Frequently Asked Questions, Page 2
Q. (ATTITUDE). Why would a student wait until a test comes along, or even later before telling the instructor that they have a disability and need an accommodation? If he waits until mid-semester, am I still required to grant the accommodation?
A. Unfortunately, many students are stigmatized as a result of having a disability. For some, high school special education programs caused them to feel "less than" by peers and teachers alike. There is a type of student that comes to us with a documented disability but chooses to believe that since he is now out of high school, the problem no longer exists. One of the biggest obstacles a student with a disability faces is the emotional scars from dealing with individuals who don't understand and judge them. Sometimes, this even includes family members. Yes, even if a student discloses their disability later in the semester, the instructor is still obligated to adhere to their request, provided the student qualifies for services as in the question above. Since the LD Specialist (myself) may finish assessment of a student at any point in the semester, a student may be one of the 55% of students that specialists throughout the state qualify for services for the first time. Only at that point in time would s/he qualify for accommodations.
Q. (DISABILITY RIGHTS) I recently had a student who lost her temper during a group project and stormed, raging, out of the room. The student never came to me or returned to class. Should I have done something?
A. There are times when an individual's disability can be a major factor for outbursts, mood swings, argumentative, or even aggressive behavior. This rarely leads to actual violence. It is mainly due to an inability to handle frustration. However, the college’s Student Code of Conduct still applies. Even though someone may not be in total control of herself, she may not cause distraction or discomfort for the instructor or other students. Learning cannot take place under these circumstances. Handle this student as you would any other. Try talking to her first and provide a clear picture of your expectations and what behavior will not be tolerated. If the behavior persists, you may ask the student to arrange a meeting with her, yourself and her counselor. Ultimately, though, a referral for disciplinary action to the VP of Student Services may be required. If a student blows up and then leaves, never to return, you may want to report the incident to your dean and even campus safety just in case, but there is nothing else you could have done.
Q. TAPE RECORDING: Can a faculty member forbid a student with a disability from using a tape recorder in class?
A. An instructor is typically required to allow a student to tape record her course if taping the class is determined to be an appropriate accommodation for a student's disability. Tape recorders are specifically mentioned in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act as a means of providing full participation in educational programs and activities. Occasionally, classroom discussion reveals items of a personal nature about students. If open discussions tend to reveal personal information, it would be appropriate to ask the student with a disability to turn off the tape recorder during these discussions. Contact DSPS with questions or concerns about tape recording lectures.