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The Office of Disability Support Services will determine the reasonable accommodations to be made by the university based on the individual needs of the student.
Services will be designed in a manner intended to remove barriers which hinder learning and which allow maximum independence. Accommodations are not intended to give the student an unfair advantage over other students.
Each student is authorized to act as his or her own advocate and has the major responsibility for securing assistance. Early and regular contacts with the Disability Support Services Department will help ensure the timely identification and provision of services and accommodations.
Accommodations cannot be retroactive and begin only after documentation is received and a reasonable time for accommodation development has been allowed.
Services offered, based on individual need, include:
- Note taking Assistance
- Exam Accommodations
- Alternate Text Format
- Accessibility Accommodations
- Permission to record class lectures
- Sign Language/CART interpreters for students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing
- Individualized suggestions for accommodations in the classroom
- Special tables and chairs
The Americans with Disabilities Act does not require colleges to provide personal assistants, individual personal tutors, or personal assistive technology. Whenever possible, the Office of Disability Support Services will refer students to agencies which may provide personal assistance of that nature. Accommodations are not made which reduce academic expectations, standards, or which would eliminate essential components of any course.
Note taking Assistance:
During the semester, students with a disability and note takers are encouraged to communicate with one another frequently about note taking concerns, such as arrangements for receiving notes. Students should work with their note takers to determine the type of notes preferred and the appropriateness of the notes supplied. NCR paper may be picked up by the student with the disability in the DSS office for the note taker to use.
Upon delivering the accommodation letter along with NCR paper and discussing note taking assistance with the professor, a note taker may be provided by either one, the professor knows a student with good note taking skills in the class and feels comfortable asking them for their assistance or two, the professor may read the following statement in obtaining a voluntary note-taker:
"The University has requested a volunteer in this class to share their notes with a student that needs assistance. If anyone would like to volunteer, please contact me after class."
Guidelines for Professors and Students with a Note taker Accommodation:
Because all matters pertaining to disability issues are to be treated as confidential medical records, you should not name the student in reading the request to the class. It is also best not to refer to a person's disability when in front of, or within hearing of other students. It is the responsibility of the SWD to ensure they are in class to receive notes. If a SWD misses a class he/she is not eligible to receive notes for that day from the regular note taker unless the Professor agrees. All SWD must attend class in order to receive notes as an accommodation. If the SWD has not received notes they must speak with the Professor. If the Professor does not ensure the student of getting the proper notes call DSS.
Students with documented disabilities may request note takers. It is the students' responsibility to contact Disability Support Services to request assistance with note taking.
All academic activities associated with a class are the responsibility of the faculty member to whom the class is assigned, including exams. Consequently, decisions on what occur in a class and the arrangement for the administration of special exams for students with disabilities is also the responsibility of the faculty member in charge. Exam administration could include exam proctoring, measurement, evaluation, or monitoring of a student's progress and performance. The faculty member may choose to administer an exam personally, allow a graduate assistant to administer the exam, or choose another viable option.
In the event the faculty member has difficulty in finding an appropriate person to proctor an examination, Disability Support Services will provide a proctor. All arrangements for exam accommodations through DSS must come from the student at least 48 business hours prior to the exam administration time and be cleared with the faculty member. Faculty members who utilize a proctor in DSS to administer their exams should complete and return the Exam Administration Form.
DSS encourages students to communicate with faculty members about necessary special accommodations in a timely fashion at the beginning of each semester. If students encounter difficulty with the administration of exams, they should first discuss it with the faculty member and then DSS.
Many times the most appropriate option or environment for exam accommodations is at locations designated by DSS. Common types of accommodations include extended time periods, the use of readers, scribes, word processors, assistive technology, and visual magnification systems.
The faculty member and DSS can discuss arrangements regarding the most appropriate exam procedures if necessary. Before each exam is given in the DSS area, the SWD will sign the Student Testing Procedures Form that references exam rules and regulations.
Alternative Text Format
During each semester, DSS will provide assistance or resources for students with disabilities to acquire textbooks in an alternative format. All students should use the Learning Ally website which is a national lending library of recorded textbooks for blind, learning disabled, dyslexic and orthopedically impaired students. A computerized listing of available books can be obtained by using the website http://www.learningally.org/. On their Home page choose BOOK CATALOG to search for recorded textbooks. To order books from the site a student must become a member. There is an annual membership fee. This fee is the student's responsibility. If a book is already recorded, students who are registered with Learning Ally may receive audio textbooks. If the book is not previously recorded, the student may suggest the title to be recorded. Depending on the type of text, recording time can be four months to a year. More technical books, such as foreign languages, science, math, computer science, etc., may take a very long time.
If materials cannot be located in audio form, some publishers provide books in electronic format. Contact the Adaptive Technology Trainer/Tech for information on how to request a particular textbook in electronic form from the publisher. The student must purchase the textbook requested or a fee from the publisher, in the amount of the cost of the book, will be added. Electronic text received from the publisher can be converted into an audio format (see the timeline in the Scanned Text paragraph below for converting a textbook into an audio book). Publisher request require a 1 day to 2 week response back from the publisher. If the publisher hasn't responded by the end of two weeks after a request was made or if the publisher does not offer electronic text, the student can request to scan the textbook.
If the materials cannot be located in the format that a student needs, such as an audio book, Braille, or electronic text, we can provide text and textbook scanning. Contact the Adaptive Technology Trainer/Tech to set up training on scanning text materials. Scanned book requests should be made as early as possible due to the lengthy process to create them (1 day to 2 weeks to scan, edit, and convert a textbook into an audio book, depending on the difficulty of the textbook). Faculty is urged to order textbooks and provide syllabi as early as possible. Syllabi help to eliminate wasted time and effort scanning and editing unused chapters in textbooks. Audio files are saved in .m4b or .MP3 format.
Students who use Braille may need Braille textbooks for certain technical classes such as math, statistics, foreign languages, science, etc. These books may be obtained through the National Braille Press; however, the master copies are kept in various state and regional libraries around the country.
Over the past few years, UCO has made numerous modifications and improvements to enhance campus accessibility for students with disabilities. If students, faculty or staff encounter obstacles with programs, facilities, or the campus structure they should contact Disability Support Services and register their concerns or recommendations. Disability Support Services will assist with the elimination of that difficulty.
Designated reserved handicap parking and conveniently located sidewalks and curb cuts provide accessible passageways throughout the campus for persons with disabilities. Accessible restrooms, water fountains, and telephones are available in UCO buildings. Emergency phones are located throughout the campus and provide direct connection with the University Police Department. TTY machines are available at the UCO library circulation desk and in DSS Room 309 of the Nigh University Center.
Sometimes, bad weather creates mobility problems for students with disabilities. Any difficulties, obstacles, or problems that arise due to the snow and ice removal are to be directed to DSS (974-2516) immediately. Although it happens infrequently, it is important to be prepared and address the difficulty that inclement weather brings.
Inclement weather information can be located at http://www.uco.edu/resources/closing_info.asp or call the UCO Closing Information Line at (405) 974-2002.