Disability- Faculty/Staff Information

Faculty/Staff Information

As a member of the UVa-Wise community, I hope your experience here is uplifting, rewarding and successful and I hope that my office will be a source of information and support for you.

Disability Services is responsible for coordinating academic accommodations and serving as a liaison for faculty, staff and students with disabilities. It also serves as an information center for the campus community by providing pertinent information for equal educational opportunities for individuals with disabilities. While it is the faculty's ultimate responsibility to accommodate, it is the goal of Disability Services to be a support mechanism for faculty.

The University of Virginia's College at Wise complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADAAA) of 2008. The law states that "no qualified individuals with a disability shall, because of that disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by such entity providing the individual is otherwise qualified."

UVa-Wise makes every effort to inform current and potential students about services for students with disabilities. In order to receive accommodations, a student must self-identify to Disability Services as having a disability, provide appropriate documentation and complete a student intake process.

Please do not hesitate to call our staff if you have questions, concerns or need additional information.


Whitney E. Wells
ADA Coordinator

Table of Contents

The Law
1973 Vocational Rehabilitation Act
Section 504 
Americans With Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008 (ADAAA) 
Learning Disability Facts and Tips 
Visual Impairments Facts and Tips 
Hearing Impairments Facts and Tips
Mobility and Dexterity Impairments Facts and Tips 
Speech Impairments Facts and Tips 
Emotional and Behavioral Impairments Facts and Tips 
ADD/ADHD Facts and Tips
Chronic Health Disabilities Facts and Tips
Faculty Responsibilities 
College Responsibilities
ADA Coordinator Responsibilities
Teaching and Accommodating


The University of Virginia's College at Wise is committed to making higher education available to all persons with a disability. The program promotes equal access to education by fostering an institutional climate supportive of the success of students with disabilities.
Our goal is to facilitate institutional and community effort so that every student has the opportunity to succeed. Back to Top

The Law

The need for equal access to education on college campuses was mandated by the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 504 states that reasonable adjustments in post-secondary programs must be made in order for persons with disabilities to fulfill academic requirements. In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed, extending equal protection to persons with disabilities in the private sector, public institutions, employment, communications and public accommodations. Back to Top

1973 Vocational Rehabilitation Act
Section 504

Colleges and universities nationwide have been protecting the rights of students with disabilities since the 1973 Vocational Rehabilitation Act, specifically Section 504, which states:

"No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States…shall, solely by reason of his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

In Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a "disabled person" is defined as, "any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment." Major life activities are functions such as, "caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working."

Federal regulations, which became effective on June 3, 1977, prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. Therefore, all institutions that receive federal assistance must modify their programs so that any person with a disability who qualifies to enter the institution be given opportunities equal to those opportunities that other students receive.

A portion of Section 504 focuses specifically on postsecondary education stating that in order for persons with disabilities to fulfill academic requirements, reasonable adjustments in the programs must be made. Reasonable accommodation in higher education refers to an "otherwise qualified" disabled student's ability to fulfill course requirements in the classroom with faculty and staff providing equal access to learning. Back to Top

Americans With Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADAAA) of 2008

Unlike Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the ADAAA applies to employers, public services, public accommodations, communication providers and transportation providers, regardless of whether they receive or benefit from federal funding. This law was effective as of January 1, 2009
The ADA defines a person with a disability as a person who:

—has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (sometimes referred to in the regulations as an “actual disability”), or
—has a record of a physical or mental impairment that substantially limited a major life activity (“record of”), or
—when a covered entity takes an action prohibited by the ADA because of an actual or perceived impairment that is not both transitory and minor (“regarded as”). [Section 1630.2(g)]

The ADAAA provides coverage in five different areas:

—Public services/transportation
—Public accommodation/transportation

The ADAAA has expanded the definition of "major life activities" to include:

  • caring for oneself
  • performing manual tasks
  • seeing
  • hearing
  • eating
  • sleeping
  • walking
  • standing
  • lifting
  • bending speaking
  • breathing
  • learning
  • reading
  • concentrating
  • thinking
  • communicating
  • working


Back to Top


Learning Disability Facts and Tips

What are the Effects of a Learning Disability?

• Basic functions, such as memory, nonverbal reasoning, oral expression, coordination, listening comprehension, organization of thoughts and concepts, time management, sustaining attention, social skills, retrieving information and written or verbal language may be impaired.

• Academic areas of reading, writing, spelling, math, reasoning and communication may be affected.

• Students may also exhibit a variety of behaviors, such as inattentiveness and restlessness, or may seem disorganized, forgetful, confused or self-conscious.

Facts Concerning Learning Disabilities

• A learning disability does not go away.

• A learning disability does not indicate a lack of intelligence. The learning capacity is intact; only the means by which information is processed is different. In order to fit the diagnostic criterion for a learning disability, an average to very high level of measured intelligence must be documented.

• A learning disability is not the result of laziness or lack of motivation on a student's part.

• A learning disability does not prevent learning; however, students require accommodations to learn by traditional teaching strategies.

• A learning disability does not usually affect all areas. Students may be strong in math but weaker in reading and written language or may express ideas well in class but are unable to respond well on exams or in other written formats.

• Learning disabilities are so individualized that any generalization about specific signs or symptoms is of limited value. Each student will be better able to describe how he/she functions in relation to his/her learning disability.

Common Learning Disabilities

It is important to remember that a student may exhibit one or more of the following disabilities in varying degrees:

Dyslexia -- Severe difficulty with reading.
Dyscalculia -- Severe difficulty with math.
Dysgraphia -- Severe difficulty with written expression.
Dysphasia -- Severe difficulty with speaking or understanding language.
Figure/Ground Perception -- Severe difficulty identifying an object from a background of competing objects.
Visual Discrimination -- Severe difficulty differentiating between objects.
Spatial Perception -- Severe difficulty in seeing objects in the correct order.
Auditory Figure/Ground Perception -- Severe difficulty hearing one sound against a background of noises.
Auditory Sequencing -- Severe difficulty hearing sounds in the correct order.
Apraxia -- Severe difficulty making purposeful motor

Indications of a Possible Learning Disability

Students may have a learning disability if any of the following are displayed:

• Working very hard in class and thinking they know the material, but not performing well on exams.

• Exhibiting poor time management skills and lack of organization.

• Repeating classes, withdrawing from or taking an incomplete in many courses.

• Demonstrating a high level of test anxiety during exams; finding the test questions unclear; requiring additional time to complete the test; or indicating that a type of test (essay, multiple choice, etc.) has always been hard for them.

• Receiving poorer grades even though the student has spent more time studying than his/her classmates.

Classroom Accommodations & Techniques that Work

• Encourage the student to make an appointment with you during office hours. Ask the student about the specific accommodations he/she requires as he/she can describe best how he/she functions in relation to the disability: accommodations may include (but are not limited to) extended time for tests/quizzes or assignments, note takers, tape recording lectures, oral versus written exams, calculators, and books on tape. Accommodations specific to each student will be provided in writing (Faculty Accommodation Notice) by the ADA Coordinator. Faculty have no responsibility to provide accommodations that are not authorized by the ADA Coordinator.

• When lecturing, provide appropriate written and verbal descriptions to accompany any visual aids, diagrams, films or videos used in class. Outline class lectures and write key words or points on the chalkboard while reading these materials verbally.

• Break down difficult concepts into parts or steps.

• Paraphrase abstract concepts and illustrate them with concrete examples, personal experiences and visual aids.

• Give assignments in both verbal and written formats.

• Suggest note takers

• Include a time for questions and answers.

• Give students a clear syllabus listing tests and assignments with due dates noted.

• Provide students with a course syllabus and required book lists prior to the start of the semester.

• Create alternative assignments.

• Give students study questions for exams that demonstrate the format as well as the content of the test and an explanation of what constitutes a good answer and why.

• Review failed exams with students.

• Utilize Student Support Services staff and facilities to administer tests. Discuss testing arrangements early in the semester.

• Allow use of dictionary, spell checker, thesaurus or word processor for writing assignments and calculator for math tests.


Test Adaptation and Administration (as appropriate)

• Provide large print tests

• Allow extended time for test taking

• Provide alternative setting

• Allow the use of SSS staff to proctor tests

• Allow the use of adaptive equipment.

• Explain difficult concepts fully.

• Allow use of a calculator for math tests.

• Review failed exams with students.

• Utilize SSS staff and facilities to administer tests. Discuss testing arrangements early in the semester.

Tips for Positive Communication

• Stress good study habits and time management.

• Provide timely feedback to the student.

Many of the strategies that benefit students with learning disabilities are helpful for other students as well. If you suspect that a student in your class has a learning disability, the ADA Coordinator has a list of doctors and diagnostic agencies and can refer students for testing. The student must provide documentation of the learning disability before he/she can qualify for accommodations. Contact the ADA Coordinator if it is felt that an unreasonable request has been made. Back to Top

Visual Impairments Facts and Tips

Visual impairments can result from a variety of causes including the following: congenital conditions, injury, eye disease, brain trauma, or as the result of other conditions such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis. A person is considered legally blind if his corrected vision does not exceed 20/200, which means seeing at twenty feet what others see as 200 feet, or having peripheral fields (side vision) of no more than 20 degrees in diameter or 10 degrees radius. A person is considered visually impaired when corrected vision is less than 20/70.

Most visually impaired students use a combination of adaptations for class participation and learning needs, including readers, Braille, CCTV's overhead projectors, cassette tape recorders, taped books for the blind, voice-synthesizing computers and optical character scanning devices. It is the responsibility of the faculty member to accommodate the blind student and the reader. Assistance can be provided through the Office of the ADA Coordinator and SSS.

Classroom Accommodations & Techniques that Work

• Provide course information as far in advance as possible, so that students can arrange to have materials recorded or transcribed into Braille or obtain textbooks on tape. It takes six to eight weeks to get taped textbooks. The ADA Coordinator or Student Support Services will obtain a list of textbooks to be used.

• Arrange to have exams, handouts, etc., enlarged to accommodate students who are visually impaired.

• Allow visually impaired student to tape record lectures.

• To assist students with reading your comments, use black felt-tip pen when making corrections/remarks on papers.

• Provide appropriate verbal descriptions to accompany any visual aids, diagrams, films or videos used in class.

• Face the class when speaking; remember that body language and gestures cannot be seen. Written information on the blackboard needs to be verbalized. Technical terms need to be spelled and verbally defined.

• Since the student cannot see visual cues, he/she needs to be seated in a position to receive verbal cues. Sit students with visual impairments in the front of the classroom.

• Make alternative assignments as needed.

• Allow space for adaptive equipment in the classroom. Please assist students with visual impairments in maneuvering by leaving the classroom door completely open or closed. The door can present an unexpected obstacle.

• If your class is relocated, ask someone to wait at the door of the original classroom location to guide the student to the new classroom.

• Some visually impaired students are assisted by guide dogs. Refrain from petting, feeding or talking to guide dogs. This attention distracts the animal from his duty.

• Ask a visually impaired student if he/she needs assistance before you offer help.

• When offering a seat to a visually impaired student, place the student's hand on the back or arm of the seat.

• When walking with a visually impaired student, allow him/her to take your arm just above the elbow and walk in a natural manner and pace.

Test Adaptations and Administration

Test adaptations are the responsibility of the instructors; however, the staff in Student Support Services will assist you in administering tests. The students are advised to discuss testing accommodations with their instructors early in the semester. Accommodations appropriate to the individual are those recommended by a professional evaluator.

Testing accommodations may include, but are not limited to, the use of readers, scribes, word processors, large print, magnifying equipment, and tape-recorded exams.

Tests may be reproduced in Braille format at the student's request. Material to be Brailled must be sent off-campus, so it will be needed well in advance.

When appropriate, tests may be reproduced in large print. Student Support Services can assist in enlarging tests to meet individual student needs. The tests can be administered in the Student Support Services Office.

Tests may be given orally by the instructor if this arrangement is acceptable to both instructor and student and is consistent with the accommodations needed.

Tips for Positive Communication

• Always identify yourself, and anyone else who might be present, to students with a visual impairment. Let them know when you are leaving their presence. Provide a concrete description of the material being discussed.

• Use a normal voice level when speaking; a visually impaired student has sight problems, not hearing loss.

• Speak directly to the visually impaired student and address him/her by name.

• Do not hesitate to use words as "see" or "look"; students with visual impairments use these terms also.

• Do not hesitate to ask a student what adaptations, if any, are required in the classroom. The student is the "expert" about his/her particular needs. Back to Top

Hearing Impairments Facts and Tips

Hearing loss occurs in approximately 10 percent of all individuals within the United States. The degree of loss varies from difficulty hearing soft sounds to total deafness. Hearing loss may affect both the amplification of sounds heard as well as the clarity or discrimination of those sounds.

Students with hearing impairments vary widely in their communication skills. Age of onset plays a crucial role in the development of language. Persons with prelingual hearing loss (present at birth or occurring before the acquisition of language and the development of speech patterns) are more functionally disabled than those whose loss occurs after the development of language and speech.

Many students who are hearing impaired can lip-read; however, they are able to comprehend only approximately 35 percent of spoken English. Amplification devices, which include hearing aids, public address systems and transmitter/receiver systems, may be helpful to students who have some degree of hearing loss. Sign language, used in coordination with a trained interpreter, is the main form of communication for students who are deaf.

The Interpreter in the Classroom

Interpreter services are arranged by the ADA Coordinator. The student should be seated in a position as to be able to see both the instructor and the interpreter. Faculty are instructed to look at and speak to the student, not the interpreter. Instructors should maintain a reasonable speaking rate and spell and define unusual terms to allow the student to process the information received from the interpreter. Initial curiosity regarding the interpreter's presence in the classroom diminishes over time; therefore, any perceived distraction should not cause the instructor concern. Interpreters who are certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf subscribe to a strict code of ethics that requires confidentiality of private communications and honesty in interpretation or translation.

Classroom Accommodations & Techniques that Work

• The student with a hearing impairment should select which seating is best for him/her. If an interpreter is necessary, the student should be positioned to see both the instructor and the interpreter.

• When lecturing, avoid standing in front of a light source like a window since a glare from behind makes it difficult to read lips.

• Use visual media, such as overhead projectors, as much as possible.

• Provide a script or outline of slides, films or videotaped materials. Captioned films for the deaf are required.

• Maintain a relatively quiet classroom since excessive noise, such as whispering, shuffling of papers, etc., is distracting to students with hearing impairments.

• Individual amplification devices consisting of a small transmitter worn by the faculty member and a receiver worn by the student are available through the Office of ADA Coordinator.

• Provide a list of technical terminology or specialized vocabulary to both the interpreter and the student with a hearing impairment before the lecture.

• State details in writing in a handout and on the chalkboard involving class cancellations, class relocation, assignments and tests.

• Establish a system for contacting the student with a hearing impairment to provide advance notice of class cancellations and changes.

• Interpreters should be allowed five-minute breaks every 50 minutes due to the physical demands of their jobs.

Test Adaptation and Administration

• Allow extended time for taking tests in a distraction-free environment.

• Use verbal test administration with the aid of an interpreter. Discuss testing arrangements early in the semester.

• Utilize SSS staff and facilities to administer tests.

Tips for Positive Communication

• Attract the attention of the student with a hearing impairment before speaking using a cue, such as a tap on the shoulder or a wave.

• Persons with hearing impairments may smile in acknowledgment to cover the fact that they have not understood information being conveyed to them. If necessary, reword sentences that are not understood.

• Face the student and keep your face within view whenever you speak. Try to avoid facing the chalkboard while talking. Always speak to the student when an interpreter is present.

• Speak clearly and naturally without exaggerating lip movements or volume.

• Chewing gum or obstructing the area around your mouth with your hands or other objects might interfere with speech reading. Back to Top 

Mobility and Dexterity Impairments Facts and Tips

Individuals with mobility and dexterity impairments have difficulty with some form of movement. It is wise not to generalize with regard to specific limitations of persons with mobility impairments. Functional abilities vary widely among students with the same disability. While some disabilities are progressive in nature, such as muscular dystrophy, other disabilities are not. Limitations associated with some disabilities fluctuate with periods of remission and exacerbation, whereas others may improve with time and therapy. Many of these individuals use wheelchairs, crutches, canes, walkers, braces, and other mobility aids.

Providing Accessibility for Mobility and Dexterity Impairments

• Understand that students with mobility impairments may incur difficulties with being punctual to class; initially, they must learn routes across campus that do not present barriers (stairs, curbs, narrow walkways, heavy doors and elevators). A ten-minute break between classes poses a realistic difficulty for students who have mobility limitations. However, if a student's lateness becomes chronic, it is appropriate to discuss the situation and seek solutions that may include better planning on the part of the student.

• If a classroom or faculty office is inaccessible, the ADA Coordinator will assist in finding an accessible location.

• Aisles and doorways should be kept free of obstacles.

• Please do not remove chairs, tables or other adaptive equipment from the room once special arrangements for this equipment have been made.

Hand and Arm Dexterity Impairments

Students may have hand and arm dexterity limitations alone (carpel tunnel syndrome where the nerve in the wrist is compressed) or in conjunction with mobility limitations (spinal cord injury/quadriplegia). Hand dexterity limitations have greater impact on academic performance than mobility limitations, but again the specific limitation will depend on the type and severity of the disability.

Classroom Accommodations & Techniques that Work

• Encourage the use of note takers and tape-recorded lectures.

• Include the use of a partner for hand and arm dexterity limitations, either another classmate or the student's aide, who can carry out the step-by-step instructions given by the student in lab exercises.

• Arrange for appropriate time for completion of class assignments.

• Allow for adequate break time so that the student can attend to such needs as stretching, medication and restroom use.

• Be certain that hallways, aisles and classroom doorways are accessible.

• Allow in-class written assignments to be completed with the use of a scribe or adaptive technology if necessary.

• Schedule accessible transportation and choose accessible sites when planning field trips or fieldwork. Consult with the student since he/she is usually the best source of information.

Test Adaptations and Administration

• Utilize the SSS staff to administer tests. Discuss testing arrangements early in the semester.

• Utilize a scribe to record any answers for a test that cannot be marked by the individual or permit the use of tape recorder or computer during testing. Oral testing can be administered by the instructor.

Tips for Positive Communication

• Encourage students with mobility limitations to request assistance when necessary. Do not assume that assistance is needed.

• When conversing with someone in a wheelchair, sit at the person's eye level whenever possible.

• Keep all information confidential.

Back to Top

Speech Impairments Facts and Tips

Speech impairments have many causes: hearing loss, illness, injury, and congenital or psychological conditions. Speech impairments are found alone and in combination with other disabilities.

Speech impairments range from problems with articulation of voice strength to an inability to speak. Unless the impairment is recent, students with speech impairments generally have had some speech therapy. Many students with speech impairments are reluctant to participate in activities that require speaking. New situations may stimulate previous anxieties and pressure to speak is not likely to be helpful. Other methods of self-expression, such as writing, signing or drama, may be utilized.

Classroom Accommodations & Techniques that Work

Specific accommodations will need to be individually tailored because the type and degree of speech loss or impairment varies. Usually, a combination of adaptive methods is the best approach.

• Encourage the use of a laptop computer with LED display and printer or a laptop voice synthesized computer.

• Permit the student to write short answers on the chalkboard.

• Incorporate "hands on" and lab experiences when appropriate.

Test Adaptation and Administration

• Permit the use of special word processors.

• Permit the student to fulfill an assignment with a written rather than oral report.

• Utilize SSS staff to administer tests. Discuss testing arrangements early in the semester.

Tips for Positive Communication

• The ability to understand impaired speech improves with continued exposure and listening, as does the ability to understand a foreign accent.

• Do not provide words or complete sentences for a person who stutters or speaks with difficulty; permit the person to complete his/her own thought.

• Provide students the opportunity to participate in class discussions as much as possible, even if extra time is necessary.

• If the course requires verbal communication and the student is unable to communicate verbally, arrange for alternative methods through the use of typewriter, word processor, or sign language interpreter in class.

• Encourage participation, but do not require a student with a speech impairment to speak in front of class. Back to Top

Emotional and Behavioral Impairments Facts and Tips

Emotional/behavioral impairment is a broad term that includes psychiatric and psychological conditions. There is a growing awareness that people with emotional/behavioral impairments are entitled to the same rights as all other people in our country. However, laws against discrimination do not automatically translate into equal opportunities for all. The struggle to attain a reasonable standard of living and full participation in the community for most people with emotional/behavioral impairments has been a long, arduous and often unsuccessful one. Although advances have been made in treatment and rehabilitation, and deinstitutionalization has occurred, the services needed to integrate people fully into the community are, for the most part, not yet in place. Particularly neglected have been students seeking opportunities in the field of higher education.

One barrier to serving students with emotional/behavioral impairments is the stigma surrounding mental illness. It is an illness that can stir deep and unconscious fears in many of us.

second barrier to serving students with psychiatric impairments may be a perceived lack of knowledge about where or how to serve these students when they return to college. The student may be viewed as disruptive, and some students, attempting to become real advocates for themselves, may not be able to judge when or where to draw the line on pushing for special accommodations.

third attitudinal barrier is that some postsecondary administrators may believe that if the institution gains a reputation for effectively serving students with emotional/behavioral impairments on campus, they will be overrun with students with a history of mental illness or become a "dumping ground" for resource-poor mental health agencies. These attitudinal barriers need to be acknowledged. Through information and experience, they can be overcome. Reasonable accommodation by definition is a removal of barriers to participation. Institutions of postsecondary education need to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities including modifications, substitutions, waivers of courses, or degree requirements on a case-by-case basis. Such accommodations need not be made if the institution can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose undue hardship on the operation of its program. In addition, the institution need not alter academic requirements that it can demonstrate are essential to a program of instruction. Serving large numbers of students with emotional/behavioral impairments on-site is relatively new to postsecondary campuses. There have been few precedents set in assisting persons with such conditions with accommodations.

What are Emotional/Behavioral Impairments?

• Significant patterns of behavioral and psychological signs and symptoms associated with current distress and impairment. They may affect activities of daily living, social functioning, concentration and motivation, and the ability to tolerate stress.

• Emotional/behavioral impairments include a number of different diagnoses that have different symptoms and degrees of functional impairment. Some are episodic and recurrent, while others are chronic. For those disabilities that are episodic, the associated impairment is also episodic; between episodes, individuals may function very effectively. Emotional disabilities that are chronic may vary significantly in degree of severity and impairment.

• Some psychiatric conditions can be severe enough to impair academic functioning and adaptability to college life.

• Some specific life and adjustment problems are the focus of mental health treatment. Usually outpatient therapy and temporary medication are helpful since the problems can inhibit a student from functioning as expected (e.g., ADD/ADHD/depression, anxiety, divorce, life-threatening illness, death of a loved one).

Indications That A Person May Have An Emotional/Behavioral Impairment

Students may exhibit a cluster of behaviors or symptoms that suggest difficulty in maintaining an acceptable level of academic success. Some of these include:

• Sudden changes in performance, attendance, and interactions with others.

• Difficulty in cognitive functioning, including concentration or focusing attention, memory, decision making, and problem solving.

• Difficulty in communicating clearly, orally or in writing, due to thoughts that are incoherent, jumbled or disjointed.

• Behaviors or thoughts that seem inconsistent with reality (paranoia).

• Difficulties in completing tasks within designated time periods.

• References to killing self or others.

• Appearance of no feelings or expression of feelings that seem inappropriate or overly reactive to the situation.

• Excessive nervousness or anxiousness when interacting with others, taking tests or during class presentations.

• Disruptive behavior that is characterized by hostility, aggressiveness and physically acting out.

What Can Be Helpful?

Sometimes a student who is struggling with emotional or mental problems will take the initiative to talk to a faculty or staff member. He/She may even define the specific ways in which support and encouragement can be provided without lowering or changing academic standards. Another student may request the mental health professional care provider to write a letter verifying problems and treatment, as well as the specific considerations needed by the student.

It is not uncommon for students with temporary impairment to request withdrawals, incompletes, or extensions of time in order to meet the requirements of a course, program or a degree. Some students literally need to withdraw from college until their condition stabilizes.

Classroom Accommodations & Techniques that Work

Specific student accommodations will need to be individually tailored depending on the type and degree of impairment. Usually, a combination of adaptive methods is the best approach.

• Extended time for exams with a distraction free environment.

• Beverages allowed in class due to thirst from medications.

• Provision of "Incomplete" (I) grade rather than a "Failure" (F) if relapse occurs.

• Tutoring in course materials.

• Note taking assistance.

• Seating arrangement modifications.

Test Adaptation and Administration

• Allow extra time for test taking (usually time and one/half).

• Arrange for proctoring tests in a quiet, separate, distraction free room.

• Provide alternate test taking arrangements, if applicable.

• Utilize SSS staff and facilities to administer tests.

Tips for Positive Communication

• Faculty and staff are encouraged to contact the ADA Coordinator for aid in the provision of accommodations for students with emotional/behavioral disabilities.

• Discuss inappropriate classroom behavior with the student privately, directly and forthrightly. Delineate, if necessary, the limits of acceptable conduct.

• Promptly refer to the College's proper disciplinary channels regarding any behavior by the student that may be abusive or threatening. It is appropriate that instructors request the assistance of Campus Police to manage students who exhibit disruptive behaviors. Back to Top

ADD/ADHD Facts and Tips

These disorders are a neurobiological syndrome characterized by attention skills that are developmentally inappropriate, impulsive, and in some cases, hyperactive. This disability affects between three to five percent of the population. When left untreated, it has serious learning, social and emotional consequences. Males are about five times more likely to be diagnosed with ADD than females. ADD is the most common (psychiatric) disorder and can be accompanied by hyperactivity or not, with about fifty percent of these individuals diagnosed with hyperactivity.

Seventy to eighty percent of these individuals never fully outgrow this disorder; however, the hyperactive component may decrease over time. If left untreated, it affects a person's self-esteem, social relationships and ability to learn.

Indications that a person may have ADD or ADHD:

•Difficulty sustaining attention.

•Difficulty completing tasks.

•Easily overwhelmed by tasks of daily living.

•Trouble maintaining an organized work/living area.

•Inconsistent work performance.

•Lack of attention to detail.

•A tendency to be easily bored.

•Makes impulsive decisions.

•Difficulty delaying gratification, stimulation seeking.

•Restless, fidgety.

•Impatient, with a low tolerance for frustration.

•Inaccurate at self-observation, often misjudging the impact on others.

Classroom Accommodations & Techniques that Work

•Seat students in the front of the classroom, away from distractions.

•Decrease environmental distractions when possible.

•Have another student take notes.

•Allow students to tape record lectures.

•Maintain regular eye contact with student.

•Encourage active participation.

•Frequently repeat instructions.

•When lecturing, provide appropriate written and verbal descriptions to accompany any visual aids, diagrams, films or videos used in class. Outline class lectures and write key words or points on the chalkboard while reading these materials aloud.

•Break down difficult concepts into parts or steps.

•Paraphrase abstract concepts and illustrate them with concrete examples, personal experiences and visual aids.

•Give assignments in both verbal and written formats.

•Include a time for questions and answers.

•Provide students with a clear course syllabus listing tests and assignments with due dates noted and required book lists prior to the start of the semester.

•In some cases, create alternative assignments.

•Give students study questions for exams that demonstrate the format as well as the content of the test and an explanation of what constitutes a good answer and why.

•Provide large print tests, if requested.

•Allow extra time for test taking (usually time and one-half).

•Arrange for proctoring tests in a quiet, separate, distraction-free room.

•Review errors on exams with students.

•Allow use of dictionary, spell checker, thesaurus or word processor for writing assignments and calculator for math tests. Back to Top

Chronic Health Disabilities Facts and Tips

Numerous other impairments fall under the umbrella of Section 504 and the ADA but do not fit under the categories already discussed. Such disabilities as heart conditions, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, asthma, diabetes, respiratory disorders, chemical-sensitivities, seizure disorders, cancer, kidney problems, Tourette's Syndrome, severe chronic pain, and other conditions may affect student performance in class and on tests by significantly impairing energy levels, memory, mobility, speech, vision, or muscular coordination. In some cases, the degree of impairment may be transitory. In other instances, chronic conditions may degenerate and the students' needs may require reevaluation.

The academic support services, test adaptations, special equipment and devices, and other accommodations offered to students with disabilities in the specific categories discussed earlier in this handbook are also available to students with disabilities as a result of an illness. Some students with the above disabilities may be reluctant to discuss their special needs with faculty and staff members. Please encourage them to contact the ADA Coordinator.

Classroom Accommodations & Techniques that Work

• When and where appropriate, utilize Student Support Services professional staff and facilities to administer tests. Discuss testing arrangements early in the semester.

• Contact the Office of Academic Affairs concerning matters of classroom accommodations.

• Encourage the use of note takers.

• Restructure laboratory experience to include the use of a partner for students with mobility/dexterity impairments.

• Work with students to arrange appropriate time for completion of class assignments and exams.

• Seek appropriate solutions when a student experiences difficulty arriving to class in a timely manner.

• Allow for adequate break time so that the student can attend to such physical needs as stretching, medication, and restroom use.

Tips for Positive Communication

• Variations in a student's performance caused by medication may present problems that require appropriate modifications. If a faculty or staff member has valid questions about the effect of the medications a student is taking, it is appropriate to discuss these issues with the student.

• Students with mobility limitations will ask for assistance when necessary. Do not assume that assistance is needed at all times.

• When conversing with a person who utilizes a wheelchair, sit at that person's eye level whenever possible.

• When discussing a student's disability, accommodation and adaptation needs, talk only about the needs that are relevant to the successful completion of the course work. Keep all information strictly confidential. Back to Top

Faculty Responsibilities

See the following LISTS for helpful information. Lists include some, but not all, appropriate accommodation. Please see the ADA Coordinator for more information.

All Disabilities

Alternative Test Taking Arrangements Priority Classroom Seating

Learning Disabilities

Large Print Handouts

Hearing Impairments

Allow Interpreters to Position Themselves in Front of the Classroom Allow 5 Minute Break After 20 Minutes of Class for Interpreters to Rest Instructors May Need to Wear a Microphone

Visual Impairments

Priority Classroom Seating Large Print Handouts Large Print on Blackboards Use of Overhead Projectors Raised Line Drawings and/or Tactile Maps

Speech Impairments

Alternative Public Speaking and Communication Arrangements

Mobility Impairments

Priority Classroom Seating

Emotional Impairments

Alternative Testing Arrangements
Admit Beverages in Classroom Due to Thirst from Medication
Seating Arrangement Modification
Decrease Environmental Distractions when Possible

Include a statement in your syllabus and make an announcement encouraging students who need accommodations to identify themselves.

Contact the Office of the ADA Coordinator if assistance is needed with alternative teaching or learning strategies or with understanding the student's accommodation needs.

Eight weeks in advance, provide information about textbooks, syllabus, or other material used in the course for students with visual impairment and severe Learning Disabilities who require taped texts. Be sure audiovisual materials are captioned for deaf students.

For tests to be proctored in Student Support Services, five days advance notice is required to allow scheduling of space and staff. Administration of Exam form must be filled out and attached to test or exam. Back to Top

College Responsibilities

All Disabilities

Priority Registration
Library Services
Adapted Computer Hardware and Software
Accessible Classrooms
Accessible Restrooms
Electronic Doors
Designated Handicapped Parking Spaces
Tutoring in The Tutor Connection

Learning Disabilities

Hearing Impairments
Amplified Public Telephone Receivers
Captioned Films and Video Tapes
Assistive Listening Devices for Classroom and Labs

Visual Impairments

Voice Synthesized Computers
Braille Terminals
Large Print Typewriters/Computers
Halogen Lights

Speech Impairments

Alternative Public Speaking and Communication Arrangements 
Mobility Impairments
Accessible Pick Up and Drop Off Locations
Adjustable Tables
Ramps and Elevators
Accessible Classrooms

Emotional Impairments

Distraction Free Environment
Health Services

Back to Top

ADA Coordinator Responsibilities

All Disabilities

Referral Resources
Academic Advising
Personal/Career Counseling
Loan Equipment
Test Proctoring
Alternative Test
Taking Time
Liaison with Community Agencies
Taped Texts

Learning Disabilities

Phonic Ear
Taped Texts 
Hearing Impairments
Note takers
Phonic Ear

Visual Impairments

Loan Equipment:

Mobility Impairments

Adaptive Computer Equipment
Adaptive Physical Equipment

Emotional Impairments

Liaison with Community Agencies

Back to Top

Teaching and Accommodating

General Strategies for Optimizing Learning: 
Many teaching strategies that assist students with disabilities are also known to benefit students without disabilities. Instruction provided in an array of approaches will reach more students than instruction using one method. The following suggestions may assist instructors in meeting the growing diversity of student needs in the classroom, particularly those with disabilities. Our office welcomes any additional strategies instructors have found helpful. We will review these and include selected strategies in the next edition of this guide.

During registration: 
Make class syllabus and list of required texts available by request to students; this allows time for students to obtain materials in alternative formats and to begin reading assignments.

Be available to discuss class content and your teaching style.

If available and appropriate, select a textbook with an accompanying study guide for optional student use.

Early in the semester: 
Place a statement in your syllabus and make an announcement at the first meeting of the class such as: "if you need course adaptation or accomodation because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment to talk with me as soon as possible. My office location and hours are..." This approach preserves students' privacy, protects you and also indicates your willingness to provide accommodations as needed.

Because many students with disabilities need additional time to process and complete assignments, convey expectations at the beginning of the course (e.g., grading, material to be covered, due dates) in written and oral format.

Announce reading assignments well in advance for students using taped materials or other alternative formats. To record an entire book takes an average of six weeks; we can produce the materials in installments when informed of the sequence in which the materials will be used.

General strategies for teaching and presenting: 
Begin class with a review of the previous lecture and an overview of topics to be covered that day; give questions the students should be able to answer by the end of the lecture. At the conclusion of the lecture, summarize key points.

Highlight major concepts and terminology both orally and visually. Be alert for opportunities to provide information in more than one sensory mode.

Emphasize main ideas and key concepts during lecture and highlight them on the blackboard or overhead. Speak directly to students; use gestures and natural expressions to convey further meaning.

Diminish or eliminate auditory and visual distractions.

Present new or technical vocabulary on the blackboard or overhead, or use a handout.

Use visual aids such as diagrams, charts, and graphs; use color to enhance the message.

Give assignments both orally and in written form; be available for clarification.

Provide adequate opportunities for participation, questions and/or discussion.

Provide timelines for long-range assignments.

Use sequential steps for long-range assignments; for example, for a lengthy paper, 1) select a topic, 2) write an outline, 3) submit a rough draft, 4) make necessary corrections with approval, 5) turn in a final draft. 
Give feedback on early drafts of papers so there is adequate time for clarification, rewrites, and refinements.

When possible, use a textbook with an accompanying study guide.

Provide study questions and review sessions to aid in mastering material and preparing for exams.
Give sample test questions; explain what constitutes a good answer and why.

To test knowledge of material rather than test-taking savvy, phrase test items clearly and economically. Be concise and avoid double negatives.

Facilitate the formation of study groups for students who wish to participate.

Encourage students to seek assistance during your office hours and to use campus support services.

Points to remember: 
When in doubt about how to assist, ask the student directly and check Faculty Accommodation Notice. If you still have questions, call our office at 328-0177.

Flexibility may be necessary when applying attendance and promptness rules to students with health-related or mobility difficulties. Please discuss any concerns that arise with the student and, if necessary, with the ADA Coordinator.

Confidentiality of all student information is essential. At no time should the class be informed that a student has a disability, unless the student makes a specific request to do so.

The Student Code of Conduct regarding disruptive behavior applies to all students. Clearly state behavioral expectations for all students; discuss them openly in your classroom, on your syllabus, and with individual students as needed.

If you require assistance or guidance concerning a student with a disability, please contact the ADA Coordinator.

Accommodations make it possible for a student with a disability to learn the material presented and for an instructor to fairly evaluate the student's understanding of the material without interference because of the disability.

A student needs official authorization before receiving accommodations. The student is responsible for providing the ADA office with current documentation from qualified professionals regarding the nature of the disability. After talking with the student and, if necessary, the instructor, the ADA Coordinator determines appropriate accommodations based on the nature and extent of the disability described in the documentation. The ADA Coordinator then constructs an Accommodation Letter specifying authorized accommodations. The student is responsible for delivering the Accommodation Letters to the instructors and talking with them about arrangements for academic accommodations based on the contents of the letter. The process of requesting and receiving accommodations is interactive; all people involved-the student, the instructor and the ADA Coordinator-have a responsibility to make sure the process works.

Examples of reasonable accommodations which students with disabilities may require:

Use of interpreters, scribes, readers, and/or note takers

Taped classes and/or texts

Enlarged copies of notes, required readings, handouts and exam questions

Extended time on exams

Quiet, distraction-free environment for taking exams

Use of aids, such as calculators or desk references, during exams

Use of computers in class or access to computers for writing assignments and exams

Taped or oral versions of exams

Alternative methods of testing, such as demonstrating mastery of course objectives by means of a research paper, oral presentation, etc.

Increased frequency of exams to provide additional feedback to students

Preferential seating in the classroom

If testing accommodations are necessary, students are responsible for discussing the arrangements with their instructors. Instructors should then make arrangements with the ADA Coordinator if necessary.

The need for note takers will be documented in the Faculty Accommodation Notice. Students who cannot take notes or who have difficulty taking adequate notes, can be accommodated in a number of ways, including: taping lectures, using an in-class volunteer note taker, and/or providing an outline of lecture materials. The student may ask the instructor for assistance in finding a classmate who would volunteer to provide a copy of lecture notes. Instructors can also be of great assistance in quality assurance by occasionally reviewing copies of the notes, especially early in the term, and giving feedback to the notetaker. The note taker may use carbonless paper, available to the student with a disability at no cost.

Additional Resources: 
"Fast Facts for Faculty - Universal Design for Learning", from Ohio State University Partnership Grant - http://www.osu.edu/grants/dpg/fastfact/undesign.html

Honolulu Community College, Faculty Development - Teaching Tips Index:http://www.hcc.hawaii.edu/intranet/committees/FacDevCom/guidebk/teachtip/teachtip.htm

Back to Top