Accommodating Students with Disabilities

OVERVIEW
Access and Disability Services (ADS) facilitates access 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.

To ensure best practices and compliance with the ADA,
review this critical
ADS FACULTY GUIDANCE FOR IMPLEMENTING ACCOMMODATIONS (also known as "OWLL Pellets")

Please also take a moment to check out this short and worthwhile video montage of student testimonials, illuminating the experiences of five Dickinsonians with disabilities.

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 Proctoring / Test-taking Accommodations:
    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 JoyceAssociate Director
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 in each of your syllabi this current
 "Accommodating Students with Disabilities" Syllabus Statement. This statement serves 3 important purposes:

  1. It informs students with disabilities how to request or put in place academic accommodations.
  2. It articulates your (and Dickinson's) commitment to equity and inclusion.
  3. Such a statement renders the College in legal compliance with disability law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Accommodating Students with Mobility Impairments

Note that there are multiple members of our community who will rely on mobility aids (such as a wheelchair, crutches, or a cane for the blind) and others who contend with mobility impairments that are not outwardly apparent. Some require the use of an elevator, others may be able to navigate only a few steps, while some 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, inform your students (and colleagues) of any potential barriers to your class and/or office location, along with your willingness to make alternate arrangements, thus giving those with mobility limitations an opportunity to convey any needs they may have for an accessible meeting location.

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.

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

“[This class meets / 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 be notified by email, and I will consult with ADS to identify our options for that day.”

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

“[This class meets / My office is located] on the        floor of                  , which does not have an elevator, and is only accessible by going [up/down]         steps. If coming to my office to meet would be problematic for you, please let me know and I will gladly arrange to meet you at an alternative location, either in the building, nearby, or by video conference.”

Strategies, Organization, and Achievement Resources (SOAR)

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. Since we are located in Old West's Lower Level (aka "the OWLL"), you can tell students that an easy way to remember this resource is that they can "Go to the OWLL, to SOAR!"  Here is a SOAR Syllabus Statement that faculty are encouraged to include in their syllabi: 

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.