FAQ's: Classroom-Related Questions

Question:

A student with a disability has advised me that they need special accommodations in my classroom. I want to find out more about their disability but am uncomfortable talking to them. What information can the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) share with me?
Counselors in the SDRC can verify that a student has a disability and is participating in the SDRC program but are restricted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and therefore may not discuss the diagnosis without permission.  Counselors may also share information about the accommodations approved for the student. 

 

Question:

Will SDRC notify me prior to the beginning of the semester that I will have a student with a disability enrolled in my class?
Generally not.  The Americans with Disabilities Act reinforces an individual's right to determine when and how to divulge the existence and effect of their disability.  The SDRC will generally encourage students to discuss the ramifications or barriers presented to them because of their disability with their instructor; however, whether or not to disclose a disability is the student's choice.  Some students with "non-apparent" disabilities choose not to discuss their disability with anyone; however, disabilities that require extensive accommodation, such as deaf, blind, or difficulty with mobility may require prior notification and involvement with instructors.  In these cases, SDRC will contact instructors as soon as possible to discuss strategies for ensuring equal or equivalent access.  The use of Universal Design principles reduces the need to know about a student's disability and thereby reduces pressure on the student to divulge the nature of the disability.

 

Question:

A student has informed me that they need a note taker for my course. Am I responsbile for finding them a note taker?
Students registered with SDRC who receive note taking as an accommodation are responsible for finding their own note taker (someone in the class). Most students will find a reliable note taker on their own. However, some students may have difficulty and may ask the faculty member for assistance. In this scenario, it is appropriate for faculty to make a general announcement to the class asking if anyone would be willing to share their notes with a student in class. Once an individual has volunteered, ask them to go to the SDRC so that the SDRC can connect them with the student. Following these steps will not only assist the student but will also maintain confidentiality by not identifying the student with the disability.  With advances in technology, many students with an authorized accommodatin for note taking are opting to use a "SmartPen".

 

Question:

I have a student who is very disruptive and told me that he has a disability and that his behavior was protected by the law. Is that true?
All students, regardless of disability status, are required to meet the provisions of the Humboldt State University Student Code of Conduct and the academic expectations contained int he course syllabus.  The law requires that reasonable accommodations be made, but faculty are not required to modify academic standards to accommodate inappropriate or disruptive behavior.

 

Question:

I sometimes run into a student who does not appear to grasp material in the classroom, blames it on their learning disability and wants me to lower my standards. I teach a difficult course and many students have difficulty grasping the material.  Why do students with this disability receive accommodations?
The term "learning disability" refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders which may result in difficulties in such activities as listening, speaking, reading, writing, and reasoning. While the exact cause of a learning disability is not known, it is presumed to be the result of central nervous system dysfunctions. Persons diagnosed with a learning disability are of average to superior intelligence.

Students with learning disabilities are often taught compensatory strategies to assist them in mastering academic material and are given accommodations in order to overcome the effects of their information processing disability allowing them to have the chance to perform at a level equal to their peers. Common accommodations include extended time on exams, use of a calculator or spell checker and a quiet room in which to take exams. Lowering academic standards is not a reasonable accommodation required by law, and studetns are advised of this when they meet with SDRC counselors.

 

Question:

Do I have to allow students to record lectures in class?
Recording lectures is a common accommodation for students with a variety of disabilities that prevent the production of adequate handwritten notes.  Numerous Office for Civil Rights (OCR) cases have ruled in favor of the rights of students with disabilities to record class lectures.  Additionally, posting lecture notes and PowerPoint slides on Moodle can be very helpful for all students, especially students with disabilities.

 

Question:

I sometimes have students show up late for class claiming that the SDRC van dropped them off late.  Should I excuse this?
It is our intent and goal to get students to their classes on time.  Please remember that because all of our riders have a mobility disability, every student has the potential of delaying on-time arrival at any particular drop-off/pick-up location.  Therefore, a student's tardiness may be through no fault of their own.  Our data suggests that students are usually dropped off no more than 10 minutes from the anticipated drop-off time.

 

Question:

I have a student who informed me two days before an exam that he has a disability and is entitled to extended test time on his tests.  I have not received anything from your office regarding this student and any approved accommodations for exams.  What should I do?
Students must take responsibility for their educational experience and register with the Student Disability Resource Center.  The accommodations for which a student is approved are on a course-by-course basis, which is why it is imperative that the students meet with a disability counselor each semester.  If the student does not have paperwork from the SDRC for your specific class, you should refer the student to our office to meet with a disability counselor.

 

  

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