Faculty Handbook

Main Content

The Purpose of this Handbook

Federal legislation mandates that the University provide reasonable accommodations that afford equal opportunity for all students. Achieving reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities involves shared responsibility between the students, faculty, and staff. This handbook is designed to serve (1) as an introductory overview of disabilities that affect learning in a college or university setting and (2) as a quick reference for the various adjustments that can be made to accommodate students with disabilities.

It is important to note that each student with a disability will have a different level of functioning even within the same disability category. Compensation skills will also vary from one student to another and in the same student across time. Consequently, while the information presented in this handbook can be used as a general guide, specific knowledge of a student’s needs should come from the student and Disability Support Services.

Table of Contents

  1. Ways Faculty Can Support All Students with Disabilities
  2. Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired
  3. Services for Students with Visual impairments
  4. Students with Mobility Impairments
  5. Services for Students with Mobility Impairments
  6. Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
  7. Services for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
  8. Students with Learning Disabilities, Attention Disorders and Traumatic Brain Injuries
  9. Services for Students with Learning Disabilities, Attention Disorders and Traumatic Brain Injuries
  10. Comparison of Achieve Program and Disability Support Services
  11. Students with Speech Impairments
  12. Students with Mental Health Conditions
  13. Services for Students with Mental Health Conditions
  14. Epilepsy
  15. Autistic Spectrum Disorder (Includes Asperger’s)
  16. Temporary Disabilities
  17. Other Disabilities

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1. Ways Faculty Can Support All Students with Disabilities

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When students with disabilities are admitted to the University, they have typically met the same standards for admission as all other students. Faculty can support the continued success of students with disabilities by implementing certain practices described in subsequent pages.

Syllabus Statement

It is important that faculty include in each syllabus a statement asking students to inform them of any special needs to ensure that those needs are met in a timely manner. A further recommendation is that the statement be read aloud by the faculty member during the first week of class. This approach demonstrates to students that you are someone who is sensitive to and concerned about meeting the needs of ALL students you teach. Furthermore, it affords students the opportunity to make their accommodation needs known to you early in the semester. The following is an example of a statement that can be included in your syllabus:

  • If you think you need an accommodation for a disability, please let me know at your earliest convenience. Some aspects of this course, the assignments, the in-class activities, and the way the course is usually taught may be modified to facilitate your participation and progress. As soon as you make me aware of your needs, we can work with Disability Support Services to help us determine appropriate academic accommodations. Disability Support Services (618-453-5738; http://disabilityservices.siu.edu/) typically recommends accommodations through a small card they prepare for the student and the student gives to their faculty. Any information you provide is private and confidential and will be treated as such.

Confidentiality

It is essential that disability information be kept confidential. At no time should the class be informed that a student has a disability except at the student’s request. All information that a student gives to the faculty member is to be used specifically for arranging reasonable accommodations for the course of study. We recommend that students bring the cards verifying their disabilities to faculty during office hours or by special appointment. At that time, arrangement of accommodations can be discussed in private.

Textbooks, Course packs, Syllabi, and Videos

Please make your book selections, assigned readings and syllabi available in a timely manner. Students who are blind or visually impaired or have learning disabilities affecting their reading rates and comprehension require printed materials that are transformed into alternate formats. Conversion of text into a spoken format or Braille can be a time consuming process. Your syllabus is needed to determine the order in which reading assignments will be completed.

Some students will rely on having printed material scanned and saved in computer format that can be listened to using voice output software. If you are putting readings on a website please make sure they are accessible. GoogleDocs are inaccessible to blind users so Word files might be used for handouts and readings. Flash-based content and PDSs can be made accessible and Disability Support Services can help you with this. To check the accessibility of your websites you can go to <http://fae20.cita.illinois.edu/>

In addition, using captioned versions of videos is extremely helpful for students who are deaf or hard of hearing and students who have other auditory processing difficulties. Although some videos used in classes are already captioned, others are not. In most cases, you will be contacted by staff from Disability Support Services before a semester begins or early in the semester, if there is a deaf or hard of hearing student in one of your classes who needs captioning. However if you are aware that you will be using videos in a class with an enrolled deaf or hard of hearing student, please contact Disability Support Services to discuss how captioning can be created for you. Be aware that to create such captioning requires a minimum turn-around time of two weeks from the receipt of a video. So your forethought, prompt action, and cooperation are greatly appreciated. Please provide us with a transcript if one is available. Creating captioning from a transcript simplifies the process and may shorten turn-around time. When requesting audio-visual equipment, make sure you request equipment with a captioning decoder.

How to Refer to People with Disabilities

The following are some suggestions for communication that can make both you and a student with disabilities more comfortable: A person with a disability is first and foremost a PERSON with many unique qualities, only one of which may be compromised in particular settings. Second, avoid references, phrases, and words that suggest restrictions, limitations, or boundaries because these phrases tend to carry stereotypes and contribute to discriminating attitudes. Even if a person with disabilities refers to him or herself in particular ways, using phrases like “confined to a wheelchair” reflect poor judgment on the part of the speaker or writer. If you feel awkward in how to refer to a person with disabilities, your best bet may be to ask the person.

Receiving a Request for Accommodations

Procedurally, formal requests for accommodations will come to faculty on a small card supplied by Disability Support Services. The accommodations recommended are not meant to give students with disabilities an unfair advantage, but rather to give them an opportunity to demonstrate mastery of course content. Although a student may request an academic adjustment at any time, the student should request it as early as possible. Some academic adjustments may take more time to provide than others. The student should follow established procedures to ensure that the University has enough time to review the request and provide an appropriate academic adjustment. Also, Disability Support Services does not ask that instructors modify essential course requirements for the student. Any faculty member considering denying an accommodation because it modifies an essential course requirement should consult with Disability Support Services or the Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator.

Special Testing Accommodations

Some accommodations relate to test taking. Time-and-one-half for testing is the usual accommodation given to students who, for disability related reasons, work slowly and require additional time to complete tests. A few students may also need to take tests in a room with limited distractions or with no other students present. For example, a student may need to read test questions aloud, and this would be disturbing to other test-takers. Still other students may request the use of a laptop computer or adaptive computer technology for taking essay exams. Disability Support Services provides reasonable testing accommodations to students with verified disabilities.

Service Animals

If faculty or staff have questions about a student using a service dog, contact DSS and let our office make any needed inquiries. We are limited in what questions can be asked of persons with disabilities who use service animals. More information is available at <http://disabilityservices.siu.edu/guidelines-and-forms/service-animal-policy.html>

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2. Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired

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A major challenge facing students who are blind or visually impaired at universities is the overwhelming mass of printed material with which they are confronted - syllabi, websites, books, time schedules, bibliographies, campus newspapers, posters, tests, etc. The increasing use of films, videotapes, overhead projectors, and closed-circuit television adds to the volume of visual material they must access in an alternative way. Therefore, students with visual impairments must plan their schedules well in advance of each semester to assure that support services are in place when classes begin. Such services may include textbooks converted to electronic format, special equipment, or readers.

Reading Methods

By the time students who are blind or visually impaired reach SIU (unless newly blind), they have probably developed various methods of managing the volume of visual materials. Most students who are blind or visually impaired use a combination of methods including readers, books changed to electronic format, and Braille books.

So that the student who is blind or visually impaired has time to make the necessary arrangements, please choose books and handouts early, and make this information readily available to bookstores, students and Disability Support Services.

Syllabi and Handouts

It is essential to provide syllabi and handouts so that they can be made readable by the time the rest of the class receives them. In many cases this entails creating and supplying these to the student in advance, either in printed copy, on computer disk, or by email. Before the class meeting, the student may then use an adapted computer to read or print the material.

Describing Visual Cues in the Classroom

When there is a student who is blind or visually impaired in the classroom, the instructor should remember that "this and that" phrases are basically meaningless to the student: for example, "the sum of this plus that equals this" or "the lungs are located here and the diaphragm here." In the first example, the instructor may be writing on the board and can just as easily say, "The sum of 4 plus 7 equals 11." The student who is blind or visually impaired in this case is getting the same information as the sighted student. In the second example, the instructor can "personalize" the locations of the lungs and diaphragm by asking class members to locate them by touch on their own bodies. Examples of this type will not always be possible. However, if the faculty member is aware not to use strictly visual examples, the student who is blind or visually impaired will benefit.

Class Notes

Some students who are visually impaired tape record lectures for reviewing later, even though listening to lectures over again takes valuable time. Other students will take notes on a computer. If the professor’s notes are appropriate for student use, these can be provided as an alternative. Whatever method the student uses for notes, he/she is responsible for the material covered in class.

Taping Lectures

Some faculty members are concerned about having their lectures tape recorded--whether the student is blind, visually impaired or sighted. When an instructor is planning to publish his/her lectures, the fear may be that the tapes will somehow interfere with these plans. If this is the case, the faculty member may ask the student to sign an agreement provided by DSS not to release the recording or otherwise hinder the instructor's ability to obtain a copyright.

Testing

A common area in which students who are blind or visually impaired need adaptation is testing. As a general rule, it is much better to avoid giving the student "different" tests from the rest of the class because this makes it difficult to compare test results. The fairest option is almost always to administer the same test questions in a non-visual format. This is a service provided by Disability Support Services. Directions for using this service are at <http://disabilityservices.siu.edu/guidelines-and-forms/test-proctoring.html>

Illustrations, Models, and Technology

Students who are blind or visually impaired may use raised line drawings of diagrams, charts, and illustrations; relief maps; and/or three-dimensional models of physical organs, shapes, and microscopic organisms, etc.

Partial Sight and Accommodations

Between 70 and 80 percent of all persons who are legally blind in the United States have some measurable vision. Students who are partially sighted often require many of the same accommodations as students who are totally blind. This includes raised line drawings, describing visual cues in class, etc. In addition, depending on their level and type of vision, partially sighted students may use large print textbooks, handouts, and tests; a closed-circuit TV magnifier or other magnifying device. Large print is usually 18 to 22 pt., but varies from student to student.

Meeting with Students who are Partially Sighted

Potential difficulties can be alleviated if the student and professor discuss the student's needs early in the term. Depending on the level of vision, a student with partial vision may be assisted by such classroom accommodations as sitting in the front of the room and having large print used on the board and on a projector. The capacity to read printed materials, however, also depends greatly on conditions such as degree of contrast between print and background and the brightness and color of text. Therefore, it is essential for the student and instructor to clarify what methods, techniques, or devices will work to maximum advantage in the setting being used.

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3. Services for Students with Visual impairments

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Verification of Disability

As needed, the professor is entitled to confirmation of the student’s disability from a qualified source such as Disability Support Services. DSS will provide the student with a card verifying his or her disability and detailing options for accommodations needed in class and/or in testing situations. The student may then share this card with the professor during office hours and discuss how accommodations will be implemented.

Orientation and Mobility

Students are expected to travel independently as they conduct their day-to-day activities. The Department of Rehabilitation Services and Disability Support Services also provide some orientation to campus. Students who are blind or visually impaired can obtain this service by contacting one or both of these offices.

Test Formats and Accommodations

Tests can be administered to students with visual impairments in a number of ways. Tests may be read aloud, produced in large print (usually using a copier or large print computer screen), read using a closed circuit television (CCTV) which enlarges the print, or read by a computer with voice output. Students taking exams in these ways may also need additional time to complete exams.

Alternative Formats

Many students who are visually impaired rely on electronic copies of textbooks and other assigned readings. Disability Support Services can get these materials from a number of sources and can also create such materials by scanning documents and processing them with optical character recognition software. Software that reads these documents aloud is available at Disability Support Services, Morris Library <http://www.lib.siu.edu/footer-portlets/services/disability-support-services> and the Computer Labs <http://oit.siu.edu/clc/clc/accessibility.php>. Most students will have their own computer with this software on it.

Library Retrieval Service

Morris Library offers a number of services for students who are blind and visually impaired. These include retrieving library materials for students. Other service provided are described at: <http://www.lib.siu.edu/footer-portlets/services/disability-support-services>.

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4. Students with Mobility Impairments

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Types of Mobility Impairments

Students use wheelchairs or other mobility aids as a result of a variety of disabilities including spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, severe arthritis, quadriplegia, paraplegia, amputation, muscular dystrophy, and so on. The student with spina bifida may have short stature and may use a wheelchair, braces, or crutches. A number of individuals with conditions such as cerebral palsy walk without assistance but may not be able to negotiate steps or other barriers. Other disabilities that can significantly affect students' general mobility include cardiac conditions, chronic back pain, active sickle cell anemia, diabetes, and respiratory disorders such as cystic fibrosis. Classroom modifications will depend on the student's functional limitations.

Variations in Needs

It is difficult to make generalizations about the classroom needs of students who use wheelchairs because some students may be able to stand for short periods of time while others will not be able to stand at all. Some will have full use of their hands and arms, while others will have minimal or no use of them. There are, however, some general considerations that apply to most, if not all, students with mobility impairments.

Moving a Class

If a classroom or faculty office is inaccessible, it will be necessary to find an accessible location or alternative class section that is held in an accessible location. To change a room assignment for a class or section, the academic department contacts the room scheduling office for its unit. Disability Support Services can help in this process.

Travel Time

If breaks between classes are short, a student with a mobility impairment may be a few minutes late. Often the student must wait for an elevator, take a circuitous (but accessible) route, wait for assistance in opening doors, and maneuver along crowded paths and corridors. If the student is frequently late, it is, of course, appropriate to discuss the situation with the student and seek solutions. Most students will be aware of time restrictions and will schedule their classes accordingly. However, it is not always possible to leave enough time between classes. For students who require personal attendants, early classes and attendants’ schedules can pose particular difficulties.

Labs

Classes taught in laboratory settings (sciences, language labs, arts, film and video, etc.) usually require some modification of the workstation. Considerations include under counter knee clearance, work and counter top height, horizontal working reach and aisle widths. Working directly with the student may be the best way to provide modifications to the workstation.

Lab Assistants

For those students who may not be able to participate in the laboratory class without the assistance of an assistant, the student should be allowed to benefit from the actual lab work to the fullest extent. The student can give all instructions to an aide - from what chemical to add, to what type of test tube to use and where to dispose of the used chemicals. Disability Support Services can provide the assistant.

Using a Wheelchair

Students are not "confined" to wheelchairs. They use their wheelchairs to get around much in the same way as others walk, and often transfer to automobiles and furniture. Some people who use wheelchairs can walk with the aid of canes, braces, crutches, or walkers. Note: using a wheelchair some of the time does not mean an individual is faking a disability. For those who walk with difficulty, a wheelchair is often a means to conserve energy or move about more quickly.

Offering Help

Most students with mobility impairments will ask for assistance if they need it. Don't assume automatically that assistance is required. Offer assistance if you wish, but do not insist and do accept a "No, thank you" graciously.

Relative Height

When talking with a student who uses a wheelchair or has short stature, try to sit down, kneel, or squat if the conversation continues for more than a few minutes. Then the student does not need to crane their neck to maintain eye contact.

Personal Space

A wheelchair is virtually part of a person's body. Don't hang or lean on the chair - this is similar to hanging or leaning on a person. It's fine if you are friends, but inappropriate otherwise.

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5. Services for Students with Mobility Impairments

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Verification of Disability

As needed, the professor is entitled to confirmation of the student’s disability from a qualified source such as Disability Support Services. DSS will provide the student with a card verifying his or her disability and detailing options for accommodations needed in class and/or in testing situations. The student may then share this card with the professor during office hours and discuss how accommodations will be implemented.

Testing Accommodations

As needed due to mobility impairments that affect writing speed, faculty members routinely allow extra time for exams. It is up to the student to schedule exams with the instructor and Disability Support Services if they cannot be taken with the rest of the class. When mobility impairments affect writing, using a computer may be appropriate. Disability Support Services can administer exams.

Note Taking

If faculty notes are not readily available or if more comprehensive notes need to be taken, students may ask faculty to make an announcement in class for a volunteer note taker. Volunteers will receive a volunteer award and should be directed to Disability Support Services where we can provide them with carbon copy paper. A copy of the note taker announcement can be found here. Whatever method the student uses for notes, he/she is responsible for the material covered in class.

Library Retrieval Service

Morris Library offers a number of services for mobility impaired students. These include retrieving library materials for students. Other services provided are described at: <http://www.lib.siu.edu/footer-portlets/services/disability-support-services>.

Adaptive Technology

Many students who are mobility impaired use adaptive technology such as Dragon Naturally Speaking which allows the user to speak text into the computer applications. This type of software is available at Disability Support Services, Morris Library <http://www.lib.siu.edu/footer-portlets/services/disability-support-services> and the Computer Labs <http://oit.siu.edu/clc/clc/accessibility.php>. Most students with disabilities will have their own computer with this software on it.

Transportation

Travel Service operates two vans equipped with hydraulic lifts for transporting students with physical disabilities. The Assisted Van Transport Service is available free-of-charge and provides transportation to and from campus. For students living off-campus, this includes transportation to classes, to the Amtrak railroad station, to local airports, and for emergencies. Non-class related trips are considered a low priority and are scheduled according to availability of time and funds. Disability Support Service establishes eligibility for this service. The Saluki Express buses are also accessible.

Parking

Each year, the campus parking map produced by the Parking Division indicates where accessible parking spaces are located on campus. All students and staff who park on campus must purchase a parking decal at the Parking Division Office. To do so, it is required that registration forms be filled out along with presenting a valid driver’s license, a valid vehicle registration, and a University ID card.

Students and staff who require accessible parking need only to display a valid, state-issued Disability Parking Placard or license plate along with a paid SIUC parking decal. Permanent and temporary state placards can be obtained by having a physician complete a “Persons with Disabilities Certification for Parking Placard” form and mailing it to the Secretary of State’s Office. For more information, visit their website at <http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/services/persons_with_disabilities/disabilities.html>

Students may also have their physical condition assessed by a Student Health Programs (SHP) physician. Even if students have a note from their own physicians, they still need to contact SHP for an appointment. Based on this evaluation, SHP may issue either a Temporary Blue parking permit or a completed Illinois DMV Disabilities Certification form. More information about Parking may be found at <http://www.dps.siu.edu/>

Personal Attendants

The Southern Illinois Center for Independent Living recruits and maintains lists of prospective personal assistants for students who require assistance with activities of daily living. The Center and the Division of Rehabilitation Services can also advise students on the amount of personal assistance care they may need. Students are responsible for interviewing, hiring, training, paying and replacing PAs.

Although Disability Support Services does not provide students with personal attendants, Disability Support Services can assist the student in identifying techniques for screening, hiring, training, and supervising attendants.

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6. Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

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Students who are deaf or hard of hearing, like hearing students, vary to some degree in their communication skills. Factors such as personality, degree of deafness, age at onset, family environment, and educational background all affect the kind of communication the student uses. As a result of these and other variables, a deaf student may use a number of communication modes.

Sign Language

One form of communication used by many, but not all, deaf and hard of hearing persons is American Sign Language

Definition of ASL from NAD.org

American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual language. With signing, the brain processes linguistic information through the eyes. The shape, placement, and movement of the hands, as well as facial expressions and body movements, all play important parts in conveying information.

Definition of ASL from RID.org

American Sign Language (ASL) is a distinct visual-gestural-kinesthetic language. While it borrows elements from spoken English and old French sign language, it has unique grammatical, lexical and linguistic features of its own. It is not English on the hands.

Sign Language Interpreters

In the classroom, many students who are deaf will use an interpreter to enable them to understand what is being said. Interpreting is a complex task requiring years of immersion in the language and formal training. SIU interpreters are licensed and credentialed professionals who will facilitate communication using the method that is most effective for the student.

Many things can impact the interpreter’s work for you and the student. For example, discussions can be difficult, requiring the interpreter to take extra time to indicate who is speaking. In addition, there is a time lag, which will vary in length depending upon the situation. Thus, a deaf or hard of hearing student's contribution to the lecture or discussion may be slightly delayed. Because class formats are so varied, it is recommended that the professor, interpreter, and student arrange a conference early in the course to discuss any arrangements that may be needed.

The interpreter and the deaf student will usually choose to sit in the front of the classroom. The interpreter is aware that sign language may be a distraction to the class and the professor. The interpreter has also learned that the initial curiosity of the class wanes and the professor adapts easily to the interpreter's presence. Interpreters adhere to the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf code of professional conduct which requires confidentiality of private communications and accuracy in interpretation or translation. DSS interpreters are SIUC staff members who hold the appropriate professional license to work at the university level.

Desire 2 Learn

If you have a Desire 2 Learn site set up for your course, it is recommended to include the speech-to text typist and interpreter on the site. This will give the service providers access to the course materials and the ability to download course material as needed. If PowerPoint is used in lectures, note takers can download them and use them to take notes in class.

Tests and Exams

Most students who are deaf or hard of hearing will be able to take examinations and be evaluated in the same way as other students. Some D/HH students may qualify for extended test time. Because test language can be complex and D/HH students traditionally lag far behind their peers in reading comprehension, some students might ask you to allow an interpreter for exam questions. Please contact DSS first to determine if allowing your exam to be interpreted provides test equity or exceeds this comparatively new standard set by the Postsecondary Education Providers Network for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

If the method of evaluation is oral and the student does not use his/her own voice, the interpreter may voice what the student is signing. Similarly, testing that is administered orally may need to be signed to the student.

Partial Hearing Loss

The student who is hard of hearing may require nothing more than some form of amplification to participate in class - a hearing aid, public address system, or professor/student transmitter/receiver unit (also known as an FM unit).

Accessible Subject Matter

Assumptions cannot automatically be made about the deaf student's ability to participate in certain types of classes. For example, students who are deaf may be able to learn a great deal about music styles, techniques, and rhythms by observing a visual display of the music on an oscilloscope or similar apparatus, or by feeling the vibrations of music. Some students who are deaf will have enough residual hearing so that amplification through earphones or hearing aids will allow participation. It is always best to discuss with the student the requirements of the class and to determine if there are ways that the material can be modified so that the student can participate in what may become an exciting learning experience for all concerned.

Speech

Many students who are deaf can, and do, speak. Most deaf people have normal speech organs and many learn to use them in speech classes. Some deaf people cannot automatically control the tone and volume of their speech so the speech may be initially difficult to understand. Understanding is improved when one becomes more familiar with the deaf person's speech.

Guidelines for Communication

They are suggestions, compiled from the authors' personal experience and from publications of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, and Gallaudet University, is included here to facilitate the participation of students who are deaf or hard of hearing in (and out of) the classroom: Look at the person when you speak. Don't chew gum or otherwise block the area around your mouth with your hands or other objects. Speak naturally and clearly. Don't exaggerate lip movements or volume. Try to avoid standing in front of windows or other sources of light. The glare from behind you makes it difficult to read lips and facial expressions. Using facial expressions, gestures, and other "body language" is helpful in conveying your message. When other people speak who may be out of the deaf or hard of hearing person's range of vision, repeat the question or comment and indicate who was speaking (by motioning) so the individual can follow the discussion. Avoid speaking with your back to the deaf person, such as when writing on the board. Overhead and opaque projectors are often a good substitute and allow you to face the class while writing. During video presentations and use of overhead projection, keep light levels high enough in the classroom so that the deaf or hard of hearing student will be able to clearly see what an interpreter is signing or typing in real time captioning. When particularly important information is being covered, be sure to convey it very clearly. Notices of class cancellations, assignments, etc., can be put in writing or on the board to ensure understanding. If you are talking with the assistance of an interpreter, direct your communication to the deaf individual. This is more courteous and allows the deaf person the option of viewing both you and the interpreter to more fully follow the flow of conversation. Establish a system for getting messages to the student when necessary. Class cancellations are particularly costly if an interpreter cannot be informed in advance of the change.

Visual Aids

The use of visual media may be helpful to students who are deaf since slides and videotaped materials supplement and reinforce what is being said. However, the student can only look at one thing at a time (e.g. a slide vs. the interpreter). The student will benefit if each teaching aid remains visible for a short period following the professor’s explanation.

Closed-Captioning for Media Presentations

If you use video instructional materials it is essential that the deaf student have access to it through captioning. Video media is often problematic for interpreters and typists due to the faster pace of the dialogue. The University is legally obligated to have captioning technology available for deaf students when using instructional video materials. For assistance in determining if the video you plan to use is captioned, please contact Disability Support Services.

How to insure captions will show on the screen:

Whether you use one of the Smart Rooms on campus or you call to reserve equipment, the staff at Instructional Technology can assist you. For a brief training on how to turn on captions in Smart Rooms or when using AV equipment, contact Jim Foerster at 453-1014.

How to get videos captioned:

Disability Support Services staff or the student will ask you what videos you will show during the semester. Please allow them to borrow your copy or share the web link with them. They will return the original video and a new copy with captions applied for future use. The process is very time consuming. Please plan ahead whenever possible. Using captioned versions of films, videos, or other visual aids is extremely helpful for students who are deaf or hard of hearing or have other auditory processing difficulties. If appropriate, foreign language films with English subtitles are also useful. Some visual aids used in classes are already captioned. When requesting audio-visual equipment, make sure you request equipment with a captioning decoder.

Interpreting during Audio-Visual Presentations

Interpreting should be used when captioning is not available. However, lower lighting, such as during a film, interferes with the deaf student's capacity to see the interpreter’s hands and face. In addition, audio-visual materials may be difficult to interpret because of sound quality and speed of delivery. Therefore, if a written script is available for a non-captioned film or video, provide the interpreter and student with a copy in advance.

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7. Services for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

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Verification of Disability

As needed, the professor is entitled to confirmation of the student’s disability from a qualified source such as Disability Support Services. SSD will provide the student with a card verifying his or her disability and detailing options for accommodations needed in class and/or in testing situations. The student may then share this card with the professor during office hours and discuss how accommodations will be implemented.

Note Taking

If faculty notes are not readily available or if more comprehensive notes need to be taken, students may ask faculty to make an announcement in class for a volunteer note taker. Volunteers will receive a stipend and should be directed to Disability Support Services where we can provide them with carbon copy paper. A copy of the note taker announcement can be found here. Whatever method the student uses for notes, he/she is responsible for the material covered in class.

Speech-to-Text Typists some students who are D/HH do not use sign language and are not able to speech read well enough to follow classroom lectures. These students may obtain access to the content of classes and campus events by using a Speech-to-Text Typist. There are two types of speech-to-text typists available. A court recording system called Computer Access Real-time Translation or CART, provides real-time, verbatim captions. CART provides immediate viewing of auditory information.

C-Print is another method of providing immediate viewing of the lecture. C-Print is not a verbatim transcript of the lecture, but a richly detailed summary or “interpretation” the spoken content. The student can sit next to the Speech-to-Text Typist or receive the text by remote. This system is especially helpful during classroom discussion when conversations are more difficult to follow.

Assistive Listening Devices

On a short-term basis, the DSS office will lend FM amplification systems for students to use in the classroom and other school related functions.

Sign Language Interpreters

The DSS office provides sign language interpreters for academic purposes. For their classes and activities, students are responsible for making these arrangements with Disability Support Services. For other functions such as guest lectures, award ceremonies, and Commencement, the sponsoring unit contacts Disability Support Services directly and there is an interpreter charge for this service.

Illinois Relay Center

The Illinois Relay Center allows telephone customers using telecommunications devices for the deaf (TDD) to call persons or businesses without TDDs anywhere in the country with the use of a "voice operator." Persons without a TDD who need to call a person using a TDD should dial 711. When dialing from campus, you must dial 1-711 to reach the relay service.

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8. Students with Learning Disabilities, Attention Disorders and Traumatic Brain Injuries

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An individual who has difficulty processing written or spoken information such that it interferes with his or her ability to read, write, spell, listen, talk, or do math may be diagnosed with a learning disability. Like all students, each student with a learning disability has a distinct combination of abilities and deficiencies and therefore a unique profile. Some areas of functioning will be in an average or above average (even gifted) range, while deficiencies will vary from minimal to severe. It is important to note that students with specific learning disabilities will display some, but not all, of the characteristics of that disability. In addition, the student’s ability to compensate for information processing difficulties will vary across time and with differing levels of stress.

Characteristics of Common Learning Disabilities

Reading

For college students with dyslexia or other print related learning disabilities, reading is not automatic and fluid particularly when under time pressures. Difficulties are liable to be linked to slow reading rates and misreading what is written due to transposing of letters and skipping words altogether. Because of slow reading rates, it may take students with reading-related disabilities longer than their colleagues to read books and articles, to locate a word in a dictionary, to find a passage that is part of a play and other writing, or to find their place in a scientific or mathematical table. With certain subject areas, these students may have more problems comprehending what is written in their texts, on the blackboard, in a test, or even in their own notes. Retaining the information that is read is therefore more difficult. A student with reading-related learning disabilities may be especially concerned when he or she has large volumes of printed material to read or is under pressure to complete an examination.

Some students with reading disabilities may find improvement in both reading speed and comprehension if their texts are changed into an alternative format, such as electronic text. This reformatting can allow students who qualify for the service to take information in through two channels or senses (visual reading and auditory processing). A student with a reading disability may wish to contact a specialist at Disability Support Services to determine whether or not they qualify for and could benefit from this service.

Writing

Some college students with learning disabilities have problems communicating effectively through writing. Whether these difficulties are related to dyslexia or to the physical act of printing or writing (dysgraphia), the outcome is likely to manifest itself in written work that appears careless. Although it is appropriate not to lower academic standards, it can be helpful to understand that students with documented written language disabilities usually put equal or greater effort into their writing than do students who do not have disabilities. It may also help to know the types of errors you may encounter as you work with students who have written language disabilities. Sentences are sometimes incomplete with essential words and phrases missing. The organization of the paper can be choppy, jumping from one idea to the next and back again.

Vocabulary used may be less sophisticated than expected for college level work. The student may have difficulty monitoring his or her writing for errors in spelling, grammar, word order and word endings, subject-verb agreement, punctuation, and paragraph formation. Handwriting can be poorly formed or illegible with letters and words being unevenly spaced on the page. Students with writing disabilities sometimes use a mixture of printed and cursive writing and upper and lower case letters in the same document.

Some of the difficulties students with written language disabilities have may be mitigated by the use of a computer with spell check, grammar check, and cut and paste capabilities for in class essays and essay exams. A student with written language disabilities may also benefit from working with a tutor at the Writing Center <http://write.siu.edu/>.

Mathematics

To be successful in understanding math concepts and in knowing when and how to apply them, the student must have strong language, memory, sequencing, and problem-solving skills. As the student approaches more complicated and abstract college level work, he or she also needs to be able to visualize the positioning of objects that are described and the spatial relationships between them, even when conceptual objects must be turned or moved. Students who have disabilities in math reasoning and calculation (dyscalculia) may make errors that seem to be "dumb mistakes," e.g., reversing numbers, miscopying and/or misaligning columns of figures, and making errors when changing operational signs and performing other conversions. Some students with learning disabilities in mathematics have difficulty remembering and working through the sequence of steps required to solve a problem (so that steps may be repeated, performed out of order, or forgotten altogether). These students may also have problems figuring out calculations mentally, estimating what answers would be, and/or organizing a problem, especially when it is a word-problem or when the student must first remember and perform calculations to obtain missing data.

A student’s confidence in his or her ability to be successful at mathematics adds another dimension to learning disabilities. Because mathematics is a cumulative subject with new concepts building on previously acquired information, some students who have memory difficulties or who never completely mastered specific math concepts may experience frustration and mounting anxieties. Teaching math also requires that a great deal of information be presented in a short period of time. Students with learning disabilities in mathematics may feel overwhelmed by the pace at which math is taught or feel they understand what is being taught, only to realize they cannot generalize math concepts to homework assignments or test questions. Thus, math anxieties may cause a student to freeze during testing.

Students with math disabilities and anxieties usually benefit from regular and frequent work with a tutor <http://tutoring.siu.edu/tutoring/index.html> and clarification from the instructor, as needed. In addition, recommendation may be made by Disability Support Services or the Achieve Program that the student be allowed to use extended time, a quiet room, and scrap paper for quizzes and tests. Students may also use a four function calculator when the test is not designed to measure the student’s ability to perform those four functions.

Foreign Language

Students who have disabilities that relate to distinguishing, processing, remembering, and expressing sounds and words may find learning a foreign language problematic. To successfully master a second language a student must be able to: hear and cognitively differentiate between the sound structures of words, comprehend and remember the meanings of words and differing meanings when words are combined, understand rules related to sentence structure and grammar, retrieve information easily, and mentally manipulate it to successfully communicate verbally or in writing.

Students who have disabilities that affect learning a foreign language may benefit when instruction is multi-sensory, when students are given sufficient oral practice, and when pressures of timed responses (oral and written) are removed. Some students you work with may experience extreme and persistent difficulties/failures in learning a foreign language, despite the student’s conscientious effort. In such cases, you may refer the student to the Director of University Core Curriculum in the University College to discuss the possibility of petitioning to receive a foreign language substitution. Should the petitioning process be pursued, the student may ask his or her foreign language faculty to write a letter describing the specific difficulties experienced while trying to learn a foreign language.

Oral Language

Some students are eloquent writers yet have extreme difficulty in formulating an immediate verbal response to a question. They may appear socially inept as they are unable to gather and express their ideas amidst the fast pace of active dialogue. During oral presentations, their thoughts may come out jumbled and chaotic and they may use many filler words, e.g., uh, er, um, as they struggle to express themselves. Reading aloud in class and taking oral quizzes and tests can be stressful and embarrassing. If oral expression is not a fundamental requirement of the course being taught, you may allow a student to complete an oral assignment using a different format. Some students with disabilities related to oral expression may benefit from video-taping their presentation for viewing or delivering their presentation to the instructor privately.

Students who have a disability related to taking in oral information may have difficulty listening and taking notes at the same time. The problem may relate to difficulties in differentiating relevant from irrelevant details so that the student frantically tries to write down everything being said. Similarly, students with dysgraphia, who expend more than the normal focus and energy in actually writing words they are hearing, may fall behind in taking notes and miss examples and nuances of a lecture that aid other students in understanding and memory. Allowing students with disabilities to record lectures often alleviates this problem. Many of the adaptive techniques that assist students who are deaf will also help these students - note takers, films, role-playing, captioned videos, and other visual materials. Students with oral receptive language disabilities will also benefit if instructions and assignments are given both orally and in written form.

Organization and Attention

Success in college requires a reasonably sophisticated development of skills related to organization, focus, attention, and study. Students who have a disability due to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Attention Deficit Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, and certain learning disabilities may seem vulnerable or lacking in these skill areas. For instance, you may see from a student’s participation in class discussions that he or she has completed the necessary reading and has a good grasp of course material. Yet the same student may misplace papers to be turned in or postpone starting projects so that the final product is rushed and less thorough than you would expect. The delayed start of papers and projects may relate to poor estimation of how long it will take to complete the task. A student may appear to have reasonable organization and study skills but have difficulty understanding how much detail to focus on during lectures or while reading, writing, and preparing for tests. Some students also have problems screening out sights and sounds in the classroom to maintain focus on class lecture. These difficulties can increase during longer lecture classes and peak stress times, such as during midterms and finals.

Students who have disabilities that affect organization and attention often have difficulty completing open-ended, unstructured, and last minute assignments. Therefore, they, like all students, can benefit from receiving a detailed syllabus that clearly states reading to be completed for each class period and gives due dates and clear descriptions for course papers and projects.

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9. Services for Students with Learning Disabilities, Attention Disorders and Traumatic Brain Injuries

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Verification of Disability

As needed, the professor is entitled to confirmation of the student’s disability from a qualified source such as Disability Support Services. Disability Support Services will provide the student with a card verifying his or her disability and detailing options for accommodations needed in class and/or in testing situations. The student may then share this card with the professor during office hours and discuss how accommodations will be implemented.

Alternative Formats

Many students with Learning Disabilities rely on electronic copies of textbooks and other assigned readings. Disability Support Services can get these materials from a number of sources and can also create such materials by scanning documents and processing them with optical character recognition software. Software that reads these documents aloud is available at Disability Support Services, Morris Library <http://www.lib.siu.edu/footer-portlets/services/disability-support-services> and the Computer Labs <http://oit.siu.edu/clc/clc/accessibility.php>. Most students will have their own computer with this software on it.

Testing Accommodations

As needed due to disabilities that affect writing speed, faculty members routinely allow extra time for exams. It is up to the student to schedule exams with the instructor and Disability Support Services if they cannot be taken with the rest of the class. When a disability affects writing, using a computer may be appropriate. Disability Support Services can administer exams.

Note Taking

If faculty notes are not readily available or if more comprehensive notes need to be taken, students may ask faculty to make an announcement in class for a volunteer note taker. Volunteers will receive a volunteer award and should be directed to Disability Support Services where we can provide them with carbon copy paper. A copy of the note taker announcement can be found here. Whatever method the student uses for notes, he/she is responsible for the material covered in class. Some students will use Livescribe pen to take notes and record lectures.

Assistive Technology

Many students use assistive technology such as Dragon Naturally Speaking which allows the user to speak text into the computer applications. Other students will use software which reads printed text to them. This type of software is available at Disability Support Services, Morris Library <http://www.lib.siu.edu/footer-portlets/services/disability-support-services> and the Computer Labs <http://oit.siu.edu/clc/clc/accessibility.php>. Most students with disabilities will have their own computer with this software on it.

Psycho-Educational Assessments

Learning Disabilities and attention disorders are often verified by several tests the results of which make up a psych educational assessment. Disability Support Services can help students identify professionals in the area who can administer these tests. Faculty are welcome to refer undiagnosed students exhibiting some of the signs listed in the previous section.

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10. Comparison of Achieve Program and Disability Support Services

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Students with Learning Disabilities are served by two programs at SIU. Disability Support Services and the Achieve Program. There are differences between the two programs. DSS coordinates physical and academic support services for SIUC students with disabilities. DSS operates under the philosophy of an integrated service delivery while assuming the role of centralized coordinating office. DSS is a government-mandated, compliance program that guarantees equal accessibility of education under the law to all students. DSS coordinates the service delivery of many different accommodations to many students with many different disabilities. The DSS staff of 4 professionals and 1 office supervisor, assisted by 2 graduate students, 10 student workers and 100+ note takers, serves a population of about 500 students each year. Some of those students have learning disabilities, some are blind or visually impaired, some are deaf or hard of hearing, some have mobility impairments, and some have brain injuries, chronic health conditions, or psychological disabilities. DSS services specifically for students with learning disabilities include tutor referrals, test proctoring, note takers, access to assistive technology, campus familiarization, accessible textbooks and course materials, equipment loans (voice recorders, listening devices, etc.), consultation with instructors, and general guidance and counseling.

Achieve is a comprehensive, fee for service academic support program for college students with learning disabilities. Achieve’s mission is to provide the appropriate accommodation to a student, or if the accommodation cannot be immediately implemented, to provide one or more alternatives until the accommodation can be provided. The Program serves the needs of about 150 students every year. Achieve employs 5 full-time specialists, 8 to 12 graduate assistants to serve as student supervisors, and about 300 student workers. The Program itself is located in a 25-room on-campus facility, with a private computer lab and student services lab. There are no limits placed on a student's use of any of the services offered, unlike some fee for service programs. Services provided to students include tutors for classes, note takers, test proctoring, private rooms for tutoring or studying, access to adaptive technology, a computer lab, adapted texts, academic, career, and personal counseling, a section of University 101 for Achieve students, remedial classes, campus familiarization, and intervention for any campus-related issues. With a student's permission, Achieve welcomes parental involvement.

The services offered by Achieve are tailored for students with learning disabilities, and exceed in many ways what services are mandated by law. DSS provides an array of services, not only for students with learning disabilities, but also for all students with disabilities on campus, so that SIUC is compliant with federal law protecting the rights of people with disabilities. From the general purpose and goals of each program, they are different. They have different missions, serve different populations, provide different services and intensities of service, have different budgets, and employ different service professionals.

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11. Students with Speech Impairments

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Faculty may encounter students who appear shy and withdrawn when you call on them in class or attempt to engage them in conversation outside of the classroom. They may use single words or short phrases when communicating verbally or delay in responding, as they seem to struggle in finding the correct words. Some students have difficulty coming to the point or staying on the topic in their oral communication, even though they appear to understand the information being discussed or communicate effectively in writing.

These observable traits may be signs that the student has a speech impairment that he or she was born with or that has resulted from illness or injury. The condition may also be part of another disability. Unless it has been recently acquired, the student will probably have received some speech therapy.

Types of Speech Conditions

Impairments include problems with the way words are pronounced (omitting, distorting or substituting sounds in the words spoken), voice quality (volume, pitch, tonal quality, or chronic hoarseness), rate of speech (long pauses while searching for the right word, stuttering, speaking too quickly or too slowly, or stopping and starting of speech with the use of filler words like um, er, uh) and esophageal speech resulting from a laryngectomy. Occasionally distorted movements and facial expressions may accompany these conditions.

Self-Consciousness

Many students with speech impairments will be hesitant about participating in activities that require speaking. Even if the student has adjusted well to their speech impairment new situations may aggravate old anxieties. Therefore, if making oral reports, reading aloud in class, or responding to tests orally is a part of, but not an essential component of your course, you may wish to discuss alternatives with the student.

Interacting with the Student

It is important to encourage the student with a speech impairment to express him or herself and to allow time for the student to organize thoughts and formulate responses before speaking. Make a point of concentrating on the content of what the student says rather than on the format, and keep in mind that regardless of the type of communication the student is always an equal intellectual participant in the class. It is also beneficial to resist the temptation to complete words and phrases for the student with a speech-impairment. By patiently accepting and responding to all attempts at communication, the professor can set a mood that aids a student’s effective self-expression in class and encourages appropriate reactions from other students.

Speaking Aids

Persons, who cannot speak and who are otherwise physically disabled so that they cannot sign, write, or type, may use a variety of communication aids. Some individuals may use computers which speech or sophisticated electronic "speaking" machines, activated by punching a keyboard with a head pointer or mouth wand (both assistive devices that allow individuals to perform tasks that would ordinarily be performed by hand or finger movement). Others may rely on a spelling board that consists of a layout of the alphabet and a few common words and phrases ("yes" or "no") to which a person with a speech impairment points and an assistant may speak out loud. Most frequently, these students need respect, patience, quiet encouragement, and an opportunity to develop self-confidence in an unfamiliar group.

Accommodations May Include

Oral presentations may be a concern for students with speech impairments and their instructors. It is recommended that instructors openly discuss these concerns with the student and come up with adjustments to oral assignments, if needed. Several possibilities for alterations include: modifications of oral assignments by allowing one-to-one presentations (between you and the student) or the use of a computer with a voice synthesizer or allowing substitutions for oral class reports, where the oral report is not fundamental to the class.

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12. Students with Mental Health Conditions

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Some mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, may interfere with the performance of major life activities, such as learning, thinking, communicating, and sleeping. The type, intensity, and duration of symptoms vary from person to person and in each individual across time. They come and go and do not always follow a regular pattern, making it difficult to predict when symptoms and functioning will worsen. Although symptoms of mental health conditions can often be controlled effectively through medication and therapy, some people continue to experience periodic episodes that require further treatment. Accordingly, some people with mental health conditions will need no extra support, others may need only occasional assistance, and still others may require thorough and ongoing support to maintain their productivity.

Signs of Mental Health Conditions

Mental Health Conditions are generally not apparent. Therefore, faculty and staff are unlikely to know if a student has a mental health condition unless he or she chooses to discuss it. Disclosure is a personal decision on the part of the student that involves many factors including trust, perceived open-mindedness and support of the faculty, security that knowledge of the mental health condition will be kept confidential and general comfort.

In addition, many individuals first develop symptoms of mental illness between the ages of 15 and 25. College students who fall into this category, may be unsure of what is happening to them, not fully recognize the impact that symptoms are having on their academic or social performance, and/or be unaware of effective treatments and supportive services that are available to them.

Academic Considerations

It is impossible to generalize about the characteristics of all students with mental health disabilities. When asked about how their psychological symptoms affect functioning in school, some students cite difficulty in maintaining concentration. Students who take medications to control their symptoms may experience side effects such as: excessive thirst, drowsiness, nervousness, difficulty focusing on multiple tasks at the same time (especially amid noise and distractions), blurred vision, or hand tremors.

Of course, the strengths and weaknesses of each student must be assessed individually, regardless of the presence of a disability. The student’s ability to perform well in class will depend not merely on the presence or absence of psychological symptoms but on his or her past experiences, knowledge of the mental health condition, and skills for effective coping.

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13. Services for Students with Mental Health Conditions

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Because symptoms of mental health conditions vary broadly, as does the level of impairment experienced by each person at any one time, it is impossible to list accommodations that work for all students with psychological disabilities. If a student has contacted the office of Disability Support Services, provided us with documentation that clarifies that he or she has a mental health condition that qualifies as a disability, and requests intervention on his or her behalf, recommendations for accommodations will be written in a student’s verification card created by Disability Support Services. The student is then responsible for delivering a copy of the card to each instructor from whom he or she is requesting accommodations. If a student is struggling but has not provided you with a verification card , you may choose to discuss your concerns with him or her in privacy and, if needed, to make a referral to the Disability Support Services office.

Flexibility in Administering policies

Some students with mental health conditions may need to take more frequent breaks, have food and drink with them in class (due to side effects of medications they are taking), and/or use testing accommodations, such as extended time and a distraction-free environment for testing.

Verification of Disability

As needed, the professor is entitled to confirmation of the student’s disability from a qualified source such as Disability Support Services. Disability Support Services will provide the student with a card verifying his or her disability and detailing options for accommodations needed in class and/or in testing situations. The student may then share this card with the professor during office hours and discuss how accommodations will be implemented.

Testing Accommodations

As needed due to disabilities that affect writing speed or concentration, faculty members routinely allow extra time for exams. It is up to the student to schedule exams with the instructor and Disability Support Services if they cannot be taken with the rest of the class. When a disability affects writing, using a computer may be appropriate. Disability Support Services can administer exams.

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14. Epilepsy

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Most people who have epilepsy are now able to participate in activities such as sports and lead active, normal lives. Students who have epilepsy generally manage seizure activity through adequate rest, proper diet, and regular medication, and have few problems in the classroom.

The following is a short list of do's and don'ts included here so that the instructor will be prepared in the unlikely event that a seizure occurs during class.

  1. Remain calm.  Please keep in mind that other students will tend to mirror the emotional reaction of the instructor.  Note: the seizure is painless.
  2. Do not try to restrain the person.  There is nothing you can do to stop the seizure once it has begun.  It must run its course.
  3. Clear the area around the individual so that he/she does not injure him/herself on hard or sharp objects.  Try not to interfere with movements in any way.
  4. Don't force anything between the person's teeth.  If the person's mouth is already opened, you might place a soft object like a handkerchief between the side teeth.
  5. It isn't generally necessary to call a doctor unless the attack is followed almost immediately by another major seizure or the seizure lasts more than five minutes.
  6. When the seizure is over, let the person rest if he/she needs to.
  7. Turn the incident into a learning experience for the class.  You might clarify that the seizure is not contagious and explain these steps.
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15. Autistic Spectrum Disorder (Includes Asperger’s)

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Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental disability that affects the way a person communicates and relates to people around them. Social interaction can be difficult for people with ASD and they can experience high levels of stress and anxiety. The condition affects people in different ways, but everyone with a diagnosis of ASD shares a difficulty in making sense of the world. A number of traits are common to people with ASD including:

Difficulty in communicating - people with ASD can often be very fluent in their speech, but find it difficult to make conversation and small talk, and may seem to lack interest in what someone else is saying. They may be quite literal in their understanding of spoken language, but struggle with metaphors and sarcasm.

Difficulty in social relationships - many people with ASD do want to be sociable, but find it hard to understand the social rules that other people take for granted. This includes difficulties in knowing what to do when with other people. Group environments can be particularly difficult and they can find it hard to make friends. People with ASD may also find it difficult to understand non-verbal signals and facial expressions.

Difficulties with imaginative thought and flexible thinking - people with ASD often find it hard to think in abstract ways and may find it hard to cope with change. Changes to timetables, and when things don't go to plan can cause stress and anxiety. They can also find it hard to know what someone else is thinking.

People with ASD can also develop a particular interest in something. This can be useful in the higher education environment as the individual may be able to spend their time studying their particular interest. They also often have a love of routines.

Many people with ASD can have difficulties with sensory processing and get overwhelmed by too much sensory information, for example, they may feel uncomfortable in a large lecture room, filled with chatting students. Sometimes strip lighting can be a particular issue. Too much sensory information can prevent the student from processing what they are being taught.

These are the main features of the condition, but the characteristics will vary greatly. Obviously, every person is an individual and should be treated as such each person with ASD will have their own individual needs.

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16. Temporary Disabilities

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Disability Support Services recognizes that individuals with temporarily disabling conditions that are a result of injuries, surgery or short-term medical conditions may need access to services and resources similar to individuals with permanent disabilities. Examples of temporary disabilities may include, but are not limited to: broken limbs, hand injuries, or short term impairments following surgery or medical treatments.

Academic accommodations are approved on a case-by-case basis. Examples of accommodations which may be available for a temporary disability may include:

  • Computer with voice recognition software
  • Notetaking assistance
  • Audio recorder for lectures
  • Extended testing time
  • Computer for essay exams
  • Potential classroom and testing accommodations
  • Information on accessible routes and elevator access on campus
  • Transportation via a lift equipped van.
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17. Other Disabilities

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A number of students have disabilities that do not specifically fall into the major categories previously discussed. The degree to which these disabilities affect students academically varies widely. At times it is the medication which is required to control symptoms that impairs a student’s academic performance, rather than the condition itself. Common side effects of medications include fatigue, memory loss, shortened attention span, loss of concentration, and drowsiness. The degree of impairment may also vary from time to time because of the nature of the disability or the medication that is taken. Some conditions are stable while others may be progressive.

Fluctuating Symptoms

Other conditions that may result in marked fluctuations of behavior and performance include muscular dystrophy, certain types of kidney problems that may necessitate dialysis, AIDS/HIV, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, diabetes, and lupus.

Pain

Chronic pain may result in limitations in a student’s ability to sit for long periods of time in the classroom. In addition, there may be some loss of strength or difficulties standing, walking, climbing, kneeling, stooping, and carrying even mildly heavy objects. The onset of pain may increase with cold weather or sudden changes in temperature.

Students with chronic pain may need to stand or change positions intermittently during class. Therefore, they may ask to be seated in a part of the room where these movements will not be disruptive to the rest of the class or to the instructor. Some students may require different types of seating in the classroom; DSS can assist with these arrangements. Severe pain may cause an increased number of absences for the student. He or she is still required to complete course assignments.

Some disabilities result in the need to consume large amounts of fluids, to urinate more frequently than other students, to move about in the classroom to relieve pain, or to take medication or give self-injections during a class period. As a result, the student may need to leave the classroom more frequently than other students.

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