Accommodating Students with Disabilities

OVERVIEW
Access and Disability Services (ADS) facilitates accessibility and reasonable accommodations for eligible students with disabilities and serves as a support and resource for faculty and administrators. Dickinson's accommodation policies and practices are in compliance with the ADA,AA (Americans with Disabilities Act, As Amended) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Accommodations are determined following a thorough documentation review by ADS Dean and Director Marni Jones, who also oversees Dickinson's compliance with disability law. Reflecting national disability statistics, about 20% of Dickinson students typically disclose a disability to ADS, and about 15% are eligible to receive academic accommodations.

Here is a short and worthwhile video montage of student testimonials, illuminating the experiences of five Dickinsonians with disabilities.

And here is a collection of critical ADS guidance called Informational “OWLL Pellets.” 

QUESTIONS? HERE'S WHO TO CONTACT REGARDING...

  • General inquiries about ADS (or SOAR):
    John Joyce, (717) 245-1734
  • Note-taking support: Emily Wetzel (717) 254-8090
  • Access Plan or Test-taking / Proctoring:
    Susan Frommer (717) 254-8107
  • Text-to-speech or how to upload screen readable PDFs: Emily Wetzel (717) 254-8090
  • Policy questions, referrals, concerns, or implementation-related challengesMarni Jones (717) 245-1136

    (Please be prepared to leave a message at all phone numbers)

To ensure that you are current on all of Dickinson's academic accommodations policies and implementation "how to's," please refer to our Guidelines for Implementing Academic Accommodations, where you'll find guidance related to:

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.  

For nationwide guidance for faculty regarding accommodating students with disabilities, see the DO-IT Faculty Room.

Contact Info

Department Head

Marni JonesDean and Director of Access and Disability Services and SOAR: Strategies, Organization, and Achievement Resources

Staff

John JoyceAccess and Communications Coordinator
Susan FrommerAssistant Director and Proctoring Manager
Emily WetzelAccommodation Facilitator and Technologist

Phone

(717) 245-1734

Fax

(717) 254-8139

Location

Old West Lower Level: Reception: Room 005; Proctoring Center 003 Mailing Address

This page also includes the following subsections, with the first three relating to possible entries in your syllabus: (click to jump to section)

Syllabus Statement

Each faculty member is expected to include a statement on every class syllabus that reinforces our commitment to inclusive practices and informs students with disabilities how to access academic accommodations.

Be sure that your syllabus includes this most current Accommodating Students with Disabilities Syllabus Statement.

Accommodating Students with Mobility Impairments

Note that there are some members of our community who will rely on mobility aids (such as a wheelchair or crutches) and others who contend with mobility impairments that are not outwardly apparent. Some may be able to navigate only a few steps, while others may occasionally have a flare-up of a chronic medical condition (such as arthritis or a severe heart condition) that renders them temporarily unable to climb or descend stairs.

Using the templates below, you can (and should) announce any potential barriers to your class and/or office location, along with your willingness to make alternate arrangements, thus giving your students (and colleagues) with mobility impairments an opportunity to convey any needs they may have for an accessible meeting location.

IF YOUR OFFICE IS ACCESSIBLE BY ELEVATOR... Please include in your syllabus and via email when first reaching out to students, a statement comparable to this:

Physical Access to This Class / My Office

My office is located on the _____ floor of __________, which has an elevator, located __________ (e.g. “to the right of the main entrance”). If you require the use of an elevator to access the _____ floor, please let me know. If there is ever a malfunction with the elevator [we will relocate the class for that day] OR [and you would like to come to my office hours, I will gladly arrange to meet you at an alternative location or by video conference].

IF YOUR OFFICE IS ACCESSIBLE ONLY BY ASCENDING OR DESCENDING STEPS FOR ENTRY... Please include in your syllabus and via email when first reaching out to students a statement comparable to this:

Physical Access to This Class / My Office

My office is located on the _____ floor of __________, which does not have an elevator, and is only accessible by going up/down ____ steps. There are ____ steps to access the lobby of the building, where a meeting [would/would not] be possible. If you would like to meet in the lobby, or if entering the building is problematic for you, please just let me know and I will gladly arrange to meet you at an alternative location or by video conference.

If any students contact you with questions related to building accessibility, please share with them the link to this webpage: www.dickinson.edu/ADS-mobility.

Strategies, Organization, and Achievement Resources

Certain members of the ADS professional team also staff the office of SOAR -- which is a resource for ALL students (not just those with disabilities). Faculty referrals for support from the office of SOAR are welcome. Here is a SOAR Syllabus Statement that faculty are encouraged to include in their syllabi: 

SOAR: Academic Success Support and More

Students can find a wealth of strategic academic success tools (like weekly planners and semester calendars) and aids by going to www.dickinson.edu/SOAR. This website for SOAR: Strategies, Organization, and Achievement Resources includes apps, tips, and other resources related to time management, study skills, memory strategies, note-taking, test-taking, and more. You’ll also find information aimed to helps students “SOAR Through Academic Challenges," as well as a schedule of academic success workshops offered through Academic Advising. If you’d like to request one-on-one assistance with developing a strategy for a manageable and academically successful semester, email SOAR@dickinson.edu.

Universal Design

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 principles of inclusive learning are incorporated, the need for specific accommodations is reduced. Learn more about Universal Design, as well as how to create a Universally Designed syllabus.

Disabilities, Disorders, and Medical Conditions

There are times when students may tell you their diagnosis in hopes that this will shed light 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 below. 

ADS Director Marni Jones is also available to serve as a resource for you if you have any disability-related questions.

Video Explanations of Specific Disabilities

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.