Disability Support Services



The Academic Services office is dedicated fostering the University’s mission to ensure that qualified students with disabilities who are admitted to the University are afforded equal access and opportunity to participate in and benefit from programs, services and activities of the University. Our Learning Access Coordinator welcomes the opportunity to meet with admitted students who would like to discuss learning accommodations.  Students with appropriate documentation will work in partnership with the Learning Access Coordinator to develop an accommodation plan that supports them in reaching their academic goals. Academic Services will also collaborate with faculty and campus partners each semester to ensure delivery of necessary accommodations and services.

Contact information
Academic Services

Learning Resource Center, room 342
Phone: 815-836-5593
Fax: 815-834-6614
LearningAccess@lewisu.edu

Who is eligible?

Anyone with a physical, mental, or sensory impairment that substantially limits their ability to learn, access or participate in activities or programs of the university can be eligible to request accommodations. This includes students in both undergraduate and graduate programs, SPCE and clinical programs, as long as they qualify and meet program standards. The process to become “eligible” to receive accommodations is outlined below.

Students who require academic accommodations due to disability caused or exacerbated by CoVID-19, have a medical condition in which they must limit risk of exposure to CoVID-19, or have a record of having CoVID-19, can engage in an interactive process with the Learning Access Coordinator to explore all avenues for academic accommodations. Students can contact the Academic Services office at 815-836-5593 or learningaccess@lewisu.edu to request an appointment.


 REQUEST PROCESS AND DOCUMENTATION GUIDELINES

Process to request a Reasonable Accommodation

Students who would like to become eligible to receive reasonable accommodations can follow the steps below to initiate the eligibility review process. The process to become eligible to receive accommodations can take 2-3 weeks after completing an intake meeting.

  1. Collect Documentation
    Documentation may include educational or medical records, reports, evaluations and assessments created by health care providers, school psychologists, teachers, or the educational system. This information is inclusive of documents that reflect education and accommodation history, such as Individual Education Program (IEP), Summary of Performance (SOP), and teacher observations. *Students in the Nursing program need to submit a neuropsychological evaluation.

  2. Submit Documentation
    Once collected, students submit their documentation to Academic Services. Student can drop off documentation in-person to Academic Services (located in the Learning Resource Center, room 342), scan and email it to Learningaccess@lewisu.edu or fax it to (815) 834-6614.

  3. Schedule an Intake Meeting.
    The intake meeting will include a conversation about accommodations that will reduce barriers to the educational environment with the Learning Access Coordinator. Students can also expect to discuss their disability and medical history as well as their current and past experiences in various learning environment. Intake meetings can be scheduled by calling (815) 836-5593 or by emailing learningaccess@lewisu.edu. Documentation must be received by Academic Services in order to schedule an intake meeting.

  4. Attend the Intake Meeting.
    Students must attend the scheduled intake meeting to complete the eligibility review process. Submission and/or receipt of documentation by Academic Services or other offices at Lewis University does not make a student eligible for accommodations.

Based on a review of the documentation provided and the intake meeting, a decision on eligibility for reasonable accommodations will be made by the Learning Access Coordinator. In some cases, additional documentation or an additional meeting may be requested prior to determining eligibility. When a student becomes eligible for reasonable accommodations they can expect the following:

  • The Learning Access Coordinator will create an Accommodation Memo.
    The memo will outline the accommodations, services and supports that the student is eligible for based on the intake process. The memo does not describe the student’s disability.

  • Accommodation Memos delivered via email.
    The memo is sent to each student’s course instructor(s) at the beginning of each semester. If the student becomes eligible during the semester, the memo is sent at that time.

Once an Accommodation Memo has been sent to the instructors the student is responsible for the following:

  • Speak with instructors to implement accommodations.
    After the memo is sent, students have to approach their course instructors to discuss the details of their request and when they wish to implement the accommodations. Students are not required to disclose the nature of the disability to the instructor.

  • Arrange or schedule accommodations and services.
    Exam accommodations and services have to be arranged by the student. The Learning Access Coordinator can help students during this process. Examples of such services are: alternative testing services, note-taking services, books or materials in alternative formats, communication services (such as interpreters or CART services).
Documentation Guidelines

Documentation may include educational or medical records, reports and assessments created by health care providers, school psychologists, teachers, or the educational system. This information is inclusive of documents that reflect education and accommodation history, such as an Individual Education Program (IEP), Summary of Performance (SOP) and teacher observations.

Helpful information in documentation includes:

  • A specific diagnosis and date of diagnosis.
  • Specific and current findings that support the diagnosis (relevant medical history, tests administered, date of the most current evaluation).
  • A description of substantial day-to-day functional limitations.
  • Specific recommendations for accommodation(s) including a detailed explanation of why the accommodation is needed. If the accommodation includes extra time on exams, specify the amount of time.  

A student’s narrative of his or her experience of disability, barriers, and effective and ineffective accommodations will be considered as documentation during the structured interview with the Learning Access Coordinator.

Students in clinical or pre-professional programs may be advised to update their documentation with a qualified professional prior to the clinical component of their program or prior to taking a certification exam.

If the Learning Access Coordinator determines that additional information is necessary to facilitate accommodations, the student may be asked to have a licensed medical professional complete a disability verification form.

The Learning Access Coordinator follows guidelines put forth by the Association on Higher Education and Disability based on the 2008 amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act and the updated regulations and guidance to Titles II and III of the ADA. 

https://www.ahead.org/

Forms
The Accommodation Memo

The Accommodation Memo is an outline of accommodations, services and supports that the student is requesting to receive after meeting with the Learning Access Coordinator. The memo is emailed to faculty and instructors during the first week of the semester. The memo does not describe the student’s disability. The memo describes the reasonable accommodations that the student is eligible to request.

If a student adds a class after the Accommodation Memo is emailed, the student has the responsibility to contact the Learning Access Coordinator to email the instructor of the new class.

In certain circumstances, an addendum or attachment will be sent along with the Accommodation Memo that may identify the student’s disability by nature of the request. Two examples are “Autism Spectrum considerations” or “Epilepsy/seizure action plan.”

Rights and Responsibilities

Every qualified student has the following rights:

  1. Equal access and opportunity to learn, benefit and participate from the academic community, including all university programs and activities.

  2. Appropriate confidentiality regarding information pertaining to disability. (Exception: Academic Services staff are mandatory reporters. Staff are required by law to share details with appropriate personnel if a student may be a harm to self or others). 

  3. Reasonable and effective accommodations, adjustments and services determined on a case-by-case basis through an interactive process.

Every student with a disability has the responsibility to:

  1. Meet the University’s qualifications; including technical, academic, behavioral and institutional standards.

  2. To self-disclose as an individual with a disability to the Learning Access Coordinator if accommodations are being requested.

  3. Partake in a formal interview process, providing documentation to support the request.

  4. Take an active role in communicating with faculty to discuss and implement accommodations that are appropriate for the specific course. 

  5. Notify the Learning Access Coordinator or an Academic Services staff member of any issues, concerns or delays receiving requested accommodations in a timely manner.

  6. Students are required to make requests to implement their accommodations in a timely manner. Although students can implement accommodations at any time, we suggest making requests for accommodations during registration or prior to the first day of class so that they are most effective. Lewis University is under no obligation to grant retroactive accommodations. Some services may take 10 or more business days to coordinate.

Lewis University Rights:

  1. Maintain academic standards, integrity and freedom. Implement standards for courses and programs as well as to evaluate students on this basis.

  2. Determine fundamental requirements of courses and programs.

  3. Deny an unreasonable request for an accommodation and/or service that fundamentally alters a program or activity at the university, creates an undue financial burden, or may be harmful to the safety of another.

  4. Deny requests for accommodation and/or other services if the documentation provided does not support such a need, is insufficient or inappropriate.

  5. Maintain and enforce conduct codes.

Lewis University Responsibilities:

  1. Work towards creating a campus environment congruent with the university’s mission, in which students have equal access to courses, programs, services, activities, and facilities of the university. 

  2. Provide or arrange reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments and services for persons with disabilities in courses, services, and activities of the university.

  3. Student confidentiality.

  4. Provide and implement policies and procedures.

 NOTE-TAKING STRATEGIES/AUDIO RECORDING

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, note-taking or audio recording are considered auxiliary aids that students may request if a disability impacts the ability to take notes in a class. To be eligible to request note-taking accommodations, Lewis University students must be approved through an interview process with the Learning Access Coordinator.

Student Considerations

Engaging in class lecture is crucial for academic success. Students are encouraged to explore and find personal strategies to capture lecture content that supports personal learning style.

Attend the first week of the course and explore supplemental materials that are provided by the instructor. Does the professor deliver the lecture using a PowerPoint presentation? Is this a lab, language or computer-based course that are interactive by design, so very little notes are taken? What is the pace of the course? Would recording the lecture or using a computer application help you take notes independently?

There may be supplemental access to lecture content via:
  • PowerPoint slides
  • Word Documents
  • Outlines or instructor notes
  • Recordings of the class
  • Assistance during office hours
  • Tutoring

A student with a disability may request access to PowerPoint presentations or lecture outlines prior to the beginning of the course lecture, if the instructor plans to utilize these materials to supplement their lecture. For many students, this is sufficient and they will not have to request any additional note-taking accommodations.

Other Independent Note-taking Strategies
  • Work with a classmates to share and compare class notes. This may also lead to additional resources, such as exam study partners.
  • Utilize an Audio Recording device.
  • Utilize apps and note-taking technology.
Audio Recording of Lectures

Students who are approved to record lectures as an accommodation are asked to communicate with their instructor prior to using devices to record the professor, discussions, etc. Neither the resulting recordings nor any form of copies of transcripts of the recordings may be used for any other purpose other than understanding class material. Audio recorders are available at the Lewis University Library for check-out.

Students are informed that information contained in the audio lectures is protected under federal copyright legislation, and may not be published or quoted without the lecturer’s consent or crediting the lecturer.

In some cases recording may be prohibited at the discretion of the instructor when the content involves personal discussion or self-disclosure. An alternative accommodation can be requested.

Instructors may ask the student to fill out an audio recording agreement form.

Note-taking Technology

There are a variety of apps available that can be used as a note-taking tool that are open to all students, regardless of disability. Below are some popular apps and software that students can explore, purchase and download independently.

Handout:
Note-taking and Assistive Technology Resources

How to request an in-person note-taker

If supplemental materials or independent strategies are not effective, meet with your instructor or the Learning Access Coordinator to discuss an in-person note-taker, or fill out the Note-taker request form.

Expectations:
  • Note-taking accommodations are to be used as a tool and not a substitute for attending class. Class attendance and participation is still expected.
  • If additional assistance is necessary beyond notes, tutoring services may be available through Academic Services.
  • It is the responsibility of the student with a disability and the peer note-taker to discuss the best way to deliver notes. Some suggestions are: scan/email, photocopy, carbonless paper (available in the Academic Services Office), Google Docs or other software.
  • If a student is assigned a note-taker and the note-taker is not attending class or sharing notes regularly, the student can inform the Learning Access Coordinator, who will reach out or reassign the note-taker.
Forms
Request to borrow Livescribe Smartpen Form
Audio Recording Agreement Form
Note-taker request Form


 ACCESSIBLE COURSE MATERIALS/E-TEXT

Students who have vision, learning, or other disabilities which make accessing traditional printed materials difficult could request course materials in an alternative format as a reasonable accommodation. Alternative formats include audio, braille, large print, color, and electronic versions of course materials. Generally, most course materials are provided directly from the course instructor. However, requests for digital textbooks or braille are handled through the Academic Services office.

Guidelines to request a textbook in an alternative format
  • Submit a list of required text books to the Learning Access Coordinator by completing a request for electronic materials form.
  • The book list should include: the title of the book, the author, the ISBN, and edition.
  • Indicate the format or preferred software that will be utilized to access the textbook. (Demonstrations and recommendations for software programs are available. Certain students may qualify for a free Bookshare account.)
  • Provide “proof of purchase” if the publisher requests this.
Guidelines to request course materials and exams in alternative formats
  • Students are encouraged to talk to their course instructors prior to, or the beginning of the semester to discuss accessibility of handouts, Blackboard, presentations, and other class materials.
  • Student taking exams at the Accommodated Testing Center are encouraged to indicate the need for the exam in an alternative format when they schedule the exam.
Timelines
  • Students are encouraged to make their request as soon as they register for classes, or when the book list is available from the professor.
  • The preferred deadline to submit a request is two weeks prior to the beginning of the semester. However, a student can make their request at any time. Expect up to two weeks to process the request.
  • Students who are admitted to the University who require materials in braille format should contact the Academic Services office as soon as they are admitted to the University or prior.
Forms
Electronic Text Request Form


 ASL, CART, CAPTIONING AND COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

Students who are Deaf, hard of hearing, or have other communication needs may request reasonable accommodations and services to help them fully participate in classes, class related activities, and events open to the public. To be eligible to request accommodations, Lewis University students must be approved through an interview process with the Learning Access Coordinator.

Accommodations
  • Priority Seating
  • Request an instructor to face the class when speaking
Services
  • ASL/Sign Language Interpreting
  • CART (Communication Access Real Time Translation)
  • Text Interpreting (Typewell or C-Print)
  • Assistive Listening Device loans
  • Closed Captioning on videos and media
  • Note-taking
Guidelines and Timeline for Service Requests
  • New students admitted to the university who will be requesting a service or an assistive listening device are encouraged to speak with the Learning Access Coordinator as soon as they accept their offer or even prior.
  • Students are encouraged to officially make a request for a new service as soon as they register for classes, or at least 10 business days prior to the beginning of the semester or before the service is to begin.
  • To make a request, submit your schedule to the Learning Access Coordinator or fill out an interpreting request form.
Cancellation notification
  • Students utilizing sign language interpreters or real-time captioning are asked to give advance notice of cancellations or absences.
  • Students will be given specific training and guidance on the cancellation policy of the contracting agency.
Forms

Interpreting Request Form


 ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY

Technology is evolving rapidly. Students who are interested in learning about assistive technology that may aid their understanding of course materials can contact the Learning Access Coordinator for up-to-date resources and tutorials. Examples of assistive technology include text-to-speech software, note-taking tools, voice recognition software (such as Dragon or Google dictate), electronic textbooks, screen overlays, and assistive hearing devices. The handout below highlights some examples of popular technology programs.

Handouts
Note-taking and Assistive Technology Resources
Popular text-to-speech software comparison chart


 FLEXIBILITY WITH ATTENDANCE ACCOMODATION

In general, students are expected and encouraged to attend class and meet deadlines for assignments and tests. Students are expected to regularly reference their course syllabus dates and appropriately manage their time to ensure that work is completed by the expected due date(s). Faculty have the right to establish attendance and late work policies.

However, if a student has a chronic physical or mental condition/disability that is episodic/cyclical in nature that may occasionally impact their ability to attend class and complete tests or assignments at the scheduled time, flexibility in attendance/assignments may be considered an appropriate reasonable accommodation. The Academic Services Office will review appropriate and comprehensive medical documentation related to the disability or medical condition to determine whether this can be considered an appropriate accommodation through its reasonable accommodation request process. No medical information will be shared with instructors.

Process for students

Students who are requesting flexibility with attendance or assignments due to a chronic medical condition or disability that may impact class attendance must supply supporting verification  from a qualified professional identifying the diagnosis and need for the accommodation.  When deemed eligible, a notification will be sent to course instructors at the beginning of each semester.

Limitations and Responsibilities for Students

Once approved, the student is not required to present medical documentation verifying his/her disability-related absences to course instructors. However, students should be aware of limitations and responsibilities.

  • Initiate conversation with course instructors the first week of class, prior to the need for the accommodation.
  • An unlimited amount of absences is not a reasonable accommodation.
  • Students who are hospitalized or absent more than 5 consecutive days, will be expected to provide medical documentation confirming the dates of absence. Academic Services will notify faculty of the absence(s) on behalf of the student.
  • This accommodation may not be reasonable in all courses. In experiential, clinical, or other courses in which attendance is fundamentally essential to the course, discussion with the course instructor is required prior to the experience.
  • Students should expect to document other non-disability related absences (such as a death in the family or military obligation) as per syllabus requirements.
  • Students who are absent are responsible for the course content, lecture notes and information presented that day. All course work must be completed.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to contact the instructor and arrange new deadlines to complete their coursework. New deadlines are established by the course instructor.
  • Even if excused, absences could impact academic performance. The Learning Access Coordinator or course instructor may discuss withdrawal or other academic intervention if performance is severely impacted.
Faculty/Instructor Responsibilities

After the student provides documentation and completes the accommodation request process, an accommodation memo will be sent to the student’s course instructors via email.

  • If a faculty member has received an accommodation memo that indicates flexibility with attendance, the instructor must understand that they must be flexible with attendance. 
  • If an instructor believes that the requested modified attendance accommodation would fundamentally alter a course, contact Academic Services as soon as possible.
  • It is recommended that the student and course instructor discuss attendance prior to, or during the first week of class.
  • Instructors can set expectations. Instructors have the option to complete a modified attendance agreement form with the student.
  • If a student misses 5 consecutive days or has excessive absences, contact Academic Services.
Determining how many disability‐related absences are reasonable

The number of allowable absences and the amount of time given for each assignment extension depends on the interactive or participatory nature of a course, and/or may be based on department, college or accrediting agency rules.

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) provides the following guidelines to be used in considering whether attendance is an essential element of a course:

  1. Is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students?
  2. Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?
  3. Does the fundamental nature of the course rely on student participation as an essential method for learning?
  4. To what degree does a student’s failure to attend constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of other students in the class?
  5. What do the course description and syllabus say?
  6. Which method is used to calculate the final grade?
  7. What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?
  8. Instructors are encouraged to contact the Learning Access Coordinator or their Department chair if assistance is needed making this accommodation.
FORMS

Modified Attendance Agreement form


 UNIQUE CLASS PERMISSIONS

The following accommodations may be approved with appropriate supporting documentation. The documentation must describe the student’s limitations and the request must connect with the student’s disability or condition.

  • Accommodations for math computation, spelling or grammar.
  • Permission to eat or drink in the classroom for medical reasons.
  • Permission to take breaks during prolonged activity.
  • Permission to sit or stand during prolonged lecture.
  • Permission to wear a hat/visor/sunglasses due to light sensitivity.
  • Permission to sit in front of class or away from distractions.
  • Permission to modify a class attendance policy.
  • Laboratory assistance.
Guidelines to request unique class permissions:

Students who have been approved for the accommodations above are encouraged to have a conversation with their course instructor and the Learning Access Coordinator at the beginning of the semester to discuss how and when the accommodation will be implemented.


 PHYSICAL FACILITY ACCOMODATIONS

Physical facility accessibility

Lewis University is striving to become a physically accessible campus community. For any questions or concerns about physical campus accessibility, or to report an access barrier, contact the Learning Access Coordinator by calling 815-836-5593.

Students who have physical accessibility needs in the classroom are encouraged to meet with the Learning Access Coordinator before or soon after registration to confirm accessibility of classroom space/buildings.


 HOUSING ACCOMODATIONS

Housing accommodations

To request a disability-related housing accommodation, students can indicate their need through the normal housing application request process. Examples of housing accommodations that Lewis University can provide include: wheelchair accessible rooms with roll-in shower and handrails; rooms on the first floor or accessible by elevator; private rooms; fire alarms/smoke detector with light (for hearing loss).

If a student makes a request that cannot be accommodated due to space limitations, (such as a private room) the student will be placed in a high priority spot on a waiting list until the accessible room becomes available.

Students who wish to bring an emotional support animal should see the service and emotional support animal policy. Students with allergies to animals should also indicate their needs on the housing request form so that their rooms are in a different building than a student with a service or emotional support animal.

The Director of Residence Life can notify campus police of a student living in the dorms who have epilepsy or other physical needs that need special attention during an emergency, at the student’s request.

Learn more about Lewis University Residence Life at this website:
https://www.lewisu.edu/studentservices/housing/index.htm


 DIETARY ACCESS

A registered dietitian is available through Sodexo Food Services to provide counseling for students with dietary needs such as celiac disease, lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome and diabetes. If a student requires an academic learning accommodation due to chronic flare ups of a condition that impact the ability to learn, please contact the Learning Access Coordinator by calling 815-836-5593.

Registered Campus Dietitian Contact information:
Brandie Jevtic
815-834-6150
Branislava.jevtic@sodexo.com


 EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMALS

Lewis University allows individuals with Service Animals access to all buildings on campus, including University Residence Halls and academic buildings. The University will allow students with disabilities to have Emotional Support Animals in University Residence Halls on a case-by-case basis according to the Lewis University Residence Hall Service and Emotional Support Animal Policy.

Service Animals

Per Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Lewis University allows a person with a disability to be accompanied by a service animal in all places where students and members of the public are permitted to go, except where animals are specifically prohibited due to a health or safety hazard. Service animals are defined as dogs (and in some cases miniature horses) that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, and alerting/protecting a person who is having a seizure. The provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship does not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of defining a service dog. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Per Illinois law, certain service-animals-in-training and service animal trainers maintain all of the same rights and responsibilities as service animals and their handlers. Students who are enrolled in clinical placements or laboratory classes are required to have a meeting with the Learning Access Coordinator and Clinical/Laboratory coordinator prior to the course.

Emotional Support Animals (ESAs)

Per the Fair Housing Act, a student with a documented disability will be allowed to have an emotional support animal in University Residence Halls to the extent it is a reasonable and a necessary accommodation to enable equal enjoyment of the residence program. Unlike service animals, emotional support animals are not necessarily trained to perform work or tasks, and they may include species other than dogs and miniature horses. An emotional support animal is an animal that is necessary to afford a person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling when there is an identifiable relationship or nexus between the person’s disability and the assistance the animal provides (there must be a link between the animal and the disability). Typically, an emotional support animal is prescribed to an individual with a disability by a healthcare or mental health professional and is an integral part of a person’s treatment process. An emotional support animal is not necessarily a service animal, although in some instances an emotional support animal may also be a service animal. Except to the extent that an emotional support animal also meets the definition of a service animal, emotional support animals are only allowed within a person’s residence in the University Residence Halls. Emotional support animals are not allowed on University grounds and facilities that house classrooms, offices, auditoriums, libraries, sports arenas, or University events.

Request Process
  1. Students who seek to have a service or emotional support animal in University Residence Halls are encouraged to notify the Academic Services Office and the Office of Residence Life at least 45 days prior to move-in. If the animal is an emotional support animal, the student must also provide documentation of the disability-related need for an assistance animal from the student’s health care professional, or complete the Emotional Support Animal Request Form. See the Support Animal Checklist for guidance on steps to take prior to scheduling a meeting with the Learning Access Coordinator.

  2. Review of the request will be processed by the Academic Services Office and the Office of Residence Life within 14 days of submission.

  3. If the request is approved, the student must complete and sign the Service and Emotional Support Animal Agreement in full and comply with its rules.
Conflicting Health Conditions

Students with medical condition(s) that are affected by animals (respiratory diseases, asthma, severe allergies) should contact the Office of Residence Life if they have a health or safety related concern about exposure to a service or emotional support animal.

Forms

 FACULTY AND STAFF INFORMATION

Lewis University is committed to ensuring that qualified students with disabilities who are admitted to the University are afforded equal access and opportunity to participate in and benefit from programs, services, and activities of the University. Students with disabilities work in partnership with the Learning Access Coordinator to determine appropriate accommodations and services on an individualized basis. Faculty and staff are notified that a student is eligible to request accommodations by email at the beginning of each semester. An Accommodation Memo will outline the accommodations that the student is eligible to request. It is important to keep in mind that the memo is generalized to a standard lecture experience and may need to be tailored to apply to specific course environments or instructional methods.

Instructor Roles, Rights Responsibilities

From the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education:

“OCR enforces Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. Every school district and nearly every institution of postsecondary education in the United States is subject to Section 504 or Title II. Entities covered by these civil rights laws have an obligation to comply with legal requirements and to carry out their programs and activities in a manner that does not discriminate on the basis of disability.

Institutions of postsecondary education must provide an appropriate academic adjustment based on students’ disabilities and individual needs when necessary to avoid discrimination.

In providing an academic adjustment, a postsecondary institution does not have to eliminate or lower essential requirements, or make modifications that would result in a fundamental alteration of the programs or activities being offered or impose an undue burden on the institution.”

Faculty Roles
  • Make a reasonable effort to grant a student’s request for a reasonable accommodation.
  • Contact Academic Services if more information about the accommodation request is necessary, do not know how to implement the accommodation given the nature or structure of the course/program, or believe the accommodation will alter a fundamental learning outcome of the class.
  • Do not deny an accommodation without having a thoughtful discussion with the Learning Access Coordinator, and (if necessary) implementing a deliberative review process with your college department head.
  • Maintain confidentiality.
Faculty Rights
  • Maintain academic standards for courses.
  • Determine course content and how it will be taught.
  • Confirm a student’s request for accommodations and ask for clarification about a specific accommodation with the student/Learning Access Coordinator when necessary.
  • Deny a request for accommodation if the student has not been approved for the accommodation, or if the accommodation poses a direct threat to health or safety of the student/others.
  • Award grades appropriate to the level of the student’s demonstration of mastery of material.
  • Fail a student who does not perform to passing standards.

Implementing Accommodations

A student can implement their accommodations at any time throughout the semester. A course instructor can approach a student upon receiving the accommodation memo, or wait for the student to approach them to discuss.

Students are required to request accommodations with advance notice. Faculty do not have a legal obligation to grant accommodations retroactively. Meaning, if a student takes an exam without accommodations and then asks to re-take it with accommodations, it is up to the instructor’s discretion whether or not to allow this.

Referrals

Professors and faculty are not legally obligated to identify and refer students to the Academic Services office to request accommodations. However, if a student informally requests a reasonable accommodation without an accommodation memo, instructors should refer them to make a formal request through the Academic Services office. Streamlining the process will ensure that the student is receiving equal treatment and access across all classes, and ensure that the university is meeting legal obligations.

When to refer:

  • Student has a visible disability that may impact learning.
  • Student mentions having a disability (this includes health impairments, psychiatric disabilities, visual, hearing orthopedic disabilities, as well as learning disabilities).
  • Student mentions that he/she has utilized accommodations/services relating to classroom experiences in the past (such as an IEP or 504 plan).
  • Any student who is having difficulties with some aspect of the course can generally be referred to the Academic Services office.

How to refer:

  • In the case where a student is struggling and there is a suspicion of a disability, but the student does not directly mention having one, refer the student to a menu of resources on campus, with emphasis on the Academic Services office.
  • Talk to the student about your observations. i.e. “I notice you are having difficulty doing xyz.” Ask the student if they received any extra help in high school or in an educational setting. Suggest that the student consider contacting the Academic Services office for resources or assistance.
  • Have marketing materials in department offices for students to obtain independently.

Sample Syllabus Statement

Students who require academic accommodations due to disability caused or exacerbated by CoVID-19, have a medical condition in which they must limit risk of exposure to CoVID-19, or have a record of having CoVID-19, can engage in an interactive process with the Learning Access Coordinator to explore all avenues for academic accommodations. Students can contact the Academic Services office at 815-836-5593 or learningaccess@lewisu.edu to request an appointment.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to include the following statement on their syllabus:

Requests for reasonable accommodations:

Lewis University is committed to providing equal access and opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. If you are a student with a disability who would like to request a reasonable accommodation, please speak with the Learning Access Coordinator in Academic Services. Please make an appointment by calling 815-836-5593 or emailing LearningAccess@lewisu.edu. Since accommodations require early planning and are not provided retroactively, it is recommended that you make your request prior to or during the first week of class. It is not necessary to disclose the nature of your disability to your instructor. For more information about academic support services, visit the website at: www.lewisu.edu/CASE.

Accommodated Testing Center Guidance for Instructors

Location:
Learning Resource Center, Room LR-342

Hours of operation:
Fall and Spring Semester Hours:
Monday – Friday (by appointment)
*Evening hours will be offered during final exam week.

Phone:
815-836-5593

Email:
learningaccess@lewisu.edu

General guidance for Instructors

A student can implement their testing accommodations at any time throughout the semester. Students are informed that they should make their requests for accommodated exams at least 2 business days prior to when the in-class exam will take place. Students are also instructed to take the exam at the same time as the rest of the class. (Exceptions are made for students enrolled in back-to-back courses).

Delivery Instructions for paper exams:

There are several options to deliver an exam to Academic Services with CASE:

  1. Drop off location: Learning Resource Center, Third Floor, room LR-342
  2. Email to learningaccess@lewisu.edu.
  3. Other department arrangement

Whether dropping off or emailing the exam, please fill out an Accommodated Exam Cover Sheet, or indicate the following:

  • Student name, instructor name, course, date and time of exam
  • Allotted class time (amount of time the rest of the class receives)
  • Whether calculators, books, graphs, charts, notes are allowed
  • Contact information, should a question arise during the exam
  • Your preferred return method and location
  • If someone other than the course instructor is picking up the exam
  • Any other specific instructions for the exam
  • If you email the exam, please indicate if there is specific content that requires it to be printed in color.
Exam Return

There are three options to retrieve the completed exam:

  • Unless otherwise indicated, a runner will return the exam to the department secretary or whoever is indicated on the cover sheet.
  • Instructor can pick up the exam from Academic Services (room LR-342). NOTE: If someone other than the course instructor is picking up the exam, the person will be asked to show an ID and sign for the exam.
  • An Academic Services staff member can scan/email the exam back to the instructor.
Online Exams:
  • The Accommodated Testing Center has computers with Lockdown Browser software installed to administer online exams.
  • For directions to extend the timer in Blackboard, see the handout below.
Academic Integrity:

The new test center is equipped with brand new state-of-the art cameras that help us enhance our proctoring abilities while keeping minimal noise and distraction. Any form of academic dishonesty will be immediately reported to the primary course instructor in a written incident report.

FORMS

Note-taking and Audio Recording requests

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, note-taking or audio recording are considered auxiliary aids that students may request if a disability impacts the ability to take notes in a class.

Note-taking Requests

Students are encouraged to engage in class, explore, and find personal strategies to capture lecture in a way that fits their learning style, or utilize note-taking/audio recording technology. However, when personal strategies are not effective due to the nature of the student’s disability, the student may be eligible to request note-taking assistance.

If the instructor utilizes prepared lecture notes, slides or other materials, the instructor can meet the note-taking need by emailing or posting notes to classroom management software in advance of the class session that the material will be covered. For most students, this will mitigate the need for an in-person note-taker.

When the notes provided by the course instructor are not sufficient, the instructor and Academic Services office collaborate to recruit a classmate to provide class notes. Classmates can provide notes by writing on carbonless paper, scan/emailing, photocopying, or sharing notes through their own note-taking software.

Audio Recording Requests

Audio recordings are considered auxiliary aids that students may request as a reasonable accommodation when their disability impacts their ability to take notes in a class. Permission to make recordings should not be withheld if such recordings are reasonably necessary to accommodate a student’s disability as defined by the law.

Students who are approved for this accommodation are required to communicate with their instructor prior to using recording devices to record lectures, discussions, etc. Neither the resulting recordings nor any form of transcripts of the recordings may be used for any other purpose other than understanding class material.

In some cases, instructors may object to the use of an audio-recording device in portions of classes that involve personal discussion and self-disclosure by students, fearing that these devices will inhibit the free exchange of information and potentially violate a student’s right to privacy. However, because the use of a recording device is necessary as an accommodation, it would be unfair to require the accommodated student to stop recording while other students continue to take notes. Therefore:

  • At the discretion of the instructor, audio-recording may be prohibited during classes that involve personal self-disclosure or discussion.
  • As an alternative, the accommodated student can be provided a copy of notes created by a designated note-taker. Notes will refer to principles, theories and techniques demonstrated and not personal details.
An Audio Recording Agreement Form is available to facilitate the above discussion.

FORMS

Audio Recording Agreement

Flexibility with Attendance Policy and/or Assignments

In general, students are expected and encouraged to attend class and meet deadlines for assignments and tests. Students are expected to regularly reference their course syllabus dates and appropriately manage their time to ensure that work is completed by the expected due date(s). Faculty have the right to establish attendance and late work policies.

However, if a student has a chronic physical or mental condition/disability that is episodic/cyclical in nature that may occasionally impact their ability to attend class and complete tests or assignments at the scheduled time, flexibility in attendance/assignments may be considered an appropriate reasonable accommodation. The Academic Services Office will review appropriate and comprehensive medical documentation related to the disability or medical condition to determine whether this can be considered an appropriate accommodation through its reasonable accommodation request process. No medical information will be shared with instructors.

Faculty/Instructor Responsibilities

After the student provides documentation and completes the accommodation request process, an accommodation memo will be sent to the student’s course instructors via email.

  • If a faculty member has received an accommodation memo that indicates flexibility with attendance, the instructor must understand that they must be flexible with attendance. 
  • If an instructor believes that the requested modified attendance accommodation would fundamentally alter a course, contact Academic Services as soon as possible.
  • It is recommended that the student and course instructor discuss attendance prior to, or during the first week of class.
  • Instructors can set expectations. Instructors have the option to complete a modified attendance agreement form with the student.
  • If a student misses 5 consecutive days or has excessive absences, contact Academic Services.
Determining how many disability‐related absences are reasonable

The number of allowable absences and the amount of time given for each assignment extension depends on the interactive or participatory nature of a course, and/or may be based on department, college or accrediting agency rules.

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) provides the following guidelines to be used in considering whether attendance is an essential element of a course:

  1. Is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students?
  2. Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?
  3. Does the fundamental nature of the course rely on student participation as an essential method for learning?
  4. To what degree does a student’s failure to attend constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of other students in the class?
  5. What do the course description and syllabus say?
  6. Which method is used to calculate the final grade?
  7. What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?

Instructors are encouraged to contact the Learning Access Coordinator or their Department chair if assistance is needed making this accommodation.

FORMS

Modified Attendance Agreement form

Digital Accessibility Resources

Web Accessibility

"Web Accessibility" refers the practice of enabling individuals to use, understand, navigate, communicate, interact with and contribute to the web. Faculty and staff are encouraged to create websites, course shells, word documents, PDFs, and other digital course materials that are usable by people of all abilities or disabilities. This includes students who are blind or have other print disabilities who utilize screen reader software.

For instruction on making courses accessible, visit the following:
Lewis University Accessibility Resources:

https://sites.google.com/view/lewisaccess/home

The National Center on Disability and Access to Education:
http://ncdae.org/resources/cheatsheets/

Closed Captioning

If a student’s Accommodation Memo indicates that the student requires closed captioning on media, course instructors are encouraged to contact the Learning Access Coordinator immediately to discuss adding closed captioning to videos or other audio instructional materials. Instructors are encouraged to contact the Learning Access Coordinator regardless of whether the student makes a request for captioning, as the student may not predict when videos will be shown.

Materials in Alternative Format

Students who have vision, learning, or other disabilities which make accessing traditional printed materials difficult can request textbooks or course materials in an alternative format as a reasonable accommodation. Alternative formats include audio, braille, large print, color, and electronic versions of course materials.

The course instructor will be responsible for providing materials such as handouts in alternative formats for students who require this. The Academic Services Office will coordinate student textbooks. If a student is a braille user, the Academic Services Office will coordinate with the student’s course instructor to provide materials in braille.

Resources

Faculty and staff are encouraged to consider multiple learning styles and strategies in the classroom. Below are some resources for implementing universally designed classrooms to promote equality for all learners in the classroom:

DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Universal Design checklist:
http://www.washington.edu/doit/sites/default/files/atoms/files/Equal-Access-Universal-Design-of-Instruction.pdf

National Center on Universal Design in Learning:
http://www.udlcenter.org/implementation/examples

American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreters in the classroom

The following hints and strategies might be helpful when facilitating a lecture of a student who utilizes an in-person sign language interpreter:

  • The speaker and interpreter should both be in the student’s line of sight. Allow the student to determine the best placement for their seat so that they have the best visual access to the teacher, interpreter and other students. Notify the student if there will be changes of your placement or you consistently walk around the classroom.
  • Speak directly to the deaf student, not the interpreter. Avoid phases such as “tell her...” or “ask him…”
  • The interpreter may voice for the student or the student may voice for themselves.
  • Prepare to provide class materials and handouts to interpreters in advance. Advanced copies of lecture notes, technical terms, hand-outs, speeches, audio recordings, song lyrics, websites, PowerPoint slides, and other materials will help orient the deaf student and allow the interpreter to better prepare to translate the class content.
  • Expect lag time. Interpreters normally interpret one or two sentences behind the speaker. Speak naturally at a reasonable, moderate pace, and keeping in mind that the interpreter must listen and understand a concept before signing it.
    • When using a laser pointer or other visuals during lecture (like outlining an angle through the air), allow time for the interpreter to see it and convey it to the student.
    • Allow time during the class for the student to raise their hand, be recognized and make comments through the interpreter.
  • Semi-circles work best for group interactions and dialogues.
  • If students are required to wear special safety gear, such as lab coat, goggles, gloves, etc., such gear should be provided to the interpreters as well.
  • Work with the Academic Services office to caption videos 2-3 weeks in advance of course lecture, if videos do not already have captions.

Working with students who have Autism Spectrum Disorder in the classroom

Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder bring many strengths to the classroom experience. However, for some students, traditional accommodations may not be suitable for the student’s diversity in communication, social relatedness, need for routine and unique interests. The best way to assist students is to understand Autism Spectrum Disorder, while realizing that every student’s disability may impact them differently.

Communication tips:
  • Be aware of your use of metaphors and abstract language. Provide concise, concrete examples during lecture.
  • Provide advance notice of topics to be discussed, and advance notice to changes in schedule.
  • The student with Autism Spectrum Disorder may not make eye contact with you or may appear not to pay attention.
  • Be frank and direct when speaking with the student. For example, instead of generally offering assistance during office hours, if the student is struggling with coursework, bluntly tell them to meet with you in your office at XYZ time and date.
  • Allow for a longer verbal response time from the student.
Class Environment:
  • Reduce distractions and extraneous stimuli.
  • Provide written instructions, copies of lecture notes/slides, or assign a peer to share notes with the student.
  • Review classroom policies and expectations (even when a policy is implied or obvious to most students).
  • If group work is assigned, assist the student in picking a partner and monitor to assure proper inclusion/participation. If necessary, provide an alternative assignment.
  • Provide more than just verbal instruction. Written instructions paired with visual examples are necessary for some students with Autism Spectrum Disorder to understand abstract terms.
  • Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (as well as students in general) benefit from structure.
  • Allow the student to take a break from class without penalty if they feel overwhelmed by the lecture. Allow hats, glasses, ear plugs, specific seats to reduce sensory difficulties.
  • Be aware when choosing perfumes or class projects that certain odors or scents may be overwhelming for the student.
  • Some students have coping skills that may look odd or uncomfortable. Do not stop the behavior unless it is disrupting the class. Ask the student to step outside for a few minutes as they may not recognize the behavior or mean to be disruptive.
  • The student may not realize they are engaging in certain behaviors, and do not mean to be disrespectful. Creating a “cue” or code word may deter the behavior.
Homework Assistance:
  • Students may need explicit instructions on when to start large projects (such as each draft of a term paper). Large projects may need to be broken down into parts.
  • Encourage the student to visit the Academic Services office or attend instructor office hours if they appear to struggle with a component of the course.
Resources to learn more: