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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who is responsible for determining appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities at Colorado College?

Q. Why do students with disabilities receive accommodations? It does not seem fair to other students.

Q. What are the student’s responsibilities in the accommodation process?

Q. Why am I not told the nature of the student's disability in the letter of accommodation?

Q. What types of accommodations are professors required to make?

Q. What language do you recommend that I use on my syllabus to let students know how to request accommodations?

Q. What are the most commonly requested classroom accommodations at Colorado College?

Q. Who provides classroom accommodations at Colorado College?

Q. I have a student who is blind in my chemistry lab. How is he going to participate and be graded in his lab work?

Q. A student came to me halfway through the Block and several days before an exam to request extended time. I feel this is too late to ask for accommodations and believe arrangements should have been made at the beginning of the Block. I even made an announcement on the first day of class asking students to meet with me about these arrangements. Do I have to provide accommodations for a student requesting accommodations this late?

Q. What do I do when a student hands documentation of a disability directly to me?

Q. I suspect a student has a disability. How do I talk to the student about my concerns?

Q. Should I extend deadlines or grade students with disabilities differently?

Q. I haven’t decided on the books I want to use for my class, but DS keeps asking me to select books ASAP. Is this necessary?

Q. Am I required to lower the standards of a required assignment because the student has a disability?

Q. Do I have any recourse if I disagree about requested accommodations?

Answers:

Q. Who is responsible for determining appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities at Colorado College?

A. Disability Services (DS) is the office on campus that determines reasonable and appropriate accommodations. The staff bases decisions on documentation received from a student with a disability, the student’s functional limitations, and the student’s clarification about specific needs and limitations.

Q. Why do students with disabilities receive accommodations? It does not seem fair to other students.

A. Reasonable accommodations are legally mandated and are intended to provide students with documented disabilities an opportunity to be evaluated based on ability, not disability. Accommodations are determined according to specific information in the student's documentation and are intended to ensure equal access, not success. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protect students with disabilities. These laws require that qualified students with disabilities have equal access to education.

Q. What are the student’s responsibilities in the accommodation process?

A. The student is responsible for requesting services and providing documentation to DS that supports the need for each requested accommodation. After DS determines appropriate accommodations and provides the student with a letter of accommodation, the student is responsible for providing faculty with a copy of the letter in a timely fashion if the student is requesting accommodations for a course.

Q. Why am I not told the nature of the student's disability in the letter of accommodation?

A. While some students' disabilities are obvious if they use a wheelchair, hearing aids, or a white cane, many students have nonapparent disabilities that include medical or psychological conditions, attention deficit disorder, and specific learning disabilities. Since DS respects a student’s right to privacy, we do not identify the nature of the student's disability and only list the accommodations that have been determined as necessary for the student's academic support. Individual students may choose to discuss their particular situation with a faculty member; however, the faculty member should be careful not to ask questions about the nature of the disability. 


Q. What types of accommodations are professors required to make?

A. For students who provide a letter of accommodation from DS, faculty should provide accommodations as listed in a reasonable and timely manner and confer with students to establish the best means of providing accommodations. You are not obligated to provide accommodations until the student presents a letter from DS that verifies whether he/she is currently registered with our office or you receive confirmation of appropriate accommodations from DS. However, if the disability is visible, and the accommodation appears reasonable, you may provide the accommodation while awaiting official notification from DS. You are not expected to change grades earned without accommodations prior to self-identification by the student.


Q. What language do you recommend that I use on my syllabus to let students know how to request accommodations?


A. If you have a disability and require accommodations for this course, please speak with me privately as soon as possible so that your needs may be appropriately met. If you have not already done so, you will need to register with Disability Services (Learning Commons at Tutt Library, Room 152, 227-8285), the office responsible for coordinating accommodations and services for students with disabilities.


Q. What are the most commonly requested classroom accommodations at Colorado College?

A. The most commonly requested classroom accommodations at CC include the following:

  • Extended time for exams
  • A distraction-reduced exam setting
  • Use of a computer for exams and in-class assignments
  • Notetaking services
  • Accessible classroom locations

 

Q. Who provides classroom accommodations at Colorado College?

A. Most faculty handle the provision of classroom accommodations by making arrangements directly with the student once a letter of accommodation has been presented. DS is willing to support faculty in the implementation of special accommodations, such as notetaking services and use of assistive technology. However, due to the small size of the DS staff and office, DS cannot implement all the accommodations that are requested. Instead, DS relies on the collaborative efforts of faculty and our staff.


Q. I have a student who is blind in my chemistry lab. How is he going to participate and be graded in his lab work?

A. If possible, assist the student in getting a lab partner or work with DS to assign a student assistant to work with the student with a disability. In most situations, the student should make arrangements for a lab assistant prior to classes starting. The student who is blind should direct the assistant to carry out the functions of the lab assignment. The student should be graded as all other students.


Q. A student came to me halfway through the Block and several days before an exam to request extended time. I feel this is too late to ask for accommodations and believe arrangements should have been made at the beginning of the Block. I even made an announcement on the first day of class asking students to meet with me about these arrangements. Do I have to provide accommodations for a student requesting accommodations this late?

A. If you are able to make appropriate and reasonable arrangements for the accommodation, you should do so. There could be numerous reasons why a student makes a late request. Perhaps he or she could not get documentation of his or her disability any earlier and, therefore, could not initiate the accommodation process earlier. Some students try to take a class without accommodations but find that they aren’t doing well and need accommodations. Whatever the reason, students may make requests for accommodations at any time during the Block. If you are unable to provide the accommodation, please contact DS.

Q. What do I do when a student hands documentation of a disability directly to me?

A. The student should be directed to take his or her documentation to DS. In addition to accommodations, DS can provide other support services that may be beneficial to the student.

Q. I suspect a student has a disability. How do I talk to the student about my concerns?

A. Tell the student you have noticed he/she is struggling; then provide campus resources that may be helpful, listing DS as one of several resources. The Learning Consultant for the Colket Student Learning Center and DS offer screenings for students who suspect they may have a disability. The student should call DS for an appointment.

Q. Should I extend deadlines or grade students with disabilities differently?

A. Generally, no. Students with disabilities are expected to meet the same standards as other students and should not be graded differently. In rare cases, depending on specific needs, deadlines may be extended. These situations should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and in consultation with the student, the professor of the course, and DS.

Q. I haven’t decided on the books I want to use for my class, but DS keeps asking me to select books ASAP. Is this necessary?

A. Converting textbooks and other materials into an alternate format is a time-consuming, labor-intensive task. It can take several weeks to convert printed materials to electronic, Braille, or enlarged formats. Students who have difficulty reading printed materials need to be able to access their textbooks and other course materials at the same time as others in the class. By delaying the selection of textbooks, DS may not be able to get books converted to an appropriate format in a timely fashion and students may have to start the Block without access to their textbooks.

Q. Am I required to lower the standards of a required assignment because the student has a disability?

A. No. Standards should be the same for all students; however, some students with disabilities may exhibit their knowledge, production, and other course expectations differently than their peers. For example, a student with a learning disability may produce an essay exam by using extended time and/or use of a computer with word processing rather than writing an answer by hand. The grading of the work should be the same for all students.

Q. Do I have any recourse if I disagree about requested accommodations?

A. To clarify a disagreement about a requested accommodation, first contact DS at 719-227-8285. DS will work with you and the student to try to find a reasonable accommodation to meet a particular situation. 

Faculty should continue to provide the recommended accommodation until a resolution is reached. Withholding an accommodation puts both the faculty member and the College at risk for legal liability. If satisfactory answers are not determined, the faculty member may appeal to the Dean of the College for assistance.