Q: What if I suspect a student has a disability but hasn’t provided me with a Faculty Notification Letter (FNL) from Student Disability Services (SDS)? Can I ask them if they have a disability?

A: No, you may not ask a student if they have a disability. However, you may engage the student in a conversation about how they coped with a similar situation in the past. If the student shares that they received accommodative services in high school or previous institution, then please refer the student to SDS.

Q: What if a student comes to me at the end of the semester and tells me they have a disability, but has not provided me with a FNL from SDS?

A: All students who request accommodations are to be directed to Student Disability Services.

Q: What if I have questions about an accommodation that is listed on a FNL?

A: SDS strongly encourages the instructor and student to discuss the implementation of accommodations so that they are appropriate to both the student’s needs and the design of the course. Further questions are to be directed to SDS.

Q: When is a student required to submit their Faculty Notification Letter to me?

A: Students can provide you with a FNL at any time during the semester; however, are encouraged to do so early in the semester. Please keep in mind that implementation of accommodations begin once the FNL is presented to the instructor, and are not retroactive.

Q: Am I required to provide the accommodation?

A: Yes, in compliance with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the 2008 ADA Amendments Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, you must provide accommodations to students with disabilities. However, the accommodations should not alter the fundamental components of a program. If you believe the student’s accommodation(s) threaten the essential elements of your program, please contact SDS to discuss this.

Q: Being able to complete tasks quickly and on time is very important for students graduating and entering the workforce. Does allowing extended time for tests adequately prepare students for the real world?

A: At the university, extended time for exams allows for the student to adequately demonstrate their knowledge of the course material. In the workplace, ADA allows for reasonable accommodations for the individual to perform essential functions of the job.

Q: Can I give an unannounced (pop) quiz if I have a student in my classroom who needs a quiet environment for testing?

A: Regardless of the type of assignment, if it is timed and graded, then the student must be given their accommodation of a non-distracting environment. This is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Q: What is universal design in the classroom?

A: Your classroom environment can be tailored to help ensure that classroom instruction serves students with all types of learning styles and accommodates students with disabilities.

Universal design suggestions:

  • Using the Panopto lecture-capture system, which eliminates the need for notetakers
  • Using captioned videos, films and other audio presentations
  • Offering flexibility regarding attendance
  • Providing texts in alternative formats
  • Giving verbal descriptions of visual aids and graphics
  • Paraphrasing questions and answers
  • Highlighting key points throughout discussions
  • Using multiple teaching methods, including lecture, discussion, hands-on activities, Web-based work and fieldwork
  • Providing multiple methods for students to demonstrate knowledge, such as demonstrations, presentations and portfolios