Faculty/Staff Guide to Accommodations

Disability Support Services (DSS) collaborates with the University community to create accessible educational environments for students with disabilities. For faculty, we are your resource and collaborator in ensuring that academic accommodations and services provide student equity and access.

Accommodating Students in CanvasInstructor FAQs for Fall 2020

When and How to Refer Students to DSS

If a student discloses to you that they have a diagnosis which is affecting their participation, please regard it as confidential information and encourage the student to contact DSS.

Disability Statement for Syllabi

All instructors are encouraged to include a disability statement on their course syllabus. This statement introduces the university’s accommodation process, creates a collaborative vehicle for making legally-mandated accommodations, and helps to build a positive and welcoming environment for students with disabilities.

Example: “Any student who thinks he/she may need an accommodation based on a disability should contact the Disability Support Services (DSS) office as soon as possible. The DSS office is located at 240 Academy Street, Alison Hall Suite 130. You may contact DSS at dssoffice@udel.edu or by calling 302-831-4643.”

What Happens When a Student Seeks Help

Students who register their medical diagnosis with DSS work with a coordinator to determine what accommodations they need to access the UD environment.

DSS contacts instructors as their students register with the office to notify them of any specific needs.

All students learn better when materials are well designed.

Here, DSS provides guidelines to help faculty and staff create communications that are useful across a range of individual abilities and are in compliance with ADA standards. These resources are rooted in the Principles of Universal Design and further informed by our work with University of Delaware students. Thank you for your commitment to student success and support of our ADA compliance!

Syllabi and Digital Documents

  • Create the document in Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Adobe InDesign or another program that will allow you to Save As a PDF. Do not scan documents or print to PDF; that text cannot be extracted.
  • Use your program’s Heading functions to specify the hierarchy and reading order of your text.
  • Clearly and concisely state your expectations in writing. What is being discussed and when? What work is required of the reader, and when are the specific due dates / deadlines?
  • Provide any changes to your information in writing, as far in advance as possible so that any necessary arrangements for alternative document format can be made.
  • Open your document in Adobe Acrobat, ensure that you can select text, and run the program’s accessibility checker.
  • Review common document mistakes and how to fix them.

Websites

Print Materials

  • Provide materials digitally when possible, as far in advance as possible so that any necessary arrangements for alternative document format can be made.
  • Verify that your design choices have adequate color contrast online or using the UD colors cheat sheet.
  • Clearly and concisely state your expectations in writing. What is being discussed and when? What work is required of the reader, and when are the specific due dates / deadlines?

Accommodating Specific Disabilities

Two individuals might have the same disability but completely different accommodation needs. If you have received information regarding a student from DSS, please refer to those specific accommodations. If you would like to learn more about what individuals with specific disabilities may need in order to access your programs or services, please see the following:

Face to Face

  • Announce changes to your class or event digitally in advance; a note on the door does not work for all.
  • Begin your interaction with a summary of information to be covered, or provide a written outline for your time together, and proceed sequentially.
  • Minimize distractions in the environment and discourage others from interfering with support animals or equipment.
  • Use a microphone when possible.
  • Read aloud what is on a board or overhead, or on any visual aid that was not provided in advance.
  • Provide all assignments in writing.
  • End your interaction with a review of major points.