Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. The Dean of Students Office is responsible for coordinating disability support services for students, with other College departments assisting in the provision of accommodations for students.

“Qualified” with respect to postsecondary educational services, means “a person who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the education program or activity, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies or practices; the removal of architectural, communication or transportation barriers; or the provision of auxiliary aids and services.”

Eligibility for Accommodations

Individuals with a condition that rises to the level of a disability are entitled to reasonable accommodations. The Americans with Disabilities Act defines disability as “with respect to an individual: (A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; (B) a record of such an impairment; or (C) being regarded as having such an impairment.” 42 U.S.C. § 12102(2). Disabilities may include, but are not limited to, learning differences or disabilities, physical and mobility impairments, sensory impairments, psychological disorders, and/or chronic health impairments.

Note: Having received accommodations in high school through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a 504 plan does not automatically make a student eligible for services in college. The student must register for services and provide supporting documentation for review; IEPs are not acceptable forms of documentation. If it is determined that a student is eligible to receive accommodations, the recommended accommodations may be different from those the student received in high school.

How to Request Accommodations

If a student wishes to access disability support services the student must self-identify needs for accommodations in advance with the Dean of Students Office. The student must submit a completed “Request for Disability Support Services” form (available here or from the Dean of Students office) along with current documentation which establishes that the student has a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (see “Documentation” for further details). It is recommended that the student submit the request form and documentation after acceptance of admission to Scripps but prior to the first semester so that appropriate accommodations can be in place at the beginning of the college career. The request form and documentation will be reviewed and the student will be notified if the documentation is acceptable and complete, or if further information is required. Once eligibility is established, the student will be notified in writing of the approved accommodation(s). If the student would like to meet with a staff member to discuss approved accommodation(s) please contact Sonia De La Torre-Iniguez at sDelator@ScrippsCollege.edu to schedule an appointment.

While a student may register for disability support services and request accommodations after the school year has started, there is a 10 business day waiting period in order for us to process and review the request and documentation, and accommodations may not be immediately available. A student may request accommodations at any point in a semester; however accommodations cannot be applied retroactively.

Determination of Accommodations

Appropriate and reasonable accommodations are determined on an individual basis based on the current and anticipated impact of the student’s disability at Scripps. The request form and supporting documentation will be reviewed and reasonable accommodations will be identified and discussed with the student. Unless there is a change in the impact of the disabling condition, or unless the student wishes to discuss different accommodations, the accommodations will remain in effect as long as the documentation is current. It is the responsibility of the student to request modifications if the provided accommodations are not effective. If a student is not granted an accommodation that the student believes is necessary, the student may request an additional review by the Dean of Students.

Examples of Academic Accommodations

Following are examples of specific disability-related accommodations that students and educators have used successfully.

Low Vision
  • Seating near front of class
  • Large print handouts, lab signs, and equipment labels
  • TV monitor connected to microscope to enlarge images
  • Class assignments made available in electronic format
  • Computer equipped to enlarge screen characters and images
Blindness
  • Audiotape, Braille or electronic-formatted lecture notes, handouts, and texts
  • Verbal descriptions of visual aids
  • Raised-line drawings and tactile models of graphic materials
  • Braille lab signs and equipment labels, auditory lab warning signals
  • Adaptive lab equipment (e.g., talking thermometers and calculators, light probes, and tactile timers
  • Computer with optical character reader, speech output, Braille screen display and printer output
Hearing Impairment
  • Interpreters, real-time captioning, FM systems
  • Note-takers
  • Captioned films
  • Visual aids
  • Written assignments, lab instructions, summaries, notes
  • Use of electronic mail for class and private discussions
  • Visual warning systems for lab emergencies
Learning Disability
  • Note-takers and/or audio-taped class sessions
  • Captioned films
  • Extra exam time; alternative testing arrangements
  • Visual, aural, and tactile instructional demonstrations
  • Computers with voice output, spellchecker, and grammar checker
Mobility Impairment
  • Note-takers, lab assistants, group lab assignments
  • Classrooms, labs, and field trips in accessible locations
  • Adjustable tables; lab equipment located within reach
  • Class assignments made available in electronic format
  • Computers equipped with special input device (e.g., voice input, alternative keyboard)
Health Impairment
  • Note-takers
  • Flexible attendance requirements
  • Extra exam time
  • Assignments made available in electronic format
  • Use of e-mail to facilitate communication

The College does not provide services of a personal nature (such as attendants, homework assistance or tutors), typing services or prescriptive aids such as eyeglasses or hearing aids, nor does it provide diagnostic evaluations of disabilities.

Unreasonable accommodations would include those that impose an undue economic or administrative burden on the College or would fundamentally alter the academic program or lower the standards of the College (e.g., waiver of essential course requirements, attendance, etc.).

Documentation

In order to establish eligibility for accommodations the student must provide documentation which identifies that the condition substantially limits performance in one or more major life activities.

The student with a disability is the best source of information regarding necessary accommodations. In postsecondary settings it is the student’s responsibility to request disability related accommodations, but a faculty member can include a statement on the class syllabus inviting students who have disabilities to discuss academic needs. An example of such a statement is “If you wish to discuss academic accommodations, please contact me as soon as possible.” The Dean of Students office informs instructors of reasonable accommodations needed for students who have provided the appropriate documentation which must include:

  • A specific diagnosis of limitations
  • A description of how the diagnosis was reached methods and procedures, test results and evaluation of test results
  • A description of the specific changes that have occurred since the original report and recommendations were made that indicate a need to adjust accommodations as originally made
  • Licensure and experience of health care professional
  • What and how any major life activities are limited by the impairment
  • How the disability causes any academic difficulties
  • A list of any and all accommodations, which might be needed to facilitate the student’s participation in the academic program

Notifying Faculty of Approved Accommodations

As long the student’s documentation is current, professors will be notified of eligibility for accommodations approximately two weeks into the semester, after the last day to add a class. If a student is registered for a course at another Claremont college, the e-mail will also be sent to the Dean of Students Office at that institution. This e-mail is meant to serve as a starting point in discussions between students and professors and will not identify the specific disability. Rather, it will note that the student is eligible to receive accommodations as a result of a documented disability and will list the accommodation(s) which the student is eligible to receive.

If it is determined that a student is eligible to receive accommodations but does not wish to access them, an e-mail should be sent to Sonia De La Torre-Iniguez at the Dean of Students Office indicating you do not wish to access all or some of your accommodations and thus do not want your faculty notified. Otherwise faculty will automatically be notified after the last day to add a class. Accommodations cannot be applied retroactively.

Confidentiality

A Disability Support Services file is created for the student and maintained by the Dean of Students Office. The Disability Support Services file, including documentation, is considered confidential information and does not become part of the student’s permanent record. Information contained in the Disability Support Services file is not normally shared with other campus offices or individuals without written consent unless such information is needed to implement the accommodation(s).

Off-Campus Study Information

Many countries do not have comprehensive legislation similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These countries may not recognize the special needs which affect individuals with physical, psychological, or learning disabilities. If the student has a disability that might impact the experience abroad, students are well advised to discuss it with a member of the Off-Campus Study staff before departure. Contact Sonia De La Torre-Iniguez to have information from the Disability Support Services file released to the Office of Off-Campus Study to assist in the discussion.

Questions

Useful Teaching Techniques

Classroom
  • Select course materials early so that students have enough time to translate or find resources in which materials can be translated to audiotape, Braille, and/or large print.
  • Make syllabi, short assignment sheets, and reading lists available in electronic format (e.g., CD, electronic mail, WWW).
  • Design course web pages to be accessible to students with disabilities.
  • Face the class when speaking. Repeat discussion questions.
  • Write key phrases and lecture outlines on the blackboard or overhead projector.
Laboratory
  • Take a student on a tour of the lab he/she will be working in. Discuss safety concerns.
  • Assign group lab projects in which all students contribute according to their abilities.
  • Arrange lab equipment so that it is accessible to and usable by everyone.
  • Give oral and written lab instructions.
Examination
  • Assure that exams test the essential skills or knowledge needed for the course or field of study.
  • Some students will require extra time to transcribe or process test questions; follow campus policies regarding extra time on examinations.

Resources