For Faculty and Staff
Resources for Working with Students with Disabilities
Swarthmore's Student Disability Service works closely with students, faculty, and staff to ensure that students with physical, medical, learning, or psychological disabilities are provided with equal access to all college programs, activities, and services in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title IX of the Federal Education Amendments of 1972. Swarthmore College welcomes students with disabilities to participate fully in all aspects of college life. Coordinator of Student Disability Services Leslie Hempling advises students about the College's policy, procedure and resources, reviews students' clinical documentation, and collaborates with students, faculty, and staff to arrange reasonable accommodations that support students' individual needs.
LOCATION AND CONTACT INFORMATION
The Office of Student Disability Services is located in the east wing of Parrish Hall, Room 130. To reach Leslie Hempling, Coordinator of Student Disabilities Services, email her at email@example.com or call her at 610-690-5014. Leslie is happy to consult at any time about questions that arise concerning academic accommodations and student needs.
Website: Student Disability Service
Students with disabilities are protected from discrimination under Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (amended 2008). Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination based on disability in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.
A qualified person with a disability is a person who meets the essential eligibility requirements of the academic program or service, with or without a reasonable accommodation. Disability is defined by the ADA as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities, a record of such an impairment or being regarded as having such an impairment."
The Student Disability Service helps to arrange academic accommodations for a range of students each semester, including students with learning disabilities, visual impairments, hearing impairments, chronic medical conditions, traumatic brain injury (TBI), Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder, psychiatric/psychological disabilities, and orthopedic/mobility disorders.
RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Students with disabilities have a right to:
- Reasonable accommodations, appropriate academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and services as necessary.
- Privacy with regards to disability-related information, except as disclosures required or permitted by law.
- Equal access to programs, activities, courses, and services.
Students with disabilities have the responsibility to:
- Meet all academic requirements of the College.
- Disclose their disability to the Student Disability Service as early as possible to ensure timely accommodation arrangements.
- Provide the required documentation of disability.
- Arrange meetings with their professors to discuss accommodation letters provided by the Student Disability Service.
- Follow the procedures for requesting accommodations every semester.
Rights of the College
- Establish and maintain requirements and standards for admission to the College, and for participation in its courses, programs, services, and activities.
- Request current, relevant documentation that verifies a disability and the need for reasonable accommodations.
- Determine reasonable accommodations.
- Deny a request for an accommodation if the student fails to provide current relevant information verifying a disability and need for accommodation, or the request requires a fundamental alteration of a course, program, or service.
Responsibilities of the College
- Ensure that admissions policies and procedures are implemented in a non-discriminatory manner with regard to individuals with disabilities.
- Ensure that programs, services, and activities, when viewed in their entirety, are accessible.
- Provide appropriate reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and services in a timely manner.
- Maintain appropriate confidentiality of disability-related information.
To learn more about disability law, visit:
If you believe that you need accommodations for a disability, please contact Leslie Hempling in the Office of Student Disability Service (Parrish 130) or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an appointment to discuss your needs. Leslie Hempling is responsible for reviewing and approving disability-related accommodation requests. As appropriate, she will issue students with documented disabilities an Accommodation Authorization Letter. Since accommodations require early planning and are not retroactive, please contact her as soon as possible. For details about the Student Disability Service and the accommodations process, visit the website. You are also welcome to contact the faculty member privately to discuss your academic needs. However, all disability-related accommodations must be arranged through Leslie Hempling in the Office of Student Disability Service.
ABOUT THE ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATION PROCESS AT SWARTHMORE
Each semester, the Student Disability Service works with students who have registered with our office in order to facilitate reasonable academic accommodations. Reasonable accommodations refer to modifications that provide students with disabilities equal access to college programs and activities. An accommodation is not considered reasonable if it fundamentally alters the essential elements of an academic program. Common types of accommodations include:
- Extended time on timed tests (typically 50% extended time, though some students qualify for 100% extended time).
- Note-takers; permission to audio record a class.
- Captioning of videos, sign language interpreters, CART services (real time captioning).
- Electronic books.
- Calculator use; computer use for note-taking and tests.
- Voice recognition, screen readers, and other adaptive computer software or hardware, such as Zoom Text, JAWS, Kurzweil, and Dragon Naturally Speaking.
- Scribes, readers, lab assistants, course assistants.
- Elimination of physical barriers/change of venue for a class if the scheduled room is not accessible for a student with a mobility impairment.
- Ability to leave class for short periods of time if medically necessary.
- Flexibility in class attendance if medically necessary. (*Important note: This accommodation is typically discussed and negotiated in advance in consultation with the faculty member, the department, the student, and the Student Disability Service in order to ensure that class absences do not fundamentally alter essential elements of the program.)
Student Process Each Semester: Students who are registered with the Student Disability Service submit an Academic Accommodation Request form each semester to Leslie Hempling, Coordinator of Student Disability Services. Leslie works with each student to determine reasonable accommodations. After accommodations are determined, the Student Disability Service drafts accommodation letters for students to bring to their professors. We ask students to meet with you as soon as they receive these letters in order to have ample time to discuss any specific needs. The Student Disability Service will aim to contact you well in advance of a course if we discover that a students' needs require additional preparation time (e.g., arranging scribes, lab assistants, electronic course materials, setting up captioning, etc.). At times, students may develop disability concerns during the course of the semester (e.g., injuries or other emerging concerns). We will do our best to give you as much notice as possible.
PROCEDURE FOR IMPLEMENTING TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS
One of the most common academic accommodations is extended time on timed tests so that students with particular disabilities may have the same opportunity as their peers to demonstrate their knowledge. Some students also qualify for a "distraction-reduced" testing environment (private room or a room with few other students). The logistics for testing are typically arranged between the student and the faculty member. When students share their accommodation letters with you, we recommend that you develop a plan together as to how you will handle testing accommodations in order avoid any confusion as test dates approach.
The Student Disability Service recognizes that the logistics of proctoring extended time testing and locating a testing room (if needed) can be challenging during a busy semester, especially if you are working with several students who receive accommodations. We are pleased to pilot the following testing assistance program for faculty for 2012-2013.
FINAL EXAM PROCTORING FOR SPRING 2013
Deadline to request: Thursday, April 18 (3 weeks before final exams)
Professors and Departments unable to proctor an extended time final exam may submit a request for the student to take his or her exam in group testing classrooms that will be set aside for the Student Disability Service during the final exam period. We expect to use proctors who will be trained by the Student Disability Service. We will also be able to assist in arranging some "distraction-reduced" testing rooms for students who qualify for that accommodation. Because we have limited space and proctors, we will do our best to honor all requests, but we may not be able to fulfill every request.
To request Final Exam proctoring assistance, please do the following:
1. Submit an Exam Proctor Request Form by Thursday, April 18.
2. You or your student may download the form from the Student Disability Service website. Hard copies are also in the bins next to the Student Disability Service in Parrish 130. The form will have sections for both you and the student to complete.
3. Email or deliver the form to: Ben Wilson, Administrative Assistant, Parrish 118, email@example.com.
4. The April 18 deadline is a firm deadline, so that we have enough time to review all of the requests and be able to make room and time assignments. We will respond by May 1 to confirm arrangements.
MID-TERMS AND OTHER TESTS DURING THE SEMESTER
If you discover that you or your Department is unable to proctor a test for a student with a disability who is taking a mid-term or test during the semester, the Student Disability Service will do our best to help. Because we have limited staffing, we may not be able to meet every request, but we will do what we can to help you find solutions. In order to help us manage any requests that come in, please simply do the following:
1. Submit an Exam Proctor Request Form at least 2 weeks before a given test.
2. You or your student may download the form from the Student Disability Service website. Hard copies are also in the bins next to the Student Disability Service in Parrish 130. The form will have sections for both you and the student to fill out.
3. Email or deliver the form at least 2 weeks before the given test to: Ben Wilson, Administrative Assistant, Parrish 118, firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. We will respond within 48 hours to follow up.
ACCESSIBILITY OF COURSE DOCUMENTS, MEDIA AND WEBSITES
Please see the sites below for helpful resources in making your course content accessible to all students, including those with visual impairments, reading disabilities, and hearing impairments. You will notice, for example, that it is important for PDFs to be converted to an Optical Character Recognition format (OCR), so that individuals with print disabilities can read them with screen reading software. Likewise, if you use photos and diagrams in your course materials or websites, just be sure that they are labeled so that individuals with visual disabilities can access them. If you are planning to use audios or videos in your classes, we recommend that you research them in advance to be sure that they include a captioning feature. If you have questions, please contact the ITS Help Desk at email@example.com or 610-328-4347.
Tips for Making Word Documents Accessible
Converting PDFs So That They Can Be Read by Screen Readers
Most scanned PDF documents are essentially a picture of a document. To make a PDF accessible so that an individual with a print disability can read it with screen reading software, the PDF just needs to be converted to Optical Character Recognition (OCR) format. The process is fairly easy. Please see the guidelines below.
- Scanning Documents Using the College's Canon Copiers: If you are scanning articles or text materials to place on Moodle or a course website, our Canon copiers include an OCR feature. When you scan a document, under "scan type," choose PDF (OCR). Once you do this, the document will be able to be read by a screen reader and will also be searchable. If you are scanning pages from a book, be sure the book lies as flat as possible on the scanner. Screen readers will be unable to read the document if the text is curved or contains shadows.
- Converting older PDFs using Adobe Acrobat: If you have a previously scanned PDF that is in an old image format, you can convert it to an OCR format by using the full version of Adobe Acrobat. Go to Document >>OCR Text Recognition >>Recognize Text using OCR. Choose the pages you want to OCR, click on edit to choose Primary OCR Language and PDF Output Style, and then click OK and OK again to initiate the OCR process for a currently-open scanned PDF. For detailed instructions, see http://blogs.adobe.com/acrobat/acrobat_ocr_make_your_scanned/. Also see http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/ocr-those-pdfs/25653 to learn more about PDF use.
- If You Want to Convert Many PDF Files at Once: If you have a number of PDFs that you need to convert to OCR (e.g., older scanned articles that you have been using in your course for awhile), you can convert them to an OCR format all at once and then re-post them on Moodle in the correct OCR format. Visit the following site for step-by-step instructions: http://blogs.adobe.com/acrobatforlifesciences/2009/01/batch_ocr_multiple_files_easil/. If you need assistance, contact the ITS Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-328-4347.
Video Captions and Audio Transcripts
If you plan to show videos or movies in class or place them on websites, we recommend that you research them well in advance to determine whether the publisher has included a captioning feature. If captioning is not included, please contact the ITS Help Desk at email@example.com or 610-328-4347. The following sites offer helpful guidance about captioning.
SERVICE ANIMAL POLICY
The United States Department of Justice has created a helpful brief about service animals in public and private settings. Please see their website. We welcome students with service animals on campus, and we will aim to notify you in advance if we expect that a student with a service animal may be enrolled in one of your classes. We are delighted to welcome Fathom, who recently joined our Swarthmore community as a service dog for one of our students. Please see Physical Access and Learning Support to learn more about Fathom.
5 Tips: When You Meet a Seeing Eye® Dog
Prepared by Seeing Eye®. To learn more, visit their website.
Always remember, distracting a Seeing Eye® dog can make its owner vulnerable to harm.
- Do not call the dog's name, make eye contact, feed, or talk to the dog. It's always best to treat the dog as if he is not there.
- Do not pet a guide dog when he is wearing the harness. If the dog is resting without his harness, ask the owner before you pet the dog and respect the person's decision if they say no.
- Do not shout directions, take the person by the arm, or interrupt them when they are crossing the street. If you are concerned for their safety, ask them if they need help first.
- Please don't let your pet near a guide dog, even if your pet is leashed. Even allowing your pet to visit or "say hi" for just a moment can cause the guide dog to lose focus on the important job he has to do.
- It's helpful to let a person who is blind know that you are nearby and tell the person if you have a dog with you.
USEFUL ONLINE RESOURCES
Universal Design for Instruction
Tools for the Universal Design of Instruction, University of Connecticut
Universal Design for Learning, CAST
Learning Disabilities and ADHD
Asperger Syndrome - See OASIS
- National Federation of the Blind
- American Council of the Blind
- American Printing House for the Blind
- Library of Congress National Library Service
Disability Law and Disability Rights
The Americans with Disabilities Act
U.S. Department of Education: