The Disability Support Services (DSS) office is here to support students be as successful as they can be. When students encounter barriers and are eligible for adjustments, faculty receive notification through the Disability Support Services (DSS) Online Accommodation Management system. The system will send the following information:
FNL Accommodations Overview
- Faculty Notification via Email
- Testing Agreements
- Liaison Services
Faculty are responsible for accessible course content and should use Universal Design formatting principles at the design stage; the Academic Innovations and eLearning as well as DSS can assist.
Formatting course content for accessibility is best served by the Universal Design of electronic documents and course content; Universal Design makes your course information more mobile so it's compatible across all types of devices - computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets - and across all varieties of end-user settings on their devices. To view quick step-by-step screen shots of how to properly format your course materials, please go to Universal Design Cheatsheets
Below is a general list and description of some of the accommodations provided to students. This is by no means all encompassing and may not cover every situation.
If faculty members have further questions regarding accommodations, they are highly encouraged to contact the DSS office for assistance.
For assistance in creating accessible content for your course, please contact Academic Innovations and e-learning: and read the AIE page on Accessibility.
Note-taking Assistance - Peer / electronic
Some students need alternative ways to take notes because they may not be able to write efficiently, keep pace and organize the material while listening to a lecture, or participate in the class discussion.
Note-takers are recruited from within classes in which a student with a documented disability requires assistance. Note-takers are paid $25.00 per credit per semester (e.g., a 3 credit course = $75 for the semester). They can use carbon-treated note-taking paper (available from DSS) so that when they take their notes, a second copy is produced without any additional work. Alternately, the note-taker may choose to type and then the email notes to them in an electronic format after each class session.
If the student is eligible for notetaker services. The student may reach out to you
to help identify someone to take notes for them. If the student requests, please make
the following announcement at the beginning of class without identifying the DSS student:
"Disability Support Services is recruiting a notetaker for this course. No extra time outside of class is required. Notes can be taken by hand or on your computer and emailed. For someone who already takes good notes, this is an opportunity to assist a fellow student and earn extra money. Any interested student should let me know by email so I can connect you with the student needing notes. You will also need to contact Disability Support Services to set-up payment."
The student registered with DSS will meet with the notetaker(s) and take care of all further arrangements. If you use outlines/notes for your lecture, it will be helpful to share them until a notetaker is found.
Students with this accommodation may audio record lectures and discussions even with a no recording policy in place within the classroom. These recordings are exclusively for the student needing accommodations and are not to be shared with others. If desired, DSS can provide a written agreement to that effect. The student is responsible for providing his or her own recording device. (Digital recorders, audio cassette recorders, and apps for personal mobile devices are examples of some of the devices allowed. Video recording classes is not permitted.)
Students with learning disabilities, mobility limitations, or vision issues may require their texts or handouts in a format other than traditional paper copies. These formats are often electronic so that the text can be ran through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software on a computer or mobile device. Accommodations are available for students who require alternative media formats such as enlarged text, Braille, audio, or OCR-compliant PDF documents for required textbooks.
Faculty always have a choice to either administer the test themselves, with the accommodations in place, or to have the test administered via DSS.
Emailed notification will include a hyperlink to the Test Proctoring Instruction Form. (This information is typically located within a paragraph outlined in red on the notification email. If the faculty has already filled out the Test Proctoring Instruction Form for the course, the email will no longer include the link, but may still reference the red outline in the instructions.) The faculty member must fill out the Test Proctoring Instruction Form. This allows the DSS office to calculate testing times based on the standard amount of time allowed to the class. It is also where directions are given regarding materials that are allowed with the exam such as: notes, books, calculators, etc. as well as the method of delivery for the testing materials. Without this information DSS cannot administer the quizzes, tests, exams, or finals.
All students who have tests proctored through Disability Support Services are held to the UAA Student Code of Conduct.
Please note that for students whose testing accommodations include Alternate Format testing materials, we must receive tests in electronic format. All tests, quizzes, and finals must be received by the DSS office at least 2 hours prior to the student’s scheduled testing time. This allows for the office to process the test and ensure it is in the appropriate format for the student’s needs, based on their disability.
All testing areas are monitored by DSS staff and are also equipped with cameras for additional surveillance. Academic integrity is taken very seriously and any faculty member who wishes to come in for a tour of the space is welcome to schedule an appointment to do so.
While there is never a guarantee of a 100% quiet testing experience; a distraction-reduced testing environment is a setting outside the usual classroom that limits interruptions and other environmental influences. For example, a room that minimizes both the auditory (e.g., copy machines, talking) and visual distractions (e.g., people moving in and out of the testing space).
Students will be provided extended time for all exams, quizzes and finals. Unlimited time is not an available accommodation, unless the class receives "unlimited time", in this case, DSS is available to proctor tests from 8:30am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday. If you need assistance with setting up an adaptive release in BlackBoard for a student, please contact eLearning.
While the ADA does not allow DSS to fundamentally alter learning outcomes, the student has a disability that may affect assignment deadlines, exams and/or attendance. This email notification confirms that the request is directly disability-related and that the documentation DSS received about the condition may sometimes compromise the student's ability to attend a class session, take exams and/or meet deadlines. The student fully understands that extensions of due dates, test dates and/or attendance policies are determined by DSS and the Instructor of Record. Any agreement will be written in an email as confirmation for all parties.
The student will be using certified American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreters during class. The Interpreters are held to a strict code of conduct and will interpret to and from spoken English. Please remember that the Interpreter's role is to serve as a conduit of information. It is important to address your comments or questions directly to the student even if the Interpreter is voicing on his or her behalf.
Generally, these students will prefer to sit at the front of the classroom with the Interpreter(s) positioned as close to the instructor as possible. This allows the student to follow the instructor's cues, while also monitoring Blackboard or overhead notes. It is important that the student be able to see the Interpreter at all times, including during audiovisual (AV) presentations. If AV presentations are made, lighting requirements must be considered. Light dimmers, a partially adjusted window, or a lamp will allow the student to see the Interpreters, ensuring continued participation in the class. Please work with the interpreter(s) and the student to determine best placement for the room size, shape, and lecture style. Disability Support Services is happy to work with you to identify the best solutions for any given scenario.
When presenting AV materials, check for the closed captioned (CC) symbols. If you are not sure how to enable captions, please contact AV Services or IT for assistance prior to the start of your class.
Captioning all videos is the standard for the university. It is also required for all videos when a Deaf or Hard of Hearing student is in the course. As a general rule, it is a good Universal Design Standard and is a benefit to the success of all students to caption all video regardless of students with disabilities. For assistance with captioning, please contact Academic Innovations and e-Learning.
There are many disabilities that may require special furniture or seating arrangements. For example:
- A student with a spine or limb injury may need a specialized chair or the ability to sit and stand or inconspicuously move about.
- A student who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing may need to sit closer to the instructor to hear or have line-of-sight to the interpreter.
- A student who uses a wheelchair may need a table instead of chair with a built-in desk.
- A student with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may need to sit near a door or with their back to a wall.
- A student with a service dog may require more space around them for the dog at their feet.
- A student with a personal care attendant may require a second seat for that person.
Most of the time, this is a non issue and the student will take care of this independently. If there are any questions related to accessibility (line-of-sight obstacles, ergonomic furniture placements, etc.) that need further arrangements, please let our office know. DSS will work with students to determine placement that will work best for their needs based on the layout of the classroom and to be the least obtrusive to classroom flow. These seats or tables will be marked with a DSS label. The furniture should not be moved or removed. Please notify DSS immediately if there is a problem with the furniture.
The student may need to occasionally leave the room during the class session, but will be as unobtrusive as possible and will take responsibility to follow-up with you regarding anything missed.
Typically, students are expected to follow established classroom attendance policies. Some conditions may have intermittent occurrences which may result in a student having to miss a class session for a disability related matter. The DSS office will respectfully request instructors to be open to working within their attendance policy. Please note that instructors are not required to modify any essential functions of the course.
Based upon review of the documentation that is provided by the student’s licensed provider, DSS will establish the need for an attendance accommodation. DSS will only give the accommodation where there is well-defined substantiation that the disability may affect attendance. The accommodation of reasonable flexibility in attendance is not an automatic extension for work that is due on a day a student is absent. Students must still make every attempt to complete and submit their work. Students are still expected to complete missed assignments, quizzes, or tests in agreement with the flexible attendance arrangement previously agreed upon with the Instructor of Record.
The attendance accommodation is not retroactive, except on a case-by-case basis. An agreement between the Instructor of Record, DSS, and the student must be in position prior to the absence(s) in order for the accommodation to be valid. Instructors should discuss with DSS when, and in what manner, the student will alert an instructor of an absence; if, and in what way, the student will make up the missed subject matter, and any permitted adjustments of deadlines for completion of assignments, quizzes, or exams. A plan must also be in place to discuss the situation if the absences become excessive. If the student does not complete the coursework or does not meet the course expectations in accordance to the attendance agreement, the Instructor of Record should grade the student accordingly. Discussions about attendance expectations may cover a number of different points. DSS will follow up with a written confirmation of the arrangement to protect both parties; an email is sufficient for this purpose. Reasonable flexibility is not appropriate in some classes. Considerations for making this determination are below.
The US Office for Civil Rights has created a set of questions to help instructors establish if attendance is an essential function of their course. These questions include:
- How much classroom interaction is there between the instructor and students, and among students?
- Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?
- Does the fundamental nature of the course rely upon student participation as an essential method for learning (e.g., foreign language)?
- To what degree does a student's absence constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of other students in the class?
- How do you calculate attendance in the final grade?
- What is the classroom policy regarding attendance?
Potential for Seizures
This student experiences seizures and specifically wants you to know of this potential. While every seizure can look and feel different, there are some general tips that may be helpful for you as a faculty member.
- Remain calm. Do not try to restrain the person, but remove any objects nearby that could get in the way.
- Do not force anything between the teeth.
- In the case of a Grand Mal seizure, loosen clothing around the neck. When seizing is over, turn the person on his/her side.
- It is not usually necessary to call 911. Most seizures are short-term events with a slightly longer period of recovery following.
- When a person who has experienced a seizure is becoming conscious again, allow a few minutes for resting. Seizures can be exhausting and very disorienting, so introduce yourself and talk with the person until he or she becomes oriented. If possible, place a jacket or towel under the head. In some cases, it may take hours or a few days to recover normal neurological functions.
- In the rare case of multiple or sequential seizures, seizures that last more than one minute, or if the person is injured or does not resume normal breathing in a short amount of time, please call 911.