This handbook was designed to be a resource to answer frequently asked questions or concerns by EMU Faculty/Staff. The DRC wants Faculty/Staff to feel just as supported as our students. The Handbook helps to broaden your knowledge about the DRC services and its mission, while also providing knowledgeable terms, procedures, and policies reenacted by the DRC.
Terms to Keep in Mind
Letter of Accommodation (LOA) is a document which states the students rights, lists the DRC contact information and specific accommodations that have been determined reasonable for the student.
The Center for Adaptive Technology in Education (CATE Lab) is designed to assist students with disabilities incorporate computers and technology into the learning atmosphere at Eastern Michigan University (EMU). Successful integration of adaptive technology enables the user to participate in all aspects of the EMU community.
Alternative Media or Alt Media is an accommodation that allows students to access textbooks and class handouts in an alternative format including PDF or Audio.
Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is a companion animal that a medical professional has determined to provide benefit for an individual with a disability.
Service Animal is any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.
Defining the Term Disability
A "person with a disability" is anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. In addition to those persons who have visible disabilities - persons who are blind, deaf or use a wheelchair - the definition includes people with a whole range of invisible disabilities. These include psychological problems, learning disabilities,. or chronic health impairments. A person is considered to be a person with a disability if he or she has a disability, has a record of a disability, or is regarded as having a disability.
The Impact of the ADA on Schools
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and amendments to the act is the civil rights guarantee for persons with disabilities in the U.S. It provides protection from discrimination for individuals on the basis of disability. The ADA extends civil rights protections for people with disabilities to employment in the public and private sectors, transportation, public services provided by state and local government, and telecommunication relay services. Documentation of the disability is required. Section .504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act/1990 ADA states: "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any program or activity of public entity."
EMU Policy Statement on Disabilities
Eastern Michigan University does not discriminate on the basis of disability in the recruitment and admission of students, the recruitment and employment of faculty or staff and the operation of any of its programs, services or activities,
Eastern University will make every reasonable attempt to meet the needs of qualified individuals within a reasonable period of time. Eligibility for reasonable accommodations is based on disability documentation and assessment of individual needs.
Faculty have the Right to:
- Request verification of a student's eligibility for any requested accommodations. Such verification will be in the form of a LOA written by a DRC Case Manager and delivered by the student.
- Expect the student to initiate accommodation requests in a timely manner.
- If the student is taking their exams at the CATE Lab, expect the CATE Lab to administer exams in a secure and monitored environment.
A note on “timely manner” - The timely manner qualification in the accommodation process can seem vague and frustrating to instructors, so here are a few things to keep in mind when working with students and the DRC -
- Accommodations are not retroactive. The student must present an updated LOA before the accommodation is recognized and enacted.
- “Timely manner” can differ from scenario to scenario, and from program to program. The DRC encourages students to meet with all faculty and staff within the first week of class (or before) to present their LOA and discuss accommodations.
- For most accommodations we ask that the student give a a weeks notice, but you are able to reasonably adjust that timeframe by adding your personal expectations into your syllabi.
- Even if the student is unable to proactively warn you when, for example, they will miss class or be late, they are still required to have presented an LOA prior to the class in order to be excused.
Faculty have the Responsibility to:
- Provide accommodations based on a disability only to students who have been found eligible through the DRC. Students who request accommodation from faculty but who have not yet been reviewed and found eligible through the DRC should be promptly referred to DRC. To assure that all students are treated equally, it is important that students claiming a disability are evaluated by the DRC.
- Protect the privacy of disabled students whenever possible.
- Students with disabilities should not be actively identified in the classroom.
- DRC encourages students to discuss their need for accommodation with their faculty, but they are not required to discuss their disability with faculty, even in private.
- Information pertaining to disabilities is deemed privileged information. DRC alone must review pertinent records. Before providing information about a student's disability to faculty, DRC must have the student's written permission, unless there is an emergency.
- Provide approved accommodation in a consistent and timely manner. To comply with laws and regulations, it is important that approved accommodations be provided without interruption. Before any changes are introduced, DRC must concur that the changes are needed and appropriate.
- Grade students based on their performance with accommodation; i.e. students cannot be penalized for using the accommodation.
Students with Disabilities have the Right to:
- Equal access to courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities available through the University,
- Reasonable, appropriate, and effective accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids determined on an individual basis.
- Appropriate confidentiality of all Information pertaining to his/her disability with the choice of whom to disclose their disability to except as required by law.
- University information available in accessible formats.
Students with Disabilities have the Responsibility to:
- Meet the Universities qualifications and essential technical, academic, and institutional standards to include Universities code of conduct.
- Identify themselves in a timely manner as an individual with a disability when seeking an accommodation to the DRC.
- Provide their Case Manager with official documentation from an appropriate source that verifies the nature of the disability functional limitations, and the need for specific accommodations.
- Present their LOA in a timely manner to their instructor to insure the appropriate implementation of their accommodations.
- Meet with their Case Manager at least once every 2 years to review the effectiveness of the accommodations or when changes need to be made to their accommodation.
- Complete a Letter of Accommodation Renewal Request Form at the beginning of every academic year (August or September) to receive an renewed LOA for the specified school year.
- Follow specific procedures for obtaining reasonable and appropriate accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids.
- Use accommodations appropriately.
Information concerning the specific nature of the student's disability will be kept confidential. Faculty should refrain from identifying the student as someone with a disability in front of classmates. When discussing issues with colleagues, faculty should refrain from disclosing identifying information.
Steps to Register with the DRC
To receive accommodations through the University a student must register with the Disability Resource Center. *If a student with a disability does not wish to seek accommodations they are not required to register with the DRC.
To register with the DRC a student must:
- Contact the DRC to schedule an appointment with a Case Manager by calling 734.487.2470
- A student can participate in a phone appointment if the student lives over 1 hour away from campus or the Case Manager deems a phone intake is necessary
- Before the student’s scheduled appointment, the student will be asked to complete the DRC Initial Questionnaire Form.
- On the day of the scheduled appointment, the student should bring any appropriate documentation they have supporting their diagnosis or disability.
- During the student’s appointment, the student and Case Manager will discuss accommodations that are deemed appropriate based on the student’s needs.
- A Letter of Accommodation with the approved accommodations will be emailed to students emich account.
The student is responsible for initiating the conversation and presenting their LOA to their instructor in a timely manner in order for accommodations to be implemented
Students must provide the DRC with medical documentation before receiving any sort of accommodation. The information will be kept confidential to the fullest extent of the law. Faculty does not receive any of this confidential information. The student can fax or email the documentation before their appointment OR bring it with them to their appointment.
All documentation should include:
The name, credentials, phone number, and signature of the evaluator.
A specific diagnosis.
A description of the functional impact of the disability in a higher education setting.
Documentation can be in the form of:
Letters on letterhead from medical doctors, psychiatrist, therapist, or psychologist.
Testing accommodations may include extended time, a separate testing environment, use of a computer, calculator or adaptive equipment, and the assistance of a reader or scribe. Students who receive testing accommodations are encouraged to complete their exams in the CATE Lab.
- Time & one-half for quizzes, tests & exams- student is allotted 50% more time to test than what the over all class is allotted to test.
- Double time for quizzes, tests & exams- student is allotted 100% more time to test than what the over all class is allotted to test.
- Reduced distraction environment- student is to test in a quiet room with the least amount of distractions. A student with this accommodation is entitled to use the University CATE Lab, but other arrangements can be made with the student’s consent.
- Private Room for Testing- student needs a private room to test in with no distractions. The student with this accommodation is entitled to utilize the University CATE Lab as their private room for testing, but other arrangements can be made with the student’s consent. **Private rooms are scheduled according to a student’s letter of accommodation and on a first come first served basis. Private rooms may not be available and instructors are not required to delay exam dates.
Classroom accommodations are modifications to the classroom environment that assist the student to be successful inside the classroom. Classroom accommodations include the use of a computer, preferred seating and/or opportunity to leave the classroom for short breaks.
- Use of computer for note-taking, in-class assignments and activities- student is allowed to use their personal computer in the classroom for note taking purposes, and completing in- class assignments and activities.
- Preferential Seating- student is able to pick a seat in the classroom that fits their needs. Examples include, sitting away from the door to prevent distractions or a seat at the front classroom allowing the student to see the board.
- Record course lecture audio- allows student to record an instructor’s lecture for note taking purposes.
- Opportunity to leave the classroom for short breaks- student is able to leave the class for short breaks as needed. **The student is still responsible for any missed information during breaks.
Note Taking Assistance
Some students are eligible for note taking assistance. This may include recording lectures, copies of PowerPoint slides, or a note taker. EMU uses volunteer note takers who are also registered for the class. If you know of a potential note taker, please make the appropriate recommendation. If not, please announce on the first day of class that a volunteer note taker is needed for a student. If after the first full week of classes, if no one volunteers, please contact the Disability Resource Center.
Others in the Classroom
There may be a sign language interpreter, an attendant or a transcriptionist in the classroom.
Students with Alternative Media as an accommodation have the right to request their books or readings in alternative formats (PDFs, Audio, Word). We tell our students to allow 4-8 weeks for complete conversion of their textbook.
Accommodations that Require Special Consideration
Extended Time on Assignments
This accommodation will be developed with the faculty member’s input.
Reference/Formula Card During Exams
**Exception: Where such skills are factors that the assessment purports to measure.
A reference/formula card can contain information in math or science that will provide guidelines to solve equations or problems. The appropriate supplementary aid will be developed and verified by the professor and student. Example: L x W =A.
To ensure all students are introduced to the Disability Resource Center it is helpful to include a paragraph introducing the DRC. This may inform students who need accommodation services and may also encourage those students who are already registered to speak with you about their accommodations. Please remember, only students who present you with a Letter of Accommodation from the DRC should be receiving accommodations. It is a liability to the university to provide accommodations to students who are not registered with the DRC.
To help you in preparing your syllabus, the DRC has created the following paragraph. Please copy and paste this paragraph into your syllabus:
Eastern Michigan University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all university programs, services, and activities. Requests for accommodations by persons with disabilities may be made by contacting the Disability Resource Center (DRC), 246 Student Center, 734-487-2470, www.emich.edu/drc. Once your eligibility for an accommodation has been determined, you will be issued a letter of accommodation (LOA). Please present your LOA to me at the start of the academic semester or once it has been distributed to you by the DRC.
Process For Testing in CATE Lab
Registered DRC students who receive testing accommodations have the ability to test in the CATE Lab located in room 120 Porter. All students who have testing accommodations listed in their Letter of Accommodation has a CATE Lab Exam Accommodation Form attached to the email containing their LOA. A link to the form can also be located on the DRC website under forms. www.emich.edu/drc/forms.
The DRC highly recommends that students and instructors have a conversation about the student’s accommodation and discuss testing arrangements at the beginning of the semester or as soon as the student receives their LOA. Accommodations are not retroactive.
The student is responsible for initiating the conversation and presenting their LOA and CATE Lab Exam Accommodation Form to their instructors.
As an instructor it is your responsibility to deliver the exam other materials if need be to the CATE Lab by email or drop off in a timely manner
The CATE Lab Exam Accommodation Form must be completed by the student and the instructor. The completed CATE Lab Exam Accommodation Form must be returned to the CATE Lab 5 business days before the scheduled exam and/or 10 business days before the scheduled midterm or final exam.
Students who do not submit the CATE Lab Exam Accommodation Form in a timely manner may not be able to complete their exam in the CATE Lab.
Please note, that the CATE Lab is Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm. The CATE Lab only administers exams during their hours of operation. If you are teaching an evening or weekend course, you and the student will need to negotiate a different testing time or make other testing arrangements. For example, if the student needs 50% extra time and quiet place to test, they may be able to test in an empty office within your department.
All completed exams will be returned to the instructor in the return method that was indicated on the completed CATE Lab Exam Accommodation Form.
Tips for an Inclusive Classroom/Campus
The items discussed below are steps you can take as an instructor to create an inclusive classroom for all abilities.
Please note, the below items listed below are suggestions and are not equivalent to DRC appointed accommodations and may not work for all.
- Create an environment that respects and values diversity. Put a statement on your syllabus inviting students to meet with you to discuss disability-related accommodations and other learning needs.
- Assure that all classrooms, labs and fieldwork are in locations accessible to individuals with a wide range of physical abilities and disabilities.
- Use multiple modes to deliver content (Including lecture, discussion, hands-on activities, Internet-based interaction, and fieldwork).
- Provide printed or Web-based materials which summarize content that is delivered orally.
- Face the class and speak clearly.
- Provide printed materials in electronic format.
- Provide printed materials early so that students can prepare to access the materials in alternate formats.
- Provide effective prompting during an activity and feedback after the assignment is completed.
- Provide multiple ways for students to demonstrate knowledge.
- Start each lecture with an outline of material to be covered during class session. At the conclusion of the class, briefly summarize key points.
- Give assignments both orally and in writing to avoid confusion.
- Close the classroom door to eliminate outside distractions and amplification of background noise.
- Emphasize important information verbally.
- Allow alternative testing measures when using Scantron sheets for an exam.
- Repeat and summarize segments of each presentation and review in its entiret.
- Repeat or re-word complicated directions. Be concise where possible.
- Use colored paper for important class handouts.
- Consider pairing a student with physical limitations with a partner during labs.
- Allow in class writing assignments be completed out of class so that a student may use a scribe or voice recognition software.
- Option of written assignments completed on a word processor.
- Lecture outlines and summary of key concepts/technical terms on hard copy
- Have clearly established and ordered routines,
- Give warning and preparation when changes are anticipated.