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Disability Services | Accommodations Guide

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Accommodations Guide

Accommodations and other support services for students with disabilities exist to equalize the student’s access to courses, programs and activities by way of reasonable academic and environmental adjustments or accommodations. The intention behind determining and implementing accommodations should always be to “level the playing field” not to provide an advantage for some students over others. (See “Disability and Higher Education FAQs” for more information on this concept.)

Some support services are provided by Disability Support Services (DSS), and others are the responsibility of students and instructors. In general, DSS provides auxiliary aides like audio recorders, text-to-speech software, and sign language interpreters while students and their instructors arrange classroom accommodations like extended exam time.

Only students who have met with DSS to complete the registration process and have followed the procedures for requesting services will be provided support services and accommodations. These students must discuss and sign their Accessibility Letter each semester with each instructor from whom they would like to receive classroom accommodations that semester. Any changes to the accommodations in the letter must be made in agreement with the student, instructor, and DSS.

It is important to maintain a collaborative relationship between students, instructors, and DSS when implementing support services and accommodations so that the student’s accessibility needs can be met within the parameters of the technical academic standards and disability statutes. Below are the written policies for specific services and accommodations. They are generalized intentionally so that they can apply in most academic settings. Students and their instructors should use this as a guide to plan how accommodations will be met each semester:

Exams – Double Time

Allowed twice the amount of time designated for completion of any and all in-class exams and assessments (tests, quizzes, graded assignments). This means that if the instructor gives the class 20 minutes to complete a quiz, students with this accommodation can take up to 40 minutes to complete that same quiz. The amount of extended time allowed for take-home exams is under the discretion of the instructor.

Both student and instructor should make efforts to plan extended exam time at least two weeks in advance, but it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to ensure that the instructor is aware that they will need double-time well before the next scheduled exam. Some common arrangements made by students and instructors are to have the student come to class earlier, stay later, or meet with the instructor another time to take the exam.

It is understood that some instructors are unable to provide this accommodation to students due to time and resource constraints. In these cases, the student may take their exam in the library with DSS, instead of with the instructor. Students who are approved for this accommodation as well as the separate testing space accommodation may need to take their exams with DSS regularly in order to ensure that both testing conditions are being met. See the Faculty Guide for Special Testing Services for instructions.

Exams that require interaction with the instructor (i.e., foreign language listening exercises) or high-monitoring of the examinees should be administered by the instructor. All students are expected to follow the Trinity Honor System and maintain academic integrity regardless of their location or exam proctor.

For Nursing students: This accommodation can also be provided when you take the TEAS and NCLEX on campus. Please contact DSS if your instructor or exam proctor needs confirmation of approval or assistance with setting up this accommodation in the testing menu.

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Exams – Separate Space

Provided a separate, distraction-free space for taking any and all in-class exams and assessments (tests, quizzes, graded assignments). Hallways and busy offices would not be appropriate alternate locations, but an unoccupied classroom or office might suffice.

Both student and instructor should make efforts to plan separate space accommodations at least two weeks in advance, but it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to ensure that the instructor is aware that they will need a separate space well before the next scheduled exam. Taking the exam before the class arrives or planning to stay in class later to receive this accommodation must be well-planned to ensure that the entire testing time will be undisturbed by incoming and outgoing traffic.

Students with this accommodation may opt to regularly take ALL of their exams with DSS to ensure appropriate examination conditions. It is also understood that some instructors are unable to provide this accommodation to students due to time and resource constraints. In these cases, the student may take their exam in the library with DSS instead of with the instructor. See the Faculty Guide for Special Testing Services for instructions.

Exams that require interaction with the instructor (i.e., foreign language listening exercises) or high-monitoring of the examinees should be administered by the instructor. All students are expected to follow the Trinity Honor System and maintain academic integrity regardless of their location or exam proctor.

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Text-to-Speech

DSS provides these students with access to Kurzweil 3000, a web-based reading and writing software, on their home PCs and/or designated library computers while attending Trinity. Students with this software can listen to their textbooks in audio format and use various other features for writing assignments.

Students are provided with a copy of the software, user training, and a log-in ID that allows them to use the program at home and on campus. Students who are approved to use this software must sign a user agreement and submit their textbooks and other course materials to DSS for coversion to audio (or read-along format). Students must purchase the copy of the textbooks that are submitted to DSS. The textbook will be debound, scanned, and the textbook pages will be returned to the student, along with the new audio files. After conversion, the textbooks will be spirally rebound by the Trinity post office or securely clipped together, and returned to the student. Installation assistance and technical troubleshooting for Kurzweil is available from DSS staff upon request.

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Speech-to-Text

DSS can train these students on usage of Windows 7 Speech Recognition on student’s personal laptops, and/or Dragon NaturallySpeaking software on designated library computers. Students with either program can train it to recognize their speech, allowing them to self-dictate all written work.

Though Trinity does not provide students with a copy of the speech-to-text software, it is available on campus for approved students students to places where they can purchase the Windows Vista/7 upgrade (Speech Recognition program is automatically built-in) or a Dragon NaturallySpeaking product (Mac & Windows available). Students must complete technical training (2-3hrs) with DSS before use and must adhere to all Installation assistance and technical troubleshooting for Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Windows 7 Speech Recognition is available from DSS upon request.

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Audio Recordings & Class Notes

There are several methods that students can use to capture verbally-delivered material in the classroom: instructor notes, audio recordings, and student note-takers. These students may use one or a combination of these methods to increase their modes of access to verbally-delivered course material.

1. Access copies of the instructors’ posted materials (i.e., PowerPoint, handouts, visual aides) on Moodle. Instructors may also have additional notes and materials that they are willing to provide the student to supplement the posted materials. These materials can also be converted to audio by DSS, upon request.

2. Audio recorders are available for semester loan from DSS or students may use their own recording device to record class lectures. Students must notify their instructor that they will be recording the lecture. Students cannot record meetings with other students and should request a note-taker from DSS if this need arises.

3. Students who require more support or who are unable to use audio may request a student note-taker. The instructor may request a volunteer note-taker from class or contact DSS for assistance. Carbon-copy paper is available from DSS for students and their note-takers.

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Sign Language Interpreting

Sign-language interpreters facilitate communication between people who are deaf or hard of hearing and people who can hear. Sign-language interpreters are fluent in English and in American Sign Language (ASL), which combines signing, finger spelling, and specific body language. DSS schedules sign language interpreters for all University activities of students, personnel, and visitors who have identified themselves as needing this service.

Visitors and personnel requiring sign language interpreting services should notify Human Resources and contact DSS to make specific arrangements.

Students requiring only sign language interpreters must still complete the DSS registration process, but are only required to call or e-mail DSS to request interpreter services. These students do not need to obtain their instructors’ signatures to begin or continue receiving this service unless they are requesting additional accommodations (i.e., extended time on exams).

In order to provide appropriate and professional interpreting services, the following guidelines have been established for students:

  • For a class or extended event: Students should request interpreters four (4) weeks in advance of first day of the class or event.
  • For one-day: Students should request interpreters two (2) weeks in advance of the meeting or event.

Every effort will be made to fill late requests.

After you have made your request to DSS, (a) qualified sign language interpreter(s) will be hired and scheduled for your class or event. Please contact DSS immediately if an interpreter that Trinity scheduled is not providing you with adequate services so that a replacement can be assigned as soon as possible.

PLEASE COMPLETE AND SUBMIT

Sign Language Interpreter Request

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Extended Time for Home Assignments

All students are expected to review their syllabi at the start of the semester and plan for timely completion of all assignments and exams that are to be done outside of the classroom. Extensions, as an accommodation, cannot be provided for assignments for which students were aware and equipped to complete well before the due date.

Instructors are asked to consider requests for reasonable time extensions, without penalty, in cases where the student with the disability was unable to begin the assignment until a certain point in the semester. For example, if an essay is due on Friday, but the students did not have the full instructions until that Wednesday, it may be reasonable to honor the student’s request to turn it in the following week without losing credit or grade points. It is important to remember that some disabilities preclude individuals from being able to work “quickly” and these limitations carry over beyond their school day. In these cases, agree upon a specific due date and time with the student and put it in writing for all to reference. Students and instructors may contact DSS for guidance.

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Absence from Class

All students are expected to attend classes and adhere to their instructors’ attendance policies. If a student has a disability that they believe will require them to miss more classes than is allowed, they must discuss the matter with that instructor and their advisor as soon as they become aware of the issue. DSS can provide input and advice, but excusing absences from class is NOT a function of the DSS office.

This policy also applies to late arrivals to and early departures from class. Short breaks during class are typically considered to be a reasonable accommodation, but the student is still responsible for any and all missed material. Instructors are asked to consider requests for excused time away from class (absences, late arrivals and early depatures), without penalty, in cases where the student has provided medical documentation that the time away was disability-related. For example, a student whose disability results in a mobility impairment may have closely scheduled courses in different campus buildings. The break in between classes that may provide sufficient time to travel by foot for most students may not be sufficient for the student in this example. It would be considered to be a reasonable accommodation to allow this student to arrive a few minutes late to class without penalty.

Should an emergency situation arise requiring a student to miss class, the student must contact their instructor to discuss the matter. If it is related to the student’s documented disability, they should also inform DSS for record-keeping purposes.

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Adaptive/Assistive Technology (AT)

Some students require the use of adaptive (also called assistive) technology (AT) to increase their access to class material and/or ability to communicate on campus. AT can be in the form of an external device/hardware or a software program, and it can also be categorized as low-tech or hi-tech, depending on its complexity. Examples of AT broadly include things like wheelchairs, audio recorders, word processors, aided communication devices, ergonomic keyboards, vibrating alarms, text-to-speech programs, and voice recognition systems.

Students may use their own AT or borrow available equipment from DSS for the semester for use in the classroom and/or their dorm room. In the classroom, students cannot use AT that is disruptive to other students (i.e., “talking” dictionaries) and should mute volumes unless the purpose of the device is to communicate with the class. The Accessibility Letter will indicate if the student will be using classroom-specific AT so that the instructor is aware. For example, the letter would list an audio recorder but it would not list a motorized powerchair. Instructors are not responsible for providing any AT listed on the letter. Trinity cannot purchase AT for student’s to own, but DSS may be able to assist students in obtaining AT funding from state vocational rehabilitation programs.

Available AT for Semester Loan

Speech-to-Text software (Dragon Naturally Speaking)

Text-to-Speech software (Kurzweil 3000)

Audio Recorders

Four-Function Calculators

Note on calulators: Some students may be approved to use a four-function calculator in class and during exams to speed up their basic calculation processes and reduce minor errors. A four-function calculator can add, subtract, divide, or multiply and is an accommodation that students can request on national standardized tests. Since these calculators are unable to perform the processes being taught in a typical college-level math course, it is not considered to be an extra advantage for the student. Use of a scientific or graphing calculator when they are not permitted by the instructor is not an acceptable testing accommodation. When enrolled in a math course at Trinity, students with math-related disabilities should also speak with their instructor or advisor about using MyMathLab.

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For more information, contact Disability Student Services by phone at 202-884-9358 or visit us in the Academic Services Center, Library 1st floor.

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