The goal of this guide is to provide information to instructors who have students with disabilities in class. It is not the responsibility of the instructor to identify disabilities. This guide is intended for information and guidance only. Further guidance will be provided by disability support services.Indiana University South Bend understands and endorses the ideal that everyone should be given an equal opportunity to learn. The Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) is committed to assisting the university community so that people with disabilities are assured an equal opportunity to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from all university programs, services, and activities. DSS supports individuals with disabilities in achieving their academic potential to the greatest extent possible by coordinating reasonable accommodations and facilitating services. We are committed to providing equal access to higher education for academically qualified individuals with disabilities. Faculty members can greatly enhance the learning process for disabled students through adaptation of their teaching methods. However, it must be understood that despite their attempts to accommodate a student’s needs, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to undertake sufficient study to ensure academic success. In addition, a student requiring specific accommodations must make them known to the instructor, with proper documentation, rather than expecting their disability to be identified and serviced without prior notification. These accommodations are provided to ensure that the student has an equal opportunity to excel in academic studies. Suggestions, based on the student’s own experiences, are invaluable in facilitating this process. It must also be stressed that instructors are not required to go beyond an understanding of the situation faced by a student with a disability. Evaluations should, therefore, be honest and fair without overcompensating for the disability.
Often, a great deal of discomfort and awkwardness can result from a lack of understanding of a person’s disability. These negative emotions are frequently sensed by the individual, further exacerbating the situation, which causes a breakdown in essential communications. It is necessary to remember the similarities disabled people share with others which are much more significant than their disability.Indiana University South Bend will:
- Conform to the relevant federal, state and university policies, regulations, and definitions regarding students with disabilities.
- Provide services to students with disabilities, through Disability Support Services, that are necessary to meet external and internal policies and law.
- Uphold academic standards in the context of these policies and services.
- Ethically and legally commit its units and faculty to making reasonable modifications of programs and courses that meet the needs of students with disabilities. Note: Where applicable, published technical standards must be met prior to admission to these programs.
- Require that students provide documentation from a professional qualified to diagnose the disability prior to receiving services. Costs associated with documenting disabilities will be the responsibility of students.
- Assist students with disabilities in obtaining special accommodations through collaborative efforts with Disability Support Services and units of IU South Bend.
- Provide emergency care for a student in crisis: however, faculty members are not obligated to provide direct care but will take appropriate action to ensure that care is provided.
- Maintain legally appropriate confidentiality of students with disabilities.
Section 504 mandates that a person with a documented disability cannot be denied access to curricular or extracurricular activities or participation here at IU South Bend: - if they meet the academic and technical standards requisite to admission - and can perform the essential tasks/assignments when appropriate and reasonable accommodations are made.
Person with a disability means “any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities including walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment.”
Some disabilities are readily apparent while others are not. Additionally, some students with the same diagnosis have differing abilities, strengths and weaknesses. Our efforts are directed toward enabling students to achieve their academic goals by augmenting their individual strengths and abilities. Ultimately, a student should receive accommodations only when faced with a task that requires a skill that his/her disability precludes.
It is our responsibility to work with students to identify and implement academic accommodations which will ensure that they have educational opportunities equal to those of their non-disabled peers.The ADA was passed by congress in 1990 with staggered dates for implementation. The five sections of the act cover the areas of:
- Public Accommodations
- State and Local Government Operations
- “All government facilities, services, and communications must be accessible, consistent with the requirements of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.”
- “Reasonable changes in policies, practices, and procedures must be made to avoid discrimination.”
- “Public accommodations may not discriminate on the basis of disability...”
- "Physical barriers in existing facilities must be removed, if removal is readily achievable."
- “Auxiliary Aids and services must be provided to individuals with vision or hearing impairments or other individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would result.”
The act calls for “reasonable modifications” in accommodation of such persons. If reasonable modifications are not evident, effort must be made to look for accommodations. Those resulting in an “undue burden” or “significant difficulty or expense” are not required by the act. Neither term is defined. As an example, a faculty member would be expected to consult with Disability Support Services before concluding that a requested modification could not be provided.Schedule an interview and meet with Disability Support Services as soon as admitted to the university and then as soon as registered each subsequent semester.
- Provide recent documentation/evaluation from a licensed professional.
- Help develop and identify appropriate accommodations - a letter will be generated for instructors.
- Deliver the letter of introduction and accommodations to each instructor.
- Discuss with each instructor the accommodations as needed.
- Meet with Disability Support Services to review accommodations, etc.
Disability documentation should include:
- A diagnostic statement identifying the disability, date of the current diagnostic evaluation, and the date of the original diagnosis from a qualified licensed professional.
- A description of the diagnostic criteria and/or diagnostic test(s) used.
- A description of the current functional impact/limitations of the disability.
- Treatments, medications, assistive devices/services currently prescribed or used.
- A description of the expected progression or stability of the disability over time.
Guidelines of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) for documentation of learning disabilities will be referred to in reviewing documentation pertaining to learning disabilities.Student files are confidential to the extent allowed by law and are kept in a secured location in Disability Support Services (DSS). These files may not be accessed by anyone outside DSS without written permission of the student, or as allowed by state and federal law. A key point to remember when communicating with a person with a disability is to focus on the person rather than on the disability. Often our language reflects this through statements such as “a person who has mental retardation” rather than “a mentally retarded person.” We can then focus on the person as an individual rather than tending to stereotype those with disabilities. The fact that an individual has a disability does not necessarily mean that s/he has a handicap. Handicaps are those external obstacles such as physical barriers, public attitudes, etc. that hinder a person’s participation and acceptance. The term “hearing impaired” refers to any person with any type or degree of hearing loss. The term may be used with qualifying adjectives such as “mild,” “moderate,” “severe,” and “profound” to denote the degree of impairment.
DEAF: “Deaf” refers to a hearing-impaired person in whom the auditory sense is sufficiently damaged to preclude the auditory development and comprehension of speech and language with or without sound amplification.
HARD OF HEARING: “Hard of hearing” is used to define a hearing-impaired person in whom the sense of hearing, although defective, is functional with or without a hearing aid and whose speech and language, although deviant, will be developed through an auditory base.
For many hearing impaired or deaf people, one of the few ways to communicate is through lip reading. However, it has been shown that even for the most accomplished lip readers, only between 30 and 40 percent of the sounds of spoken English can be read effectively. A widely used form of communication is sign language, the most popular of which is American Sign Language (ASL). Finger spelling is commonly used in sign language whereby words are spelled out using various finger and hand positions. The intricacy of this process is apparent and, therefore, it must be understood that spoken English is often the second language of the hearing impaired person in the same way that sign language is a whole new form of communication for those without a hearing impairment. Consequently, instructors should consider this obstacle faced by students when observing grammatical content of written work. This should not color their judgment and errors should be identified and brought to the student’s notice in order for them to improve. The most frequently used method utilized by hearing impaired students to improve their comprehension of vocal communication is the use of a hearing aid. These are now highly advanced due to rapid advances in technology, and effectively amplify sounds enabling the hearing impaired person to learn in the classroom environment.
Of course, it should be recognized that the levels of hearing impairment are on a continuum and specific needs are dependent on the severity of the disability. It is therefore recommended that the instructor discuss the needs of the student prior to commencement of classes.
- Make full use of visual aids such as film, overhead projectors, diagrams, and chalkboards to reinforce content learning.
- Many students may like to tape the lectures so that they can play them back later at a louder volume.
- Face the class when talking and try to stay in adequate lighting to facilitate lip reading. Instructors may consider using the overhead projection system to replace the chalkboard, enabling them both to write and face the class at the same time.
- Avoid pacing during a lecture; it makes lip reading more difficult.
- Use facial expressions and gestures to improve communication.
- Attract the attention of the hearing-impaired student before speaking with a cue such as a tap on the shoulder or a wave.
- Speak clearly and naturally without exaggerating lip movements or volume.
- Avoid standing in front of a light source like a window--the glare from behind makes it difficult to read lips.
- Do not chew gum or otherwise obstruct the area around your mouth with your hands or other objects that interfere with speech reading.
- Seat hearing-impaired students where there is an unobstructed view of the professor.
- Try to repeat comments and questions asked by other students who are not in the range of vision of the student.
- Provide a script or outline of slides, films, or videotaped materials.
- Assure the conveyance to hearing-impaired students of important information like class cancellations, class relocation, assignments, and tests by stating the details in writing in a handout and on the chalkboard.
- Establish a system of getting messages to the student--especially if a tutor/note taker or interpreter is not given advance notice of class cancellation and changes.
- Be prepared to reword sentences when a hearing-impaired student does not understand what is being said. (Persons with hearing impairments may smile in acknowledgment when in fact they have not understood.)
- Be objective when evaluating written materials from hearing-impaired students. Advise students to seek tutoring assistance when they have grammar and syntax problems and are unable to express themselves fluently.
- Keep background noise to a minimum.
- Oral test administration with the aid of the interpreter
- Extended time for taking tests in quiet places
- Use tutors or aids to administer tests. Discuss testing arrangements early in the semester to assure that the process will be smooth when it is actually time to schedule and administer tests.
Blind students have often mastered techniques for dealing with their disability by the time they reach college (unless newly blinded). However, the widespread use of visual aids in the current educational environment poses further difficulties for blind students who must find alternative means of absorbing subject matter. A combination of methods, including readers, brailled books, and recorded books and lectures enables the blind student to transfer this material into a more accessible medium. Many blind students who use Braille may prefer to take notes using a brailler or, alternatively, make a copy of a classmate’s notes to be transcribed later. These notes may also be recorded onto audio tape by a reader. Similarly, visually impaired students often prefer to record lectures.
- Introduce yourself and anyone else who might be present when speaking to a student with a visual impairment.
- Use a normal voice level when speaking; remember a vision-impaired student has sight problems, not a hearing loss.
- Speak directly to the student and address him or her by name.
- Do not hesitate to use such words as see or look; students with vision impairments use these terms also.
- When walking with a visually impaired student, allow him or her to take your arm just above the elbow. Walk in a natural manner and pace acceptable to the individual.
- When offering a seat to a vision impaired student, place the student’s hand on the back or arm of the seat. This gives the student a frame of reference to seat him or herself.
- Do not hesitate to ask a student what adaptations, if any, are required in the classroom. The student is the “expert” about his or her particular needs.
- Discuss necessary classroom accommodations and testing adaptations early in the semester.
- It may take three to six weeks to get taped textbooks.
- Be open to students taping your lectures.
- Provide appropriate written and verbal descriptions to accompany any visual aids, diagrams, films, or videos that you might use in class.
- As you are writing on the chalkboard or discussing a diagram, verbalize what you are writing. When using technical terms, remember to spell them out or give descriptions if appropriate.
- Try to speak directly to the class, remembering that turning your head away can muffle sound; body language and gestures cannot be seen.
MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY: Muscular dystrophy causes a weakening and eventual deterioration of muscle tissue.
CEREBRAL PALSY: Cerebral palsy may affect movement of various parts of the body, speech, hearing, and vision.
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS and SPINAL CORD: A disease of the central nervous system and injuries to the spinal cord often cause paralysis in the form of paraplegia (paralysis of the lower half of the body or part of it), quadraparesis (weakness in all four extremities), or hemiplegia (paralysis of one lateral half of the body or part of it).
Since most individuals with mobility impairments are wheelchair users, accessibility to buildings and classrooms is critical. If necessary, classes may be moved to locations which are accessible by wheelchairs or to the limited walker. The height of lab tables and desks should be adjusted to accommodate wheelchairs.
Students with broken bones, pulled muscles, and sprained ankles may need special assistance even though the disability is only temporary. Often these students are unaware of the ramifications of their temporary disability. They may underestimate the time it takes to get to class on crutches or in a wheelchair.
- Students with mobility limitations will ask for assistance when they need it. Do not assume that assistance is needed.
- When conversing with someone in a wheelchair, sit so that you are at that person’s eye level whenever possible.
- Leaning on a wheelchair is tantamount to leaning on a persons shoulder--it is an invasion of personal space.
- When discussing a student’s disability and accommodation and adaptation needs, talk only about needs that are relevant to the successful completion of course work.
- Keep all information confidential.
- If a student’s speech is affected by the disability and difficult to understand, do not hesitate to ask the student to repeat.
Speech impairments range from problems with articulation or voice strength to an inability to speak at all. Unless the impairment is recent, students with speech impairments generally have had some speech therapy. Among more common speech impairments encountered are stuttering, chronic hoarseness, difficulty in evoking an appropriate word or term, and esophageal speech (resulting from a laryngectomy).
Many speech-impaired students are reluctant to participate in activities that require speaking. Even if the student has adjusted well to a speech impairment, new situations may enhance past anxieties. Self expression should be encouraged; however, pressure to speak is not likely to be helpful. Speaking in front of a group can be an agonizing experience for a speech-impaired student.
Various communication aids are available for students who cannot speak. Students who are able to type may use portable electronic aids that produce computer printouts, display words on LED screens, or have synthesizing equipment that has a keyboard activated by a head pointer or mouth wand.
- The ability to understand impaired speech improves with continued exposure and listening, as does the ability to understand a foreign accent.
- Be patient and listen.
- Do not provide words or finish sentences for a person who stutters or speaks with difficulty; let the person complete his or her thoughts.
- Give students with communication disabilities the opportunity to participate in class discussions as much as possible, even if extra time is necessary.
- If the course requires oral communication and the student is unable to communicate orally, arrange for alternative methods, such as written communication that might be shared with the class.
- Encourage participation, but do not require a student with a communication difficulty to speak in front of the class.
- Allow students who are unable to communicate orally to use a typewriter, word processor, sign board, or sign interpreter in class.
- If you do not understand what is being said, do not pretend to know; tell the student you do not understand and allow him or her to repeat the communication.
- Students with speech impairments seldom require the test adaptations that students with other disabilities need.
- Written assignments or responses to specific questions that can be shared with the class by someone else reading them aloud are an alternative to oral presentations.
- For students who choose to participate orally, faculty and class members should be patient, offering encouragement and an opportunity to develop self-confidence in a challenging situation.
- Confusion of similar words, difficulty using phonics, problems reading multisyllabic words
- Slow reading rate and/or difficulty adjusting speed to the nature of the reading task
- Difficulty with comprehension and retention of material that is read, but not with material presented orally
- Difficulty identifying important points and themes
- Skipping words or lines of printed material
- Difficulty reading for long periods of time
- Difficulty with sentence structure, poor grammar, omitted words
- Frequent spelling errors (omissions, substitutions, transpositions), inconsistent spelling, letter reversals
- Poorly formed letters, difficulty with spacing, capitals, and punctuation
- Difficulty planning a topic and organizing thoughts on paper
- Difficulty effectively proofreading written work and making revisions
- Compositions are often limited in length
- Slow written production
- Difficulty memorizing basic facts
- Confusion or reversal of numbers, number sequences, or operational symbols
- Difficulty copying problems, aligning columns
- Difficulty reading or comprehending word problems
- Problems with reasoning and abstract concepts
- Confuses operational symbols, especially + and x
- Difficulty attending to spoken language, inconsistent concentration
- Difficulty expressing ideas orally which the student otherwise seems to understand
- Problems describing events or stories in proper sequence
- Residual problems with grammar, difficulty with inflectional or derivational endings
- Trouble focusing and sustaining attention on academic task
- Fluctuating attention span during lectures
- Easily distracted by outside stimuli
- Difficulty juggling multiple task demands; overloads quickly
- Hyperactivity and excessive movements may accompany the inability to focus attention
- Poor organization and time management
- Difficulty following directions
- Poor organization of notes and other written materials
- Needs more time to complete assignments
- Slow to start and complete tasks
- Repeated inability, on a day-to-day basis, to recall what has been taught
- Difficulty interpreting charts and graphs
- Inefficient use of library and reference materials
- Difficulty preparing for and taking tests
- Provide a syllabus that gives a clear and detailed explanation of expectations, topics, and procedures for each class session.
- Structure each class session with a review of previous material and an outline of current material. At the end of the class summarize important points.
- Emphasize new or technical vocabulary. Present it on an overhead projector or a handout.
- Give students ample opportunity for questions, clarifications, and review sessions.
- Offer study questions that indicate the relative importance of content as well as the format of possible test questions.
- Encourage students to make an appointment during office hours to self-disclose. Ask students who identify themselves how you can assist in facilitating course material.
- Speak directly to students, and use gestures and natural expressions to convey further meaning.
- If possible, select a textbook with an accompanying study guide for optional student use.
- Notice and respond to non-verbal signals of confusion or frustration.
- Try to eliminate or at least diminish auditory and visual classroom distractions such as noise in the hallways or a flickering fluorescent light.
- Allow extended time on exams.
- Provide a reader or a tape recorded exam when the exam entails a lot of reading.
- Allow the students to take exams in a separate room that is a distraction-free environment.
- Allow students to answer exam questions using methods other than writing, for example, orally, taping, or typing.
- Allow students to clarify or rephrase an exam question in their own words as a comprehension check before answering the question.
- Analyze whenever appropriate (for example, in solving math, chemistry, or physics problems), not only the final solutions, but also the process the student used to reach the solution.
- Allow alternative methods to demonstrate mastery of course objectives (e.g. a research project, class demonstration, oral presentation, paper).
- Allow students to use computational aids, such as a multiplication table or a calculator, and various spelling aids, such as a secretary’s desk reference, Franklin Speller, a spell checker on a word processor.
- Avoid unduly complex sentence structure, such as double negatives and embedding questions within questions.
- Provide ample blank space or additional exam booklets for students with overly large handwriting.
- Provide alternatives to computer-scored answer sheets such as allowing students to indicate their answers directly on the exam.
- Encourage formation of study groups.
- Critique early drafts of papers, providing pointers and encouragement to follow-up rewrites.
- Conduct oral quizzes to supplement written exams.
- Give less weight to spelling when that disability is severe.
- Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) - Enlarges printed material onto a monitor. IU South Bend has one color and three monochrome available.
- Comtek Companion - An assistive listening device enabling the listener to establish a direct link with the source, i.e., instructor. If a student who is hearing impaired brings to class a Comtek assisted listening device, follow the printed instructions that accompany the device or call the IMS office at Ext. 4488 for assistance. Remember to switch the unit on prior to the presentation, and off when privacy is desired.
- Talking Scientific Calculator - Speaks the numbers as they are pressed and the total.
- One handed keyboard (available in both left and right handed models)
- Maxport- The Maxport is a device consisting of a camera connected to monitors inside lightweight eyeglasses that helps the visually impaired magnify text or images. With sufficient notice, the unit can be connected to a VCR or other video source.
- Braille typewriter - A standard typewriter producing Braille text
- Perkins Brailler - Manual Brailler used to produce Braille text
- Four track tape player - Plays Library of Congress and recording for the blind and dyslexic books on tape
- HP scanner - OCR scanner which converts printed material into computer information. This information can then be voice outputted.
- Arkenstone DecTalk - Speech synthesizer capable of extremely human-like speech
- Braille printer and software - Capable of creating Braille output from computer documents
- Megadots Translation Software - Translates written words into Braille
- Zoom Text Xtra Level 2 - Screen enlargement software which magnifies the text sent to the screen
- Dragon Naturally Speaking Professional - Voice activated computer system
- Kurzweil 3000 - Voice activated screen reader as well as World Wide Web and e-mail
- Open Book Unbound with scanner - Voice output text from computer
- Window Eyes with Double Talk card - Allows navigation of Windows through voice output
- Trackball - For mobility impaired, roller ball in place of mouse
- CoWriter - A writing assistant that helps that helps students construct sentences through word prediction. It is also helpful for students who have learning disabilities in written language.
- WriteOutloud - Easy-to-use yet powerful talking word processor with a talking spell checker
Also, the Greenlawn Lab has some adaptive technology and is available during open lab hours and by appointment. Please contact Disability Student Services at 520-4135 for more information.
U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights
111 North Canal Street
Chicago, Illinois 60606-7204
(312) 353-2540 (TDD)
(312) 353-4888 (Fax)
The ACT Assessment “Special Testing Guide”
500 ACT Drive
Post Office Box 168
Iowa City, Iowa 52243-0168
College Board Services for Students with Disabilities
Post Office Box 6226
Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6226
(609) 771-7944 (Fax)
(609) 882-4118 (TTY)
Association on Higher Education and Disabilities (AHEAD)
Post Office Box 540666
Waltham, Massachusetts 02454
(781) 788-0033 (Fax)
Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
1110 North Glebe Road
Arlington, Virginia 22201-5704
(703) 264-9494 (Fax)
Council for Learning Disabilities (CLD)
Post Office Box 4014
Leesburg, Virginia 20177
(571) 258-1011 (Fax)
Disabled Students Programs and Services
California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office
1102 Q Street
Sacramento, California 95814-6511
Information Center for Individuals with Disabilities (ICID)
Post Office Box 750119
Arlington Heights, Massachusetts 02475
(781) 860-0673 (Fax)
International Reading Association (IRA)
800 Barksdale Road
Post Office Box 8139
Newark, Delaware 19714-8139
1-800-336-READ (1-800-336-7323), U.S. and Canada
(302) 731-1600, elsewhere
(302) 731-1057 (Fax)
Member and Customer Service E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Public Information E-mail: email@example.com
Library of Congress, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
(202) 707-0744 (TDD)
(202) 707-0712 (Fax)
Literacy Hotline Contact Center
1775 I Street, Northwest; Suite 730
Washington, District of Columbia 20006-2401
(202) 233-2050 (Fax)
National Center for Learning Disabilities
381 Park Avenue South
New York, New York 10016
National Easter Seal Society (NESS)
230 West Monroe Street
Chicago, Illinois 60606
(312) 726-4258 (TTY)
(312) 726-1494 (Fax)
National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY)
(Formerly known as the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Handicaps)
Post Office Box 1492
Washington, District of Columbia 20013
1-800-695-0285 (Voice and TTY)
(202) 884-8441 (Fax)
National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC)
4200 Forbes Boulevard
Lanham, Maryland 20706 (301) 459-5900
(301) 459-5984 (TTY)
International Dyslexia Society
8600 LaSalle Road
Baltimore, Maryland 21286-2044
(410) 321-5069 (Fax)
1-800-ABCD-123 (Voice mail)
Parent Information Center
Post Office Box 2405
Concord, New Hampshire 03302-2405
(603) 224-7005 (Voice and TDD)
1-800-947-7005 (New Hampshire only)
(603) 224-4365 (Fax)
U.S. Department of Labor
Office of Disability Employment Policy
Frances Perkins Building
200 Constitution Avenue, Northwest
Washington, District of Columbia 20210
Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic National Headquarters
20 Roszel Road
Princeton, New Jersey 08540