Faculty and Staff FAQs
1. Do you have a suggestion for what to include in my course syllabus regarding students with disabilities?
Any student who feels s/he may need accommodations based on the impact of a disability should contact me privately to discuss your specific needs. You will also need to contact the Disability Resource Center at 361-593-3024 in the Student Health & Wellness, room 102 to meet with the DRC Coordinator.
2. Is there a specific time line students must follow for requesting accommodations?
Yes. While we strongly encourage students to set up accommodations at the beginning of the semester, a student might choose to try the class without accommodation. Also, some students find out mid to late semester that they have a disability or that services are available. Please refer to the home page for Disability Registration Deadline Dates.
Accommodations begin when you and the student have discussed the accommodations and each has signed the letter--accommodations are not retroactive.
We strongly recommend that you and the student sit down and review the accommodation letter together. This allows the student and faculty to discuss the particulars of how each accommodation will be implemented.
3. Don't accommodations give students with disabilities an unfair advantage over other students?
Accommodations give students with disabilities equal access to the classroom. For example, a student who has a learning disability and processes written material slower could benefit from extra time on tests. The extra time allows the student to read and re-read the test questions, process the content of the question, and develop an answer to the question. A student with limited mobility might have extra time on exams plus use of a computer for essay tests. This gives the student time to type out or use dictation software to generate the answer and be graded on the content of the answer, not how quickly the answer was produced.
4. One of the student's accommodations is the ability to record lectures. I don't allow tape recorders in the classroom.
Students with disabilities might need to use auxiliary aids to access material in the classroom. One such type of auxiliary aid specified in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is a tape recorder. A student who processes information slowly might have a recorder as an accommodation. Recording the class allows the student to focus on listening during class and not divide her/his concentration trying to take notes. After class, the student can re-listen to the lecture as many times as necessary and take notes from the recording. If you are covering sensitive material, reviewing a recently given test, or other situation where you do not wish students to record (either on tape or in writing), you may request all students to put down pencils and turn off recording devices. However, if you allow students with out accommodations to take notes, you must allow a student whose accommodation includes recording lectures to do so.
5. A student in my class has a temporary disability. What do I do?
Typically in such cases, the phrase "temporary disability" more accurately means a "temporary impairment" such as the inability to take notes, write out test answers, or participate in a field trip requiring walking because of a broken are, hand surgery, or a sprained ankle. Unless the impairment has a substantial impact on a major life function, DRC does not provide official accommodations for such situations. However, DRC can discuss with the professor possible solutions to the students dilemma including what assistive technology is available on campus for student use.
In the Amendments Act, Congress clarified that an individual is not “regarded as” an individual with a disability if the impairment is transitory and minor. A transitory impairment is an impairment with an actual or expected duration of 6 months or less.(http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504faq.html)
This page was last updated on: August 20, 2013