Frequently Asked Questions - Disabled Students Programs and Services
Q. What is DSPS?
Disabled Student Program and Services (DSPS) is a program designed to assist students with disabilities succeed in college. It is also here to assist the instructors with students with disabilities in their classes, better serve those students.
Q. What assistance can DSPS provide?
The DSPS office can provide test accommodations, enlarged print, recording, or Brailling for your handouts. We will also help with any needed adaptive furniture and/or assistive technology in the classroom.
The DSPS program also has equipment that can assist vision impaired or dyslexic students with reading materials. We have both print enlargers and software that “read” text aloud. Adapted equipment/ software have been set up in the ACT Lab, and other places throughout campus.
If you feel a student has some disability that has not been diagnosed, please refer the student to the DSPS program. Instructors are a significant source of referrals, especially in the learning disabilities area. The student cannot be required to register with DSPS, but many will. For more information on how to refer a student please view the webpage How to Refer a Student to DSPS.
Q. As a faculty member, am I required to provide the accommodations the DSPS authorized?
Yes, you are. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in Section 504 protects students with disabilities. This law requires that qualified students with disabilities have equal access to education and not be discriminated against in their pursuit of their education. Authorized accommodations are done by a qualified DSPS professional in accordance to students’ documented, verified disability and the educational limitations it imposes.
Q. How are academic accommodations determined?
Based on the students documented disability and educational limitations, accommodations are agreed upon via an interactive dialogue with the student and their DSPS Counselor.
Q. What if I disagree with an approved accommodation?
Q. I feel I need to know exactly what the student's disability is so I can decide what accommodations are needed. Will DSPS tell me?
By law, the information the student gives us is confidential. Occasionally a student actually wants us to tell you, and we will, if the student has signed a release form allowing us to do so.
Q. I have a student in class who told me he/she has a disability, but has not requested accommodations that I know of. Am I still responsible for accommodations?
You are not obligated or responsible to provide an accommodation if you have not heard from and/or received written notification from the DSPS office, you may want to tell them privately about the DSPS office to see if they are interesting in joining the program and get reasonable accommodations
Q. Must I lower my standards because I have students with disabilities in my classes?
No. We may (for example) ask you to modify the way you test the student, but we cannot ask you to lower your standards. The accommodation is not intended to alter the academic rigor of your course, assignments, or examinations. It is intended to allow the student to access the course materials and to accurately demonstrate what he or she has learned.
Q. What special accommodations do I have to make for course required fieldwork or field trips?
Plan ahead. DSPS students will be as much advanced notice as possible so they can get their accommodations in order. Most cases, DSPS will need a week or more advance notice. Ask the student or DSPS for suggestions on how the student might be able to do some fieldwork or field trips. Attempt to include the student rather than automatically suggesting non-field work or field trip alternatives.
If the college provides transportation for the class, the college must also provide accessible transportation for students who use wheelchairs (e.g. a bus or van with a wheelchair lift).
Q. Why am I being asked to provide my instructional materials electronically and in advance of class meetings?
Students with disabilities have the right to receive their handouts on the same time frame as those provided to students without disabilities. Converting text into larger sizes, Braille, tactile graphics and audio files is time consuming. In order to initiate alternate media processing it is helpful to have the:
- ISBN of textbooks
- Approximate timelines of dates for starting each chapter
- A syllabus for approximate dates of assignments, quizzes, and exams
- All handouts and supplemental written materials
Q. Are students with disabilities allowed to tape classes as an accommodation?
Yes, According to the US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, the tape-recording of classroom sessions as an accommodation for students with disabilities is required under Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
While students with disabilities who need it as an accommodation must be allowed to tape classes, they may be required to sign an agreement which indicates that the tapes will not be sold or used for any other purpose than their own education needs. If you have further questions, contact the DSPS Director 510-659-6456 or email@example.com
Q. What if a student has an aide come to class with him/her? What should I expect?
Both a personal assistant and a class aide provided by the student should be authorized by Disabled Student Services. If the student has a personal aide to class with then and you have not received written notification from the DSPS office, ask the student to register that person with the DSPS office.
Q. As an instructor, how can I work more effectively with students who have disabilities of various kinds?
Q. As a faculty, how do I inform students in my classes about the services and accommodations DSPS has to offer?
It is a good idea for faculty to put a statement about DSPS/accommodations in their syllabus. You can use a statement like this: “Any student who feels he or she may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the DSPS office by calling 510-659-6079, or visit the DSPS office located in Bldg. 7, room 7217.”
Q. I have two students who seem to have the same disability. One is demanding accommodations but the other is not. What is going on here?
There are degrees of disabilities. One student may have little difficulty with an assignment that another student with the same disability may find overwhelming. Also, some students simply deal better with their disability than others do. This will vary a lot with the general psychological state of the student and the onset of the disabling condition. Additionally, one student may have some additional, invisible, disability that the other student does not share.
Q. Some students who don't appear to have a disability are demanding accommodations. How do I know they really need them?
Keep in mind that many disabilities are invisible. If a student needs some sort of accommodation, DSPS will notify you. If you do not receive such a notification, please contact us, and we will try to help you determine if the student really needs accommodations.
Because of privacy issues, we may not be able to reveal the exact nature of the student's disability, but we can confirm if the student really needs the accommodations requested.
Q. I have a student who clearly has a disability but who has not asked for any accommodations. What should I do in this situation?
In post-secondary settings it is the student's responsibility to request accommodations, but faculty members can make a student comfortable by inquiring if they are in need of any accommodations. One easy way this can be done is to include in the syllabus a statement inviting students to discuss their accommodations with you (this also makes it a general statement, not neglecting students with invisible disabilities or singling out the one student who appears to have a disability).
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