How does the University determine a student is eligible to receive disability-related accommodations?
A Loyola student who wishes to receive disability-related accommodations must register with the Disability Support Services (DSS) office. To register, the student must complete an application, provide documentation from an appropriate professional, and have an intake meeting with DSS. The documentation the student submits must provide information about his or her disability and substantiate the need for each requested accommodation or modification. The Disability Documentation Review Committee meets bi-weekly to review requests.
Are professors notified that a student needs an academic accommodation?
A student registered with DSS should provide faculty members with an accommodation letter that outlines his or her approved accommodations. DSS reminds registered students to request these letters at the beginning of each semester and to immediately distribute them to professors.
Do professors have to provide retroactive accommodations?
In general, professors do not have to provide accommodations prior to the delivery of the accommodation letter from the student.
How can I encourage students with disabilities to talk with me about their accommodations?
DSS recommends including a statement on your course syllabus, such as:
“To request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact the Disability Support Services (DSS) office at (410) 617-2062 or 5137. If you have a letter from DSS indicating you are approved to receive academic accommodations, please present the letter to me so we can discuss your needs. I am available during my office hours.”
Referral to Disability Support Services
How can I encourage students with disabilities to register with DSS?
You can make a verbal announcement to your class that you welcome students with disabilities in your classroom, and will do your best to accommodate them if they are registered with DSS and provide you with the appropriate accommodation letter. Also, remember to have the statement on your syllabus referring students with disabilities to DSS.
Is it acceptable to ask a student who is having obvious difficulties whether he or she has a disability or to refer the student to DSS?
DSS discourages professors from asking directly about the possibility of a disability for a number of reasons. The regulations and interpretations of the pertinent disability rights laws forbid unnecessary inquiries into the existence of a disability. A direct inquiry such as this could also be considered intrusive or insensitive. You should tell the student that you notice he or she is having a difficult time and encourage him or her to talk with you about gaining assistance. You can guide the student to the Writing Center, the Counseling Center, or other resources that you would provide to any student. If the student shares with you that he or she has a past history of a disability or suspects he or she has a disability, it would then be appropriate to tell the student about DSS.
Is the information regarding a student's disability and his or her need for academic accommodations confidential?
Privacy of student information, including disability status or accommodation needs, should generally be handled according to guidelines of FERPA, (the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). Personal information of this nature should only be shared with those people within Loyola who have an educational need-to-know.
How do I know what is a reasonable accommodation?
DSS suggests reasonable accommodations based on each student’s documentation. The student should provide you with a letter outlining these accommodations. If you believe a suggested accommodation isn’t reasonable due to the nature of your class, please consult with a DSS staff member.
Some students with disabilities are provided extended time on examinations. Is this fair to other students?
Yes, it is fair. Requests for extra time and other testing modifications are reviewed by Loyola’s Documentation Review Committee and only recommended when the documentation substantiates the need.
Some students present accommodation letters stating they are approved for flexible class attendance. Does that mean I cannot apply my attendance policy to them?
Flexible class attendance is sometimes recommended for a student when the evaluator indicates there may be situations where the symptoms of the disability flare up temporarily and unexpectedly. It is not intended to be used on a regular basis and DSS advises students with this accommodation to consult with professors about the attendance policy and each absence they may have. If class attendance is essential to the course, you should decide what flexibility you may be able to offer and discuss this with the student early on in the semester.
Can a faculty member forbid a student with a disability to use a tape recorder in class?
An instructor is typically required to allow a student to tape record her course if taping the class is determined to be an appropriate accommodation for a student's disability. Occasionally, classroom discussion reveals items of a personal nature about students. If open discussions tend to reveal personal information, it would be appropriate to ask the student with a disability to turn off the tape recorder during these discussions. Contact DSS with questions or concerns about tape recording lectures.
What if I do not agree with a recommended accommodation?
Sometimes a faculty member believes a specific accommodation alters the essential course requirements. Contact the DSS office if a recommended accommodation does not seem reasonable for your class.
Disability Support Services Contact Information
Who should I contact in DSS for more information, or to refer a student?
For assistance arranging exams with extended time please contact:
Michelle Hackley, Accommodations Coordinator
For assistance with other accommodations, to refer a new student, or for other assistance, please contact:
Marcia Wiedefeld, Director
Megan Henry, Assistant Director
Newman Towers, West 107
Written by Loyola University’s Disability Support Services Office with information from: The Faculty Room: FAQ. (2004). Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology (DO-IT), University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. Retrieved from http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Rights/Faq/