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Student Disability Services - Student Handbook

North Carolina Central University - Student Disability Services (SDS) Handbook for Policies and Procedures

(Updated June 2017)

Section 1: Introduction to North Carolina Central University Student Disability Services

Mission Statement

The mission of Student Disability Services (SDS) at North Carolina Central University is to help create a fair and inclusive learning environment through specific educational accommodations and support services guided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADAAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. As set by the standards of the NCCU mission, we want to assist our students in their educational, career, and personal achievements/goals with equal access to all programs using both on-campus and off-campus resources. In addition, we advocate for our students in order to lift educational barriers while empowering and embracing their differences by exploring new awareness campaigns and trainings for the NCCU population.

Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8:00am – 5:00pm Other appointment times available upon request.

Location: Student Services Building, 1st Floor, Suite 120 Mailing Address: North Carolina Central University Student Disability Services 1801 Fayetteville Street Student Services Building, Suite 120 Durham, NC 27707

Contact Information:

E-Mail: sds@nccu.edu Phone: 919-530-6325 Fax: 919-530-6938

SDS Staff:

·        Chevon Bogle-Dessuit, Director

·        Desiree Klemm-Kafel, Assistant Director

·        Ashanti Robinson, Support Specialist

Methods of Communication

Communication between students and SDS is important during the semester so as to keep students up-to-date on current events, new policies and procedures, or questions/concerns with accommodations. SDS uses the following methods in communicating with students:

1.     Email: SDS’s main form of communication is through students Eagles email (xxxx@eagles.nccu.edu) which can be accessed through Banner. Students should be checking their Eagles email periodically to ensure they are receiving information in a timely manner.

2.     Eagle Accommodate: All current SDS students apply for services via Eagle Accommodate. Students are able to request semester accommodations, check out equipment, set up appointments, see announcements, participate in surveys, and other information but will not be able to see the other students within the group to protect each student’s confidentiality. Students can contact SDS via the Eagle Accommodate messaging system.

3.     Phone: SDS may contact students via the phone number provided on their application or any updated number provided to SDS.

4.     Mail: After SDS has attempted to contact students via Email, Eagle Accommodate, or Phone, letters may be mailed to the address provided on the student’s application or any updated address provided to SDS.

5.     Appointments: Students are highly encouraged to make appointments with staff members if they are inquiring about services and/or accommodations. Please contact SDS via phone at 919-530-6325, email SDS@nccu.edu, or request an appointment via Eagle Accommodate to schedule an appointment.

Rights and Responsibilities

Registration with Student Disability Services

Registration with Student Disability Services (SDS) is a separate process from applying for admission to North Carolina Central University. Interested students should contact Student Disability Services by phone at 919-530-6325 or email SDS@nccu.edu. We advise that you do not submit disability documentation to the Admissions Office. Services and accommodations cannot be provided until the student has registered and provided the appropriate documentation to SDS.

Student Disability Services (SDS) Rights and Responsibilities

Student Disability Services is the central contact point for students with disabilities. Services for students with disabilities focus on providing individualized accommodations while promoting student responsibility and self-advocacy. SDS views the provision of reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities as a collaborative effort, requiring the cooperation of the faculty and staff as well as students.

Students who choose to not self-identify when they enter North Carolina Central University do not forfeit their right to identify themselves and to receive accommodations at a later date. However, the University is not obligated to provide accommodations or services for students with disabilities until students are registered with SDS and have made known their need for accommodations each academic term/semester.

Student Disability Services has the right to:

·        Request and receive current disability documentation that supports requests for accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services;

·        Deny a request for accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services if the documentation demonstrates that the request is not warranted or the student fails to provide appropriate documentation;

·        Select among equally effective accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services; ? Refuse accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services that impose a fundamental alteration of a University program or activity.

Student Disability Services has the responsibility to:

·        Provide information to students with disabilities in accessible formats upon request;

·        Ensure that courses, programs, services, activities, and facilities are available and usable in the most integrated and appropriate settings;

·        Review Application for Accommodations and Services to determine eligibility for services and nature of accommodations;

·        Provide or arrange reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and auxiliary aids and services;

·        Maintain appropriate confidentiality of records and communication, and to disclose such

·        information only when permitted by law; ? Serve as a liaison between students and faculty;

·        Serve as a resource on disability issues for the North Carolina Central University

campus community.

Faculty Rights and Responsibilities

Faculty members have the right to:

·        Identify and establish standards for courses and academic programs;

·        Verify through the Student Disability Services the eligibility for and nature of accommodations before provision of accommodations occurs;

·        Request assistance and resources from Student Disability Services.

Faculty members are responsible for:

·        Evaluating students solely on the basis of their academic performance;

·        Working with the student and the SDS office to ensure the provision of reasonable

accommodations;

·        Fostering an accessible learning environment to all learners;

·        Addressing concerns about disability accommodations with the SDS office.

Students Rights and Responsibilities

Students with documented disabilities at NCCU have the right to:

·        Equal access to educational and co-curricular programs, services, and activities facilitated by NCCU.

·        Equal opportunity to learn and receive reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids and services as supported by their documentation, which do not represent a fundamental alteration of the essential educational components of the academic programs.

·        Confidential treatment of disability-related records that is housed at Student Disability Services. Only persons working at, or in collaboration with SDS have access to these records. Some level of disclosure to faculty may be necessary to coordinate requested accommodation(s). Disability documentation that is submitted to SDS are not a part of the student’s permanent academic record.

 

Students with documented disabilities at NCCU are responsible for:

·        Meeting qualifications and maintaining academic, technical, and institutional standards for courses, programs, services, activities, and facilities.

·        Providing current and appropriate disability documentation in accordance with established NCCU guidelines. Typically, Individualized Education Plans (IEP), 504 Plans from a secondary school, or notes on physician prescription pads do not provide thorough information for the documentation of disability. However, such materials will be accepted as supplemental information.

·        Initiating and following established procedure for obtaining reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services in a timely manner.

·        Logging in to Eagle Accommodate and requesting Semester Accommodations at the beginning of each new semester.

·        Facilitating discussion with Instructors regarding registration with SDS and eligible accommodations.

·        Abiding by the standards and practices set forth by the Student Code of Conduct.

 

Students are advised to:

·        Meet with each of their professors to discuss the testing and academic accommodations that he or she anticipate needing for each class;

·        Exercise self-advocacy to meet their disability related needs.

Relevant Guiding Legislation

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973-Section 504:

Provides a 'right of access' statute to individuals with disabilities. Section 504 provides persons with disabilities the right of access into, or to derive benefits from, any program or activity receiving federal financial funding.

The Americans with Disabilities Act:

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 is civil rights legislation that affects approximately 54 million Americans with Disabilities. This federal law provides a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities. The ADA is regarded as the most sweeping civil rights legislation since The Civil Rights Act of 1964. The ADA protects the civil rights of individuals with disabilities by ensuring equal access to employment, state and local government agencies, transportation, public and private facilities, and telecommunications.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states in part that . . .

"No otherwise qualified handicapped individual...shall, solely by reason of his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

Disabled Individual:

Both the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 define a "disabled individual" as anyone who:

1.     has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, or working, or

2.     has a record of such impairment; or

3.     is regarded as having such an impairment.

 

Section 2: Everything You Need to Know About Reasonable

Accommodations

Defining Reasonable Accommodations

·        Reasonable accommodations are appropriate adjustments to programs, policy, and practice that make aspects of the University experience accessible and provide equal opportunities to North Carolina Central University students with disabilities. An equal opportunity means a chance to attain the same level of performance or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges as are available to a similarly situated student without disabilities.

·        Students are not charged for the cost incurred in providing reasonable accommodations, including auxiliary aids and services (e.g., sign language interpreters, note-taking support, text conversion to alternative accessible formats, etc.)

·        To determine reasonable accommodations, SDS may seek information from appropriate University personnel regarding essential standards for courses, programs, services, activities, and facilities. The Director makes the final determinations of reasonable accommodations in collaboration with the student and faculty as warranted.

·        Reasonable accommodations are determined by examining:

1.     Environmental barriers limiting curricular, facility, or programmatic access.

2.     Whether or not the student has access to the course, program, service, activity, or facility without an accommodation;

3.     The range of possible accommodations that might remove the barriers;

4.     Whether or not essential elements of the course, program, service, activity, or facility are compromised by the accommodations.

Procedure for Requesting Reasonable Accommodations

Students must follow procedures for requesting accommodations:

1.     Complete Public Request for Accommodations and Services through Eagle Accommodate and meet with an SDS staff member.

2.     Submit Disability Documentation.

3.     Sign Consent of Release of Information form (if applicable).

4.     Log in to Eagle Accommodate and Request Semester Accommodations for each subsequent semester student is enrolled in courses at North Carolina Central University.

5.     Discuss reasonable accommodations with Professors after approval and notification from SDS office.

Students must allow at least two weeks (10 business days) for Student Disability Services to review all new requests for accommodations. Students receiving provisional accommodations may have a longer waiting period until documentation has been furnished.

Changes in Your Accommodations Needs

Students are entitled to request additional accommodations or academic adjustments during the course of the semester, or at any time during their tenure at North Carolina Central University. Students are also entitled to request modifications to the nature of the accommodations. Students must work with Student Disability Services to determine the appropriate changes to accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services. The office should be contacted at earliest indication of emerging accommodation needs. Students must allow at least two weeks (10 business days) for the coordination and provision of new accommodations or modifications to existing accommodations.

Provisional Accommodations

Provisional accommodations may be provided for students for a specific number of working

days or one semester, pending the receipt of official and complete documentation of a student’s

disability or disabilities. These cases will be handled individually and at the discretion of the Director of SDS. Provisional accommodations, if approved, will be for up to one semester only pending further appropriate documentation.

Temporary Accommodations

Some disabilities are temporary and may only require accommodations for a limited time. Each case is considered individually. The following documentation is required for accommodations based on a temporary disability: letter on letterhead from a qualified professional stating diagnosis, functional limitations necessitating reasonable accommodations and estimated length services will be needed. After one semester of temporary accommodations, subsequent semester requests should be requested through Eagle Accommodate for review of the SDS staff.

It must be noted that North Carolina Central University and Student Disability Services reserve the right to deny requests for services or accommodations while the receipt of appropriate disability documentation is pending.

Faculty Notification Letters

Confidential Notification Letters with a student’s reasonable academic accommodations are

emailed to his or her Professors within 48-business hours (2 business days) after submission and approval of student’s Request for Reasonable Accommodations via Eagle Accommodate (if submission and approval are before the start of classes, letters will be emailed the first week of class). The letter will automatically be generated after the student has re-registered for accommodations. Students receive a copy of this letter to their Eagle email as a confirmation that letters have been sent. Students should speak with each Professor regarding their reasonable accommodations once letters have been emailed.

Examples of Reasonable Accommodations

Examples of some of the most frequently requested accommodations include:

·        Extended time for quizzes and exams

·        Distraction-reduced environment for exams

·        Note-taking support

·        Permission to record lectures

·        Classroom materials and textbooks in alternative formats

When are accommodation requests denied?

The University provides accommodations unless they fall under one of the following four categories:

·        Fundamental Alteration

·        Accommodation Request is Not Supported

·        Undue Hardship

·        Personal Service

Fundamental Alteration: If an accommodation reduces the academic standards of the University, its schools, departments, or courses, the University denies the accommodation because it is unreasonable. Academic standards are essential for every student. It is unreasonable to alter these fundamental standards with an accommodation.

Accommodation Request is Not Supported: An accommodation must be designed to both provide access to the University’s programs and minimize the impact of the disability. In some cases, the requested accommodation cannot be substantiated as ‘minimizing the impact of the disability’ based upon a review of the submitted documentation and/or the subjective experience

of the student. The accommodation is denied in these cases since the removal of a barrier is not warranted or necessary when compared to the limitations imposed by the disability.

Undue Hardship: If an accommodation costs too much or is impossible to administer, the University denies the accommodation because it is unreasonable. An unjustifiable financial burden will have an adverse effect on the entire University system. An undue administrative burden occurs when the University does not have the time or ability to respond to a request.

Personal Service: If a request for an accommodation falls under the definition of a personal service, the University denies the request because it is unreasonable. Personal services are those that a person with a disability must use regardless of attendance at the University. In addition, personal services are those for which no correlation between the disability's functional limitation and program access can be established.

Notification of Denial for Accommodations

If a student is found to be not eligible for one or more requested accommodations, an SDS staff member will meet with the student to discuss denial, find alternatives, and advise on the appropriate appeals process.

Section 3: Documentation

General Guidelines for Disability Documentation

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act as well as the Americans with Disabilities Restoration Act allows colleges and universities to require disability documentation to verify the need for accommodations. What constitutes acceptable documentation is often an area of uncertainty for those preparing students for higher education. Because of this, Student Disability Services (SDS) at North Carolina Central University, in accordance with the standards established by the Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), has adopted the following guidelines to serve as a resource to potential students, Guidance Counselors, Child Study Teams and other interested parties as they prepare students with disabilities for the transition to higher education. These guidelines focus on identifying the components of disability documentation that are particularly useful in developing appropriate accommodation plans. The major components of quality documentation are:

1. Documentation should be up-to-date

a. Documentation should be recent in order to assess the current impact on academic functioning. The level of currency required for disability documentation varies dependent on condition (please see specific criteria), but in most cases should be less than 3 years old and consist of adult-normed evaluations.

b. While relatively recent documentation is recommended in most circumstances, common sense and discretion in accepting older documentation of conditions that are permanent or non-varying is exercised. Likewise, changing conditions and/or changes in how the condition impacts the individual brought on by growth and development may warrant more frequent updates in order to provide an accurate picture. It is important to remember that documentation is not time-bound; the need for recent documentation depends on the facts and circumstances of the individual’s condition.

2. The credentials of the evaluator(s)

a. The best quality documentation is provided by a licensed or otherwise properly credentialed professional who has undergone appropriate and comprehensive training, has relevant experience, and has no personal relationship with the individual being evaluated. It is expected that the credentials of the person making the diagnosis correlate to the condition being reported (e.g., an orthopedic limitation might be documented by a physician, but not a licensed psychologist).

3. A diagnostic statement identifying the disability

a. Quality documentation includes a clear diagnostic statement that describes how the condition was diagnosed, provides information on the functional impact, and details the typical progression or prognosis of the condition. While diagnostic codes from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM) or the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) of the World Health Organization are helpful in providing this information, a full clinical description will also convey the necessary information.

4. A description of the diagnostic methodology used

a. Quality documentation includes a description of the diagnostic criteria, evaluation methods, procedures, tests and dates of administration, as well as a clinical narrative, observation, and specific results. Where appropriate to the nature of

the disability, having both summary data and specific test scores (with the norming population identified) within the report is recommended.

b. Diagnostic methods that are congruent with the particular disability and current professional practices in the field are recommended. Methods may include formal instruments, medical examinations, structured interview protocols, performance observations and unstructured interviews. If results from informal, non-standardized or less common methods of evaluation are reported, an explanation of their role and significance in the diagnostic process will strengthen their value in providing useful information.

5. A description of the current functional limitations

a. Information on how the disabling condition(s) currently impacts the individual provides useful information for both establishing a disability and identifying possible accommodations. A combination of the results of formal evaluation procedures, clinical narrative, and the individual’s self-report is the most comprehensive approach to fully documenting impact. The best quality documentation is thorough enough to demonstrate whether and how a major life activity is substantially limited by providing a clear sense of the severity, frequency and pervasiveness of the condition(s).

.

6. A description of the expected progression or stability of the disability

a. It is helpful when documentation provides information on expected changes in the functional impact of the disability over time and context. Information on the cyclical or episodic nature of the disability and known or suspected environmental triggers to episodes provides opportunities to anticipate and plan for varying functional impacts. If the condition is not stable, information on

interventions (including the individual’s own strategies) for exacerbations and

recommended timelines for re-evaluation are most helpful.

7. A description of current and past accommodations, services and/or medications

a. The most comprehensive documentation will include a description of both current and past medications, auxiliary aids, assistive devices, support services, and accommodations, including their effectiveness in ameliorating functional impacts of the disability. A discussion of any significant side effects from current medications or services that may impact physical, perceptual, behavioral or cognitive performance is helpful when included in the report. While accommodations provided in another setting are not binding on the current institution, they may provide insight

Published: Wednesday, June 21, 2017
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