Linfield’s commitment to a supportive teaching environment has regularly translated into instructional practice both inside and outside the classroom intended to maximize each student’s potential to succeed. In keeping with that philosophy and those practices, this booklet has been composed to assist faculty, students and staff in understanding the rights of students with disabilities and the best strategies for accommodating their special educational needs. It hardly needs to be said that all of the pedagogical innovations listed inside are already in practice in classrooms across the campus. Nor should any of us be surprised that the instructional techniques that have proven effective in accommodating disabled students belong as well to the repertoire of teaching methods that practiced teachers employ to serve the diverse needs of any classroom.
It is the policy of the college not to discriminate on the basis of handicap, race, color , national origin, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, or age in admission, access to, or treatment in employment, educational programs, or activity. The college conforms to Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973;Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; The Age Discrimination Act, and their implementing regulations. In accordance with Public Law 93-112, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, section 504, and the College’s non-discrimination statement, Linfield College presents its policy and implementation guidelines and charters the Office of Learning Support Services.
A. Legal Foundations For Services To Students With Disabilities
Under Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988;and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 Linfield College has a responsibility to accommodate and provide access to students with disabilities. The Section 504 reads, in part:
No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States shall, solely by reason of his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
This act guarantees civil rights for Americans with disabilities, which has been extended recently with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. With respect to postsecondary education services, “otherwise qualified” means a person with disabilities who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the program or activity.
Section 504 is the section of the law that specifically refers to postsecondary and vocational education services. This section requires that colleges and universities make adjustments necessary to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability. The key is accommodating the disability, not altering course content. With the exception of removing architectural barriers, no set formulas exist for making adjustments which will be helpful in every case. Thus, adaptations will be specific to the needs of individual students. In every case, the intent is to accommodate the disability without altering academic standards or course content.
The law requires that an instructor make reasonable adaptations to meet the unique needs of the student’s disabling condition. Adaptations of course procedures are not solely the instructor’s responsibility. Students bear responsibility to make their abilities and limitations known and to meet the instructor’s expectations concerning attendance, class participation, and performance or work standards.
B. Rights and obligations regarding academic adjustments: a summary
Students’ Rights: A college student with a disability has the right to appropriate academic adjustments under Section504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Decisions regarding the nature of the adjustments are made by the Director of Learning Support Services in consultation with the appropriate faculty members. Provisions protecting the student from discrimination on the basis of a disability are guaranteed. The student has the right to file a grievance concerning any alleged failure to comply with the laws, regulations and procedures set forth for people with disabilities. Grievances shall be processed through Linfield’s existing discrimination grievance procedure.
Students’ Responsibilities: Students with disabilities must demonstrate that they have acquired the same mastery of course content as the other students enrolled in the class for which they are requesting adjustments. Students with disabilities are obligated to use the adjustment responsibly. Adjustments must be requested in advance, allowing sufficient time for instructors to arrange for the modifications requested.
Faculty Members’ Rights and Responsibilities: When a request for an adjustment for a specific course is received, the faculty member may require verification of the disability from the Director of Learning Support Services (defined below). The adjustment requested must not compromise the content of the course, or the requirements for satisfactory course completion.
The college places no limitation on the number or proportion of qualified persons with disabilities who can be admitted or enrolled. Students with disabilities will be governed by the same rules for admission/enrollment applied to other students (i.e., application dates, completion of enrollment information, test scores, recommendations, fees, deposits, etc.).When test scores are required for admission, scores may be weighted or tests may taken on an untimed basis to provide reasonable accommodation.
The Linfield College application form provides space for a student to present additional or extenuating factors, including disabilities, to be considered as part of the admissions process. Upon receipt of this information, through the application or through direct contact, the Office of Admissions will provide the applicant with information regarding substitutions for admission requirements, documentation needed, and procedures to be followed. It is the responsibility of the applicant, once notified, to provide all documentation necessary to complete the application before the deadline. A student who claims a disability and who does not provide the requested documentation in time will no longer be considered for admission and will, if sufficient academic information exists, be reviewed on the academic merits of his/her credentials without regard for any alleged disability. The Admission and Financial Aid (AFA) Committee of the Faculty Assembly will decide whether the student has sufficiently demonstrated the claim in question.
Linfield shall provide financial assistance to students with disabilities in the same manner such assistance is provided to students without disabilities. Every effort shall be made to assure that financial aid awards recognize the special needs of students with disabilities, including the possible need for additional budget allowances for documented expenses related to his/her disability. These additional expenses would be allowed when not provided by assisting agencies.
Allowance may be made for students with documented disabilities who require a reduced course load of nine (9) hours per semester. Students carrying 9 hours per semester will be considered, based on their eligibility, for the campus-based programs (Perkins NDSL, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, College Work Study), Part B loans (Stafford GSL, PLUS, SLS), and Pell Grants (3/4 time). Recommendations for this form of accommodation shall be coordinated by the Director Of Learning Support Services. The Linfield Financial Aid Office shall be responsible for individual financial assessment through the application of standard criteria, including budget allowance, family contribution, and program eligibility.
Where appropriate based on disability, priority scheduling also allows the student to choose available classes on the basis of those that most suit his/her learning style, course schedule needs, or test preference.
Students with disabilities receiving academic support services from the college are encouraged to participate in priority scheduling and early registration, when to do so would provide an appropriate academic adjustment. Early registration is a service provided by the Registrar at least four weeks prior to the regular registration period. Early registration maybe necessary to facilitate special needs such as acquiring taped books, ensuring the availability of close-captioned films, arranging computerized lab simulations, or scheduling tutorials.
Where chronic illness or special health problems exist, an effort shall be made by the Registrar to assist the student in gaining access to preferred classes in a timely fashion. This includes satisfying special needs for neurological problems, such as seizure disorder, that may require time management or regular scheduling.
It is the policy of Linfield College that any student who has a disability shall be eligible to make reasonable substitution for any requirement for graduation, admission into a program of study, or entry into upper division courses where documentation can be provided that the person’s failure to meet the graduation requirement or program admission requirement is due to a disability and does not constitute a fundamental alteration in the nature of the program.
Students will not be excluded from a course of study (major) solely on the basis of a disabling condition. Every attempt will be made to adjust the academic environment appropriately for students. However, if an assessment of the learning environment shows that, even with appropriate adjustment, there remains a situation dangerous to the student in question or to others in the class, the student may be excluded.
Adaptations in degree or academic course requirements will be considered when such requirements cannot reasonably accommodate qualified students with disabilities. Students with disabilities must request modifications through the Director Of Learning Support Services who, in consultation with the appropriate parties, will determine what adjustments are needed.
Academic requirements shall be modified, as necessary, to ensure that they do not discriminate against qualified applicants and students with disabilities. These adaptations are not required at the expense of either the substance of the educational programs or the compromising of educational standards, nor should they intrude upon legitimate academic freedom.
Academic requirements that are essential to programs of instruction or to any directly related licensing requirement and for which appropriate adaptations cannot be made are not regarded as discriminatory.
To secure a substitution for an admission or graduation requirement:
The student must first be diagnosed as having a disability as defined by Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and, on the basis of appropriate tests, certified by the appropriate college officers.
While being provided with appropriate accommodations through the Learning Services Office, the enrolled student must demonstrate an inability to complete the tasks encompassed by the requirement.
If inability is demonstrated, the student will be referred to the appropriate committee of the faculty for appropriate action (currently the Academic Support Committee). The Committee shall review the student’s case and determine whether substitution for the requirement is warranted. If it is, the committee will notify the student along with the department or the admissions committee, and will provide a list of possible substitutions to satisfy the requirement in question. In the event that the course for which substitution is needed is a college and/or major program requirement, the Academic Support Committee shall determine whether a substitution constitutes “a fundamental alteration in the nature of the program.”
Should any student with disabilities have academic difficulty related to her/his disability, the college may authorize“ retroactive withdrawal” from a class. Additionally, the college may reinstate or allow a student with a disability to remain on academic probation for longer than the “normal” period or authorize dropping classes beyond the deadline without a failing grade.
Linfield is committed to helping all students achieve their academic and personal goals. Students with disabilities shall not be counseled or advised toward more restrictive career opportunities solely on the basis of their disabilities. The only notable exception is if the licensing or certification requirements of the profession justify such counseling.
College honoraries, social organizations, clubs, living groups, and political organizations shall not deny consideration for membership to any qualified student because of disability. The college shall deny or withdraw recognition of or assistance to fraternities, sororities, or other campus organizations that discriminate against individuals based on disabilities.
In order to facilitate the implementation of Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988; and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, Linfield College hereby establishes the Office of Learning Support Services. The primary goal of Linfield’s provision of services to students with disabilities is to provide access to and equalization of educational opportunities on a college-wide basis. All support services are elective, and may be requested by the instructor or by the student.
The Director of Learning Support Services is available to assist in determining what assistance will be of the most benefit to the student. The Director Of Learning Support Services is available to students, faculty, staff, parents, and other community members to offer information, assistance, support, and reassurance as they seek to accommodate students with disabilities. The Director Of Learning Support Services will assume responsibility for establishing and maintaining confidential records regarding the student’s disability, developing and monitoring the operating budget of the services offered, and maintaining records of the numbers of persons requiring auxiliary aids, types of disabilities for which such aids were provided, the specific aids actually given, and associated costs.
If a student with disabilities believes he/she has experienced discrimination from a member of the Linfield College faculty, staff, or administration solely on the basis of disabilities, he/she should contact the Dean of Student Services(Ext. 2253), the Vice President for Academic Affairs (Ext. 2270), or the Director of Learning Support Services (Ext. 2444).
Registering for services
By law, students who have disabilities are not required to identify themselves as having disabilities. However, students are encouraged to register with the Office of Learning Support Services immediately upon entrance to Linfield College. In order to register for learning support services for students with disabilities, students must submit appropriate documentation to substantiate their disabilities. At the time of initial registration, students are encouraged to complete a self-identification form and make an appointment to meet with the Director of Learning Support Services to discuss the program and any adjustments that may be necessary. All learning support services are provided at no expense to the student and are based upon the individual student’s need. The responsibility for determining a student’s eligibility for services rests with the Director Of Learning Support Services.
The Director Of Learning Support Services can determine appropriate academic adjustments and make arrangements to provide appropriate auxiliary learning aid assistance and support services to students with documented needs. Students with sensory, physical, or other health impairments should provide written documentation in the form of medical reports or letters from physicians detailing the disability. Such documentation must be provided even if the condition is temporary (e.g. broken hand, dislocated shoulder). In emergencies (such as missed classes due to emergency surgery) the documentation may be acquired after the service has been rendered. Such instances will be considered and acted on at the discretion of the Director of Learning Support Services.
The following provides a brief description of disability areas and samples of appropriate academic adjustments that may be required. Mobility Impairments: There are students with birth anomalies or alterations in gross motor/fine motor functioning due to illness or injury. In addition to physical accommodations (e.g. electric doors, accessible restrooms) for individuals with functional impairments, student may require academic adjustments (e.g. note takers for their classes, test proctors who transcribe their responses to test questions).
Sensory Impairments: Some students suffer hearing or visual impairments. Most students who are deaf require sign language interpreters, or oral interpreters, and/or note takers in the classroom. Students who are blind or who have other visual impairments will usually need note takers and textbook readers and will require adjustments during testing conditions. There may be other services provided in the classroom by the instructor (alternate testing, alternate text formats).
Learning Disabilities: Students with learning disabilities (LD) have specific academic deficiencies that are related to dysfunction of the central nervous system. Learning disabilities may be acquired (e.g., loss of reading or speaking skills resulting from a stroke or head trauma) or developmental (e.g., the failure to acquire reading or mathematics skills resulting from genetic factors or neurological damage at birth). Students with learning disabilities who are in college have a demonstrated ability to utilize their cognitive strengths to compensate for their specific academic weaknesses. Some students with learning disabilities may require extended time for testing because it takes longer for such students to determine what the test questions are asking for and to formulate their responses. Note takers, readers of textbooks, and assistive technology devices may also be required.
Other Health Impairments: Students may have other health impairments (e.g., epilepsy, lupus) that may require academic adjustments. Such adjustments include extended time (allowing rest periods to combat fatigue), isolated settings (reducing stress or distractions), and so forth.
This section provides information about the services that are offered at Linfield College for students with disabilities.
Through the Office of Learning Support Services the Director of Learning Support Services makes arrangements to provide readers for those with visual impairments or other print disabilities, sign language or oral interpreters for students with hearing impairments, and note takers for those unable to take notes because of various disabilities. Provision of these services is made on the basis of individual need. All services are provided to students who make the effort to attend classes regularly; they will not be provided once students fail to meet their obligations as class members by ceasing to attend class. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Director Of Learning Support Services in consultation with the faculty member in question.
Students may receive individualized strategy training from the Director of Learning Support Services if they display a need and ask for such services. Such training involves teaching skills r elated to time management, test preparation and test taking, and brainstorming for written assignments. Content peer tutoring is available for most courses. These services are provided at no cost to students and are available to all students at the college, whether or not they have disabilities.
Some students with disabilities need academic adjustments during testing (e.g., proctors, isolated settings, computer access, extended time). Students who are blind, for example, require test proctors to read the test questions and record student responses. Because this process takes more time to accomplish than is usually given for testing, extended periods must be permitted. Decisions for appropriate academic accommodations of this nature are made on an individual basis by the Director of Learning Support Services.
Registration assistance is available to students with disabilities. If possible, students who require extensive course adaptations should notify the Director of Learning Support Services at least one semester in advance to ensure access to the course and to allow plans for appropriate academic adjustments to be arranged. Meetings among faculty, the student, the Director Of Learning Support Services, and other necessary persons may take place prior to enrollment of students with disabilities to provide information, make plans for alternate presentation of material, and to clarify to all parties the needs of the student. Meetings may be called any time during the semester, or even before the beginning of the academic year.
The role of the Director of Learning Support Services is to assist all units of the college in meeting their responsibilities to provide appropriate academic adjustments. In essence, legislation allows for students with disabilities to operate on an equal playing field with their peers. The law has been interpreted by the judicial system to call for equal access, but there should not be any “watering down” of the curriculum. Students with disabilities have an equal right to pursue an education to the best of their abilities; the college does not, however, guarantee them success independent of those abilities. The Director of Learning Support Services serves both the students and faculty members and is constantly evaluating policy to ensure that the integrity of the curriculum is not violated in any way .
Upon a student’s request for services, the Director of Learning Support Services will meet early in the semester with a student with disabilities so that course requirements and appropriate academic adjustments can be discussed. Topics that generally need to be addressed early are special considerations regarding test-taking and note-taking procedures, reproduction of written materials and visual aids, and a description of lecture procedures.
The Director of Learning Support Services may inform faculty members that a student with a disability will be in a class. However, such intervention is conducted only upon the request of a student. The student is encouraged to advise the faculty member early in the semester about the nature and extent of the disability as well as the most suitable adjustments to assist in the mastery of the course material. Confidentiality is maintained within the Learning Support Services Office, so verification of a disability can be made only upon the student’s written release. Without such a release, the Director of Learning Support Services is unable, by law, to discuss the specific nature of the student’s disability.
Faculty are encouraged to inform students about services available through the Learning Support Services Office. One way to inform students with disabilities support services and to encourage them to discuss needed accommodations is to include the following statement on the course syllabus and to repeat it during the first class meeting:
Any student who has a disability and is in need of classroom accommodation, please contact the Director of Learning Support Services in Walker 124.
A. Auxiliary Aids
In order to provide equal access to educational opportunities for students with disabilities, Linfield is responsible for ensuring that no student is denied benefits or excluded from participation in a program because of the absence of auxiliary aids. “Auxiliary aids” include such items as tape-recorded texts, interpreters, or other methods of making orally delivered materials available to students with hearing impairments, readers for students with visual impairments, classroom equipment adapted for use by students with visual impairments, and other services and actions.
Students whose auxiliary aids are not paid for by a state vocational rehabilitation agency shall be provided auxiliary aids as a form of appropriate academic adjustment by the college. The college is not required to provide personally prescribed devices. The appropriate number and type of aid shall be determined on a case-by-case basis. Discretionary auxiliary aids may be provided to the extent that funding allows.
B. Testing Adjustments
Students with disabilities are entitled by law to alternative testing arrangements that offer optimum conditions for success. The college’s responsibility is to respond to a request for test adaptation and to assure the valid measurement of a student’s academic achievement, not the functional limitations caused by the disability. The student has a right to appropriate testing adjustments based upon the type of disability. Testing adjustments may be provided by the faculty member or the Director of Learning Support Services. This determination will be made through consultation between the faculty member and the student.
1. Guidelines for Testing Adjustments Provided By Faculty
Faculty members may wish to handle their own adaptive testing. In such instances, primary consideration should be given to arranging a test so as to measure the student’s acquired knowledge of the subject matter. To create a fair testing situation for students with disabilities, the following adjustments should be considered:
The nature of the disability dictates the adjustment needed. Faculty members should consult the Director of Learning Support Services with regard to making academic adjustments.
2. Guidelines for Testing Adjustments Provided by the Director of Learning Support Services:
Testing with adjustments can be conducted under the supervision of the Director of Learning Support Services. The following are guidelines for professors to follow when providing testing adjustments through the Learning Support Services facility:
The office has developed a system for transporting tests to and from the office. Professors receive written notification approximately one week prior to testing (or earlier) regarding requested adjustments. A form detailing requirements (e.g., whether the exam is open book, open note, or whether tables or formula sheets are allowed during testing) for the test (and other tests during the semester) is filled out by the instructor. After the form has been completed, copies are sent to the instructor, the student, and the student’s file in the Learning Support Services office. (NOTE: Student books and notes are not allowed in the testing site unless documentation to the contrary is received from the professor).
Questions or concerns should be directed to the Director of Learning Support Services (Ext. 2444).
There are situations in which a reasonable adaptation dictates permitting extended time for test-taking. For many students with disabilities, taking tests within the time allotted class members generally may not result in a fair evaluation. The rule of thumb for adequate extended time is time and a half. At times, however, more or less time may be needed, depending on the type of exam and the extent of the student’s disability. The Director of Learning Support Services will work with faculty members and students individually to establish what is a fair amount of time. Faculty members will find that often students will not use all the additional time allotted. Having the extended time will, however , allay the fear of not being able to complete the test and the result will be a more equitable testing environment for the student.
Alternative testing and evaluation methods for measuring student achievement may be provided for students with disabilities. The results of any classroom evaluation should represent the student’s mastery of knowledge rather than reflecting the disability. Such methods may include, but are not limited to, oral exams, distraction-free testing rooms, test readers, test scribes, lists of words to be used on tests, dictation, demonstration, enlarged materials, preferential seating, alternate format (black/white copy), alternate style (essay instead of multiple choice), computer -assisted, take-home material, and extended time. It is the student’s responsibility to request test accommodation at enrollment or at the beginning of the program/course according to institutional procedures.
When proctors are used as scribes or readers, they read the test items and/or written responses exactly as given. Proctors are neither allowed to provide additional information, interpret, or give definitions about test items, nor to assist the examinee in answering the test questions. Their purpose is to decode and transcribe only. If faculty members want examinees to be allowed any of the above privileges during a specific testing session, they must inform the Director of Learning Support Services of their allowances.
All students utilizing the testing facilities at the Learning Support Services office are informed, in writing, of the rules, and sign a statement acknowledging that they are aware of the rules. The statement is on file in the Learning Support Services office. If academic irregularities occur, the Director of Learning Support Services will provide written or oral notification to the appropriate faculty member.
The following list presents a variety of methods that can be utilized selectively to make appropriate adjustments in the classroom for students with disabilities. Because the list is essentially composed of elements associated with effective teaching, the techniques are appropriate for all students, including those without disabilities.
Use of devices or aids which ensure the full participation of students with disabilities in the classroom is encouraged and will be recommended where appropriate. Such devices may include, but are not limited to tape recorders, hearing aids, sound systems, wheel chairs, texts on tape, note takers, and assistants.
The Learning Support Services office keeps a file of suggestions for working with students with specific disabilities. Information in the form of articles, books, lists, and flyers is available upon request.
Association on Higher Education and Disability
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