Specific accommodations respond to the functional limitations created by the disability and may vary among students having the same disability diagnosis. Alternative modifications are always identified on a case-by-case basis, the appropriateness of which should be verified by the SSD office.
Fatigue, medical problems, medication, hospitalization, and extreme weather may disrupt a student's class attendance. Disabilities likely to impact class attendance include, but are not limited to, paraplegia, quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, heart disorders, psychological disorders, AIDS, arthritis, chronic illness, chemical dependency, cerebral palsy and fibromyalgia. Attendance policies should be clearly stated in the course syllabus. Instructors should also include information addressing exceptions to those policies. When disabilitity documentation submitted to the SSD officed indicates that a student's disability may impact attendance, SSD may request instructor flexibility regarding absence from class and deadlines for made-up coursework, if reasonable. This request will be indicated on the student's VISA. Students are encouraged to meet with instructors and discuss this prior to anticipated absences.
Early Availability of Syllabus and Course Materials
Provision of a class syllabi and list of all required reading prior to the beginning of the semester will be helpful to some students with disabilities. Students with visual, learning, and other disabilities may require taping of reading materials. It is the student's responsibility to arrange taping. Since this is a time consuming process, extended preparation time is helpful. Students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may utilize the syllabus to become familiar with terminology used in a course and to develop sign language vocabularies for use by their interpreters. Provision of materials in advance of the semester may reduce the need for extension of time to complete course requirements at the end of the semester.
Extra Time to Complete Course Requirements
Students with disabilities may need extra time to complete course requirements. Particularly for new students, there may be a period of adjustment in determining a realistic academic load. Unforeseen medical problems can cause increased physical and/or health limitations. Arranging for adapted course materials (i.e. raised line graphs and models for physical science courses for students who are visually impaired) can delay course work completion. The student may find it necessary to discuss with the instructor the need to take an incomplete in a course until all course requirements can be met.
Chronic Fatigue Issues
Although fatigue is not a disability, many disabilities cause chronic fatigue. Fatigue may accompany a variety of disabilities including AIDS, arthritis, back injury, cardiac disease, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, polio, spinal cord injury, chronic illness, and visual impairments. Some students may have difficulty sitting for long periods of time and will need to stand for a while or leave class to stretch or move around. Instructors and students should discuss specific limitations caused by fatigue as early in the semester as possible.
Some students with disabilities may have difficulty with oral communication in the classroom. They may have slow speech, impaired speech or no speech. Students who have slow speech or speech that is difficult to understand should be encouraged to speak in class and be allowed to take their time. Pushing such a student to rush, or cutting the student off, may make the student's speech more difficult to understand and will frustrate the student. If testing requires oral responses, students with speech difficulties may need the opportunity for an alternative testing format.
Instructors, staff and students should be aware of the Center for Communication Disorders as a campus resource located in HSS 112 (715) 836-4186.
Federal law and UW System policy note that modifications in academic requirements may include substitution of specific required courses. Implementation rules and case law have provided the clarification that courses and requirements essential to the program of instruction or related to licensing requirements need not be considered for substitution. Examples that are often used include math courses for a finance major or science courses in pre-professional medical programs. It is the institution's responsibility to justify what constitutes an essential requirement.
UW-Eau Claire has a process in place for a student to follow when requesting an academic substitution. As required by law, substitutions are considered on a case by case basis.
- Get substitution form from appropriate dean's office.
- Work with adviser in preparing requested substitution.
- If request impacts major/minor, take request to department chair.
- If request impacts university requirements, take to appropriate dean.
- Student should give adviser, department chair or dean permission in writing to verify disability information with the SSD office.
- A student or faculty/staff member may wish to discuss with the staff in the SSD office the justification or appropriateness of a substitution as it relates to a particular disability. Prior to approving a requested substitution, it is appropriate for the Dean or Department Chair to ask the SSD office to verify that the documentation of a student's disability is on file and that the documentation supports the substitution request.
Students who wish to appeal an institutional decision or response relating to their request for academic substitutions or waivers may do so by using the Grievance Policy for Students with Disabilities.
The Institution must consider requests for a substitution on a case by case basis. Based on federal law the student or institution must consider the following questions:
- Does student have disability covered by law?
The SSD office determines this based on documentation provided by the student.
- Is student otherwise qualified?
If the student meets admission requirements, the student is otherwise qualified under the law.
- Does documentation support that the disability impacts performance area?
If a student is requesting a substitution for an academic requirement due to a disability, it is essential that the documentation provided by the student makes it clear that due to the disability this academic requirement would "have the effect of discriminating" against a qualified student.
For learning disabilities and ADD/ADHD this would mean that the report from the educational psychologist or other qualified professional would provide test names, scores and diagnostic findings detailing how the disability impacts this area of learning.
- Is it an essential element of the curriculum?
It is the responsibility of the faculty to make a specific determination as to what constitutes an essential element of the curriculum and therefore exempt from consideration for substitution.