Students Disability Services (SDS) was created to assist faculty and staff in their every day efforts to ensure equal access for students to all college programs and services. The following is a list of frequently asked questions.
We hope this information is helpful in providing the best possible service to students.
1. How are accommodations determined?
Accommodations are based on documentation and the recommendations of an outside evaluator, case law, consultation with the student, and best practice. We do not determine accommodations, we administer them.
Documentation is required for a student to receive accommodations, as established by the Educational Testing Services (ETS) and the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD).
Testing must be done by a qualified, licensed, independent practitioner. Depending on the disability, this may be a physician, psychologist, or learning disability specialist. A listing of local practitioners can be provided upon request.
2. Are services ever denied?
Yes. Students who fail to establish that they have a disability that impacts one or more major life activities or do not provide adequate documentation will be denied services. Also, accommodations that are not supported by the documentation or aren't appropriate at the postsecondary level, e.g. modified curriculum, will not be included on the Academic Adjustment Plan.
3. Sometimes we aren't notified about a student’s accommodations until mid-semester or later. Why is that?
There are many reasons that faculty may not be notified about a student at the beginning of the semester including delayed receipt of documentation, student referred mid-semester, referral related to sudden onset of illness or injury, etc.
As soon as SDS has the necessary documentation and the student elects to use services, we notify the faculty.
In short: when we know, you know!
4. Do I have to accommodate the student retroactively?
No, accommodations begin when you receive the Academic Adjustment Plan from Student Disability Services.
5. Can faculty provide accommodation without an academic adjustment plan from Student Disability Services?
We don't recommend it. In the absence of documentation, there is no way for a faculty member to know if the request for accommodation is legitimate.
If a student asks for an accommodation but we have not contacted you, please refer the student to SDS.
6. Who is responsible for providing testing accommodations?
This is a shared responsibility. Whenever possible, faculty are encouraged to provide the accommodation themselves. This allows students to address questions related to the exam directly to faculty rather than through SDS staff. If you are not able to provide the accommodation as specified on the Academic Adjustment Plan, we are here to help.
How do testing accommodations work?
Students with testing accommodations as part of their Academic Adjustment Plan take exams with SDS at the regularly scheduled class time. The exceptions to this rule include the following:
a. if they need extended time but have classes immediately before and after the exam,
b. they have too many exams in the same day,
c. the class is taking the exam outside SDS office hours.
d. the student has ‘alternate test time’ listed as an accommodation on their plan due to medical reasons.
If a student needs to request an alternate test time, he or she must get faculty approval before scheduling it with our office. If you have a question about the time of an exam scheduled with SDS, please contact the Testing Services Specialist at 274-1257.
7. When I send an exam SDS for administration, who has access to the exam?
Professional staff are the only people with access to exams. Due to staffing constraints, sealed envelopes containing the completed exams will be delivered to the deans’ offices by SDS student workers .
Test security is our top priority. If you have questions, please contact our Testing Services Specialist.
8. Some students have “Flexible Attendance” listed as an accommodation. What is the reason for this and how many ‘extra’ absences do I need to allow?
SDS encourages students who have this accommodation on their plan to meet with faculty at the beginning of the semester to discuss how many absences are acceptable in order to complete course requirements. This will provide the student with the necessary information to determine if they should remain in the class.
This accommodation is primarily included for students who have a medical condition that may impact their ability to attend class if their symptoms become worse, they have side effects from their medication or they need to seek medical care.
It’s difficult to give an exact number of allowable absences since it is, in part, determined by the nature of the class. For example, courses where class participation and/or group projects are a critical part of the curriculum are more challenging for students to make up work if they miss several classes.
9. Who is the ADA compliance officer and is there a grievance procedure in place?
The Director of Equal Opportunity Compliance is the ADA compliance officer. If a faculty member has a concern about an accommodation, contact our office first to discuss your concerns. If you do not get resolution, contact your department chair, then the dean. If no resolution can be reached, the final arbiter is the ADA compliance officer.
10. Where can I go to get more information about the Office of Student Disability Services?
Please visit our website at: www.ithaca.edu/sds
We're here to support you, too, so please don't hesitate to contact the student's Disability Services Specialist regarding questions, concerns or for other assistance. The office phone number is 274-1005.