Policy Statement and Guidelines Regarding Services For Students With Disabilities
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 resource has been composed to assist faculty, students and staff in understanding the rights of students with disabilities and the best strategies for implementing accommodations. 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.
Learning Support Services (LSS) works with the larger campus community to ensure students with disabilities and those that identify as disabled are not subject to exclusionary practices and procedures. LSS promotes that disability identity is an essential part of the campus community. In addition to meeting all legal requirements (discussed below), LSS will take an active role in implementing best practices regarding accessibility.
Linfield University Policy Statement and Guidelines Regarding Services for Students with Disabilities
It is the policy of the college not to discriminate on the basis of disability, 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 University 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 University has a responsibility to accommodate and provide access to students with disabilities. The Section 504 reads, in part:
No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, 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 or under any program
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 post-secondary 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 modifying course content or outcomes. 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.
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 Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Decisions regarding the nature of the adjustments are made by the Director of LSS. 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 accommodation from the Director of LSS (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 be taken with reasonable accommodations.
The Linfield University 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 their 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.
Financial Aid Assistance
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 students with disabilities, including the possible need for additional budget allowances for documented expenses related to 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 LSS. 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.
Priority Scheduling/Early Registration
Where appropriate based on disability, priority scheduling also allows the student to choose available classes on the basis of those that most suit their 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 alternative format for books, ensuring the availability of close-captioned films, arranging computerized lab simulations, or scheduling tutorials.
Where chronic illness or special health problems exist that could be exacerbated by class schedule, an effort shall be made in collaboration Registrar to assist the student in gaining access to preferred classes in a timely fashion.
It is the policy of Linfield University 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 Program Director of LSS 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 LSS 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. 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 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 their 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.
Academic Advising and Career Goals
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.
Clubs and Organizations
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.
Office of Learning Support Services
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 University 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 the initial request must be initiated by the student requesting accommodations.
The Program Director of Learning Support Services is available to assist in determining what assistance will be of the most benefit to the student. The Program 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 Program 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 a disability believes they have experienced discrimination from a member of the Linfield University faculty, staff, or administration solely on the basis of disability, they should contact the Program Director of LSS (503-882-2572), Dean of Student Services or the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Grievances regarding the decisions of LSS staff members that cannot be resolved by the Director of LSS should be directed to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Guidelines for Operation of the Office of Learning Support Services
A. Registration Process
By law, students who have disabilities are not required to identify themselves as having disabilities. However, students who seek accommodations must identify themselves to Learning Support Service. In order to register for learning support services, students with disabilities must complete an Online Application for Services and submit appropriate documentation to substantiate their disabilities. Students requesting accommodations must make an appointment to meet with a Learning Support Services Coordinator 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.
Learning Support Services Coordinators can determine appropriate academic adjustments and make arrangements to provide appropriate auxiliary learning aid assistance and support services to students with documented needs. Students should provide written documentation detailing the disability (see documentation guidelines for more details). Such documentation must be requested even if condition is temporary (e.g. broken hand, dislocated shoulder). Documentation may be acquired after the accommodation has been implemented in situations where appropriate. Examples included but are not limited to: time sensitive/emergency requests, requests where documentation has been received but reviewed, or requests where documentation is forthcoming. Such instances will be considered and acted on at the discretion of the Director of Learning Support Services.
B. Disability and Related Academic Adjustments
The following provides a brief description of disability areas and samples of appropriate academic adjustments that may be required. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and instead Linfield University (LSS) will engage in the interactive process to determine appropriate academic adjustments.
Mobility Impairments: the inability to use one or more of their extremities, or a lack of strength to walk, grasp, or lift objects. 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: This can affect one or more senses; sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste, or spatial awareness. Some 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 may need note takers and textbook readers and will require adjustments during testing conditions.
Learning Disabilities: Students with learning disabilities (LD) have neurological impairments that interfere with information processing, memory and retrieval, and output. These disabilities can have an impact on reading, writing, math, attention, concentration and/or overall organization. Students with learning disabilities who are in college have demonstrated an ability to utilize their cognitive strengths to compensate for their specific academic weaknesses. Some students with learning disabilities may require extended time for testing, note takers, readers of textbooks, and assistive technology to address functional limitations related to disability.
Other Health Impairments: Students who have chronic or acute health problems (e.g., asthma, epilepsy, lupus, etc.) may require academic adjustments. Such adjustments include extended time (allowing rest periods to combat fatigue), isolated settings (reducing stress or distractions), and so forth.
Impacts related to mental health conditions, ADHD, medical diagnoses, autism, and head injuries are other examples of students that may choose to register with LSS.
This section provides information about the services that are offered at Linfield University for students with disabilities.
Readers, Note takers, Interpreters
Through the Office of Learning Support Services arrangements are made 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 Program Director of Learning Support Services in consultation with the faculty member in question.
Students may receive individualized strategy training from Learning Support Services if they ask for such services. Such training involves teaching skills related to time management, test preparation and test taking, and brainstorming for written assignments. These services are provided at no cost to students and are available to all students at the college, whether or not they have disabilities.
Special Testing Settings/Conditions
Some students with disabilities need academic adjustments during testing (e.g., proctors, isolated settings, computer access, extended time). Students who are blind, for example, may 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.
Registration assistance is available to students with disabilities. If possible, students who require extensive course adaptations should notify the Program 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.
Students may request disability-related accommodations in relation to living in the residence halls at Linfield University. Requests for disability-related housing accommodations will be reviewed by LSS. Documentation will be required to address a students diagnosis, functional limitations, and appropriateness of a given accommodation. Requests related to a modification of the no-pet policy in Housing are subject to the Assistance Animal Policy which can be reviewed in the Residence Life resource, "Guide to Living at Linfield"
Meal Plan or Dietary Accommodations
Linfield University will make all reasonable attempts to accommodate students with disabilities and to have their dietary needs met. Reduction or exemptions to the meal-plan are not automatically granted and instead it must be clearly demonstrated that Campus Dining is not able to meet a student's requirements. Student safety will be prioritized in determining appropriate actions regarding dining accommodations. Requests for disability-related dietary accommodations will be reviewed by LSS. Documentation will be required to address a students diagnosis, functional limitations, and appropriateness of a given accommodation.
On Campus Living Exemption Requests
Linfield University will make every effort to accommodate students to be able to live on campus. Exemptions will be approved in cases where a student’s disability-related accommodations cannot be reasonably met or a student is able to demonstrate they are not able to live on campus due to their disability.
COVID-19 Policy for 2020-21 Housing Requests
Housing accommodations that are approved on the basis of impacts related to COVID-19 will be approved for the 2020-21 academic year only. Linfield University acknowledges the unique challenges that COVID-19 may present to students with experiences of disability and will provide additional reasonable accommodations to ensure access to campus housing. Housing accommodations approved specifically because of COVID-19 will not be renewed beyond Spring 2021 unless impacts remain or other documented disability-related barriers make it necessary.
Appropriate Academic Adjustments
The role of the Program 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 Program 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.
Upon a student’s request for services, the Coordinators in 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 Program 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 which is typically done online through LSS Online Services. LSS will notify professors of the a student's required accommodation though an official notification letter. The student is encouraged to consult with the related faculty member to ensure that the notification letter has been received, and confirm the logistical details of how the accommodations are to be implemented. Professors who engage in negotiation of accommodation or feel that they cannot implement an accommodation must consult with LSS. 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, 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, 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:
Students with disabilities are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. If you are a student with a disability and feel you may require academic accommodations please contact Learning Support Services (LSS), as early as possible to request accommodations for your disability. The timeliness of your request will allow LSS to promptly arrange the details of your support. LSS is located in Melrose Hall 020 (503-883-2562). We encourage students to communicate with faculty about their accommodations.
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 alternative formatted 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.
Students who require assistance of a personal nature or a personal care attendant will need to locate and pay for any associated costs of this personal service. Linfield will make appropriate adjustments (housing, guest policies, etc) to ensure a student with a disability is not subject to exclusionary practices because of a personal care attendant. To ensure community safety, reasonable review of a personal care attendant including but not limited to: background checks, and/or employment verification will be required.
Students who are permitted to record as part of an approved accommodation are subject to the Classroom Recording Policy found within the Student Policy Guide.
B. Testing Adjustments
Students with disabilities are entitled by law to alternative testing arrangements that offer optimum conditions for success. 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 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 may need to be provided as outlined on the student's notification letter:
- An accessible test site
- Special Equipment
- Alternate Formats
- Large-print copies of test
- Sufficient uninterrupted time
- Quiet test environment
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 Learning Support Services:
Testing with adjustments conducted under the supervision of Learning Support Services:
All testing adjustments are proctored by LSS must be arranged through LSS Online Services. Students request and schedule accommodated testing through this platform and faculty are notified electronically.
Questions or concerns should be directed to Learning Support Services (503-883-2562).
Extended Testing Time
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 for non-disabled class members may not result in a equitable evaluation. LSS will determine if 1.5 time on the type of exam would be an appropriate accommodation based on extent of the student’s disability. More or less time may be appropriate based on professional assessment. Faculty are invited to consult regarding the impacts of extra time on a given exam.
Alternate Testing and Evaluation Methods
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, alternate test style (essay instead of multiple choice), computer-assisted, take-home material, and extended time. Accommodations that would be considered a fundamental alteration will not be approved. LSS will proactively contact professors for input on the appropriateness of a given accommodation. Faculty members should also bring any concerns about testing accommodations to the attention of LSS.
Proctors, Scribes, Readers
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.
General Classroom Suggestions
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.
- Provide the course syllabus early to assist students in planning modifications and completion of assignments.
- Begin lectures/discussions with a review and overview of the topics to be cover ed. Use a chalkboard or overhead projector to outline lecture material, reading aloud what is written.
- Use the chalkboard or overhead projector to highlight key concepts, unusual terminology or foreign words.
- Emphasize important points, main ideas, and key concepts orally in lecture.
- Provide assignments in writing as well as orally, and be available to clarify individual questions.
- Provide an opportunity for participation and questions during class; encourage students to organize review sessions to aid in mastering material and preparing for exams.
- Encourage students to come by during office hours for individual discussion of assignments, questions about lectures and readings.
- Provide test study guides and study questions, as well as encourage review sessions to aid in mastering material and preparing for exams.
- Allow oral presentations or audio recordings as submissions for assignments instead of written papers. Modify evaluation instruments and procedures required.
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 audio recorders, hearing aids, sound systems, wheel chairs, alternative formatted texts, note takers, and assistants.
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