Policies and procedures for students with disabilities

January 06, 2022

Disability Services assists faculty by determining if students qualify for reasonable and appropriate disability accommodations as outlined in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended in 2008. I ask that you please review the information below regarding policies and procedures in working with students with disabilities. Please contact me (cjjarrett@bsu.edu; 285-5293; Student Center 116) if you have any questions or would like to discuss any of these items.

Thank you,

Dr. Courtney Jarrett, Director

Disability Services

Providing Access and Opportunity for Students with Disabilities 

Disability Services assists faculty by determining if students qualify for reasonable and appropriate disability accommodations as outlined in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended in 2008. In determining who is eligible for accommodations, Disability Services reviews relevant documentation of the student's disability. When deciding what accommodations would be reasonable for a student with a disability, Disability Services is careful not to offer an accommodation to a student which may violate the integrity of the course or fundamentally alter an essential component of the course. Disability Services strives to ensure the civil rights of our students with disabilities while at the same time protecting institutional standards. In keeping with federal and university policies and with best practices, the following items should be considered in an attempt to create a welcoming classroom environment for students with disabilities.

Syllabus Statement

Please include the following statement on your syllabus/course outlines and read it at the beginning of each term:

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, please contact me as soon as possible. Ball State's Disability Services office coordinates services for students with disabilities; documentation of a disability needs to be on file in that office before any accommodations can be provided. Disability Services can be contacted at 765-285-5293 or dsd@bsu.edu. 

While it is always best for students to communicate early in the term, we may not put dates or deadlines on legal rights. Should a student request an accommodation, indicate that you will be able to discuss that when they have requested a letter from the DS office.

Accommodation Letters & Testing Accommodations

Faculty members are under no obligation to provide any accommodations to a student until the student presents the faculty member with a letter of accommodation from the Disability Services office. Before determining what accommodations would be appropriate for a student, Disability Services meets with the student and reviews their disability documentation. Accommodation letters will be on Disability Services letterhead and verify the student's disability, list appropriate accommodations, and describe options for the administration of accommodated tests.

The DS office will use Maxient to house our electronic files and to send correspondence. Students with disabilities have the option to request printed accommodation letters or have their letters sent electronically from dsd@bsu.edu (via Maxient). Given the global pandemic, DS office staff will encourage students to have their letters emailed from Maxient to limit the amount of traffic in the DS office.

When you receive the letter, the two of you should discuss how the accommodations will work for your course. The two of you may agree that you will provide these accommodations in an appropriate setting (possibly your office or the departmental office).  Or, if you need an alternate testing location, you may utilize the accommodated testing program offered through the Learning Center (NQ 350; lctesting@bsu.edu; 765-285-3779).  Staff at the Learning Center will work with you and the student if you choose to utilize this testing option. Procedures have been developed at the Learning Center to maintain test security and the standards set by you and the university. 

Canvas Exams

If you use tests or quizzes on Canvas, you will need to ensure that the student gets extended time. We have information on Disability Services’ website as to how to extend testing time.  

Making Technology Accessible for Students with Disabilities

While technology has offered individuals with disabilities access to many new opportunities, not all new technology has been created with access in mind. If you are creating or using technology in your classes, please consider how a student with a disability would access that program. How would a student who is blind or deaf use the technology? If you are using media/technology in any of your classes, it is necessary that the technology be accessible to students with disabilities. BSU has terrific resources to ensure technological access.

For students with visual disabilities: Contact staff at the Accessible Technology Lab, (actlab@bsu.edu, 285-6124) to ensure that technology is accessible for students using adaptive software. The staff can also assist with Braille and other options for making text accessible.

For students with hearing disabilities: If captioning is needed, faculty will receive an email from the DS office as notification. As courses are planned, please contact Educational Resources (285-5333) first to see if there is a captioned version of your media available. If not available, contact Jeff Bowers (umscaptions@bsu.edu; 285-2766) in University Media Services to get assistance with captioning. Advance planning is important as adding captions to media is a laborious process. 

Classroom Furniture                                                                                                                            

Please contact our office if you have students in your courses that cannot use the furniture in your classroom. Please also make sure that there are clear pathways for students with mobility disabilities at each class meeting.

Emergency Evacuation Procedures

Since elevators should not be used for evacuation during an emergency, persons with mobility disabilities will need assistance evacuating. First, contact Public Safety (285-1111) to notify the first responders of the location of the person with a disability. If there is no immediate danger, take the individual to a safe place to await emergency personnel. Whenever possible, someone should remain with the person while another individual exits the building and notifies emergency personnel of the person with a disability's exact location. Only in situations of extreme and immediate danger should you try to evacuate a wheelchair user yourself. More on emergency evacuation procedures can be found on our website.

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