- What services are offered through the Office of Disability Support Services?
- What laws cover a student with a disability at the post-secondary level?
- What is the definition of a disability?
- What is appropriate documentation?
- How is documentation reviewed to determine eligibility?
- What are reasonable accommodations?
- How do I know if a student requires accommodations?
- What if I disagree with an accommodation?
- How do I refer a student to the Disability Services?
- What if a student discloses that they have a disability but doesn't provide me with an accommodation form?
- A student says she has test anxiety. Is this a disability?
- Who provides the accommodation(s) to the student?
- How can I be sure my course is accessible?
- How do I work with a student who needs testing accommodations?
- Why do students need extended time for tests?
- What about quizzes and pop quizzes?
- What are my rights if a student wants to record a lecture?
- How can I help to maintain student confidentiality?
Disability Support Services (DSS) at Seton Hall University seeks
to foster an inclusive learning environment for all students. To this end, DSS
provides reasonable accommodations based on appropriate documentation. All
documentation is reviewed by a DSS Administrator, who determines appropriate
accommodations in compliance with University policy, and state and federal law.
Disability Support Services exists to assist students with
disabilities in achieving their educational goals. Our focus is on equal
access to all programs and activities. DSS provides the following
services for qualified students with documented disabilities:
- Medical Exception Parking
- Referrals to on- and off-campus resources
Students with disabilities are protected by
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities
Act of 1990, which was revised to the ADA Amendments Act in 2008. According
to these laws, "no otherwise qualified person with a disability in the
United States shall, solely by reason of disability, be denied the benefits of,
be excluded from participation in, or be subjected to discrimination under any
program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."
"Otherwise qualified," with respect
to post-secondary education, means a person who meets the academic and
technical standards requisite to admission. Seton Hall University does not
have any special admission provisions for students with
disabilities. Students with disabilities must meet all standard
A person with a disability includes any person who: has a
physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life
activities; has a record of such impairment; or is regarded as having such
Types of disabilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Blindness or visual impairments
- Deafness or hearing impairments
- Chronic illnesses, such as AIDS, lupus,
arthritis, and diabetes
- Psychiatric disabilities, such as major
depression, bipolar disorder, or generalized anxiety disorder
- Specific learning disabilities
Eligibility for reasonable accommodations and other support
services depends on the nature of the disability and its impact. Accommodations and services will be identified based on documentation from a qualified
professional. Adequate documentation should be recent and include: a
description of the nature and extent of the disability; an explanation of the
functional impact of the disability, especially as it relates to the academic environment;
and recommendations for reasonable accommodations.
In order to establish eligibility as an individual with a
disability, it is the responsibility of the student to submit documentation
that is comprehensive, clearly specifies the presence of a disability, and is
appropriate to the postsecondary setting.
Any specific recommendations for accommodations must be based on
significant functional limitations and must be supported by the diagnostic
assessment. Accommodations and academic adjustments cannot be implemented until
the student's documentation meets these criteria. Prior history of having
received an accommodation does not, in and of itself, warrant or guarantee its
continued provision. An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan from high
school is almost never sufficient documentation of a disability in the
After a student submits documentation, the information is reviewed
by a DSS Administrator. The student and the DSS Administrator will then
meet to discuss the types of accommodations and services that are recommended
by the supporting documentation.
A reasonable accommodation, or academic adjustment, is always
based on an individual's documented need and is intended to "level the playing
field" by reducing the discriminating effects of the disability. The law
also requires universities to provide auxiliary aids and services necessary for
effective communication. Accommodations are modifications designed to reduce
the impact of the disability without fundamentally altering the degree
program.Services that are personal in
nature, such as tutoring, are not considered a reasonable accommodation in most
cases. The following is a sample list of accommodations that a student
may be eligible to receive:
- Ability to record lectures
- Textbook and other course materials in
- Extended test-taking time
- Reduced distraction environment for testing
- Sign-Language Interpreter
- Use of specific assistive technology programs
After students registers with DSS and are approved for academic
accommodations, they receive a copy of their accommodation letter, which they
need to share with each instructor. We encourage students to share this
form early in the semester. We advise students to see their instructors
during office hours so they can discuss details regarding the provision of
accommodations. In order to ensure equal access for all students, it is
strongly recommended that instructors only accommodate those students who have
been approved for accommodations through DSS. Professors should not provide any
additional accommodation without consulting with DSS.
Please contact DSS at 973-313-6003 if you have any questions or
concerns. If a student has self-identified, provided appropriate
documentation, and has an accommodation letter, s/he is entitled under law to
receive the specified accommodation(s), as long as it does not represent a
fundamental alteration to the curriculum or compromise an essential requirement
of the course. DSS is happy to consult with you and discuss any concerns
If you suspect that a student may benefit from services, you may
be able to approach the student in a private setting and express concern about
his/her performance. It could be that the student may be able to benefit
from some assistance through DSS or other campus resources, such as the
Academic Resource Center or Counseling & Psychological Services. It
is acceptable to mention that there are free services available on campus and
provide DSS contact information, along with information regarding other campus
support services. Please note that at the post-secondary level, students
must self-identify to DSS prior to services being initiated.
Please refer the student to DSS so we can ensure that the student
is qualified to receive the requested accommodation(s). Professors should not provide accommodations
without consulting with DSS.
Usually test anxiety on its own does not constitute a documented
disability that is protected by law. If test anxiety is part of more pervasive
condition that substantially limits a major life activity, the student may be
considered a person with a disability and may be eligible for services and
accommodations. Students with test anxiety may also benefit from workshops
through ARC, services through CAPS, and other campus resources.
are a shared responsibility between the student, faculty, and DSS
accommodation process is designed to be collaborative and interactive. A
breakdown of some of the roles and responsibilities are discussed below.
A student with disabilities has three primary
responsibilities, which must be completed in order to receive accommodations at
Seton Hall University. First, the student must identify him/herself as a person
with a disability. While the student may approach you as the instructor, it is
important he/she identify with DSS. The student must also provide current
documentation or supporting evidence that the disability substantially limits
the ability to function in a major life activity. Finally, the student is responsible
for following the policies and procedures of DSS, including sharing their
accommodation letters with faculty and requesting alternative testing
If a student identifies him/herself as having a disability
and presents a DSS approved accommodation letter, it is your responsibility to
ensure the learning environment is accessible and the accommodations are
provided. It is strongly recommended that you have available office hours in
order to meet privately with these students. While students are not required to
share the nature of their disability with professors, their needs as they
relate to particular accommodations should be discussed so that both of you
understand and agree upon what arrangements are necessary.
Once notified via the student's accommodation letter, professors
are responsible for the implementation of approved accommodations. This may
include providing assistance with finding a note-taker in class, facilitating
testing accommodations, or providing course materials in an accessible
Disability Support Services Responsibility
The DSS staff is responsible for reviewing documentation,
determining eligibility, identifying appropriate accommodations, creating
accommodation letters for the student, and arranging for contract services such
as a sign-language interpreter. DSS is available to consult with faculty
regarding the implementation of accommodations, as well as to answer any
questions or concerns regarding the approved academic adjustments. DSS will
also assist with the implementation of accommodations, when possible; however,
it is ultimately the responsibility of the university as a whole – not just DSS
– to meet the accommodation needs of documented students with disabilities.
This requires that a partnership exist between DSS and faculty/academic
departments, and resources of all of these units be considered in meeting
How can I be sure
my course is accessible?
While you are not required to anticipate all the special
needs of students in your class, please keep in mind the possibility of various
student needs when planning and implementing class activities. The following
practices will help to promote an inclusive environment.
Create a 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:
It is the policy and practice of Seton Hall University to
promote inclusive learning environments. If you have a documented disability
you may be eligible for reasonable accommodations in compliance with University
policy, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act, and/or the New Jersey Law against Discrimination. Please note, students
are not permitted to negotiate accommodations directly with professors. To
request accommodations or assistance, please self-identify with the Office for
Disability Support Services (DSS), Duffy Hall, Room 67 at the beginning of the
semester. For more information or to register for services, contact DSS at
(973) 313-6003 or by e-mail at
or Create Accessible Course Materials
Students who are blind or visually
impaired, or who have learning disabilities affecting their reading rates and
comprehension, require printed materials that are transformed into alternate
formats. Conversion of text into alternate formats is a time consuming process.
It is important to make your book
selections, assigned readings, and syllabus available in a timely manner for those
instances when accessible textbooks cannot be located and DSS must convert
The best way to make sure students
with disabilities have access to your course materials is to choose materials
that were designed with access in mind. What does this mean? For a textbook, it
means the publisher has already considered the needs of students with
disabilities and is willing to provide an electronic copy of the textbook to
students who need it. For course materials selected by faculty, it means
creating documents with accessibility in mind, and making them available to
students. For example, if you wish to incorporate an article you read online
into your class, instead of just printing the article and making copies to
distribute, save a copy of the article in a Word doc or HTML format. This
allows you to send the article electronically to any student in your class who
needs printed material in an alternative format.
If you are utilizing videos in your
course, it will be important to choose videos that are captioned in order to
allow access for students who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have auditory
For more information on creating accessible
course materials, please consult NC State University's Accessibility Quick
(Permission to share resources was granted by NC State.)
Implement Principles of
Universal Design (UD)
means that rather than designing your facility and services for the average
user, you design them for people with a broad range of abilities, disabilities,
and other characteristics -- people with a variety of ages, reading abilities,
learning styles, languages, cultures, etc. Universal Design of Instruction
(UDI) is the process of designing curricula that enable all students to gain
knowledge and skills for learning. UDI provides supports for learning and
reduces barriers to the curriculum while maintaining high achievement standards
for all. Instructors should remain mindful of UD and adopt practices that
respect diversity and inclusiveness, including:
an inclusive class climate
Encourage the sharing of multiple perspectives by demonstrating and demanding
mutual respect. Employ teaching methods and materials that are motivating and
relevant to students with diverse characteristics. Instructors should make
every effort to be approachable and available to students by welcoming questions
outside of class and during regular office hours.
physical access, usability, and safety
Assure that activities, materials, and equipment are physically accessible to
and usable by all students and that all potential student characteristics are
addressed in safety considerations. Instructors should consider arranging
instructional spaces to maximize inclusion and comfort, while also remaining
mindful of student safety.
a variety of delivery methods
Consider using multiple, accessible instructional methods, such as lectures,
collaborative learning options, hands-on activities, internet-based
communications, educational software, fieldwork, etc. Utilize visual aids that
are large, bold, and uncluttered; provide instructions both orally and in
printed form. Provide feedback (or arrange for peer feedback) so that work can
accessible information resources and instructional materials
Assure that course materials, notes, and other information resources are
flexible and accessible to all students. By preparing a syllabus and selecting
texts early, students have the option to begin reading materials early or
coordinate their conversion into an alternative format.
Regularly assess student progress using multiple, accessible methods and tools.
Creating a straightforward grading rubric with clear statements of course
expectations, assignment descriptions, and deadlines will minimize students
misinterpretations. Design tests to reflect the same manner in which you teach
(i.e. assure that a test measures what students have learned, not their ability
to adapt to a new style of presentation).
adapted from DO-IT at the University of Washington. For more information,
It is the student's responsibility to approach you with an
accommodation letter which specifies that s/he has been approved for a testing
accommodation. We ask that instructors discuss with students how the
testing accommodation can be provided in their particular course. Generally, students are asked to arrive early for their test, stay later until
their testing time is complete, or a testing appointment is set during a time
that is appropriate for both the instructor and student. As a service to
faculty, DSS also assists by proctoring exams in our testing center. If
this option is better for both the student and instructor, students must
initiate the process by completing an online form on the DSS website. More
detailed information regarding DSS testing policy and procedure can be found on
The use of extended time is the most frequently used accommodation
through DSS. Extended time for testing situations is normally granted to allow
the student with a disability to compensate for the limitations imposed by
their disability. For example, students with learning disabilities may have
difficulty with processing information and need additional time to read,
understand, and respond to questions. Students with ADHD or mental health
issues may have difficulty concentrating. Some students need to utilize
assistive technology, which usually takes additional time.
If a student's accommodation form indicates s/he receive extended
time, the instructor needs to make arrangements for the student to receive this
accommodation. We suggest that the quiz be given towards the end of class
which makes providing the additional time more seamless. DSS can consult with
professors regarding other options if this does not fit into the class
Some students are provided with the accommodation that allows for
them to record lectures. We advise the student to speak with the
instructor prior to the first session so the instructor is aware of this
situation. We also educate the student as to the proper use of recorded
material. If the instructor prefers, there is an agreement available that
can be signed by both the student and the instructor regarding the use of this
material. Please contact DSS for more information.
The student with a disability is entitled to confidentiality under
the law. This means that if a student with a disability happens to be in
your class, you cannot mention that student by name (i.e. "Tom, here's your
test so you can go take it in the Disability Services" or "We need a note taker
for Katie, so I need someone to volunteer"). Also, you should
not discuss the student by name with anyone else, including other faculty. It is always the student's decision to self-disclose. DSS is able to
verify that we are working with a particular student but we are not permitted
to share specific diagnostic information regarding the nature of the disability.