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Faculty & Adjunct Instructors

 

Providing equal access and opportunity for students with disabilities is a shared responsibility with everyone at Palm Beach State College. The Center for Student Accessibility, formerly known as Disability Support Services, takes this responsibility seriously.

We hope that you find these resources helpful, but we encourage you to contact our office for assistance or guidance. One of our primary goals is to support faculty and adjuncts by advocating responsibly for accessible learning environments, by coordinating academic support services, and by removing informational, physical, and attitudinal barriers.


Request a Presentation

Want to help your team or department learn how to better serve students with disabilities?

CSA is available to present a variety of topics including:

  • Disability, Inclusion & Etiquette
  • Autism: What You Need to Know
  • Letter of Notification
  • Service Animals Are Not Pets
  • Addressing Disruptive Behavior

You can also recommend a topic that you would like to be covered. |  Request a Presentation

 

  • Identify essential course components and competencies so reasonable accommodations can be determined.
  • Understand what services are available to students with disabilities.
  • Discuss possible modifications, usually not exemptions. Accommodations should not alter the course objectives or technical standards.
  • Invite students to meet early in the semester to discuss their need for accommodations.
  • Encourage student disclosure with a syllabus statement and make non-intrusive announcements in class in the begin of the semester or first exam or quiz.
  • Respect the student’s right for privacy. Some students may be sensitive to being singled out in the classroom. Provide time during office hours or in a private setting to meet with the student.
  • To receive notification in writing from the Center of Student Accessibility (CSA) office regarding academic accommodations for which the student has been qualified

  • To discuss with the CSA Advisor or Manager any concerns related to accommodations

  • To refuse to grant an accommodation to a student who has not requested the accommodation through published procedures of the CSA office

  • To ask a student using a audio recorder to sign an agreement not to release the recording or otherwise obstruct the copyright

  • To provide mandated accommodations in a timely and appropriate manner
  • To publish in the course syllabus a statement regarding CSA services
  • To ensure that classroom materials are provided to the student in an accessible format
  • To follow national postsecondary policies regarding the release of confidential documentation information to persons outside the CSA office
  • To submit tests for authorized students to the Test Center in a timely manner with complete instructions
  • To continue to provide accommodations, in the event that an accommodation is in dispute, until the issue has been resolved

Providing equal access and opportunity for students with disabilities is a shared responsibility with everyone at Palm Beach State College. We hope that you find these resources helpful.

Service Animal Definition

A service animal is an animal trained to perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including physical, sensory, mental, psychological, intellectual, or other mental disabilities. Service animals do not always have a harness, sign, or symbol indicating that they are service animals.

Florida state law does not restrict the type of animal that can serve as a service animal; however, only service animals that are dogs or miniature horses are permitted at Palm Beach State College.


Can I deny a service animal in my office, classroom, or anywhere else?

Refusing service and/or being rude to a service animal and the handler is not only unprofessional behavior, but it is illegal at both state and federal levels.


Questions Regarding Service Animals Access

In situations where it is not obvious that a service animal, a person may ask only two specific questions:

  1. Is the service animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work, or task has the service animal been trained to perform?

Other frequently asked questions regarding service animals and the Americans with Disabilities Act may be access at U. S. Department of Justice, Office of Civil Rights, FAQs.

Members of the public with service animals do not need to provide documentation or request an accommodation.

What if a student identifies himself to me regarding an accommodation, but I have not received notification from the Center of Student Accessibility (CAS) office?

You are under no obligation to provide an accommodation for a student who has not identified him/herself and provided acceptable documentation through appropriate channels. Please refer the student to the CSA office on your campus. Although you, as the instructor, can alter assignments, requirements, etc. for any of your students, please be cautious about doing so in this situation because of the potential for legal complications.


What if a student is taking my course with all his listed accommodations and is failing anyway? Do I have to pass him?

Absolutely not. Students with disabilities are expected to fulfill the same course requirements and academic standards required of all students, with or without accommodations. The ADA is a civil rights statute, not an affirmative action vehicle. There is no requirement that a student with a disability be given preferential treatment-only equal and fair access to programs. You should treat a student with a disability as you would any of your students. Follow your normal procedures for a student who is doing poorly in class. Make sure that your specific performance expectations are clearly delineated and communicated, and then track the student's performance, documenting each step.


If I refuse to provide an accommodation approved by the CSA office, can I be sued or found personally liable?

Yes. Faculty members are not independent contractors. As referenced in several court cases including Howe vs Hull, U.S. vs Morvant, Smith vs University of the State of N.Y., and Dinsmore vs Pugh, faculty members who place themselves at odds with institutional policies risk being held personally liable for any resulting ADA/504 violations.


If I feel that a given accommodation is not reasonable, may I appeal it?

Yes. You should address your concerns in a discussion with the CSA advisor, not with the student. The accommodation must be  provided, however, until the matter is resolved. Faculty input is both welcome and valuable.


Why am I not permitted to see a student's documentation?

Students' rights to privacy and confidentiality regarding information about their disability are protected under the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The very fact that a student has a disability is confidential information and therefore can only be shared if the student gives written permission (in the form of a signed release of information). All students, however, are encouraged by the DSS Advisor or Manager to share information regarding their disability with faculty members.


If a student provides a letter of notification (accommodations) near the end of the term, must I let him or her re-take tests on which he did poorly earlier?

No. The institution's obligation to a student with a disability commences when the student self-identifies with appropriate documentation. Accommodations are not retroactive.


Who decides what accommodations a student receives?

Each CSA Advisor or Manager has the authority and the background to determine accommodations based on the functional limitations specified in the documentation. The college is under no obligation to honor recommendations made by the diagnosing practitioner if such recommendations depart from national standards and guidelines.


If there is a student in my class who appears to me to have a disability, may I ask him about it?

No. It is illegal to inquire if a person has a disability. However, you can make sure that every student in your classes knows that there are such services and where the office for those services is located. Many students choose not to disclose a disability for various reasons.


If a student with a disability is disrupting my class by his comments or behavior, what recourse do I have?

Students with disabilities must abide by the same Palm Beach State College rules and codes of conduct as any other students. Follow your regular procedure for disruptive behavior.


How does the CSA Advisor or Manager determine which accommodations are appropriate for a particular student?

The CSA Advisor or Manager carefully considers the nature of the student's functional limitations, then tailors the modifications separately for each course. For example, a student may need a audio recorder in one class but not in another. There is no "cookie cutter" menu for any given disability.


What if the requested accommodations appear to compromise the integrity of my class or academic program?

While providing accommodation for disabilities, institutions of higher education are not required to lower academic standards or compromise the integrity of the school or program (Davis vs Southeastern Community College, 1979). Requirements that are essential to the program or course of instruction, or that are directly related to licensing requirements, need not be compromised. It is imperative that each program of study develop a list of essential competencies inherent to its successful completion. Please discuss any concerns you may have with the CSA office.


Is there such a thing as unlimited time on a test for students with disabilities?

No. The most frequent time extension is time and a half, but double time may be warranted due to a student's slow processing speed or to the length of time required to administer or scribe the test. If increasing the amount of time for test completion allows a student to demonstrate his knowledge and not his test taking abilities, even longer time extensions might be granted infrequently.  However, students without disabilities do not have unlimited time, so it would be unfair to give a special needs student unlimited time under any circumstances.


How can I learn more about disabilities in general, or particular disabilities?

The Center for Student Accessibility welcomes the opportunity to offer presentations on disabilities in general, or specific disabilities, to academic departments and staff. To arrange such a presentation, consult the College CSA Manager. We can also provide lists of books, articles, and other information, such as names of support organizations for people with specific disabilities

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