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Faculty Questions

What types of accommodations does Disability Support Services provide for students with disabilities?

  • All disabilities are served. They may include learning, medical, physical, emotional, and psychiatric. They may also be continuous or temporary.

What services does Disability Support Services provide for persons with disabilities?

  • Disability Support Services provides assistance to individuals with disabilities to function as independently as possible in the University setting. Specific services include but are not limited to extended time on tests, note takers, scribes and readers, adaptive equipment for the blind and visually impaired, sign language interpreters, and counseling.

What documentation is needed for a medical disability?

  • Disability Support Services should receive medical information before a student receives accommodations. That information should come from an appropriate medical professional and should include the diagnosis, prognosis, any limitations, and the impact of the medical condition on the individual.

What is an accommodation?

  • An accommodation is a specific support that allows for equal opportunity for the person with a disability to function as well as the non-disabled person.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

  • A reasonable accommodation is determined on a case-by-case basis with review of the documentation, situation, and impact of the person's disability.

How do students obtain a reasonable accommodation?

  • Students must get documentation of their disability from a medical doctor/psychologist or specialist in the area of the specific disability, including diagnosis, prognosis, limitations imposed by disability, maintenance plan, and any concerns of the professional regarding accommodations. Students must also schedule an appointment with the coordinator of Disability Support Services. In the meeting, the students' situations will be discussed and their documentation reviewed. Appropriate accommodations will be determined based on the impact of the disability. The students will sign appropriate paperwork. With the students' permission, a letter stating the accommodations for which the students are eligible will be sent to each faculty member.

Why does one student receive different accommodations than another student with the same disability?

  • Students get accommodations on the basis of written documentation from the appropriate professional. This may include a physician, psychologist, audiologist, or ophthalmologist. The students receive only those accommodations that make them able to function on a level playing field with those who do not have disabilities, while still making them responsible for their own learning. The impact that the disability has on the individual’s ability to function in a given situation is important and is a determining factor when considering accommodations.

If students have a mental illness and are on medication and function well, is there any guarantee that they will not be discriminated against if that illness is discovered?

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act covers individuals with physical and psychiatric disabilities. Even though they are currently not substantially limited in one or more of their major life activities, they would be guaranteed protection under the law based on their record of having disability as well as if they were “regarded as being disabled.” A person's ability to function in the classroom will depend on their skills and academic experience, not merely on whether or not their have been diagnosed as having a psychiatric disorder.

Are individuals with addictions disability protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act?

  • Yes, but only if that person is in recovery. Those individuals who continue to engage in the addictive behavior are not protected under the law.

Are there special admission procedures for students with disabilities?

  • Students must first be admitted to the University under regular admission requirements. Once admitted, it is their responsibility to notify Disability Support Services of their need for services. Disability Support Services will not know of the enrollment otherwise. As soon as students have been accepted for enrollment at Bowie State University, they should contact Disability Support Services to schedule an appointment to bring their documentation or arrange to have the documentation sent. If the students will be attending the orientation in the summer, they should be sure they has sent their documentation ahead of time.

What is a "temporary disability"?

  • A temporary disability is a medical condition that prevents an individual from participating at the University for more than three working days. Examples may include serious illness, surgery, or other medical conditions.

What services can Disability Support Services provide for students with temporary illnesses?

  • Disability Support Services can explain the procedures, assist the students in obtaining the appropriate documentation, and notify the instructors of their illnesses. However, if students are able, the Disability Support Services always recommends that the students contact their instructors to discuss arrangements. Then the instructors are able to make the necessary accommodations for the student. Other accommodations are provided on a case-by-case basis.

What role do parents play in the process?

  • Students who are 18 years old or older are legally recognized as adults. In this case, the students are responsible for their own accommodation requests and disability-related decisions. However, students are encouraged to have an open dialog with their parents. Parents can be a wonderful source of support.

As a faculty member, may I request information about a student’s disability?

  • Disability Support Services cannot release that information unless the person with the disability gives us permission. What is important is the impact of the disability on the student’s learning in your course.

I have a student with a temporary disability (i.e., has been out ill for a week) who wants to have extra time to turn in an assignment and make up a quiz. Do I have to give extra time or allow the student to make up a quiz?

  • Our primary goal for students is learning, and, with that in mind, you may work with Disability Support Services to determine an equitable plan to address each student’s needs. Disability Support Services serves the student once appropriate medical documentation has been received and the student requests our help. Temporary disabilities are not covered under Section 504 or the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Is it my responsibility as a faculty member to arrange for test pickup/delivery?

  • No, not initially. The students should initiate this discussion with their instructor. Arrangements can then be made with Disability Support Services about how the test will be delivered. Please feel free to call the office at extension 2-3292.

There is a student in my class whom I suspect has a disability. Should I suggest a visit to Disability Support Services to get services?

  • Yes. Many students are referred to the office out of concern by faculty members. We do not diagnose disabilities; however, the staff can interview the student and make suggestions and a referral when appropriate.

What are the consequences if I do not provide the requested adjustments?

  • The student can take legal action against you and the institution. In 1993 the Education Department reported that its Office for Civil Rights determined that 86 colleges had violated the rights of students. This was almost twice the number of cases recorded in 1992. In addition, 325 inquiries into possible violations were recorded in 1993.

Is it fair to other students to grant accommodations to those students who are disabled?

  • It is unfair not to grant accommodations. The accommodation "evens the playing field" and ensures that the students' knowledge is being tested, not their disabilities. A disabled student learns and performs more successfully with certain accommodations which would be unlikely to aid a non-disabled student. For example, one of the most frequently requested accommodations is for additional examination time. Studies have shown that giving additional time to non-disabled students will not affect their performance on an exam. However, disabled students receiving additional time perform better.

How can I tell when a student is "faking" a disability?

  • That students feign disabilities in order to receive special consideration is a common myth. No student who truly understands the nature of a disability would want to “fake” having one. If you have any reason to question whether or not a student has a disability, contact Disability Support Services. Students must have documentation on file to verify that they have a disability.

Must I evaluate the academic work of a student with a disability differently from that of other students who do not have disabilities?

  • No. You should not evaluate the academic work of a student with a disability differently from that of students who do not have disabilities. A good rule of thumb in evaluating a student's academic performance is to treat all completed work equally. All students must ultimately perform at the same level if they are to receive the same grades.

I want to give students with specific learning needs as much assistance as possible, but where do I draw the line on ensuring that students take advantage of available help and accommodations?

  • All students are responsible for their own academic achievement. Each student must be personally responsible for class attendance, assignments, and all other course material. It is up to the individual student to seek outside help and to utilize agreed upon classroom adjustments.

What are some guidelines regarding confidentiality of disability-related information?

  • Any information, documentation, or issues related to the student's disability must be considered confidential and only shared with faculty on a need-to-know basis. You should not expect to see diagnostic information for a particular student. Of course, you need to know what accommodations are necessary and appropriate in meeting an individual student's needs, but only with permission of the student. The information you receive about a student's disability is confidential. It cannot be shared with a third party without the student's permission. Any discussion that you have with students about their disabilities and/or accommodations should not be in a public setting, such as the classroom.

Whom should I contact if I have further questions or comments?

  • For any issues regarding students with disabilities, contact Disability Support Services, located in the Center for Learning and Technology, Room 311, 2-3292