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Ten Things Faculty Should Know about Students with Disabilities

  1. The DRC website is the best starting point for information on students with disabilities.
  2. Visit the Faculty Room:
    The Faculty Room is a space for faculty and administrators at postsecondary institutions to learn about how to create classroom environments and academic activities that maximize the learning of all students, including those with disabilities.
  3. VISA. To receive services from the DRC, students submit medical or other appropriate documentation. DRC staff determines if the documented impairment rises to the level of disability, and if so, develop a service plan called a VISA (Verified Instructional Services and Accommodations). Students requesting accommodations should present you with a copy of their VISA. If a student does not have a VISA, your options are to refer them to the DRC or, as is your prerogative, to provide the accommodations.
  4. Accommodating students is a shared responsibility between the student, faculty and the DRC. Based upon the fundamental principles of the ADA, the DRC endorses specific accommodations based upon the documentation submitted by the student, the student’s prior record of accommodations; the student’s expressed needs and the professional judgment of the DRC staff.
  5. Most common accommodations: alternative testing (typically extended time and a distraction limited environment; see FAQ); note taking, interpreter/captionist; and print alternatives, such as Braille, large print or electronic text. 
  6. The CSU Policy for the Provision of Accommodations and Support Services to Students with Disabilities
    Section XI states: Appeals Procedures
    Students denied a requested accommodation may appeal the decision through on-campus informal and formal dispute resolution processes. Each campus shall adopt and publish grievance procedures providing for appropriate due-process procedures and for prompt and equitable dispute resolution. Services authorized by the director of the program for students with disabilities must continue during the grievance process.
  7. Universal Design: How can educators design instruction to maximize the learning of all students? The field of universal design can provide a starting point for developing a framework for instruction. You can apply this body of knowledge to create courses where lectures, discussions, visual aids, videos, printed materials, labs, and fieldwork are accessible to all students. 
  8. Accessible Technology Initiative:
    1. Web Access (e-info needs to conform to specific standards)
    2. Instructional Materials (available in alternate format at the same time)
    3. Procurement (electronic and information technology (EIT) products and services that we  buy, create, use and maintain) 
  9. Maintain confidentiality. Even in the 21st century having a disability is a stigma. In respect to an individual’s right to privacy, please be aware of the sensitive nature of what it means to be a person with a disability in this society.
  10. When in doubt: ask. Reasonable accommodations are provided to individuals with disabilities in order to ensure they have an equal opportunity to participate in all programs and activities. Civil rights laws protect individuals from discrimination but do not require special privileges or unreasonable accommodation. Accommodations should not fundamentally alter the nature of the academic task or activity. If you question the reasonableness of an accommodation request, please contact us so that we may collaboratively assess the situation.



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Phone: 805-756-1395
Fax: 805-756-5451
Email: drc@calpoly.edu

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