Students with a wide variety of disabilities, including those with
limited hand function, visual impairments, hearing impairments, and
learning disabilities may need assistance in taking notes. The Disability & Assistive Technology Center utilizes peer, volunteer note-takers; in most cases the student
will seek out a fellow-student. However, in some instances Disability
Services may ask for your assistance in finding a competent note-taker.
This simply involves choosing a well organized student and requesting
that she/he share notes with the student who has the disability.
The Disability & Assistive Technology Center provides self-duplicating paper.
If appropriate, priority registration may be available to eligible students with disabilities.
Sign Language Interpreters
Deaf or hard-of-hearing students may need sign language interpreters to
access class lectures and materials. A note taker may also be needed if
the student requires a sign language interpreter. The Disability & Assistive Technology Center
will provide sign language interpreter services for deaf or
hard-of-hearing students. Interpreters will both translate oral
communication into sign language, and sign language into oral
communication, to enable deaf or hard-of-hearing students to communicate
with faculty or other students. Interpreters are translators, and
remain neutral in all communication as they transmit information. They
do not become involved in the student's interactions, and are not
advocates for the student.
Taped lectures allow students to review information given in a lecture.
This is particularly helpful to students with any type of visual
processing problems. The use of a tape recorder may not be refused if it
is essential to the participation of a student with a disability.
Authorization to use a tape recorder will be provided by Disability
The Tutoring Learning Center (TLC) offers reading and writing help.
Specifically the TLC assists with: reading text, organizing notes,
writing for Freshman English or any other class.
Tutors, as part of their 3 credit (Ed 370) practicum, are trained to
work with students with language based difficulties and will edit and
proofread for students with learning disabilities.
In addition, the independent writing ( English '57) course, run through
the TLC, allows students who need to improve on their writing to work
in a non-threatening environment. This is an excellent program for
developing writing skills in a supportive environment.
Content-area tutoring is available to any student referred by
Disability Services. The student can be matched with a peer tutor for
help with reading, writing papers, study techniques, note taking, and
test prep in all subject areas. Several of the tutors in this program
have learning disabilities or attention deficit disorder and bring
special compensatory skills into the tutoring sessions. Student
evaluations attest to the positive effect that this kind of academic
peer support has on learners.
A scribe will be provided if the student has fine or gross motor
movement impairments or other writing difficulties. The scribe may be
present for note taking during class and/or for exams.
Fatigue, medical problems, medication, hospitalization, and extreme
weather may disrupt a student's class attendance. Disabilities
particularly likely to impact class attendance include: paraplegia,
quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, heart disorders,
psychological disorders, AIDS, arthritis, chronic illness, and chemical
Students with mobility disabilities may be unable to access certain
facilities. Should a classroom not be accessible, students with mobility
impairments can be scheduled into sections of courses held in
accessible buildings or the class location can be moved to an accessible
site. Other architectural barriers may also exist. Faculty offices may
be inaccessible to a student using a wheelchair either because of office
size or furniture arrangement. Use of computer or laboratory equipment
may also be difficult for some students. Adapted equipment may be
needed. The Disability & Assistive Technology Center will work with the student and faculty
member to ensure access in the most integrated setting.
Test and Early Syllabus Availability
Provision of class syllabi and required readings prior to the beginning
of the semester will be helpful to some students with disabilities.
Students with visual, learning, and other disabilities may require
taping of reading materials. It is the student's responsibility to
arrange taping through the Disability & Assistive Technology Center. Since this is a time
consuming process, extended preparation time is helpful. Deaf or
hard-of-hearing students may utilize an early syllabus to become
familiar with terminology used in a course, and to develop sign language
vocabularies for use by their interpreters. Provision of materials in
advance of the semester will likely reduce the need for extension of
time to complete course requirements at the end of the semester.
Extra Time Needed to Complete Course Work
Students with disabilities may need extra time to complete course
requirements. Particularly new college students or a student who has
been recently diagnosed, may need a period of adjustment in determining a
realistic academic load. Unforeseen medical problems can cause
increased physical limitations. Arranging for adapted course materials
(i.e. raised line graphs and models for physical science courses for
visually impaired students) can delay course work completion. Extra time
may range from a few days to several weeks.
Although fatigue is not a disability, many disabilities cause frequent
fatigue. It accompanies disabilities as varied as AIDS, arthritis, back
injury, cardiac disease, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple
sclerosis, polio, spinal cord injury, chronic illness, and visual
impairments. Some students may have difficulty sitting for a long period
of time, and will need to stand for awhile or leave class to stretch or
lie down. Faculty and students should plan for accommodations caused by
fatigue as early as possible. Students who have problems with fatigue
may benefit from extended time to complete course reading and other
Lab Accessibility and Procedures
Students with disabilities may require accommodations in lab courses.
Faculty may work with the Disability & Assistive Technology Center to identify means to make lab
activities accessible. One issue which may need to be addressed is the
height of lab counters. Problems with fatigue may require flexibility in
time limits to complete laboratory course work, either through
attendance in part of two sections of a lab, or completion of a lab over
a two semester period. Visual limitations may require significant
magnification of slides and objects. Models using tactile and size
values can assist students with greatly limited or no vision.
Restructuring laboratory experiences to include the use of a partner for
students with hand and arm dexterity problems may be needed. Completing
a lab or taking exams through partial attendance at two different
sections of the course may accommodate the student with limited standing
or sitting tolerance. Close cooperation with a lab partner, in which a
student with and without a disability divide physical activities and
data collection and analysis, according to ability, may be an effective
means of meeting the needs of the student with a disability. Students
and Disability Services can assist faculty in developing adjustments to
meet the needs of the individual students.
Students who have disabilities including cerebral palsy, head injury,
cancer, multiple sclerosis, polio, speech, and hearing impairments may
have difficulty with oral communication in the classroom. They may have
slow speech, impaired speech or no speech. Students who have slow or
difficult-to-understand speech should be encouraged to speak up in class
and be allowed to take their time. If testing requires oral responses,
students with speech difficulties may need the opportunity for
Exam accommodations include but are not limited to:
reader (proctor) - may read exam and fill out an answer sheet
distraction free environment
rest period during the exam
use of a computer
Exam accommodations will be requested on the Accommodation Request
form. It is the responsibility of the student to meet with the Disability & Assistive Technology Center to determine appropriate testing accommodations.
Other General Academic Accommodations or Modifications
Some general areas of course modification may benefit students both with and without disabilities:
Inform students about the availability of support services for
students with disabilities by including a statement on syllabi similar
to the following: Any student who has a disability and is in need of
classroom and/or exam accommodations, please contact the instructor and the Disability & Assistive Technology Center.
Provide the course syllabus and a clear statement of expectations
early to assist students in planning modifications and completion of
assignments for the semester.
Begin lecture/discussion with an overview of the topics to be covered.
Use the chalkboard or overhead projector to highlight key course material.
Emphasize important points, main ideas, and key concepts orally in lecture.
Try to provide assignments in writing as well as orally.
Provide an opportunity for participation, questions, and review sessions to aid in mastering material and preparing for exams.
Provide time during office hours for individual discussion of assignments, questions about lectures, and readings.
Try to talk toward the class while writing on the board.
Make sure that students see your lips, expressions, and gestures. Try
not to stand against a window where your features are shadowed.
In answering questions or engaging in class discussions, repeat student comments as necessary.
Make sure duplicated materials are visually clear.
Use of a variety of formats to convey course material, both visual and
auditory. If possible, convey difficult material in several ways.
If possible, structure several ways for students to demonstrate
mastery of material: oral reports; essays written both in and out of
class; interpretive exams which allow the use of books and notes.