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Student health 101

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. Accommodation Plan: 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. If so, an accommodation plan will be developed. If a student does not have an approved accommodation plan, 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 (see FAQ's): alternative testing (typically extended time and a distraction limited environment); note taking, interpreter/captionist; and print alternatives, such as Braille, large print or electronic text. 
  6. The California State University Board of Trustees Policy on Disability Support and Accommodations
    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. Student accommodation plans are confidential. It's important to be make sure no other students and/or staff can overhear conversations you are having with a student about his/her disability or accommodations. Students are not obligated to disclose their diagnosis, but you can ask for information about how their disability impacts class participation and meeting course expectations. In addition, when sending an email to multiple students of the DRC, please use the blind copy function.
  10. How to address questions from other students in your class, about why a student is receiving an accommodation: Even if a disability is obvious (e.g., blindness), instructors need to keep that information confidential and can only share on a need to know basis with other staff of Cal Poly. If an instructor is questioned by students as to why a classmate is receiving "different" treatment (e.g. being allowed to test longer in class), the instructor can point out that many school issues are personal, and that Cal Poly's policy is to respect each individual's privacy.

  11. 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, or pose a financial hardship to the university. If you question the reasonableness of an accommodation request, please contact us so that we may collaboratively assess the situation.



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Location: Bldg 124 (Student Services, across from Spanos Stadium)
Phone: 805-756-1395
Fax: 805-756-5451
Email: drc@calpoly.edu

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