The following are frequently asked questions from faculty members and answers to those questions.
- Who is an “individual with a disability?”
- Is there a different application process for admission of students with disabilities?
- What documentation is needed from a student?
- What services are available for students at Monmouth?
- What accommodations are provided for students?
- Is tutoring provided specifically for students with disabilities?
- Are temporary disabilities included in your service?
- How do I know if a student in my class has a disability or needs accommodations?
- How can I get students with disabilities to talk to me (at the right time) about their accommodation needs?
- What is a psychological/psychiatric disability?
- What do I need to know about a student who has disclosed a psychological/psychiatric disability?
- What if I disagree with an accommodation requested by a student?
Who is an “individual with a disability?”
A person with a disability is one who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, has a record or history of such impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. (See “The Laws.”)
Is there a different application process for admission of students with disabilities?
Prospective students must meet all criteria for admission as established by the Office of Undergraduate or Graduate Admission. The disclosure of a disability upon application to the University is optional. It is illegal for the admission office to ask about disability status. However, a statement on the application advises students with disabilities to contact the Department of Disability Services for Students to request information explaining disability services at Monmouth University. In order to obtain reasonable accommodations, a student must register with the Department of Disability Services for Students by submitting appropriate documentation.
What documentation is needed from a student?
Documentation of a disability should include a diagnosis, a description of the functional limitations that may affect performance, necessary accommodations, and the printed and signed name of a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, learning disability teacher-consultant, rehabilitation counselor, social worker, therapist, or any authority (not related to the individual) who is qualified to assess the disability.
What services are available for students at Monmouth?
The services provided by the DDS and the Office of Psychological Services include: orientation to campus services; collecting and maintaining student documentation and files; assistance in setting up accommodations; providing accommodation letters for students at the beginning of each term; informal counseling; temporary loan of auxiliary aids; assistance in locating readers and note takers; liaison with faculty, tutoring coordinator, professional staff, and outside agencies (with the student’s written permission); informational seminars and workshops; referral to an outside agency; and providing the use of specialized equipment when needed. (See “Support Services.”)
What accommodations are provided for students?
Reasonable accommodations are individual and based on the nature of the disability and the academic environment. The following is a list of common accommodations for students:
- accessible classroom/location/furniture
- handicapped parking spaces
- accessible housing in certain residence halls
- auxiliary aids and services including note takers, readers, interpreters (does not include personal aides or services)
- assistive computer technology
- large print computer screens
- document conversion (Braille, large print, taped, and alternative print formats)
- computer for exams
- private or quiet exam room
- extended time for tests or assignments
- breaks during testing
- use of calculator for testing
- scribe for testing
- copies of overhead materials
- taping of lectures
- preferential classroom seating
- use of books on tape
Is tutoring provided specifically for students with disabilities?
There are several tutoring resources available to all Monmouth students; most are free of charge. Disability services provides students with a list of tutoring locations and contacts and encourages students to pursue all available tutoring programs if needed. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the tutoring services that will best meet their needs. Specialized learning assistance provided by the disabilities specialist is available for students with disabilities. (See “Specialized Learning Assistance.”)
Are temporary disabilities included in your service?
The Department of Disability Services for Students and the Office of Psychological Services will assist in accommodating these students.
How do I know if a student in my class has a disability or needs accommodations?
At the beginning of each semester, students are given the opportunity to complete “Notice of Accommodations and Disclosure” letters. In order to request any accommodations, students are required to provide faculty members with disclosure letters regarding their disabilities. The letters state that a student has a documented disability and identifies what types of accommodations are needed within the classroom. Students are encouraged to discuss their letters with faculty members outside of the classroom setting in order to provide time for conversation.
Often a faculty member asks for a list of students with disabilities at the beginning of each semester so that the instructor could approach the student if the student did not initiate contact. Although this willingness and concern is commendable, it is neither legal nor necessarily in a student’s best interest for such a list to be circulated.
Legally, students have a right NOT to be identified as disabled if they so choose. Accommodations are not required unless students self-identify. Moreover, it is critical that students with disabilities develop the independence and self-advocacy that will help them outside the classroom and beyond college. Students with disabilities NEED to learn how to explain their disability, describe their strengths and weaknesses, and negotiate appropriate accommodations. Their need for accommodation will always exist, so the skills required to obtain such accommodations should also be developed on a “permanent” basis.
How can I get students with disabilities to talk to me (at the right time) about their accommodation needs?
Faculty members who are concerned about their legal responsibilities to students with disabilities frequently wonder how to get these students to ask for appropriate accommodations. Many faculty members would be willing to discuss and provide accommodations, but they do not find out until too late because students do not come forward and identify their needs.
It is appropriate for students to take the responsibility of identifying themselves and their need for accommodation to you, rather than vice versa. It is very difficult to have to identify yourself, time after time, as being “different” and more so for the student whose disability is invisible (learning, medical, psychiatric). Students will feel more comfortable about identifying themselves if they are approaching someone whom they believe to be receptive to the discussion. The Provost suggests that faculty try to include a statement like this in every course syllabus:
“Students Who Need Accommodations”
Student with disabilities who need special accommodations for this class are encouraged to meet with me or the appropriate disability service provider on campus as soon as possible. In order to receive accommodations, students must be registered with the appropriate disability service provider on campus as set forth in the Student Handbook and must follow the University Guide to Services for Students with Disabilities. Students will not be afforded any special accommodations for academic work completed prior to disclosure of the disability.”
This approach demonstrates to students that you are someone who is sensitive to and concerned about meeting the needs of all students you teach. Such an invitation to discuss individual needs can go a long way toward encouraging the student with a disability to approach the instructor early.
What is a psychological/psychiatric disability?
A psychological/psychiatric disability is a mental illness that substantially limits major life activities such as learning, thinking, and communicating. Psychological/psychiatric disabilities include but are not limited to depression, bipolar disorder, adjustment disorders, anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, sleep disorders, and personality disorders.
What do I need to know about a student who has disclosed a psychological/psychiatric disability?
In general, you will need to know what effect the student’s disability will have on his/her ability to function in your class and what behaviors to expect. If the student is on medication, you should know if/how it will affect academic performance and what accommodations and adjustments are reasonable. This information can be obtained by contacting the disability service provider.
What if I disagree with an accommodation requested by a student?
It is unwise to simply tell a student that you consider a requested accommodation inappropriate. Instead, you should express that you have some concerns and that you are going to contact the appropriate office in order to gain guidance in the matter.