Disability Services

Faculty Information, Rights and Requirements

As a faculty member you have the right to:

  • Maintain the academic standards of your classroom and/or program.
  • Verify that a student has a documented disability with the Disability Services Office
  • Be given adequate notification of the needed accommodation.
  • Choose between appropriate accommodations when a choice exists.
  • Disagree with an accommodation and file a grievance. You must still provide the accommodation until the grievance is resolved.

As a faculty member you have the responsibility to:

  • Include the ADA statement on each course syllabus.
  • Provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxillary aids for students with disabilities upon a timely request by a student.
  • Ensure that all activities related to the experience of the course are accessible to all students.
  • Determine the conditions under which the exam is to be administered and assure the timely delivery of the exam along with all necessary materials to the Learning Center.
  • Consult with the sudent with regard to appropriate accommodations.
  • Discuss with the Disability Services office any concerns related to an accommodation or arrangements that have been requested by a student.
  • Evaluate students on their abilities, not their disabilities.
  • Maintain appropriate confidentiality of records and communication concerning students with disabilities except where disclosure is required by law or authorized by the student.

Syllabus Statement

The College seeks to comply fully with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities act of 1990. The ADA Coordinator works with the programs to assist the faculty in understanding and implementing accommodations.

Accommodations based on a disability require approval by the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator. To initiate the approval process, students with disabilities seeking accommodations should schedule a meeting with the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator, Debbie Coleman, Ferguson Center, Room G23, 660-831-4170 or colemand@moval.edu. This meeting should be scheduled as soon as possible once the student believes he or she needs an accommodation. Failure to do so could delay accommodations, and any granted accommodations are not effective retroactively. The disability accommodations process requires that students provide documentation of their disabilities from a qualified professional. Once documentation has been provided, a determination will be made regarding students' eligibility for accommodations. If you have any questions about how to initiate this process, please contact your instructor or the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator.

Memos to Instructors

Accommodation Memos are issued to a student after appropriate documentation of disability has been submitted to the ADA Coordinator and the documentation has been reviewed. The ADA Coordinator meets with each student and creates an Accommodation Plan. The accommodations listed on the plan are based upon:

  • Documentation of the disability
  • Recommendation of professionals who have worked with the student
  • Interviews with the student

Accommodations follow the guidelines published by the Association On Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), which has done extensive investigation of the law and current practices regarding accommodation in higher education.

Students should ask for an appointment to discuss accommodations. The ADA Coordinator supplies the student with one copy of the Accommodation Memo and e-mails a copy to their professors because of concerns about confidentiality. If you feel it is important to retain a copy of the studentís memo, please read the section on confidentiality before you make a copy.

The accommodations listed on the Accommodation Memo are meant to be a guideline for the instructor and student. Teaching styles are different and each class requires different skills, the need for accommodations and the manner in which they are given may vary from class to class.

Sample of a Notification Memo:

  • Date: March 28, 2012
  • Joe Student is enrolled in your class, has a documented disability, and is registered with my office.
  • The accommodations listed below have been discussed with the student and are based on documentation of the disability kept on file in my office. These accommodations have been determined to be reasonable per the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and national guidelines from the Association on Higher Education and Disability.
  • Because the student may function differently in each class, not every accommodation may be needed. It is important that you and the student discuss the accommodations for your particular class. If, after talking to the student, you need further clarification, please contact my office.
  • The following testing accommodations have been approved for the student. If the instructor is unable to provide requested accommodation, the student will need 2 days advance notice to arrange tests through the Disabilities Services Office.
    • Extended time on tests
    • Test in distraction reduced environment (The Learning Center)
  • After accommodations have been provided, the student should be graded according to the same standards as other Missouri Valley College students.
  • THIS INFORMATION IS CONFIDENTIAL. IT SHOULD NOT BE SHARED WITH ANY PERSON OTHER THAN THE STUDENT. In order to prevent breach of confidentiality, please dispose of this notification after the student has completed your course.
  • I realize the importance of faculty understanding and support in providing accommodations to students. I am committed to working with you in maintaining the integrity of the educational experience and in creating equal access opportunities.
  • Thanks!

Classroom Accommodations

Please note that this is not an all-inclusive list. Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis in order to determine what is appropriate for each student. If you have particular questions, please contact the ADA office.

  • Access to teacher handouts, slides, overheads: Having access to handouts is needed either because a student needs to have the extra time to read them, they may need to be put in electronic format or they may be beneficial to a student who has trouble focusing while listening to the lecture or has trouble with organization.
  • Additional time on in-class writing assignments: Some students due to their disability may require additional time on any in-class writing. It is recommended that the faculty member and the student work out how to best handle this situation directly. If there are any questions, please feel free to contact the ADA coordinator.
  • Assistive listening device (ALD): Some students who are hard of hearing may require an assistive listening device. Each device is different. In most cases the instructor will be required to wear a small device with a microphone so that the student can hear. It will be important for the instructor to repeat any comments from other members of the class.
  • Assistive Technology (laptop, note-taking device): There is a variety of assistive technology available to students with disabilities. Some students may need to type their tests on a computer. In some cases, students may use their own computer and in other cases, they may need to use a computer on campus.
  • Closed Captioned Videos: Students who are Deaf or hard of hearing will need to have all videos shown in class to have captioning. If the copy being shown is not captioned, please contact the ADA office to look for alternative solutions prior to the time of the class.
  • Information on board read aloud for students with visual disabilities: Students who are either Blind or have limited vision, may not be able to see information that is written on the board. Therefore, it is important for the instructor to read aloud all information that is written on the board in order to provide the student equal access to the information.
  • Interpreting/Transcribing: An interpreter/transcriber is simply one who bridges the gap between the spoken and Deaf world. When the teacher or a classmate speaks, the interpreter/transcriber translates the spoken words into the language preferred by the Deaf or hard of hearing student. The student likewise participates in the classroom by signing or typing the information and the interpreter voices it (talks) for the class. The interpreter is not meant to be a participant in the classroom, but a communication facilitator, making sure that communication is easily accessible for the deaf and hearing populations equally.
  • Note-taker: At times some students have difficulty taking notes due to their disability. Some student would benefit from copies of course notes from another student in the class. With the student's consent, the professor, instructor or teaching assistant can make a general announcement that there are students in the class who have disabilities which preclude them from taking comprehensive notes and that it would be appreciated if other students could give the student with a disability copies of their notes. If a student agrees to be a note-taker, please have them email the ADA office. It is requested that you conduct this process in the most confidential manner. We do not want other class members to be made aware of which student is requesting the service.
  • Occasional exceptions to the absentee/tardiness policy: The Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990, specifies that case-by-case exceptions should be made to established policy in order to avoid discrimination on the basis of a disability. To address this, the following disability related absence protocol has been developed: The student is required to notify the faculty member as soon as possible. They are also encouraged to let the ADA coordinator know as well. Each faculty member makes the determination as to how many absences in general are acceptable in order to pass the class. For a student with a disability, we must also look at: What are the essential elements of the course? How many absences would fundamentally alter the student's ability to experience; or ability to participate in; or to contribute to and demonstrate learning? More information is available about this accommodation by clicking here: Occasional Exceptions.
  • Personal Care Attendant: Some students with significant physical disabilities may require a personal care attendant to travel with them. Depending on the needs of the student, the attendant may or may not sit with the person in class.
  • Preferential Seating: Students who have limited hearing, vision or difficulty with attention, distraction or an ability to focus will need to sit as close to the instructor as possible.
  • Record Lectures: Some students may need to be able to record their lectures due to the nature of their disability. If the material you are presenting should not be indiscriminately distributed due to publishing concerns, copyright concerns or matters of confidentiality, please allow this student to record the class. A separate agreement ensuring the materials are not circulated beyond the class will be provided to the faculty member with the accommodation letter.

Testing Accommodations

  • Additional Time: It is recommended giving some students additional time for in-class tests. The amount of time appropriate is determined based on the student's documentation. Students do have the option to take their tests in The Learning Center. However, in the event that the student might have questions which would be best answered by someone with knowledge of the subject matter, it is more beneficial for the student if the instructor or a teaching assistant proctors the tests.
  • Alternate exam dates during periods of heavy scheduling: Some students with a variety of disabilities may need to space their exams out in order to allow for their disability to not significantly impact their ability to take their exams. Each case is different. The ADA office recommends talking about the issues with the student to determine the best way to address this. The ADA office is also happy to be a part of the discussion.
  • Alternative testing environment: The ADA office encourages all students who require testing accommodations to try as best they can to make those arrangements directly with their instructors. However, if this is not possible, students may elect to take their test in The Learning Center. In order to do this, the student and the faculty member must complete the testing form which is available in The Learning Center.
  • Assistive Technology: Some students, because of their disability, will require assistive technology to be able to complete their test. They may be able to use a laptop of their own. However, if that is not an option, then they can use a computer in The Learning Center. This accommodation may be needed due to a physical or learning disability which requires the use of specialized software, hardware or because the student's disability makes handwriting extremely messy and organization tends to be disjointed. Using a word processor such as a laptop allows the student to concentrate on organization and producing a legible piece of work. Students who use assistive technology may also use this accommodation so that they can take their tests with the class. Headphones may be used by the student if a speech output program is needed.
  • Calculator: The use of a calculator helps this student avoid mistakes such as reversing or skipping numbers. If a test or assignment is designed to measure the student's ability to perform functions a calculator would perform then this accommodation is inappropriate.
  • No Scantron: Some students due to visual processing issues or visual disabilities may not be able to transfer their answers to a scantron. In this case, students should be able to answer directly on the test. If this is not possible, please contact the ADA office to determine what other options might be available.
  • Scribe: Students who are unable to write their exam independently due to either a physical or visual disability, may require assistance writing (i.e. scribe). However, students are encouraged to use assistive technology for this purpose as a better way to ensure that their work is completed independently. If assistive technology is not an available or appropriate option given the circumstances, the ADA office can assist with locating a scribe.
  • Spell-check or points not taken off for spelling: The use of a spellchecker will help this student and may help the grader by making tests easier to read. If the function of the test or assignment includes measuring spelling ability, this accommodation may not be appropriate.


Question: I suspect that a student in my class has a disability and has not sought out services. What should I do?

Answer: Students may not have sought out services for the following reasons:

  • The student may not know about Disability Services
  • The student may have not made the time to speak with you about his or her situation.
  • The student does not wish to notify you about their disability.

Do not assume that the student has a disability or needs accommodations. Talk to the student in terms of how he/she is functioning in the class. Explain that the Disability Services Office and Learning Center provide various services. Suggest that he or she may want to stop by the Disability Services Office and/or Learning Center to check out services.

Question: I cannot provide the requested accommodation and/or I feel the requested accommodation is providing the student with an unfair advantage.

Answer: A major function of the Disability Services Office and ADA Coordinator is to provide instructors assistance in providing the accommodation to students. Contact the ADA coordinator if you need assistance.
Questions regarding accommodation requests should be directed to Debbie Coleman, ADA Coordinator. Do not deny accommodations prior to meeting with Debbie Coleman. We recognize that some circumstances may occur in which academic objectives may be compromised by the accommodation.

Question: A student is requesting extra time for tests, but does not have an Accommodation memo. I have no problem giving the student extended time. Should I insist that she see the Disability Services office?

Answer: Yes, while you may be willing to provide extended time, the studentís next instructor may not. In order for the student to receive consistent, appropriate accommodations, he/she should register with the Disability Services Office. In addition, there may be other accommodations that can be provided that have not been explored.

Question: Are Accommodations retoactive?

Answer: Disability accommodations can be requested at any time but are not retroactive. Students will not be able to re-do assignments or re-take exams with accommodations that they originally took before they asked for and received accommodations.

Discussing Accommodations and Confidentiality

Students with disabilities have differing attitudes regarding their disability, it is always best to err on the safe side and defer the conversation to your office rather than in the classroom or hallway. Sometimes students will try to talk with their instructor before or after class during transition periods. I would encourage you to have the student make an appointment or stop by during your office hours. As you know, it is nearly impossible to have a meaningful and PRIVATE conversation during class changes.

It is best to talk to the student in terms of how he or she will function or is functioning rather than talking about the specific disability. Some students will disclose their specific disability freely and others prefer to discuss only their accommodation needs. The student has the right to withhold information or details of their disability.

Discussions with the ADA Coordinator:
The Disability Services Office serves over 50 students per semester. Of these students, most give authorization to discuss accommodation needs with faculty. Disclosure of the specific disability can only be made by the student or with the studentís permission.

Please understand that when an instructor stops the ADA Coordinator in the hallway, I may not remember if authorization was given. Allow me to go back to my office and check the status. The conversation should be conducted in a private location.

Discussion of Disability Issues with Other Faculty Members or Staff:
Oftentimes other faculty have encountered the same accommodation dilemmas. It is a wonderful idea to brainstorm and problem solve access issues with each other. Remember to talk in terms of functions and refrain from mentioning the studentís name.

Accommodation Memos are Confidential:
The information on the Accommodation Memo is confidential.

Question: What if the Student Chooses To Disclose Their Disability?

Answer: Information the student gives you regarding his or her disability should be kept confidential. The student is not required to answer questions you may have about their disability such as type of medication they are taking, treatment history.

Question: May I reveal the identity of the student with a disability in my class if I am arranging a note-taker or testing accommodations?

Answer: This should be discussed with the student. Some students are comfortable with an announcement in front of class and others are not. The instructor should not ask the student to make the request in front of class. Testing accommodations should be kept confidential also.

Testing Accommodations

Testing accommodations are the most frequently used accommodations by student with disabilities on our campus. The types of accommodations vary from student to student and are based on appropriate documentation held in the Disability Services Office. Accommodations Memos are e-mailed to the instructors each semester. These memos will list precise test-taking adaptation needed for each student. No two students are alike, therefore the accommodation lists may vary from student to student.

Types of Test-Taking Adaptations

  • Reader and/or writer (will automatically require additional time)
  • Extended Time (up to TWICE the amount of time allowed on time-restricted tests)
  • Use of Closed Circuit TV or Computer
  • Enlarged Text
  • Distraction-Reduced Environment
  • Sign Language Interpreter
  • Clarification of Test Questions
  • Use of Calculator and/or Formula Sheets
  • Use of Spell-Checking Device

How Are Instructors To Know If and When A Student Requires Testing Accommodations?
Instructors will receive an Accommodations Memo via e-mail which outlines all of the testing adaptations that have been approved for each student. This memo is most often sent at the beginning of the semester. If you do not receive a memo and a student requests test-taking accommodations, do not provide the accommodation without contacting the ADA Coordinator.

Students might not always use testing accommodations. Therefore, it is their responsibility to communicate their needs to you. If they do no inform you of their need, they run the risk of not receiving their accommodation.

Who Is Responsible For Providing These Accommodations?
Ultimately college faculty and teaching staff are responsible for providing all reasonable test-taking accommodations, provided that the adaptation does not change the essential function of the test. Consult the ADA Coordinator if you have questions regarding the accommodation. When providing a student with testing accommodations for the first time, check with the ADA Coordinator.

There are 2 avenues for providing testing accommodations:

Often instructors are able and prefer to provide the accommodation personally without Learning Center assistance. The accommodations that instructors are most likely able to provide include:
  Enlarged tests
  Extended time
  Clarification of test questions
  Distraction-reduced environment
When providing accommodations, instructors must be aware of what is necessary and appropriate in the situation. Discussing needs privately with the student will help in setting up the provision effectively. The ADA Coordinator is also available for consultation.
The Learning Center will assist faculty who cannot personally provide testing accommodations. In many cases accommodations must be provided by the Learning Center because of specialized personnel and/or equipment involved.
  General Testing Policies
  Tests must be scheduled the same date and time as when the class is scheduled to take the exam.
NOTE: From time to time it may become necessary for the Learning Center to change the test date/time. Instructors must be consulted by the student before scheduling changes are made.
  Instructorsí policies regarding absences from tests also apply to testing in The Learning Center.
  If an emergency causes a student to be absent from a scheduled test, the student is to call the instructor and The Learning Center immediately.
  If a student is more than 15 minutes late for a scheduled test, the Learning Center will not be able to administer the test.
  Unless instructors specifically note special directions for administering the test, the Learning Center will not allow students to bring items into the testing session.
  Students are expected to complete tests in a fair and ethical manner. The Learning Center adheres to the Collegeís policy regarding the issue of cheating.