Important Policy and Procedure Information

The Accommodation Memo
Students with disabilities are responsible for providing the Director of Disability Support Services (DSS) with proper documentation to determine eligibility for accommodations, and meeting with the Director of DSS to obtain their accommodation memo. The student is then responsible for showing the memo to each of their professors where accommodations are needed and discussing any questions or concerns. The memo will be printed on security paper so that if copied, the word “void” will appear in the background. Copies may be made for your records, but the student should retain the original and be able to show it to you as proof of eligibility for their accommodation(s).

Procedures for Testing Accommodations
Please note that Testing Services is part of Disability Support Services (DSS) and is no longer affiliated with the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). In order for students to use their testing accommodation(s), they must first show you the accommodation memo that specifies the testing accommodations for which they are eligible. Use of any accommodation is always voluntary on the part of the student. If they choose to use testing accommodation(s), DSS requests that that students provide instructors with a week’s notice. If they make a request with less than a week’s notice, we are still legally obligated to accommodate them if at all possible. Students may use their extra time (up to double time) before or after the regular class time. If their class schedule does not permit this, we ask that you allow the student to take the test either earlier or later the same day. If the student has scheduled to take the test with Testing Services, it is your responsibility to provide Testing Services with a hard copy or electronic version of the test prior to the scheduled time. To avoid disruption in the testing center, we prefer that you submit your tests by using the online webform found at and clicking on “Testing Services”. However, you may also deliver a hard copy to CH 216 if necessary. If a student prefers to take the test in the classroom, but wants to use extra time, he or she may do so if you are able to proctor the extra time. 

Syllabus Statement
It is requested that you include the following statement, or something like it, in your syllabus: “If you are a student with a disability in need of classroom accommodations and have not already registered with Linda Miller, Director of Disability Support Services, please contact her at 815-1785 or to discuss policies and procedures related to disability services and to establish the accommodations for which you are eligible.”

Suspect a Disability?
If you suspect that a student has a disability, but that student has not shown you an accommodations memo, please feel free to address your concerns with the student and provide him or her with the contact information for the Director of Disability Support Services. Be sure to be discreet and do not directly ask the student if he or she has a disability. Rather, you may try commenting that you notice they are struggling with tests, note taking, discussions, etc. and ask if they might need an accommodation. But keep in mind that disclosing a disability and using accommodations is always voluntary on the part of the student.

Special Considerations for Faculty

  • The purpose of accommodating students with disabilities is not to give them an unfair advantage, but rather to remove barriers that prevent them from learning and being able to demonstrate what they have learned.
  • The Director of Disability Support Services will only request accommodations for which the student has a documented need.
  • Faculty should not provide an accommodation unless the student has been determined eligible for that accommodation by the Director of Disability Support Services Coordinator. Providing unauthorized accommodations can cause a problem for a student when they find out the day of a test that other professors require an accommodation memo.
  • Students with the same disability may have different accommodation needs. Accommodations are determined on a case by case basis, and the need for a certain accommodation should not be presumed based on disability.
  • Faculty members are responsible for providing accommodations listed on the memo, but they are not required to fundamentally alter the requirements of their course.
  • Faculty members are not expected to pass a student who has used accommodations but has not demonstrated the required level of understanding or performance competency.
  • Once accommodations are provided, grade the work as it would be graded for any other student.
  • Confidentiality of student information must be maintained.  File memos in a safe place.
  • Refrain from discussing disability and/or accommodations within hearing of other students or others with no educational “need to know.”
  • Contact the Director of Disability Support Services right away if you have difficulty providing an accommodation or if you disagree with an accommodation.
  • Remember…Students are usually the experts on their own disability.  Feel free to discuss questions or concerns with them.

Accommodating and Teaching Students with Cognitive Challenges        

(Faculty Development Workshop/Linda Miller/Fall 2009)

Main Topics

  • The Law
  • YCP Policies and Procedures
  • Assistive Technology
  • Special Considerations for Faculty
  • Learning Styles
  • Learning Disabilities and Classroom Strategies
  • Asperger’s Syndrome and Classroom Strategies
  • ADHD and Classroom Strategies

The Law

  • Section 504
    • Rehabilitation Act of 1973
    • Prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in programs and services that receive federal funds.
    • YCP receives federal funds.
  • ADA
    • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990
    • Reinforces and extends the requirements of Section 504 to programs and services, regardless of whether or not they receive federal funds.
  • Basic requirements
    • No otherwise qualified person with a disability shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity of a public entity.
    • Otherwise qualified: able to meet the technical and academic qualifications for entry
    • All programs and services are accessible.
    • Courses, residential life, athletic programs, student services, and extracurricular activities.
    • Internet accessibility.
    • For example, a blind student using a screen reader must have access to web page content in text format.
    • Reasonable accommodations do not include personal devices.
    • Hearing aids, personal attendants, and wheelchairs.
  • Please note:
    • Student who feel they have been discriminated against can file a lawsuit.
      Complaints have been filed with the Office of Civil Rights and postsecondary institutions have been sued for reasons such as:
      ...being denied the opportunity to take a course. participate in a co-op activity. submit an assignment in an alternate format.

Submitting a Test to Testing Services

Please use the Test Submission Form to provide our proctors with the information they will need to administer your test per your directions. You may also submit your test with this form.

YCP Policies and Procedures

  • Student contacts the DSSC to identifies themselves as having a disability and submits valid documentation.
    • Specific requirements vary
    • Generally, all documentation must
    • Be less than three years old from the time of admission
    • State specific test results (where applicable)
    • State a specific diagnosis
    • Include recommendations for accommodations
  • Student schedules an interview with the DSSC toreview documentation; clarify accommodations for which he or she is eligible; receive detailed list of responsibilities; sign a release form.
  • Memo outlining the approved accommodations sent to each professor.
  • Student will pick up their memos from the DSSC and hand deliver them to professors.
  • Student and professor discuss accommodations and how they will be carried out.
  • Accommodation use is voluntary and determined by student.
  • Memos prepared at the beginning of each semester thereafter.
  • Temporary accommodations
    • Some supporting documentation, such as IEP, but does not justify the accommodations or is too old.
    • Provided for one semester.
    • Updated documentation must be received before next semester.
    • Can refer to local providers or OVR.
  • Please note: If a student comes directly to you to discuss a disability and/or request accommodations, please direct them to the DSSC. No accommodations should be provided unless they are deemed warranted by the student’s supporting documentation and the DSSC.
  • Common classroom accommodations:
  • (check-off list memo)
    • Classroom taping
    • Extended time on tests
    • Testing in a separate room
    • Use of auxiliary aids (calculator, laptop, spell-check) 
    • Oral/taped exam responses
    • Provision of professor’s notes, or discreet assistance in identifying a classmate to provide copies of notes.
  • Other classroom accommodations (specialized memo):
    • Preferential seating
    • Excused absences
    • Free standing desk
    • Large print
    • Use of FM amplification system
    • Sign language interpreter
    • Audio books
  • CTL Procedures
    • Extended test time or private room testing can be provided at the CTL.
    • Use of the CTL is not required.
    • Professor is ultimately responsible for providing accommodation if requested by the student.
    • Student advises professor that he or she will be testing at CTL
    • Student contacts CTL and schedules to take test at same time as regular class.
    • If there is a conflict (i.e. student has other classes immediately before and after test) professor is contacted to discuss agreeable solution.
    • Professor is responsible for delivering test to CTL either by email or hand carried. Inter-office mail is NOT recommended.
    • Student is responsible for arriving at the CTL on time.
    • Student signs statement.
    • Will ask for help if they have questions.
    • Test is over if they leave the room or use any electronic device.
    • CTL test proctors are professional staff only. Student tutors not allowed to handle tests.
    • Proctors can watch the student throughout the test time and can easily view both the student and the monitor.
    • Completed test is hand delivered to the professor.
    • Delivery time and location documented.

Assistive Technology in the CTL

  • Dragon Naturally Speaking
    • A speech to text, voice activated system 
    • Requires training from IT for non-users
    • Requires the development of a voice file
    • Excellent option for students who have upper extremity mobility issues or express themselves best orally.
  • Kurzweil
    • A text to speech program
    • Easy to use, minimal training required
    • Scans any printed material and reads it out loud.
    • Student can select voice and speed
    • Student can read along and view charts and graphs that accompany text.
    • Excellent choice for students with low vision or reading disabilities.

Special Considerations for Faculty

  • The purpose of accommodating students with disabilities is not to give them an unfair advantage, but rather to remove barriers that prevent them from learning and being able to demonstrate what they have learned.
  • DSSC will only request accommodations for which the student has a documented need.
  • Students with the same disability may have different accommodation needs.
  • Faculty responsible for providing accommodations listed on memo, but not required to fundamentally alter the requirements of the course.
  • Faculty not expected to pass student who has used accommodations but has not demonstrated required level of understanding or performance competency.
  • Once accommodations are provided, grade work as it would be graded for any other student.
  • Confidentiality of student information must be maintained.
    • File memos in a safe place
    • Refrain from discussing disability and/or accommodations within hearing of other students or others with no educational “need to know.”
  • Contact DSSC right away if
    • have difficulty providing an accommodation
    • disagree with an accommodation.
  • Remember… Students are usually the experts on their own disability. Feel free to discuss questions or concerns with them.

Learning Styles:

* The common categories based on sensory preferences Auditory: learn best by listening to verbal information such as lecture, discussion, or recording. Visual: remember most easily what they have read or observed. Tactile: underlining while they read or taking notes when they listen helps these students learn. Kinesthetic: whole body movements and real life experiences help these students absorb information.

  • Making the Most of Learning Styles in the Classroom

All students have different learning styles, whether or not they have a disability. Successful teachers use techniques and strategies that might not be part of their own style and provide key information in a variety of ways: verbal discussion, visuals demonstration, active participation, balancing conceptual information with concrete information.

Group Activity

Announce that you’re going to have a five-minute activity, then ask your participants to choose someone sitting nearby and share with each other two things:

1. One thing you are very good at.

2. One thing you are not very good at.

Have the instructions written on a presentation slide or write them on a flip chart. Read the instructions aloud. Give participants three to four minutes and then say you’re not really interested in what they do well; ask people to share things that their partner does not do well.

After the fun, make the point that, “You have experienced, in a small way, what a person with an obvious disability experiences all the time-that people first notice something he or she is not particularly good at (e.g., walking, seeing, hearing) and don’t take the time to learn his or her strengths. A disability may impact 10% of a person’s life, yet is considered a defining characteristic by others. We need to pay attention to what everyone, including those with disabilities, can do, rather than accentuating what they can’t do.” To emphasize the point ask participants to reflect on how they felt when you said you weren’t really interested in what they do well.

  • Learning Disabilities
  • According to the National Joint Commission for Learning Disabilities, learning disabilities:
    • Are a group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, writing, reasoning or mathematical abilities.
    • Have unclear causes, but are presumed to be related to central nervous system dysfunction.
    • Effects vary and can range from mild to severe.
  • Please note:  Students with LDs usually have average or higher intelligence, but the impact of the disability results in a severe discrepancy between intellectual abilities and academic achievement.
  • Examples of Specific LDs
    • Dysgraphia: difficulty with the physical task of writing.
    • Dyscalcula: difficulty understanding and using math concepts and symbols
    • Dyslexia: mixing up and often reversing letters and words; spelling often poor; often have difficulty with directions and spatial information (i.e. left and right).
    • Dyspraxia: Mixing up words and sentences while talking. Often a discrepancy between language comprehension and language production.
    • Nonverbal learning disorder: characterized by poor motor coordination, impaired visual-spatial organization, and/or a lack of social skills.
  • Other Important LD Notes
    • A student can have one or more of these specific LDs or could have a “non-specified” LD.
    • Auditory, visual, or tactile information can become jumbled at any point during transmission, receipt, processing and/or production.
    • Sometimes environment dependent
      • Example: May be fine in a one-to-one situation, but have difficulty in a noisy classroom.

Difficulties with attention, organization, time management, and/or prioritizing often present.

  • Imagine this…

This si wdat a leaming bisadleb qerson frepuehtly hasto conteub with when attemqting ot nead a dook.

Classroom Strategies for LD

  • Select course materials early so audio books can be obtained prior to semester

**Make syllabi, reading lists, and assignments available electronically.

  • May take longer for student with LD to complete assignments so syllabus should be detailed and list all assignments and due dates.
  • Provide frequent feedback.
  • If discrepancy between class work and written exams, meet with student to discuss and further analyze their understanding of the material.
  • Face class when speaking.
  • Repeat questions and comments from students.
  • Provide outline of notes electronically or as handout.
  • Any changes to syllabi, assignments, test instructions, etc, should be written on board.
  • Be sensitive to students who may be unable to read aloud or answer when called on.
  • Avoid visual confusion on exams by putting spaces between lines and limiting the number of questions or problems on page.
  • Group similar type questions together.
  • Leave spaces between multiple choice items.
  • Allow student to circle answers on exam rather than using scantron sheet.
  • Allow students to use extra paper to prepare outlines or rough drafts for essays.
  • Allow math students to use graph paper or lined paper turned sideways to avoid confusion with calculations.
  • Promptly return student emails.
  • A statement regarding the availability of accommodations to student with disabilities can be included in syllabus and verbally discussed at the beginning of the semester.

Example: “If you had an IEP in high school and/or are in need of accommodations in the classroom due to a disability, please contact Linda Miller in CH 200, or at 815-1785 or It is the student’s responsibility to make this contact in order to receive accommodations.”

Asperger’s Goes to College, Presented by: Rhonda Waterhouse, M.Ed.


  • Symptoms
    • A persistent pattern of frequent and severe inattention, hyperactivity, and /or impulsiveness
    • Often have symptoms similar to LD
    • Slow and inefficient reading
    • Slow essay writing
    • Frequent math errors
    • Difficulty with the mechanics of writing
    • Other typical symptoms
    • Time management problems
    • Task completion issues
    • Poor organization
    • Poor memory
  • Classroom Strategies for ADHD
    • Many suggestions for students with LD also apply.
    • Syllabus with clear explanation of tasks and specific due dates.
    • Remind students of impending deadlines.
    • Start lectures with summary of material to be covered. 
    • When providing an outline, use broad margins and triple space.
    • Review major points at conclusion of lecture.
    • In longer classes, used varied formats and permit breaks.
    • If student is “drifting,” discreetly invite them to sit near front and away from distractions.
    • Avoid making assignments, or any changes to assignments or test questions, orally.
    • For large projects and papers, assist in setting component deadlines.

Universal Design

  • Defined as “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.”
  • Does not eliminate need for specific accommodations.
  • Application of principles will assure full access to more students without need for special accommodations.

Special thanks to

DOIT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, Technology) University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

For more information…