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Accessibility Guidelines

These guidelines have been written to help you provide the best education to students with disabilities and to make Kent State University Geauga a welcoming and supportive environment for these students.

The Coordinator of Student Disability Services (SDS) is the designated person to determine appropriate accommodations and auxiliary aids for students with disabilities. The student provides disability documentation from a qualified professional indicating the functional limitations presented by the disability. This documentation must be provided before the student is eligible for services. Accommodations and auxiliary aids are provided so the student has equal opportunity to access and participate in the university.

Students with disabilities have the responsibility and right to meet with you privately regarding disability matters, and their confidentiality must be maintained. Students are advised by the SDS office to arrange a meeting with you at the beginning of the semester or before if possible, and are to bring their letter of accommodation to present to you. Please conduct disability- related meetings in a private location. (If you do not have an office, please see your SDS coordinator to arrange a space to have this meeting.) Provide opportunities for students to meet with you to describe their disability-related needs, to arrange test accommodations, to ask for clarification about what was presented in class, to get help with in-class note taking, etc. Please understand that the student's right to privacy must be respected and their confidentiality must be protected. The Coordinator of Student Disability Services is also held to confidentiality and must have a signed release from the student before she can discuss the student's disability issues with you.

Students with disabilities need access to course materials and information presented in your classroom at the same time as all other students. As an instructor, you play a vital. role in ensuring that materials are available in alternative format in a timely manner. Converting print materials to alternate formats-- whether to Braille, audio tapes, electronic format, or enlarged print-- is both labor and time intensive. Therefore, it is important that you inform SDS about the textbooks you plan to use and all other print materials as soon as you are requested to do so either by a student or Student Disability Services. When converting your own materials and handouts to alternative format, please be sure that students with disabilities have these materials at the same time as nondisabled students.

Students have the responsibility to make their disability-related accommodation needs known to you, and your syllabus statement welcomes students to do so. Students are encouraged to make their accommodation,letter available to you in a timely fashion so appropriate arrangements can be made. They are not, however, required to discuss details of their disability. You can encourage this communication process by including a statement on your syllabus that invites students with disabilities to meet with you to discuss their needs. Below is the syllabus statement used at Geauga Campus.

"Kent State University recognizes its responsibility for creating an institutional climate in which students with disabilities can succeed. In accordance with university policy, if you have a documented disability, you may request accommodations to obtain equal access to and to promote learning- in this class. Please contact the disability coordinator on campus (Ben Morrison, 440-834-3726). After your eligibility for accommodations is determined, you will be given a letter which, when presented to instructors, will help us know best how to assist you."

If a student with a disability does not request accommodations, you are not obligated to provide academic assistance. In other words, you are not asked to guess or predetermine what a student may need. Students are told that they may choose not to use any or all accommodations stated in their letter. When students bring their letter to you, discuss each accommodation so that you and the student know which accommodation(s) the student wishes to use and how the accommodation(s) will be implemented in your particular class.

Accommodations should not be provided to a student who has not provided a letter to you, and this letter is not provided until appropriate documentation is presented and reviewed by the office of Student Disability Services. SDS is the only office designated to review documentation of a disability and determine eligibility for specific accommodations and services. This determination must be made before accommodations are provided.

Individual accommodation needs vary from student to student because each disability, even the same disability, may result in different functional limitations and manifestations. Compensation skills and strategies vary from one student to another, just as instructional methods vary from one instructor to another. It is necessary, therefore, for you and the student to discuss specific accommodations that address the particular needs of each student with a disability.

Contact SDS if you are uncertain about which accommodations or auxiliary aids are appropriate. Student Disability Services determines reasonable accommodations and auxiliary aids that are individualized and based upon disability documentation, functional limitations, and a collaborative assessment of the student's needs. It is important that you provide the accommodations listed (if the student requests them) but that you provide only those accommodations listed on the letter. Please do not provide additional accommodations without discussing this matter with SDS.

Academic accommodations are legally mandated services, such as

  • extended time on exams and quizzes (generally time and one half, although some students could have double time)
  • distraction-reduced test environment
  • reader and/or scribe for tests
  • a computer for essay examinations
  • access to class notes and in-class materials
  • Auxiliary aids are services, equipment, and procedures that give students with disabilities access to learning and activities in the classroom environment, such as

  • sign language interpreting
  • assistive listening devices which amplify sound
  • real-time captioning of lectures
  • videotexts displays, which allow a deaf student to read auditory portions of a video.
  • materials in alternative formats (e.g., text scanned onto disks, taped textbooks, Braille, or enlarged print)
  • adaptive technology
  • An accommodation or service is not considered reasonable and, therefore, is not mandated, if it fundamentally alters the program or service. Discuss your concerns about fundamental alteration with the Coordinator of Student Disability Services before you discuss them with the student.

    All our accommodations and services are designed so students

  • have equal access to programs, classes, and services
  • have access to all printed or other materials important to student learning and which are available to non-disabled peers
  • have access to what goes on in the classroom through discussion and class notes
  • can demonstrate understanding of course material in ways that are not jeopardized by manifestations of the disability.
  • Students with disabilities are held to the same academic expectations and grading standards as students without disabilities. Students with disabilities are entitled to the same educational opportunities you provide for dl your students, and that's why accommodations are provided. Accommodations for students with disabilities are initiated so that they can meet the same standards of excellence expected of all students in your classroom.

    Students with disabilities are held to the same code of conduct required of any student at Kent State University. If there are incidents of inappropriate behavior, feel free to contact the Coordinator if you want to discuss your concerns. You have the right to a classroom climate conducive to learning for all students. You will want to meet privately with the student to discuss conduct/behavioral issues. It is important to give concise and honest feedback about behaviors that are inappropriate.

    Our service to students with disabilities is the result of a three-way partnership between the student, the instructor, and the Coordinator of Student Disability Services. Please contact Ben Morrison if you have any questions about disability services at Geauga or your role in this partnership.

    These guidelines are based in part upon information provided in Instructor Handbook: Teaching Students with Disabilities, published by the Office for Disability Services at The Ohio State University.

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