Student Accessibility Services: FAQs
Student Accessibility Services (SAS) works in partnership with students, faculty and staff to develop and implement accommodations that provide qualified students with equal access to academic programs. Student Accessibility Services is one of the four offices that together comprise the Center for Academic Advancement. The following is a list of frequently asked questions.
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, rather we administer them.
Documentation and/or established history of disability 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 may 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 Accommodation Plan. We do work to support the student as fully as possible, so even if they do not qualify for academic accommodations or services through SAS, we partner with the other campus resources, including our partners of the Center for Academic Advancement offices—Tutoring Services, the Academic Advising Center, and State Grants/HEOP—to identify and provide resources to meet the academic needs of Ithaca College students.
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 SAS has the necessary documentation and the student elects to use services, we notify the faculty after getting permission from the student to share the Academic Accommodation plan and/or other necessary information.
4. Do I have to accommodate the student retroactively?
Accommodations are effective when you receive the Academic Accommodation Plan from Student Accessibility Services. While you do not need to accommodate retroactively, we do encourage faculty to engage in an interactive process to evaluate the request/nature of concern on a case-by-case basis. You can certainly call us in Student Accessibility Services if you have a concern about late implementation of accommodations.
5. Can faculty provide accommodation without an academic accommodation plan from Student Accessibility 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 necessary. If a student asks for an accommodation but you have not received an Academic Accommodation Plan from our office, please refer the student to SAS.
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 SAS staff. If you are not able to provide the accommodation as specified on the Academic Accommodation Plan, we are here to help.
How do testing accommodations work?
Students with testing accommodations as part of their Academic Accommodation Plan take exams with SAS 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 SAS office hours.
d. the student has ‘alternate test time’ listed as an accommodation on their plan due to medical reasons.
e. the student needs to report to the classroom after the test for lecture.
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 SAS, please contact the Testing Services Specialist at 607-274-1257
To understand the IC Workflow Test Accommodation Request and Approval Process (implemented in Spring 2015), please view the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDz2kwz-d7o&feature=youtu.be
7. When I send an exam to SAS for administration, who has access to the exam?
Professional staff are the only people with access to printing and packing exams. Exams are kept in a secure location in our office before administration. Due to staffing constraints, sealed envelopes containing the completed exams will be delivered to the Deans’ offices.
Test security is our top priority. If you have questions, please contact our Testing Services Specialist at 607-274-1257.
8. While we provide a variety of accommodations individualized for each student, some of the accommodations we get frequent questions about are Flexible Attendance and Extensions on Assignments.
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?
SAS 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. We do encourage faculty to engage in an interactive process to evaluate the request/nature of concern on a case-by-case basis. You can certainly call us in Student Accessibility Services if you have a concern about late implementation of accommodations.
Some students have "Extensions on Assignments" listed as an accommodation. What is the reason for this and how is this effectively implemented?
Students may have this accommodation if they have a medical condition or disability that will impact their ability to complete an assignment. Again, SAS encourages students who have this accommodation to meet with their faculty at the start of the semester (or soon after the accommodation is granted.) It is the responsibility of the student to speak with faculty directly to discuss the accommodation of extensions and alternate due dates for papers and assignments. The student should do this a minimum of three to four days prior to the date the assignment is due. This does not apply to assignments given at the beginning of the semester, clearly assigned in the syllabus, or assigned two to three weeks prior to the due date. The exception would be for students with a medical or health condition which could impact their ability to complete assignments if their symptoms become more problematic, they're hospitalized, etc. In this situation, please be flexible in working with the student regarding an alternate due date since they may not be able to give advance notice. We encourage faculty to engage in an interactive process to evaluate the request/nature of concern on a case-by-case basis. You can call Student Accessibility Services with regard to specific situations that arise.
9. Who is the ADA compliance officer and is there a grievance procedure in place?
As noted in the Institutional Policy on Disability, Section 2.5 of Volume II: Campus Community, students and faculty are encouraged to report any accessibility related concern/grievance to the attention of Student Accessibility Services. Student Accessibility Services will review the nature of each concern/grievance and suggest further and/or necessary action. Employees, students, and visitors to Ithaca College are encouraged to bring any concerns regarding known or suspected instances of disability-based discrimination to the attention of the Director of Equity Compliance, the ADA compliance officer designated as the person responsible for coordinating the College’s compliance with Section 504 and the ADA.
10. What is the best way to inform students about their opportunity to request accommodations?
Faculty are encouraged to add a statement in their course syllabus regarding Student Accessibility Services. The verbiage is provided here:
"In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, reasonable accommodations will be provided to qualified students with documented disabilities. Students seeking accommodations must register with Student Accessibility Services and provide appropriate documentation before any accommodations can be provided. Please note that accommodations are not retroactive so timely contact with Student Accessibility Services is encouraged."
11. How will I be notified of a students’ Academic Accommodation Plan?
Once a student meets with us to implement his/her Academic Accommodation Plan, they sign a release form allowing us to communicate with faculty and staff about their accommodations on a need-to-know basis. We do not disclose diagnosis unless requested by the student or/and an Early Notification email is necessary. You will get a copy of each student’s plan through inter-office mail. As you review the plans, please do not hesitate to contact us with questions.
12. What are Early Notification emails from SAS?
While we don’t typically release diagnostic information, with the student’s permission, it is sometimes necessary to share information with you to ensure access and safety. The purpose of these emails is to let you know that the student mentioned has a health issue or impairment that you should be aware of. Examples of early notifications could include students with a hearing loss who need to sit up front or use an FM system, or other assistive device. We may inform you of students with mobility issues so that aisles can be kept clear, students who have severe allergies and must carry an Epi-Pen or students who have a medical condition such as a seizure disorder or diabetes.
13. Where can I go to get more information about Student Accessibility Services?
Please visit our website at: www.ithaca.edu/sas/
We're here to support you, too, so please don't hesitate to contact the student's Accessibility Specialist regarding questions, concerns or for other assistance. We are always happy to attend individual or departmental staff meetings. The office phone number is 607-274-1005 and we are located in Towers Concourse 110. Testing Services for Student Accessibility Services is in Towers Concourse 120.