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.
For nation-wide guidance to faculty regarding accommodating students with disabilities, see the DO-IT Faculty Room.
Dean and Director of Access and Disability Services and SOAR
Assistant Director and Proctoring Manager
Old West Lower Level, Room 5
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
- Accommodating Students with Mobility Impairments
- SOAR: Strategies, Organization, and Achievement Resources
- 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.
Dickinson values diverse types of learners and is committed to ensuring that each student is afforded equitable access 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 hinder your access to learning or demonstrating knowledge in this class, please contact Access and Disability Services (ADS). They will confidentially explain the accommodation request process and the type of documentation that Dean and Director Marni Jones will need to determine your eligibility for reasonable accommodations. To learn more about available supports, go to www.dickinson.edu/access, email email@example.com, call (717)245-1734, or go to ADS in the Lower Level of Old West, Room 5.
This class may be recorded for accommodation purposes
Laptop use is by permission only
If a student has questions relating to building accessibility, please direct the student to this webpage: www.dickinson.edu/ADS-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.
Professors may also wish to include in their syllabi information about this academic success resource.
Marni Jones is also the Dean and Director of SOAR: Strategies, Organization, and Achievement Resources, which is a part of Academic Advising, and provides supports for all Dickinson students in the areas of time management, effective reading and study skills, note-taking and notes review strategies, memory-enhancing techniques, and test-taking and preparation. Marni trains student Time Management Strategists who are available to assist students with forging a time management and study strategy plan. Sessions can be scheduled by emailing SOAR@dickinson.edu. Referrals by professors are welcome. Students can also find a wealth of resources, including semester calendars, weekly planners, and the Academic Success Workshop schedule through the SOAR website.
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 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.
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 Dean and Director Marni Jones, who also provides support and guidance for faculty and administrators. The daily facilitation of scheduling, forms management, note-taking support, and more is handled by Elizabeth Connelly, Access and Communications Coordinator , and is assisted by our Staff Associate, Madelyn Campbell. Proctoring is facilitated by Susan Frommer, Assistant Director and Proctoring Manager.
Students who have formally disclosed a disability represent nearly 20% of the Dickinson student population. About 15% receive academic accommodations. Access and 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.