Special Services

Accommodations & Disabilities: Guidelines for Instructors

Office of Special Services

Marist College, along with all institutions of higher education, is required by law to provide equal access to qualified individuals with disabilities. Academic accommodations and classroom adjustments are made to ease the impact of a disability. The Office of Special Services counts on your input to meet the Federal mandate to create an environment built on equal access for students with disabilities.

Procedures for Determining and Implementing Accommodations

  1. Student self-identifies to the Office of Special Services and requests accommodations
  2. A disability file is initiated.
  3. Student submits documentation of the disability. Documentation must be from a qualified professional with the credentials to assess the disability. The documentation must provide guidelines for appropriate accommodations.
  4. Student meets with a representative of the Special Services staff to discuss accommodations.
  5. Academic accommodations are determined and discussed with the student.
  6. The student self-advocates with the instructors. They will discuss the accommodations and determine the best procedures for each course. The student and instructor will coordinate as needed with Special Services.

If there are any questions, the instructor should call the Director of Special Services.

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Instructor Responsibilities

  1. Announce to your classes the school's intention to provide assistance for any students with disabilities by verbal announcement and by a notice on the course syllabus.
  2. Refer students to the Office of Special Services when he or she discloses a disability.
  3. Implement pre-determined, in-class adjustments as agreed upon with the student.
  4. Contact Special Services when uncertain about implementation of accommodations.
  5. Insure that HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) guidelines are followed.

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Commonly used Accommodations

Accommodation

Description

Extended Testing Time

Extended testing time is designed to reduce the impact of a disability by allowing additional time for symbol recognition and decoding, cognitive processing, or to reduce stress. Extended testing can be provided in class or in an alternate location. Tests to be coordinated by Special Services must be scheduled in advance.

Separate / Quiet Location   for Testing

A separate location for testing is designed to reduce the impact of a disability by reducing extraneous stimuli that compete with cognitive processing or cue a stress-related reaction.   Testing is offered in an environment with reduced noise, light, and activity. A private testing room is available on a limited basis.

Readers and/or Scribes for Tests

Readers and/or Scribes are helpful in reducing the impact of a disability by providing alternative forms of information assimilation and expression. Readers and scribes augment the symbol recognition and decoding skills of students with visual impairments or cognitive processing disabilities.   When used during testing, readers and scribes are not allowed to interpret, add to, or subtract from the material being tested. They read or write verbatim what is presented to them

Use of a Computer / Spell Check for Written Work or Tests

Spelling support is designed to reduce the impact of a disability by correctly sequencing information or improving memory recall of symbolic information. Computers are especially helpful for essays. Computers are available for scheduled tests if reserved.

Notetakers for Lectures

Notetakers reduce the impact of a disability by providing support in the symbol recognition and decoding process inherent in note taking to eliminate or reduce the latency in short-term cognitive processing, to decrease the physical fatigue of extended on-task activities, or to supplement a student's notes. Special Services recruits and trains notetakers.

Tape Recording of Lectures

Tape recording of lectures reduces the impact of a disability by providing a mechanism to review verbally presented material when short-term memory, cognitive processing, or visual impairments exist.

Materials in Alternative Format or Copies of Class Materials

Copied materials or materials in alternate text (enlarged, Brailled, or electronic) reduces the impact of a disability by providing access to written material for individuals with visual, physical or cognitive processing difficulties. Overheads, PowerPoint slides, and limited-access classroom presentation materials are especially challenging. Special Services may be able to assist with copying, enlarging and scanning.

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What to Expect in the Classroom

Learning, Cognitive, and Attention Disabilities 

The scope of learning, cognitive, and attention disabilities is broad. Each student is unique in his/her needs and accommodations. Accommodations may be provided in many forms, depending upon the recommendations of a qualified professional.  

Students are encouraged to discuss their learning styles and accommodations with their teachers so that positive learning and testing environments can be developed.

Reading and Verbal Processing Disabilities

Many students with learning disabilities cannot simultaneously listen to a lecture, process it and take adequate notes. Students with visual, hearing, motor, or processing disabilities may not be able to take notes."Notetakers" are classmates who take notes on behalf of the student with a disability. Most notetakers prefer to take notes in their own notebooks, providing photocopies to the student. Special Services coordinates this effort.

Visual Disabilities

Students with visual disabilities may need enlarged print or copies of overheads, handouts, tests, etc. They may also use adaptive technology available in the office or the Library. Due to the extra time needed to enlarge, photocopy, convert material to alternative text, advanced notification and submission of reading material is most helpful to the student and Special Services.

Hearing Disabilities

Students who have hearing impairments often depend upon the visual presentation of information. A sign language interpreter may accompany students in class. They may also need to sit in the front of the class. Occasionally, a student may ask that an instructor wear an adaptive device that transmits his or her voice to a private listening earpiece. Additionally, students may tape-record lectures or request copies of lecture notes.

If possible, the instructor should supplement oral presentations with relevant visual information. Written handouts, blackboard usage and overhead materials are very useful. Copies of lecture notes are also very helpful to students with hearing disabilities. To encourage participation in lectures, students who have hearing impairments need to be aware of material before each lecture. A handout covering important points of the lecture is very helpful.

Physical Disabilities

Students who have physical disabilities may attend class with an aide, and they may need special seating as an accommodation. Notetakers may be necessary as well as copies of instructors. notes, outlines or PowerPoint presentations.

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Signs of Learning Disabilities

Most students with learning disabilities will display a cluster of behaviors, but not all behaviors are typical of a particular disability.

Reading Skills

  • Poor word recognition
  • Slow reading rate
  • Problems with comprehension
  • Difficulty retaining information that has been read
  • Confusion of similar words or word sounds
  • Word-find difficulties

Writing Skills

  • Poorly formed or illegible handwriting
  • Preference for printing rather than cursive
  • Using a combination of upper- and lower-case letters as well as cursive and print
  • Difficulty of organization of ideas

Mathematical Skills

  • Difficulty with fundamental operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division)
  • Reversing Numbers
  • Problems keeping columns
  • Confusing operational symbols and similar numbers
  • Problems with abstract concepts
  • Problems with mentally computing calculations

Language Skills

  • Difficulty expressing ideas out loud
  • Difficulty remembering or understanding oral instruction
  • Difficulty concentrating on lectures during a class period
  • Difficulty listening and taking notes at the same time
  • Vocabulary weaknesses
  • Difficulty with foreign languages
  • Misinterpreting subtleties of language

Study Skills

  • Time management difficulties
  • Difficulty completing open-ended, unstructured, or last-minute assignments
  • Difficulty selecting relevant from irrelevant details
  • Difficulty organizing time and materials to prepare for tests
  • Appearing somewhat disorganized

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Course Syllabus Disability Statement

Learning support services and accommodations are available to students covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Institutions of Higher Education are required to notify students that if they have a documented disability they may be eligible for classroom and/or testing accommodations. Students must also be notified of the procedure for making the request. Including a statement such as the one below on all course outlines will insure proper notification of the required procedures for requesting and receiving academic accommodations.

A statement may be placed on your course syllabus indicating your willingness to provide reasonable classroom and testing accommodations to students with disabilities. This statement acts as an invitation for students with disabilities to meet with you, in a confidential environment, to review course requirements and to discuss their disability-related needs.

You are encouraged to use the following statement on your course syllabus.

Students with disabilities who believe they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact the Office of Special Services at (845) 575-3274, Donnelly Hall 226 or via email at specserv@marist.edu as soon as possible to better ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely manner.



We hope this information has been helpful. Please stop in the office, call or send us an email if you have any further questions or concerns. PLEASE NOTE: Faculty members DO NOT have the right to ask students if they have a disability. For those students with documented disabilities, faculty members DO NOT have the right to ask about the nature of the disability. However, if students choose to disclose their disability, this information should be treated as confidential.

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Examination Accommodations for Students With Disabilities

Faculty Guidelines

Many students with documented disabilities are legally entitled to a variety of testing accommodations.

The Office of Special Services will provide these accommodations in the manner indicated below.

Instructors may provide these services at any time should they wish to do so.

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For the convenience of Marist College instructors, the Office of Special Services provides out-of-class testing facilities for students with documented disabilities who are in need of additional time or other accommodations (readers, scribes, computers, etc.) to complete examinations.

Testing accommodations are available beginning at 8:30 am. This Office requests that students taking evening classes begin their exams no later than 5:00 pm to allow sufficient time for completion. Tests beginning at 5:00 pm may not be completed in time to be picked up or returned to the instructor that evening. In this case, tests will be held in the Office of Special Services until the next day with the exception of final exams (see Final Exam Policy ). Faculty members are responsible for the delivery and pick up of their tests being administered in Special Services. Instructions for delivery are to be indicated on the testing envelope.

The Office has established the following policies for testing:

  1. Students requesting special testing procedures, because of a disability, should notify the faculty member of their need for out-of-class testing. It is not the faculty's responsibility to register a student for testing with the Office of Special Services. Students who come to Special Services to complete an exam for which they have not registered or for which they are late, may be sent back to the classroom.
  2. The Office requires students to register for out-of-class testing five (5) business days prior to the actual administration of the exam. (See #3 for surprise quizzes.) At this time, they must indicate the date and time of testing. If the student requires accommodations other than extended time (as mentioned above), the student must indicate this need to the Office at the time he/she registers for the test
  3. In the event of surprise quizzes, the Office will do its best to accommodate a student's needs. If space is not available, students may be sent back to the classroom to make other arrangements with the instructor.
  4. Faculty members are encouraged to drop off tests in Special Services (DN 226) or email them to specserv@marist.edu. You may elect to give students the tests to deliver in the testing envelope which we will provide. The envelope should be sealed with the test enclosed, and all instructions indicated in the space provided. Please be sure to initial or sign the envelope before giving it to the student to bring to Special Services. We do not recommend sending tests through campus mail.
  5. If there are special instructions, modifications or exceptions to a particular test, these must be indicated on the testing envelope.
  6. Students using accommodated testing must report to the Office of Special Services prior to beginning the exam. Students must deposit all books, cell phones or materials which they are not permitted to use during testing in the Office. The student completes the test either in the Office of Special Services or in the specially designated area that the Office has reserved for testing. All tests are proctored.
  7. Students using computers during testing use only stand-alone PCs that have no ability to access the mainframe or internet. They are not permitted to use their own flash drives. If necessary, the Office will provide clean, blank flash drives which will be collected at the end of the testing session.
  8. The amount of extra time a student receives for testing is individually determined based upon the documentation of their disability.
  9. Students will not be allowed to leave the test site without permission of the proctor or staff member. A student may not leave the test site to return at a later time, nor will the student be allowed to start a test one day and complete it the next unless such instructions are specifically given by the instructor.
  10. When the student has completed the test, with the exception of final exams, it will be returned following the instructions indicated by the faculty member on the testing envelope. Upon completion, each test will be placed back in the same envelope, re-sealed, stamped across the back, and initialed by a member of the Office staff. The stamped area is then covered with transparent tape.
  11. Faculty members are urged not to reschedule tests to a time that is personally convenient for the student. Students should be able to take tests during their regularly scheduled time. Exceptions to this rule would be indicated when a student might miss a class that will meet during the administration of an extended time test, or when a student is enrolled in a night class. Students may need to reschedule final exams when more than two exams are schedule for the same day. It is the student's responsibility to discuss any scheduling problems with the faculty member.
  12. The Office of Special Services will provide the above services only for students who have presented documentation of a disability. Faculty members are encouraged to contact Special Services if they wish to verify a student's need for testing accommodations.

    The Office of Special Services strives to maintain a testing policy that is nondiscriminatory and assures the integrity of the examination process. We appreciate the efforts of the faculty to meet the needs of students with disabilities who are enrolled at Marist College.

    Please direct any questions you have concerning these procedures to the Office of Special Services, 575-3274, ext. 2274 or specserv@marist.edu.

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    Final Exam Policy

    Final exams will NOT be given to students to deliver to their instructors. Completed exams MUST be picked up by a member of the faculty or designee.

    Completed final exams will be held in a sealed and stamped envelope in Special Services.

    If faculty members are unable to pick up the completed final exam(s), arrangements can be requested in advance by the instructor for secure delivery at the completion of finals week.

    All special arrangements must be made directly with the Special Services Support Services Coordinator, Denise Martin.

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