodations to ensure equal access.
Technology for Students with Disabilities
Technology for Students with Disabilities : There is a wide variety of technology available on campus to assist students with disabilities in independently succeeding in their education.
For more information from a faculty/staff perspective, go to the Technology & Disability page .
Accessible Distance Education
Accessible Distance Education : Online classes and hybrid classes often have different accessibility issues than in-person classes. This page provides you with information about how to make your courses accessible, minimizing or eliminating the need for specific accommodations.
Reasonable Flexibility for Attendance or Deadlines
Reasonable Flexibility for Attendance or Deadlines: Students are expected and encouraged to attend class. Faculty have the right to establish attendance policies.
However, if a student has a disability that may occasionally impact their ability to attend class and/or complete assignments and tests at the scheduled time, reasonable flexibility in attendance or deadlines should be considered.
DR has put together some guidelines to assist students and faculty with this process.
Specialized Seating or Classroom Accommodations
Specialized Seating or Classroom Accommodations : Some students require different seating arrangements than the standard student desk, and the slope of our campus creates barriers for students with specific disabilities.
We occasionally have to move classes from their originally scheduled locations to make these classes accessible.
Service Animals : A service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Except in rare circumstances, service animals should be allowed in classes and other areas of campus. Service animals must be under control at all times.
Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy dogs are NOT service animals and are NOT allowed in any buildings on campus other than student housing. It does not matter if a person has a note from a doctor stating the person has a disability and needs to have the animal for emotional support. A doctor's letter does not turn an animal into a service animal.
- Factsheet for Working with Students with Blindness or Visual Impairments (Word document)
- Faculty Resources for Blindness : A list of resources compiled by the DO-IT Center at the University of Washington.
- Faculty Resources for Low Vision: A list of resources compiled by the DO-IT Center at the University of Washington.
- Instructor Letter for Student Using Sign Language Interpreters Letter from our Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services Coordinator when a student in your class is using sign language interpretation.
- Instructor Tips for working with students who are hard of hearing
- Factsheet for Working with Students with Deafness or Hearing Loss (Word document)
- Faculty Resources for Hearing Impairments : A list of resources compiled by the DO-IT Center at the University of Washington
- Tipsheet: Working with Students Who are Late-Deafened: Students who lose their hearing later in life have unique challenges.
- Factsheet for Working with Students with Mobility Impairments (Word document)
- Faculty Resources for Mobility Impairments : A list of resources compiled by the DO-IT Center at the University of Washington
- Factsheet for Working with Students with Learning Disabilities (Word document)
- Understanding the Different Types of Learning Disabilities: A guide to the many varieties of learning disabilities, from the Learning Disabilities Association of America.
- How the ADA Applies to People with Psychiatric Disabilities: A summary with links to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's guidance on the application of the ADA to those with psychiatric disabilities.
- Reasonable Accommodations for People with Psychiatric Disabilities: An On-line Resource for Employers and Educators: A grant-funded site of practical information developed by the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Boston University
- Violence and Mental Illness: The Facts : The tragedy at Virginia Tech has raised both awareness and fear about mental illness. This factsheet from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lays to rest some of the misconceptions about violence and mental illness.
Asperger's and Other Autism Spectrum Disorders
Understanding Asperger Syndrome: A Professor's Guide : A 12-minute video released by the Organization for Autism Research, the video features two people with Asperger Syndrome, Michael John Carley from the Global Regional Ausperger Syndrome Project and Kiriana Cownesage, a doctoral student at NYU. Dr. Gerhardt also appears, providing information on "reasonable accommodations" in the college classroom. Highly recommended.
- College Planning for the High Functioning Student with Autism : Written by a professor who himself has Asperger's Syndrome, this site gives insight into research and experience of college students with autism spectrum disorders.
Study Abroad for Students with Disabilities
Students with print disabilities (including vision or mobility impairments or some learning disabilities) are legally entitled to receive materials in an alternate format at the same time that their peers.
Disability Resources, in cooperation with faculty, can create these alternate format materials. There is no charge to the student or to the faculty to provide this conversion. See Alternate Format Requests.
Disability Resources handles the provision of alternate format textbooks directly with students; faculty involvement is generally limited to the timely ordering of materials through the SOU Bookstore or provision of originals for handouts and other curricular materials.
Students with print disabilities request alternate-format materials through Disability Resources. See Alternate Format Requests .
Disability Resources contacts faculty directly and as far in advance as possible when syllabi, handouts, and other classroom materials will need to be converted to Braille or audio.
Faculty send original materials to Disability Resources. Electronic format is highly preferred; if hard copies are sent they must be as clean as possible to ensure a quick and accurate scan. Graphics, gray or written on copy, and skewed pages all affect the speed and accuracy of our scans. Please note timelines below.
Disability Resources does conversion and provides materials in the student’s needed format to faculty.
Faculty distribute alternate format materials to student when using original material with class.
Disability Resources will contact faculty as far in advance of the term as possible; generally this will be 3-4 weeks prior to the beginning of classes. While we often can and do produce materials faster, times of high demand (such as the first week of the term) or low staffing (such as summer) significantly affect our ability to do so.
Electronic text (few or no graphics) up to 15 pages
2 business days
Electronic text (with graphics) 15-50 pages
Electronic text (with graphics) 50 pages +
Hard copy (clean, few or no graphics) up to 15 pages
2 business days
Hard copy (clean, few or no graphics) 15-50 pages
Hard copy (gray copy and/or with graphics) up to 15 pages
7 business days
Hard copy (gray copy and/or with graphics) 15-50 pages
Hard copy (gray copy and/or with graphics) 50 pages+
Closed Captioning is a required accommodation for students who are Deaf or hard of hearing. It is also helpful for a number of other students, including students whose first language is not English and students who are visual learners. It's also great for catching some of those mumbled words! Before trying to turn on Closed Captioning, make sure that the media you want to show is captioned - most often you will see the above symbol to indicate that captioning is included.