1. What are academic accommodations and how do I know they are reasonable?

Academic accommodations and support services are determined on an individual basis. Each accommodation is based on functional limitations as identified in each student's documentation and is designed to meet a student's needs without fundamentally altering the nature of the university's instructional program(s). Accommodations and support services are provided upon the recommendation of a DSS staff member. Students who are authorized for accommodations will present to their instructors an authorization form, which outlines the appropriate and recommended accommodation for each class. Students who request accommodations from an instructor without an authorization form should be directed to the DSS Office for consultation. Under most circumstances, students should not be given accommodations without an authorization.

For additional information about appropriate academic accommodations, please contact a Disability Management Advisor.

2. What do I do about a request for note-takers?

Students may request assistance from instructors in locating a suitable note-taker in a class. Instructors are asked to make an announcement to the class that there is a need for a note-taker and to see the instructor at the end of the class period if anyone is interested in providing this assistance. It is crucial that instructors respect the privacy of the student making the request.

Due to the sensitive nature of an individual's disability status, all information disclosed to an instructor by a student with a disability MUST REMAIN CONFIDENTIAL. Instructors are asked to discuss issues with a student who has a disability in a discreet manner to avoid inadvertent disclosure to others in the classroom.

3. Is my material safe if I allow a student to tape my lectures?

Depending upon the nature and severity of a particular student's disability, an instructor may be asked to allow him or her to tape lectures. It is the policy of DSS that students requiring this accommodation keep the lecture tapes secure and confidential and to use them only for the purposes of reviewing the presented materials. If an instructor has questions or concerns regarding this policy, he or she may contact DSS staff.

4. What about interpreters for students who are deaf?

Students who are deaf may work closely with an American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreter. ASL Interpreters may be used to facilitate communication in the classroom, laboratories, field trips and other class-related activities. Instructors are requested to address any communication in a class (i.e., questions, responses to comments, etc.) to the student using an interpreter directly to the student, and not to the interpreter. Students who use interpreters are asked to wait for 15 minutes if their interpreters are late. Likewise, and interpreter is asked to wait for 15 minutes if the student is late.

5. What is assistive technology and who uses it?

The Assistive Technology (AsTech) Lab, located within the 24-Hour Lab in the Schulz building, houses computer equipment that is available for the use of students with various disabilities. Available equipment includes speech recognition software, magnification programs, text-to-speech software, and other assistive technology. Students must obtain an authorization from DSS to use these services.

6. How does a student qualify for "Exception to the time limitations prescribed by minimum progress requirements"?

Under certain circumstances and dependent upon the nature of an individual's disability, it may be possible to make exceptions to the University's minimum progress requirements. A student must make an appointment with a DSS Advisor to discuss his or her situation on an individual basis. The student will then work closely with the instructor regarding academic expectations.

7. What is "Disability Management Advising"?

All students who are registered with the DSS are eligible to meet with a Disability Management Advisor to discuss disability issues that may interfere with their academic performance. Appointments may be scheduled by calling DSS at (707) 664-2677.

8. How does a student get Priority Registration?

Students registered with the DSS are generally given Priority Registration time slots, which allow them the opportunity to register for their classes at the earliest registration period. In this way, they are able to manage their disability and be proactive in assuring a workable schedule.

9. How can I learn more about the needs of my students?

Open communication between you and your student facilitates a better understanding of the individual needs. Please contact your student's Disability Management Advisor for more information. Additional teaching strategies and resources may be found in Teaching Strategies and Faculty Resource section.

10. What do I do if a student has requested that my exams be converted into alternate media?

To convert an exam into alternate media for a student with a print-related disability, faculty may submit their exam and the instructions for administering this accommodated exam by the DSS office using our online Accommodated Test Instruction form at: http://www.sonoma.edu/dss/web_forms/test_request.html.

If neccessary, faculty may e-mail or deliver the exam to the Disability Services for Students office, Attn: Senior Accessibility Coordinator, a minimum of 72 working hours before the scheduled exam. The DSS office is located in Schulz 1014a, office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm, and the phone number is (707) 664-2677.

11. Why would you make a referral to faculty, staff, campus resources, community agencies?

Depending on the situation or the severity of disability, a student may be referred outside the DSS office for assistance. Typically, this occurs when the needs of the student cannot be met within the scope of the services available in the department. Students may be referred to other offices or staff on campus for specialized services (i.e., personal counseling, academic advising particular to certain majors, the financial aid office, off-campus medical professionals, testing and assessments, Learning Skills Services for study skills and academic support, etc.).

12. Other questions, comments, concerns, and/or compliments?

These FAQs are intended to offer a little guidance regarding some concerns that may face instructors as they interact with students with disabilities. Feel free to contact the DSS office at any time to discuss issues that may not be addressed in these pages. Together we are presenting a warm and embracing academic environment for all of our diverse students.

Please contact Disability Services for Students at (707) 664-2677 or stop by our office, Schulz 1014a.