The job of Accessibility Services is to make the academic arena "accessible" for all students who meet one or more of the aforementioned definitions of disability.
Students must self-disclose their needs for Accessibility Services. This is usually done by requesting contact on their Spalding University Admissions Application, but they may also contact Accessibility Services directly. It is against federal regulations for the Accessibility Services office to contact a student who has not yet requested assistance. Faculty or staff may, however, suggest students contact Accessibility Services for assistance if the faculty or staff person senses there might be a problem or if the student self-discloses.
Students are required to complete an application for services and provide documentation verifying diagnosis (es) from a physician, psychologist or certified mental health professional. Along with the diagnosis (es) the professional must provide recommendations for academic accommodations. Once the application for services is completed and all required documentation has been submitted, students meet with the Director to discuss the accommodations they are entitled to under ADA regulations. Students are also informed that if they misuse any of their accommodations, those accommodations can and will be suspended or revoked, depending on the severity of the infraction.
If students are unable to provide documentation from a psychiatrist, psychologist or certified mental health professional, they are referred to the Spalding University Counseling Center for a full battery of assessments. This process is time consuming and may require one or more sessions for the Spalding University Counseling Center to schedule and complete the assessments. No accommodations will be allowed until the report is received by Accessibility Services.
Accessibility Services Responsibilities to Students
Accessibility Services has a responsibility to clearly disclose Federal laws and Spalding University guidelines regarding services provided to each applicant. The Director researches current regulations and recommended academic accommodations for specific diagnoses, consults with colleagues at other universities and consults the Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) and Job Accommodation Network (JAN) for updates on nationally standardized accommodations. When creating an accommodation letter for faculty/staff, reasonable accommodations, as defined by the ADA, must be clearly stated. It is then the responsibility of Accessibility Services to provide the student with an original of the academic accommodation letter and copies to provide to faculty/staff. To summarize, Accessibility Services:
Faculty/Staff Responsibilities to Students
Faculty/staff are legally obligated to provide the accommodations as specified in an accommodation letter. If a student does not provide an accommodation letter, no testing or instructional accommodations will be provided. It is critical, as a teaching tool, to place the responsibility on the student to understand the importance of documentation and that accommodations cannot be given without an accommodation letter from Accessibility Services. Likewise, faculty/staff must never accept documentation regarding any diagnosis. That information is protected under law and should be given to Accessibility Services by the student or the studentís guardian. Asking for such documentation by faculty/staff can give the students grounds for legal action. The only documentation available to faculty/staff is the accommodation letter. To summarize, faculty/staff:
Accessibility Services Responsibilities to Faculty/Staff
Accessibility Services serves as a liaison between the student and the faculty/staff to clarify accommodations. Faculty and staff members are encouraged to present questions regarding accommodations, studentís progress, and needs. The only topic that Accessibility Services cannot discuss with faculty/staff is a studentís specific diagnosis or diagnoses. There is a fine line between providing or requesting information and violating someoneís privacy. It is also the onus of Accessibility Services to work with the faculty to ensure that academic accommodations do not detract from the academic integrity of the course.
The most used accommodations are extended testing time and private/quiet testing rooms.
Faculty/staff are asked to arrange testing accommodations within their academic area. If faculty/staff need assistance with testing accommodations, Accessibility Services has testing times available that may vary each session.
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