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Policies & procedures regarding students with disabilities

Contributed by: Courtney Jarrett
Published: Wednesday, 02 January 2013 10:00 AM

Ball State has a long history of being a welcoming and accessible campus for students with disabilities, and currently over 600 students use at least one service from the office of Disabled Student Development (DSD). While the great majority of these students have disabilities that are non-apparent, Ball State has a large population of students with physical disabilities, including over 40 students who are wheelchair users. I ask that you please review the information below regarding policies & procedures in working with students with disabilities. Please contact me (lmarkle@bsu.edu; 285-5293; Student Center 116) if you have any questions or would like to discuss any of these items.

Thank you,
Larry Markle, Director
Disabled Student Development


The role of DSD is to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities as outlined in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended in 2008. In determining who is eligible for accommodations, DSD reviews relevant medical and psychometric documentation of the student's disability. When deciding what accommodations would be reasonable for a student with a disability, DSD is careful not to offer an accommodation to a student which may violate the integrity of the course or fundamentally alter an essential component of the course. DSD strives to ensure the civil rights of our students with disabilities while at the same time protecting institutional standards. In keeping with federal and university policies and with best practices, the following items should be considered in an attempt to create a welcoming classroom environment for students with disabilities.

Syllabus Statement

Please include the following statement on each course syllabus and read it aloud during the first week of each term.

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, please contact me as soon as possible. Ball State’s Disabled Student Development office coordinates services for students with disabilities; documentation of a disability needs to be on file in that office before any accommodations can be provided. Disabled Student Development can be contacted at 765-285-5293 or dsd@bsu.edu.

While it is always best for students to communicate early in the term, we may not put dates or deadlines on legal rights. Should a student request an accommodation, indicate that you will be able to discuss that when he/she has presented you with a letter from the Disabled Student Development office.

Accommodation Letters
Faculty members are under no obligation to provide any accommodations to a student until the student presents the faculty member with a letter of accommodation from the DSD office. Before determining what accommodations would be appropriate for a student, DSD meets with the student and reviews disability documentation that must be age-appropriate, comprehensive, and must clearly diagnose a disability.

Accommodation letters will be on DSD letterhead and contain three elements:

1. Verify the student's disability
2. List appropriate accommodations
3. Describe options for the administration of accommodated tests

When the student presents you with this letter, the two of you should meet to determine the method for the provision of these accommodations. The two of you may agree that you will provide these accommodations in an appropriate setting (possibly your office or the departmental office). Or, if you and the student agree, you may utilize the accommodated testing program offered through the Learning Center (North Quad 350). Dr. Jacqueline Harris, Coordinator of Study Strategies and Writing at the Learning Center, will work with you and the student if you choose to utilize this testing option. Dr. Harris may be reached at 285-8107 or jroberts@bsu.edu. Procedures have been developed at the Learning Center to maintain test security and the standards set by you and the university.

Exams on inQsit and Blackboard
If you use inQsit for online exams, DSD can simply program in the necessary extended time for the student if he logs onto the system through his username & password. If you use Blackboard and a student needs extended time for an exam, there are two ways you could do this. If the Blackboard system does not shut the student off after the allotted time, you can simply permit him to continue taking the exam for longer than you have assigned. The other option is to create a separate section of the exam for this student and extend the time allotted for the test. More information about how to do this is available on DSD’s website.

Adaptive Technology
While technology has offered individuals with disabilities access to many new opportunities, not all new technology has been created with access in mind. If you are creating or using technology in your classes, please consider how a student with a disability would access that program; how would a student who is blind or deaf use the technology? If you are creating a website for use in any of your classes, it is necessary that the site be accessible to students with disabilities. BSU has terrific resources to ensure technological access. Contact Carlos Taylor, BSU's Adaptive Technology Specialist, (RB 168, cetaylor@bsu.edu, 285-6124) for assistance with this, to learn of Braille and other options for making text accessible, voice-activated computing, specialized keyboards, and much more.

Showing videos
To ensure access to videos for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, first contact Educational Resources (285-5333) to see if there is a captioned version available. If this is not available, contact Jeff Bowers (285-2766) at the Teleplex to get assistance with captioning of the video. Advance planning is important.

Field trips

When planning a field trip and providing university transportation for the class, please plan ahead if there are access needs. Contact Transportation (285-1022) for assistance in arranging for an accessible vehicle. Extra costs (if any) will be paid by the university.

Emergency Evacuation Procedures
Since elevators should not be used for evacuation during an emergency, persons with mobility impairments will need assistance evacuating. Individuals who can walk may be able to evacuate themselves. Walk with the person to provide assistance if necessary. Evacuating individuals who are not able to walk is much more complicated. If there is no immediate danger, take the individual to a safe place to await emergency personnel. Whenever possible, someone should remain with the person while another individual exits the building and notifies emergency personnel of the mobility impaired person's exact location.

Only in situations of extreme and immediate danger should you try to evacuate a wheelchair user yourself. The person with the disability is the best authority on how he/she should be moved. Ask before you move someone. While it is best to let professional emergency personnel conduct the evacuation, a person with a mobility impairment can be carried by two people who have interlocked their arms to form a "chair" or by carrying the person in a sturdy office chair.

DSD's website
More information is available on the faculty section of DSD's website. Resources, tips, and strategies are provided for teaching students with various types of disabilities, and links are given to other useful sites for faculty members.

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