Quick Help Guide
Learning Specialist 791-2710
Staff Assistant 791-2628
Support Services 791-2510
Caruth Health Education Center
Learning Specialist - HEC 183 341-3721
St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus/AllState Center/
Learning Specialist - AD 120 341-4316
Learning Specialist – UPC 110 394-6289
Staff Assistant 394-6234
Tarpon Springs Campus
Learning Specialist – AD 114 712-5789
President’s Letter to Faculty and Staff
General Information about Disabilities
Where to Go for Help
Modifications at SPC
Common Questions from Faculty Members
Understanding and Accommodating the Needs of Students with Disabilities
Specific Learning Disability
Appendix A: College Disability Policy
Appendix B: Accommodation Form
Appendix C: Legal Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Dear Faculty and Staff:
St. Petersburg College is committed to providing quality education and services to those who study here. For many years, the college has assimilated a diverse student body, including students with disabilities, into our campus life. To those individuals we must endeavor to provide access to the programs, services and facilities available to all other students.
Since this Faculty Guide to Reasonable Accommodations for Students with Disabilities was first printed in 1996, technology has improved to make it easier for students with disabilities to succeed. In addition to upgrading assistive technology software in the labs of the college’s Offices of Services for Students with Disabilities (OSSD) tutoring labs, SPC has renovated many campus buildings to improve access for all students.
This guide is intended to assist you in better serving students with disabilities. Not all questions are answered in the Guide, but you should find many helpful suggestions that can be applied to your specific situations. For additional assistance, please contact your site Learning Specialist.
We appreciate your commitment to providing equal access to educational opportunity for all students.
Carl M. Kuttler, Jr.
Access to education means more than simple admission to a college. Access means providing students with the tools they will need to be successful in higher education. Students with an identified disability should be no exception. In fact, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (see Appendix C) insure that all qualified persons have equal access to education regardless of the presence of any disability. Physical substitutions, course waivers, and modifications of classroom presentations, testing and course requirements are all examples of ways to provide access for the student with a disability. Failure to make such reasonable accommodations can place the college in violation of federal and state statutes, resulting in costly penalties. More importantly, a student is being denied the opportunity to achieve success and self-sufficiency.
The Faculty Guide to Reasonable Accommodations for Students with Disabilities is designed to assist SPC faculty and staff in providing meaningful educational opportunities for students with disabilities. Suggestions are made on how faculty and staff can adjust their teaching styles, testing procedures, and course procedures, and many other adaptations to accommodate students with disabilities. Many times you will find these accommodations will be beneficial to all students. Information is also provided on the availability of professionals with expertise in working with students with disabilities at all SPC campuses.
In many ways, students with disabilities are not unlike other students. They have the same needs: to be challenged, to be part of a group, to be accepted, and to succeed. These students wish to be treated as individuals and not be singled out or stereotyped as disabled. The following general considerations are important in assisting students with disabilities to meet their educational goals:
§ A disability is seldom "total," and usually affects a surprisingly narrow range of activity.
§ Many persons find themselves feeling awkward, fearful, or self-conscious when interacting with persons with disabilities. Common sense, courtesy, caring, and experience will reduce these reactions.
§ Actions that call attention to deficiencies manifested by students with disabilities should be avoided.
§ It is important to make a statement at the beginning of each term inviting students to discuss their special needs and giving students the opportunity to discuss their needs privately.
§ Misconceptions and/or lack of knowledge concerning persons with disabilities are common to many people. It is to be remembered that the term "disabled" is not synonymous with cognitive impairment.
§ Students with disabilities often resist the process of identification and/or accommodation to avoid being "labeled."
§ Learning Specialists can share information about the student’s functional limitations that relate to the academic setting. However, details about the documented disability are confidential information.
Language can play a key role in creating and maintaining attitudinal barriers harmful to persons with disabilities. Certain words used to describe individuals with disabilities (cripple, moron, Mongoloid, junkie, victim, etc.) have extremely negative connotations and are very stigmatizing. Such language may also have a devaluing or dehumanizing effect because it focuses on the person as the disability rather than a person with a disability. References to the blind or the mentally retarded are examples of this devaluing language. One exception to this guideline is the deaf community that prefers to be called "deaf" rather than "hearing impaired." Following is a list of unacceptable and preferred terms for referring to persons with disabilities.
|The disabled, handicapped||Person with a disability|
|The blind||Person with a visual disability|
|Retard||Person with mental retardation|
Confined to a wheelchair,
|Person who uses a wheelchair|
|CP, spastic||Person with cerebral palsy|
In general, try to mention the person first and then, if necessary, the disability. Try to think about your language and how it impacts on the person about whom you are referring. Does it suggest a victim or an object of sympathy? Does it focus on a person’s disability? If so, you need to use different language.
What is Accessibility?
Providing accessible locations for classes, programs, and services offered by the college is mandated by state and federal law. If multiple sections of a course are offered, at least one section of the course must be in an accessible location. For students with mobility impairments, this means that classes must be located in buildings with ground-level entry, working elevators (if the class is not located on the ground level), and doorways that are at least 32” wide. Classes must be relocated either temporarily or permanently if these specifications are not met. Accessibility is not limited to students with mobility impairments. The needs of students with visual impairments must also be taken into consideration when selecting locations for classes and programs.
Where To Go For Help
The Offices of Services to Students with Disabilities (OSSD) on each campus and instructional site of St. Petersburg College are designed to serve students, staff, and faculty. Students identify themselves to SPC and request assistance in making the academic adjustments necessary to insure their success. Documentation of a disability is necessary before accommodations are provided (see appendix A). While the Learning Specialists serve as advocates for students with disabilities, students are encouraged to become advocates for themselves. The staff will also assist faculty and other members of the college community to comply with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Specific services provided by the Learning Specialists vary with the nature of the individual student’s disability, but may include: assistance with registration, tutors, notetakers, interpreters, readers, scribes, locating alternate classrooms for inaccessible areas, modifications in test-taking format and/or setting, assistive technology, taped textbooks, and course or CLAST substitutions or waivers.
Students are also able to borrow electronic spellers, talking calculators, cassette recorders, and telecommunication devices for the deaf. Other services are provided as needed. Students may also receive services as clients of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Division of Blind Services (DBS), or other agencies.
If you would like additional information about services that are available, please contact:
Clearwater Campus – also EPICenter
Health Education Center
St. Petersburg/Gibbs – also serving:
Seminole Campus – also serving E-Campus
Tarpon Springs Campus
Modifications at SPC
Waiver of a course--- A waiver of a course requirement may be considered if the individual's disability is severe enough to preclude successful completion of the class. The course cannot be essential to the student's major field of study. This is only done with the approval of campus administration in consultation with the content area department chair and Learning Specialist. In only rare instances will a course waiver be approved.
Substitutions--- Substitutions may be granted in rare cases when a student's disability precludes him/her from passing a nonessential course in his/her program. Substituted courses teach similar skills through different means. This is only done with the approval of campus administration in consultation with the content area department chair and Learning Specialist.
CLAST modifications--- Accommodations provided to students taking the CLAST should be the same as those provided for coursework. The Learning Specialist will assist the student in obtaining an accommodation.
Emergency Evacuation Procedures---St. Petersburg College’s Board of Trustees Procedures for Emergencies (P6Hx23-1.23) states the following relating to students with disabilities:
§ Provosts…shall develop building evacuation plans for the site(s) for that they are responsible. The plan(s) will include procedures for evacuation of persons with disabilities.
§ At the beginning of each session, every instructor who has a student with limited mobility, shall practice taking a person down the stairs using an Evacu-trac.
§ At the beginning of each session, the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (OSSD) will hold a demonstration of the Evacu-trac for all students with limited mobility to familiarize them with the Evacu-trac. Facilities Services and Campus Security will be available to assist with the training and a video will be kept on reserve in each Library.
§ All reasonable precautions should be taken to avoid blocking paths to escape, i.e. stairs, exits, doorways with empty wheelchairs.
Common Questions from Faculty Members
(Center for Innovation in Special Education)What are the implications of the ADA for higher education institutions?
Instructors need to have a clear understanding of the possible educational implications for students with specific disabilities. They need to be aware that students with disabilities may require certain adaptations, and they need to be receptive and responsive to students who indicate that they have such needs. While each case must be evaluated on an individual basis, the characteristics, problems, and accommodations for a variety of disabilities that may be encountered within the classroom setting are described in this Guide. Many of the suggestions given here can benefit all students.
Specific Learning Disability
"A Specific Learning Disability is a disorder in one or more of the central nervous system processes involved in perceiving, understanding and/or using concepts through spoken/written language or non-verbal means. This disorder manifests itself with a deficit in one or more of the following areas: attention, reasoning, processing, memory, communication, reading, writing, spelling, calculation, coordination, social competence, and emotional maturity." (Rehabilitation Services Administration, 1985) While specific learning disabilities may affect any of these areas, deficiencies are usually limited to only one or two areas. Students with specific learning disabilities may exhibit some of the following characteristics :
§ inappropriate social behavior
§ poor notetaking skills
§ poor study skills
§ attention disorders
§ passive learning styles
§ poor listening skills
§ difficulty following directions
§ inconsistent performance
§ poor handwriting, letter and number formation
§ poor recall
§ confusion of mathematical symbols
§ failure to memorize basic number facts
§ difficulty shifting from one task to another
§ test anxiety
§ poor vocabulary
§ disorientation in time
§ poor strategies for monitoring errors
§ difficulty aligning numbers
Despite learning problems, students with specific learning disabilities still have a number of talents and gifts and are of average to superior intelligence. With support, motivation, and appropriate intervention, they can successfully complete the work required for a college degree.
Educational Implications for Students with Specific Learning Disabilities: It is important to note that the effects of a specific learning disability on academic performance result from long-term retrieval, short-term memory, processing speed, auditory, visual, and/or other cognitive processing deficits. Students with these disabilities are not less intelligent than other students nor are they lazy. The student with a specific learning disability may exhibit problems in one or more of the following areas:
Reading: Slow reading rate and/or difficulty in modifying reading rate in accordance with difficulty of material; poor comprehension and retention of written material; difficulty in identifying important/relevant points or themes; inability to distinguish between sounds, creating poor mastery of phonics, confusion of similar words, and difficulty integrating new vocabulary; poor tracking skills resulting in skipped words, phrases or lines and losing place on the page.
Written Language: Difficulty with sentence structure resulting in incomplete sentences, poor use of grammar, and missing inflectional endings; frequent spelling errors, transpositions of letters, omissions or substitutions of sounds especially in unfamiliar vocabulary; inability to copy correctly from written information; poor penmanship, poorly formed letters, incorrect use of capitalization, trouble with spacing, and overly-large handwriting.
Oral Language: Inability to concentrate on and comprehend oral language; difficulty in orally expressing ideas and or in proper sequencing of events; difficulty in managing more than one task at a time or retaining a list of information; and inability to distinguish between sounds or combination of sounds.
Mathematics: Incomplete mastery of basic facts resulting in poor match comprehension and computation; number reversals, confusion of operational signals, and difficulty recalling the sequence of operational processes; difficulty understanding and retaining abstract concepts; poor comprehension of word problems and limited understanding of ration, proportions or relative size; and reasoning deficits and inability to eliminate irrelevant data in applied problems.
Organization: Inability to manage time effectively; difficulty staying on or completing tasks; tendency to work slowly, rush through work carelessly, or impulsively start before listening to or reading instructions; deficiency in listening to lectures and taking notes at the same time; inability to identify key points in a lecture or chapter; and short attention span.
Visual/Spatial/Motor Skills: Poor coordination, slow motor movements, and noticeable problems in using equipment/tools; and motor weakness in both upper and lower body posture.
Social: Avoids eye contact and speaks softly; inability to read and respond to verbal/non-verbal cues and voice inflections; and tendency to stand too close when talking to others or communicates too loudly; inappropriate comments or use of neologisms (making up words such as "flustrating").
Examples of Accommodations for Students with Specific Learning Disabilities: A variety of accommodations may be employed to help students overcome the difficulties described above.
Classroom Instructional Techniques:
• At the beginning of each semester, encourage documented students to discuss modifications that will facilitate their learning.
• Provide a detailed course syllabus; perhaps more detailed than one you now use. Announce reading assignments well in advance or have a syllabus available early for students who are using taped materials as it takes time to have a book tape recorded.
• Begin lectures and/or discussion with written and oral overview of topics to be covered.
• Use a variety of multi-media tools, e.g., chalkboard, overhead projector, or handouts to highlight key concepts, unusual terminology or unfamiliar words.
• Make statements that emphasize important points, main ideas, and key concepts when lecturing.
• Provide all assignments in oral and written format and be available for further clarification. Provide study guide for text and encourage study groups, peer tutoring, and study labs. Prepare study questions for review sessions to aid in mastering material for exams.
• Accept oral presentations or tape recordings in place of written assignments, when possible.
• Facilitate the use of special accommodations recommended by the Office of Services to Students with Disabilities such as notetakers, tape or Power Point presentations; lectures/demonstrations, readers for tests, extended time for tests, and oral rather than written tests.
• Allow an alternative test environment that eliminates distractions.
Laboratory Techniques: (Altman, et. al)
• Provide students with an individual orientation to the laboratory and equipment so that anxiety is minimized.
• Allow students to use cue cards or labels that designate the steps of a procedure that aid in mastering a sequence.
• Allow students to use specialized adaptive equipment to aid in precise measurement.
Hearing impairment refers to a reduction in sensitivity to sound, even when amplified. In the United States, more persons have a hearing impairment than any other chronic physical disability. The later in life hearing loss occurs, the less severe is its consequence. In general, persons who are born with severe hearing losses present the greater challenge to education because English is not their native language. Nevertheless, persons with hearing impairments, whether deaf or hard of hearing, can succeed at every level.
People who identify themselves as "Culturally Deaf" are members of a distinct linguistic and cultural minority. As with any cultural group, people who are deaf have their own values, social norms, and traditions. Because of this, one should be sensitive and attentive to cross-cultural information in the mainstreamed classroom setting. These students probably use American Sign Language as their primary means of communication, but have some familiarity with English as a second language. Students who are culturally deaf will use American Sign Language interpreters in the classroom setting.
Late-deafened adults have English as their primary language and may not understand much sign language. In some cases a Cprinter (real time captioner) will attend class with late-deafened students.
Students who are "Hard of Hearing" may use speech, lip-reading, and hearing aids to enhance oral communication. Assistive listening devices in the classroom may include public address systems and transmitter/ receiver systems with a clip-on microphone for the instructor. Be aware that misunderstandings can occur when speech reading alone is utilized, because only 30-40% of spoken English is visible on the lips.
Although some students who are deaf may choose to speak for themselves, there is a wide range in the intelligibility of their voices. Vocal control, volume, and articulation often are affected as hearing loss may influence their ability to monitor their own voices.
Educational Implications for Students with a Hearing Impairment:
General: Delayed development of the English language, affecting comprehension of written materials, test questions, speaking, and writing; increased dependence on visual cues; and inaccurate assessment of strengths and weaknesses based on standardized test scores.
Social: Social isolation; reluctance to ask for assistance or to have something repeated.
Examples of Accommodations for Students with a Hearing Impairment:
The accommodations listed below may be employed to help students overcome the difficulties associated with hearing impairments.
- Maintain eye contact with the student, not the interpreter. This develops an appropriate instructor/student rapport.
- Rephrase a thought rather than repeat the same words if the student does not understand.
- Address the student directly, via the interpreter. Remember that the interpretation process involves translating the message from one language to another, and may involve a time lag.
- Speak at your normal pace. The interpreter or student will ask you to make adjustments if necessary.
- Try to stay as close to the interpreter as possible, as the student will probably monitor your facial expressions and body language to support the interpreted message.
- Facing the chalkboard while speaking restricts the student’s ability to pick up context clues through lip-reading or facial expressions.
- During group discussions, try to permit only one student to speak at a time. It is difficult for an interpreter or hard-of-hearing student to follow several persons speaking at once.
- Check for comprehension by asking for explanation or illustration in such a way that does not single out the student with a hearing impairment from the rest of the class.
- Repeat or rephrase questions and comments brought up by other class members so that a student with a hearing impairment does not miss valuable portions of class discussion.
- Excessive facial hair or anything that blocks the area around the mouth may interfere with the student’s ability to lip-read.
- Allow the student to sit in the front row or other optimum location.
- Avoid standing with your back to a window or other sources of light as the glare makes it difficult to read lips and other facial expressions.
- Maintain enough light during films to enable the student to see the interpreter.
- Obtain films that are close-captioned.
- Remember that the student who is deaf or hard of hearing will need to be informed by a touch or signal from you to evacuate the building in an emergency situation.
- Remember to check the restrooms in case of emergencies.
- Provide a detailed syllabus.
- Use visual media when possible to provide supplemental instruction of what is being taught.
- Supply a list of technical terminology and unfamiliar words or terms to the student and the interpreter.
- Write a key word or phrase of the topic being discussed on the board or overhead projector especially when the topic changes frequently.
- Post notice of class cancellations, assignments, etc. on board, overhead projector, or in writing to ensure understanding.
- Notify interpreter of schedule changes or class cancellations as far in advance as possible to facilitate interpreter scheduling.
- Do not expect interpreters to assume other duties; they are in the classroom only to facilitate communication.
- Insure purchases of new video tapes are closed captioned.
Visual impairment is the loss of visual function of such magnitude that special aids and use of other senses are necessary to achieve performance ordinarily directed by visual clues. Students who have visual impairments range from having total absence of sight to varying degrees of useful vision. Because a student is visually impaired, it should not be assumed that they cannot participate in educational activities. Orientation, mobility, and rehabilitation specialists employed by the state Division of Blind Services can often determine special aids and/or accommodations that facilitate integration into the classroom setting.
Educational Implications for Students With a Visual Impairment:
The student who is visually impaired may exhibit problems in one or more of the following areas:
General: Inability to utilize visuals such as films, graphs, demonstrations, and written materials; difficulty in taking traditional paper and pencil tests; need for a longer period of time to complete assignments; difficulty in focusing on small-group discussion when there is more than one group functioning; and need for a variety of low-vision aids to integrate the classroom.
Social: Feelings of social inadequacy and isolation; reduced personal independence; and limited job opportunities and career choices.
Examples of Accommodations for Students with a Visual Impairment:
A variety of accommodations described below may be employed to help students overcome the difficulties associated with visual impairments.
- Tape record a detailed course outline and syllabus.
- Provide large print visuals when appropriate.
- Allow student to do reading assignments in the library using the Visual Tek.
_ Provide textbook titles in advance so that taped copies can be made.
- Provide supplements to films such as sound tapes and oral summaries for preview and review. Permit visually impaired students to tape lectures for review and reinforcement.
- Place recorder in close proximity to eliminate background noise and assure quality.
- Accept a tape recording of written assignments.
- Allow tests to be taken orally.
- Photocopies of class handouts or course packets should be of good quality and should not be reduced below original size.
- Allow partially sighted students to sit near the front of the room or other optimum locations.
- Be sensitive to possible environmental hazards to visually impaired students.
- Be aware of emergency routes and provide assistance to students when appropriate.
A meaningful simple definition for a seizure disorder is difficult because of its wide variability. A seizure may be defined as an episode of abnormal motor, sensory, autonomic, or psychic activity (or a combination of these) as a consequence of sudden excessive electrical discharge from cerebral neurons (The Lippencott Manual of Nursing Practice, 4th Edition). Such seizures may consist of only a brief suspension of activity (petit mal); automatic motor activity or complex alterations of behavior (psychomotor); or a full-blown generalized motor seizure (grand mal). Other than the occasional seizure, persons with this disorder generally look and function like everyone else in society but may experience some memory dysfunction. The educational potential for persons who have seizure disorders is considered to be good and is not diminished if seizures are medically controlled unless serious memory deficits exist.
Educational Implications for Students with a Seizure Disorder:
The student with a seizure disorder may exhibit problems in one or more of the following areas:
General: Brief lapses of consciousness or “staring spells" causing disruptions in the learning process; side effects from anticonvulsant medication resulting in slowed reactions, clumsiness and poor hand coordination, eye focusing difficulty, and flatness of affect; increased absences if grand mal seizures are not medically well controlled; memory deficits due to complex partial seizures or temporal lobe epilepsy; and clouded thinking caused by chronic seizure disorders and effects of medication.
Social: Social isolation due to general public’s fear and misunderstanding of seizures and avoidance of social situations because of fear of embarrassment should a seizure occur.
Vocational: Negative employer attitudes and rejection in job seeking may occur due to misunderstanding of the disorder and fear that company liability and insurance rates will increase.
Examples of Accommodations for Students with a Seizure Disorder:
A variety of accommodations may be employed to help students overcome the difficulties involved with seizure disorders.
- Be aware of the type of seizure disorder that student has.
- Learn what to do when a Grand Mal seizure occurs.
- Allow for absences related to recovery from Grand Mal seizures.
- Recognize effects of medication on performance and allow extra time for exams and completion of class activities.
- Help the student assess how competitive they might be in their chosen career field.
Motor impairment is the partial or total loss of the function of a body part as a result of a spinal cord injury, amputation, or musculoskeletal back disorders. Such impairment may result in involuntary movement, total paralysis, and reduced levels of function in tasks that require general trunk mobility. These motor impairments range from the obvious visibility of the spinal cord injury and amputation to the more nebulous such as the chronic back disorder. Because of these variants, the educational expectations for these students will differ greatly in relation to the type of disability. Educational planning for the student includes investigation of interests, aptitudes, and physical limitations to determine the appropriate educational goal consistent with the disability.
Educational Implications for Students with a Motor Impairment:
The student with a motor impairment may exhibit a problem in one or more of the following areas:
General: Difficulty moving from one location to another; impaired writing and/or speaking due to the physical disability; inability to sit, stand, or walk for prolonged periods of time; difficulty participating in classes involving physical activity; needs special assistance in laboratory situations; difficulty in taking traditional paper and pencil tests; and requires additional time to move from class to class.
Examples of Accommodations for Students with a Motor Impairments:
A variety of accommodations may be employed to help students overcome the difficulties involved with motor impairments.
§ Do not assume that students with motor impairments cannot participate in an activity. Always consult with the student regarding limitations.
§ Give assistance only if the student asks for it.
§ Do not assume that assistance is required.
§ Incorporate a means by that the student can participate in group activities.
§ This may include adapting equipment or pairing the student with another student.
§ Check emergency exits and routes and provide assistance as necessary.
§ Check the emergency evacuation plan for your campus.
§ Training on the Evacutrac is available every semester.
§ Ask to switch to a ground floor room if possible.
Students with Wheelchairs:
§ Check for accessibility in and out of the classroom.
§ Arrange for classroom furniture such as wheelchair-height work stations, aisle widths, etc., to accommodate the student’s needs.
§ Do not hang onto or lean on a wheelchair. It is often considered to be part of the person’s "body space."
§ Push the wheelchair only if asked or if you have offered and it has been accepted.
Students with Hand-Function Limitations:
§ Allow a notetaker when requested.
§ Accept tape recording of written assignments/exams.
§ Give or ask support personnel to give exams orally when necessary or allow extra time for students who are able to write but who have diminished speed.
§ Allow students to use a scribe or computer for exams.
§ Utilize competencies learned rather than speed as a grading criteria.
§ Allow a tape recorder for lectures and discussions.
Students with Chronic Back Problems:
§ Allow students to alternate activities in sitting, standing, and walking.
§ Be aware of emotional discomfort that often accompanies chronic pain.
One in every ten persons in the United States now has some form of psychological disorder with varying degrees of severity. Because of the frequency of psychological problems in the general population, it can be assumed instructors may encounter students with these disabilities in the regular classroom. Psychological disturbances are grouped into a number of categories including psychoses, mood, organic brain syndromes, substance abuse, and personality disorders.
Educational Implications for Students with a Psychological Disorder:
Instructors who have students with emotional disorders would benefit from an understanding of the following:
General: A knowledge that high, but realistic, expectations should be maintained to encourage full realization of social and vocational potential; an awareness that a student with an emotional disorder may frequently be treated with therapeutic medications that affect performance and speed; an understanding that student behaviors that vary from the norm may be an indication that the student is experiencing a recurrence of symptoms and is in need of intervention; and a realization that students can assume full responsibility for their thoughts, feelings and actions but are helped when an instructor displays empathy.
Examples of Accommodations for Students with a Psychological Disorder:
The following accommodations may be employed to help students overcome the difficulties involved with such disorders. (Note: For additional information on this subject refer to DBT 6Hx23.4333)
- Encourage students at the beginning of each term to discuss with you any modifications that will facilitate their learning, any medications they are taking and side effects they may have, and any symptoms of stress to be noticed.
- Many characteristics displayed and classroom techniques to deal with these are similar to those of students with learning disabilities.
- It is helpful to avoid escalating negative behaviors/situations by using a calm, non-threatening voice and demeanor.
- Allow students to sit near the exit in case they need to leave the classroom. Sometimes a short break may be needed for a student to re-group before continuing classroom efforts.
- Allow additional time for exams, when levels of medication or inability to concentrate interfere with speed.
- Be aware of changes in behavior that could be symptomatic of recurrence of problems and refer the student to the Learning Specialist.
- Encourage students to use relaxation and other stress reducing techniques, especially during exams.
Dealing with Disruptive Behaviors:
Although most students with psychological disabilities never draw attention to themselves by behaving disruptively, a few, because their symptoms are more persistent and/or cyclical, may experience periods in that “holding it together” becomes more difficult. Disciplinary issues should not be confused with mental health issues. All students, including students with psychological disabilities, have the responsibility to meet the code of conduct by adapting behavior to the educational environment. If disruptive behavior persistently occurs or a student code of conduct is violated, the issue should not be defined as a health issue. It should be defined as a disciplinary issue and a referral to the Associate Provost should be made.
There are many conditions that may interfere with a student’s academic functioning. Some of their symptoms, like limited mobility or impaired vision, and the types of intervention required may resemble those covered elsewhere in this manual. It is important for the faculty member to discuss with the student both the manifestations and the needed accommodations of the disabling condition. (Altman et. al) Letters from the Office for Services to Students With Disabilities will list accommodations that are appropriate for the student (See Appendix B). Remember, all information about a student is CONFIDENTIAL. Following are brief descriptions of some other disabilities.
Because cancer can occur in almost any organ system of the body, the symptoms and particular disabling effects will vary greatly from one person to another. Some people experience visual problems, lack of balance and coordination, joint pains, backaches, headaches, abdominal pains, drowsiness, lethargy, difficulty in breathing and swallowing, weakness, bleeding or anemia. The primary treatments for cancer—radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery—may engender additional effects. Therapy can cause violent nausea, drowsiness, and/or fatigue, that could have an effect on academic functioning or cause absences. Surgery can result in amputation, paralysis, sensory deficits, and language and memory problems.
Cerebral Palsy is caused by an injury to the motor center of the brain, that may have occurred before, during or shortly after birth. Manifestations may include involuntary muscle contractions, rigidity, spasms, poor coordination, poor balance or poor spatial relations. Visual, auditory, speech, hand-function, and mobility problems might occur. Specific accommodations are covered in the sections on visual, hearing, motor, and speech impairments.
Closed Head Injury
Enrollment of students with brain injuries is steadily increasing. These students often exhibit one or more of the following symptoms: short-term memory problems, serious attention deficits, behavior problems, problems in judgment, and serious anxiety attacks.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is caused by a virus (human immunodeficiency virus) that destroys the body’s immune system. This condition leaves the person vulnerable to infections and cancers that a healthy immune system would normally destroy. The virus is transmitted primarily through sexual contact or the sharing of needles by intravenous drug users. It is not transmitted through casual contact. Because of the variety of infections and other diseases to that the person with AIDS becomes susceptible, symptoms and specific accommodations will vary for each individual. Fatigue is common. Allowances for absences due to illness or treatment may need to be made. Students with AIDS may be afraid to reveal their condition because of the social stigma, fear, and/or misunderstanding surrounding the condition. Confidentiality should be maintained per DBT Procedure P6Hx23-1.91. In addition, if the issue should arise in class, the faculty should address it openly and non-judgmentally and attempt to foster an atmosphere of understanding.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
Students may be extremely sensitive to scents including perfume, personal products such as hair spray, paint, chemicals, etc. Students may be unable to tolerate being near to or in the same room as individuals who utilize such products or in an environment with inadequate circulation. Sitting near a source of fresh air or changing to a better ventilated classroom may ease the reaction.
Muscular dystrophy refers to a group of hereditary, progressive disorders that most often occur with young people, producing degeneration of voluntary muscles of the trunk and lower extremities. The atrophy of the muscles results in chronic weakness and fatigue and may cause respiratory or cardiac problems. Walking, if possible, is slow and appears uncoordinated. Manipulation of materials in class may be difficult.
Multiple sclerosis is a progressive disease of the central nervous system, characterized by a decline of muscle control. Symptoms may include disturbances ranging from mild to severe: blurred vision, legal blindness, tremors, weakness or numbness in limbs, unsteady gait, paralysis, slurred speech, mood swings or attention deficits. Because the onset of the disease usually occurs between the ages of 20 and 40, students are likely to be having difficulty adjusting to their condition. The course of multiple sclerosis is highly unpredictable. Periodic remissions are common and may last from a few days to several months, as the disease continues to progress. As a result, mood swings may vary from euphoria to depression. Striking inconsistencies in performance are not unusual.
Many students have chronic breathing problems, the most common of that are bronchial asthma and emphysema. Respiratory problems are characterized by attacks of shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing, sometimes triggered by stress, either physical or mental. Fatigue and difficulty climbing stairs may also be major problems, depending on the severity of the attacks. Frequent absence from class may occur and hospitalization may be required when prescribed medications fail to relieve the symptoms.
This section’s guidelines may also pertain to other musculoskeletal disorders, connective tissue disorders, and chronic degenerative diseases such as fibromyalgia, lupus or Sjogrens' Syndrome. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic degenerative syndrome affecting the joints and surrounding muscle tissue. It may result in pain, swelling and limited mobility. Because the etiology of this condition is unknown, it is difficult to control. Flares (sudden exacerbation of disease activity) result in debilitating swelling and pain, occurring often and without warning. The treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is usually aggressive drug therapy (sometimes requiring hospitalization) that may result in side effects, making the student ill. Orthopedic interventions involving hospitalization and surgery may also be necessary.
It is usually not physically obvious that an individual has rheumatoid arthritis. Because of this, the student may be reluctant to reveal his or her disability. It is also possible for a person with rheumatoid arthritis to be mobile in the afternoon hours but unable to attend morning classes due to pain.
Regular class attendance may be impossible for the student with rheumatoid arthritis due to flares and medication side effects. It may be necessary for students to complete assignments during a time of day when their condition is less active. Often, there is also a lowered immunity that may result in frequent illnesses. Students should not be penalized for missed classes as long as class assignments are completed.
Due to pain, swelling and limited range of motion, extra time may be needed to complete exams.
Also, it may be necessary for the student to require assistance with writing. Exams may need to be administered in an area where the student is permitted to intermittently stand or move about. Finally, because of unexpected flares and medication side effects, it is possible that students will not be able to take tests at their scheduled time and will need to reschedule.
Sickle Cell Anemia
Sickle cell anemia is a hereditary disease that reduces the blood supply to vital organs and the oxygen supply to blood cells, making adequate classroom ventilation an important concern. Because many of the vital organs are affected, the student may also experience visual problems, heart and/or lung problems, and acute abdominal pain. At times, limbs or joints may be affected.
The condition is characterized by severe crisis periods, with extreme pain that may necessitate hospitalization and/or absence from class. Contemplating academic assignments during these periods may not be possible.
Speech impairments range from problems with articulation or voice strength to complete voicelessness. They include difficulties in projection, as in chronic hoarseness and esophageal speech; fluency problems, as in stuttering and stammering; and the nominal aphasia that alters the articulation of particular words or terms. Accommodations for students with speech impairments are relatively easy to provide. Give students the opportunity, but do not compel them to speak in class. Permit students the time they require to express themselves, without unsolicited aid in filling in gaps in their speech. Don’t be reluctant to ask the student to repeat a statement. Address students naturally. Don’t assume the “spread phenomenon”—that they cannot hear or comprehend.
Substance abuse is a condition of physiological and/or psychological dependence on any of a variety of chemicals, such as illegal drugs, some prescription drugs and alcohol. Individuals who are recovering from drug and alcohol abuse or who are in treatment programs to assist their recovery are covered by federal anti-discrimination legislation and are eligible for college services for students with disabilities. These students may experience psychological problems such as depression and anxiety. They may exhibit poor behavioral control, and if they are using medication as part of their treatment, they may experience undesirable side effects. Note: students who continue their substance abuse are not protected from the consequences of their current use/abuse. Only those who are recovering from substance abuse are protected.
Altman, B.M., Hershenson, D.B., McCart, J., Patterson, W.V., Scales, W.R., and Wilde-Mermon, C. Reasonable Accommodations: A Faculty Guide to Teaching College Students with Disabilities. College Park, MD: University of Maryland at College Park.
Bruner, L.S. (1986). The Lippencott Manual of Nursing Practice . 4th Edition, Philadelphia: J.B. Lippencott Co.
Center for Innovations in Special Education (1994). Rights and Responsibilities of Faculty Concerning Students with Disabilities. University of Missouri-Columbia.
Epilepsy Foundation of America. (1989) Seizure Recognition and First Aid. 4351 Garden City Drive, Landover, MD, 20785.
Leach, Robin. A Guide to Reasonable Accommodations for Students with Disabilities. Florida State University.
Further readings are available in all campus libraries.
Appendix A College Disability Policy
Appendix B Accommodation Form
Appendix C Legal Rights of Persons with Disabilities
I. Documentation Procedures
A. Learning Disabilities
Students and prospective students requesting accommodations in their academic work at St. Petersburg College (SPC) must present appropriate documentation to the site office of their home campus or center counseling area.
The documentation must consist of one test from each of three areas: individual intelligence, processing and academic achievement levels. Acceptable tests include but are not limited to:
a) Individual Intelligence Tests:
• Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale – Revised (WAIS-III)
• Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children – Revised (WISC-R)
• Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (K-ABC)
• Stanford–Binet Intelligence Scale
b) Evaluation of Psychological Processing:
• Woodcock–Johnson Psycho–Educational Battery – Revised (Cognitive)
• Detroit Test of Learning Aptitude (DTLA–2)
• Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test
• Test of Adolescent Language (TOAL–2)
• Halsted–Reitan Neuropsychological Test Battery for Adults
c) Achievement Tests:
• Woodcock–Johnson Psycho–Educational Battery – Revised (Achievement)
• Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement (K-TEA)
This documentation will be kept confidential and information will only be released to faculty with the student’s permission.
2. Qualified Evaluators
St. Petersburg College will accept intelligence tests administered by licensed psychologists or psychiatrists. The processing and academic tests must be administered by a psychologist, psychiatrist, or credentialed educational diagnostician.
Reports should include subtest scores and the evaluator’s opinions on what reasonable classroom accommodations would be helpful.
3. Suggested Criteria
Every case will be considered individually and decisions will be made on a case by case basis. The following guidelines will be considered.
a) Intellectual Functioning:
SPC serves all qualified, disabled students including documented learning disabled. Learning disabilities is a generic term that refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition or use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning or mathematical abilities. These disorders are intrinsic to the individual and presumed to be due to central nervous system dysfunction. Individuals with learning disabilities have average to above-average intelligence and, therefore, are not intellectually limited. They have the potential to succeed in higher education, but due to a variety of learning problems, they may experience academic difficulty.
b) Psychological Processing:
Evidence of a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes must be presented. Assessment must show at least one standard deviation from the norm in either visual, auditory, motor, computation and/or language processes.
c) Academic Achievement:
A discrepancy of one standard deviation between an intellectual standard score and an academic achievement standard score must be shown.
B. Mental Disabilities
Documentation to confirm any mental or psychological disorder is required of students and prospective students seeking accommodations at St. Petersburg College.
1. Suggested Criteria
Every case will be considered individually and decisions will be made on a case by case basis. The following guidelines will be considered.
a. Intellectual Functioning:
Students with valid intelligence measures that fall in the below average range will have a difficult time succeeding in this setting.
b. Psychological Processing:
Documentation to support psychological processing difficulties or neurological impairments, other than learning disabilities, that are recognized as disabling conditions will be accepted for review from physicians, health-care agencies and other qualified persons attesting to the disability of the student. The documentation is to be presented to the OSSD on the student's home campus or center.
C. Physical Disabilities
Documentation to support physical impairment is required of students and prospective students seeking accommodations at St. Petersburg College. Documentation will be accepted for review from physicians and health care agencies attesting to the disability of the student or prospective student. This documentation is to be presented to the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (OSSD) on the student's home campus or center site.
II. Request for College Services
A. Provision of Services
After a student’s documentation is accepted, the Learning Specialist will keep this documentation on file. It is the student’s responsibility to request services supported in the documentation (such as tutoring or note taking). A new request is necessary each semester based on the specific classes being taken at that time. A three-week notice is needed to fill requests.
B. Course Substitutions
Course substitutions are considered according to District Board of Trustees Procedure P6Hx23-4.02 to students with documented hearing impairments, visual impairments, and specific learning disabilities.
Students seeking substitutions for requirements for admission to the College, or to a program of the College, or for graduation from the College should appeal to the Associate Provost at his or her campus or site.
C. CLAST Appeals
A waiver of CLAST requirements can be appealed through a CLAST Appeals Committee as prescribed by the District Board of Trustees Rule 6Hx23-4.36 to students with documented hearing impairments, visual impairments and specific learning disabilities.
Students seeking consideration for waiver of CLAST requirements should appeal to the Associate Provost at his or her campus or site.
D. Auxiliary Aids
Auxiliary aids to assist disabled students may be available in the form of assistive computers and adaptive equipment, note takers, readers, tutors, interpreters, and extended examination time. Tape recorders, calculators and spell checkers are permitted in class with proper documentation of need.
Disabled students are provided with early registration opportunities as well as counseling and advisement in advance of registration time frames.
General Authority: 240.319(2) F.S.
History: Adopted 6/15/93. Effective - 6/15/93.
This information is CONFIDENTIAL. It is important that the instructor not disclose this information in any way to other students, faculty, potential employers, or anyone else without the student’s written permission.
Based on the documentation provided by a qualified professional, this student has been approved for and may request the accommodations listed below. The student should ask the instructor for a private meeting before or after class in order to discuss the use of the accommodation. Please consult the Learning Specialist if any questions arise.Note: Accommodations provided by St. Petersburg College may not be allowed by State Boards. Please inquire directly when registering for any outside testing.
Use of calculator
Seating in front
Time extension for in-class assignments
Seating near exit
Use of spellchecker, when appropriate
Lecture outline copy, when available
1 ½ time
Use of word processor in place of handwritten essay
Write-on test copy
Short segment testing, where possible
Reduced distraction room
Tutor (if available)
allow student to volunteer a response, or arrange signal before requesting response from the student
allow oral, tape or project work in place of written, when possible
|Learning Specialist||Campus Phone||
Form SR 469 (6/98)
Currently there are two federal legislative mandates that protect the rights of persons with disabilities. These mandates provide for equal opportunity of employment and education and reasonable accommodation in the workplace, classroom, public and private sector.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended):
"No qualified handicapped person shall, on the basis of handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance" (Public Law 93-112). This nondiscrimination statute and the regulations issued under it, especially Subpart E, guarantee a right of entrance for students with disabilities into our nation’s colleges and universities, as well as their participation in the program as a whole.
• Students with disabilities must be afforded an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from all post-secondary education programs and activities, including education programs and activities not operated wholly by the College (i.e. programs sponsored by SPC and an outside source).
• Students with disabilities must be afforded the opportunity to participate in any course, or course of study, or other part of the education program or activity offered by the College.
• Programs and activities, in their entirety, must be offered in accessible settings.
• Academic requirements must be modified, on a case-by-case basis, to afford qualified students and applicants with disabilities an equal educational opportunity. For example, modifications may include changes in the length of time permitted for completion of degree requirements. However, academic requirements that the College can demonstrate are essential will not be regarded as discriminatory.
• A college may not impose upon students with disabilities rules that have the effect of limiting their participation in the college’s education program or activities; for example, prohibiting tape recorders in classrooms or guide dogs in campus buildings.
• Students with impaired sensory, manual or speaking skills must be provided auxiliary aids, such as taped texts, interpreters, readers, and classroom equipment adapted for persons with manual impairments.
• Students with disabilities must be provided counseling and placement services in a nondiscriminatory manner. Specifically, qualified students with disabilities must not be counseled toward more restrictive career objectives than are non-disabled students with similar abilities.
Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990
On July 36, 1990, President Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act that expands the mandates for reasonable accommodations put forth in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. This new law reinforces previous state and federal statutes preserving the rights of persons with disabilities but does not supersede them. ADA extends to the private sector and allows for greater access to employment, transportation, and public accommodations.
Florida Statutes , State Board of Education Rules and District Board of Trustees Rules
Section 240.152 of the Florida Statutes and State Board of Education Rule 6A-10.041, F.A.C., provide for the reasonable substitution of admission requirements to a state university, college, or postsecondary vocational institution for any person with a disability. Students with disabilities who are admitted to a state university, college, or postsecondary vocational institution are eligible for reasonable substitution for any graduation requirements, requirements for admission into program of study or upper division where such a substitution does not significantly alter the nature of the program (F.S. 250.153). Examples of this may include substitution for or waiver of math or foreign language requirements for some students with specific learning disabilities. District Board of Trustees Rule 6Hx23-4.02, Admission Requirements, and 6Hx23-4.24, Graduation Requirements for All Degrees, and associated College Procedures, contain detailed information about substitutions related to admission and graduation requirements. Section 240.107 of the Florida Statutes provides for waivers and/or substitutions for sections of the CLAST examination. District Board of Trustees Rule 6Hx23-4.36, Student Grievance and Appeals contains detailed information about CLAST appeals.
Last Updated 03-Sept-2007