Accommodating Students with Disabilities
All faculty should provide students with this syllabus statement, and are responsible for knowing and adhering to Dickinson's policies for accommodating students with disabilities as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. To ensure that you are current on all of Dickinson's academic accommodations policies, please refer to our Guidelines for Implementing Academic Accommodations, where you'll find guidance related to:
- Meeting with Students to Implement an Accommodations Plan
- Extended Time for Tests
- Testing in a Distraction-Reduced Environment
- Note-taking / Recording Class
- Use of a Computer for Class Note-taking
It is also recommended that you familiarize yourself with the answers to these Frequently Asked Questions with explanations for how to handle nearly every accommodation situation you may encounter (If you prefer you can download a printable pdf of these Faculty FAQs.)
For nation-wide guidance to faculty regarding accommodating students with disabilities, see the DO-IT Faculty Room.
Director of Learning Skills,
Director of ODS (Office of Disability Services), and
Assistant Dean of Advising
Dana Hall, Suite 106
This page also includes the following subsections: (click to jump to section)
- Syllabus Statement
- Accommodating Students with Mobility Impairments
- Learning and Study Skills
- Universal Design for Instruction and Learning
- Disabilities, Disorders, and Medical Conditions
- Videos Explanations of Specific Disabilities
- What We Do
It is important that faculty include in each syllabus the following statement, articulating your facilitation of reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and the protocols required for receiving them. It is further recommended that the statement be read aloud by the faculty member. This encouraging approach best promotes the timely use of any needed accommodations.
Accommodating Students with Disabilities
Dickinson values diverse types of learners and is committed to ensuring that each student is afforded an equal opportunity to participate in all learning experiences. If you have (or think you may have) a learning difference or a disability – including a mental health, medical, or physical impairment– that would impact your educational experience in this class, please contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) to schedule a meeting with Director Marni Jones. She will confidentially discuss your needs, review your documentation, and determine your eligibility for reasonable accommodations. To learn more about available supports, go to www.dickinson.edu/ODS, email DisabilityServices@dickinson.edu, call (717) 245-1734, or go to ODS in 106 Dana Hall.
If you’ve already been granted accommodations at Dickinson, please let me know as soon as possible so that we can meet to review your Accommodation Letter and complete your Access Plan. If you will need test proctoring from ODS, remember that you will need to provide them with at least one week's notice.
If a student has questions relating to building accessibility, please direct the student to this webpage: www.dickinson.edu/ODS-mobility.
If your office is located in a building that does not have an elevator and/or requires ascending or descending steps, please include in your syllabus and your email signature something comparable to this: “My office is located on the ___ floor, which is only accessible by going up/down ___ steps. This building does not have an elevator. If this is problematic for you, please just let me know and I will gladly arrange to meet you at an alternative location.”
Note that, in addition to students with obvious short-term injuries, we have several members of our community who contend with mobility impairments that are not immediately apparent. Some may be able to navigate only a few steps, while others may have a flare-up of a chronic medical condition that renders them unable to climb or descend stairs. By announcing the potential obstacle of your office’s location, along with your willingness to make alternate arrangements, you give students (and colleagues) with a mobility impairment an opportunity to convey the need for a more accessible meeting location.
Marni Jones is also the Director of Learning Skills, providing workshops for all Dickinson students in the areas of time management, effective reading and study skills, note-taking and review strategies, memory-enhancing techniques, and test preparation. Marni trains Peer Tutors, who provide content tutoring, and Peer Advisors to support students through one on one sessions on time management and study strategies. Referrals by professors are welcome. Learning Skills and Disability Services are a part of the Office of Academic Advising.
Universal Design is a construct based on the premise of maximizing accessibility for all. An example would be elevators, which are needed for wheelchair users, but beneficial to all. Principles of UD that relate to education are referred to as Universal Design of Learning (UDL), Universal Design of Instruction (UDI), and Universal Course Design (UCD). Often when UD principals of inclusive learning are incorporated, the need for specific accommodations is reduced. Learn more about Universal Design, as well as how to design a Universally Designed syllabus.
There are times when students may tell you their diagnosis in hopes that this will shed like on the potential impact their disability may have on their academic participation. For information about how certain disabilities may impact various aspects of a student's educational experience, see the DO-IT Faculty Room resource page. If you're seeking information about specific disabilities, disorders, illnesses, and medical conditions, see this list of websites. To get information about ADHD and strategies to support students with ADHD, click this link.
ODS Director Marni Jones is also available to serve as a resource for you if you have any disability-related questions.
These brief video clips created by the National Center of Learning Disabilities are a part of their excellent "Ask the Expert" series and will provide viewers with an insightful snapshot to help you to better understand the most prevalent cognitive and learning disabilities.
- What Are the Different Types?
- What is AD/HD? An Overview
- ADHD—Separating Fact from Fiction
- What is Asperger's Syndrome?
- What is an Autsim Spectrum Disorder?
- What is Dyscalculia?
- What is Dysgraphia?
- What is Dyslexia?
- What is Dyspraxia?
- What is Executive Function?
- What is NVLD?
- What is Visual Processing?
- Asperger's Syndrome vs. Non-Verbal Learning Disability: The Same or Different?
- Strengths of Students with Learning Disabilities and Other Disorders
Accommodations are determined following thorough documentation review by Director Marni Jones, who also provides support and guidance for faculty. The daily facilitation of scheduling, forms management, note-taking support, and more is handled by Elizabeth Connelly, the Program Coordinator for ODS and Learning Skills. Proctoring is facilitated by Susan Frommer, our ODS Proctoring Coordinator.
Students who have formally disclosed a disability represent approximately 15% of the Dickinson student population. About 12% receive academic accommodations. Disability Services facilitates accessibility and reasonable accommodations for eligible students, and serves as a support and resource for faculty and administrators working with students and disabilities. Dickinson's accommodations policies are in compliance with the ADAAA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.