The Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) works with students who have a physical, medical or psychological disability, as well as, a learning disability or ADHD. Faculty members are asked to refer any student who discloses a disability to them to DSS (if the student has not previously registered). The faculty is also encouraged to include a disability statement on the course syllabus. In doing so, you indicate your willingness to provide reasonable accommodations for students with a disability and your willingness to fulfill legally mandated responsibilities. An example of a disability statement is as follows:
“Any student who thinks he/she may need an accommodation based on a disability should contact the Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) office as soon as possible. The DSS office is located at 240 Academy Street, Alison Hall Suite 130, Phone: 302-831-4643, fax: 302-831-3261, DSS Website. You may contact DSS at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The process that students engage in to request an accommodation from the University of Delaware is outlined on our How To Register website page and includes submitting appropriate documentation to the DSS that reflects the University’s guidelines and establishes a clear diagnosis, a substantial limitation and the current impact of the condition. Eligibility for receiving an accommodation(s) is based on multiple factors including the severity of the disability and its affect on the student. Once eligibility is determined then the reasonable accommodation(s) is agreed upon through and interactive process between the student and the DSS staff.
If the student is eligible for an accommodation in your class, you will be notified. Most often you receive notification in the beginning of the semester or term (usually after the drop/add period ends), however certain circumstances necessitate that notification be either earlier or later in the semester. The notification, in the form of an email, will generally specify the accommodation(s) and may not disclose the specific disability. Disclosure of the disability will only occur if the disability is visible or you need to know for accommodation purposes. Faculty are not permitted to review the actual evaluation or disability documentation. If a student gives you documentation regarding a disability, please regard it as confidential information and encourage the student to take it to the DSS office.
The student is the primary advocate for him or herself. Students are expected to introduce themselves to you to communicate the approved accommodations and how they may be implemented. The DSS office welcomes your input, as it is often necessary to determine whether the accommodation(s) is reasonable in your class.
The following is a list of accommodations that may be approved on a case-by-case basis; however, it is not an exhaustive list:
- Enlarging and converting materials to Braille (usually done at the DSS)
- Test setting with reduced distraction
- Extended time for tests (usually up to time and a half or double time)
- Permission to record class lectures
- Priority seating
- Scribe for exams as required
- Books and articles in alternative format
- Copies of slides or overheads for students with low vision
- Reader for exams as required
- Sign-language interpreters or captioning (CART)
- Relocation of classes when necessary
- Syllabi in advance
- Typing essays and written exams
- Volunteer note-taker from the class
- Reduced course load
- Priority registration
The most commonly requested accommodation is extended time for examinations. There is a process for the students to follow and a TAC cover sheet to be completed. More information on the Test Accommodation Center can be found here. Instructors also have the ability to extend time on a published quiz in Canvas for a specific student. Please visit Canvas Instructions on How to Extend Time.
In addition, students will sometimes ask for leniency in attendance or to have extra time for assignments and projects. Since students are expected to attend class just like any other student, it is up to you whether it would compromise the integrity of your course. If you allow absences beyond a set policy for any other student, you must also allow them for students with disabilities. The same is true for extensions. The student is expected to fully communicate with you regarding any difficulties he or she is having in your course.
If your class or lab is taught by a TA or graduate assistant, it is your responsibility to notify the assistant about the student and/or direct the student to contact him or her.