Disability Services Center

Faculty Guide to Common Accommodations


Faculty Guide to Common Disability Accommodations - What are they & when are they used?
Assistive Technology (AT) Any device, software or equipment that improves the functional capabilities of an individual.  In Higher Education, assistive technology generally refers to the use of speech to text software and screen reader software. AT reads for blind/low vision, improves comprehension and reading speed for students with learning disabilities and attentional disorders, and assists students with dysgraphia or physical impairments with writing.
Alternate Format Text/Enlarged font materials

Alternate format texts are accessible PDF or otherwise electronically formatted texts that are compatible with screen reader programs such as Adobe Read Out Load, Natural Reader and Voice Over.

Enlarged font refers to written materials in large print, typically 16 pt. or larger.  Students also use alternative texts to adjust the size of textbook fonts.

Students require alternative texts for three primary reasons.  Listening while also reading improves reading speed and comprehension.  This is particularly helpful for students with attentional disorders and learning disabilities.  Students with physical disabilities may require alternative text in lieu of carrying a book, turning pages etc.  Blind and low vision students generally use alternative texts with screen readers to listen to the content
Breaks During Class Student is allowed to take small breaks 5-15 minutes in duration as needed. Students require breaks for many reasons.  They may have a psychiatric disability such as PTSD or generalized anxiety disorder and use breaks to mitigate their symptoms.  Students might also have a medical condition that requires management throughout the day.

C-Print/Captioned Videos/FM Device/ASL Interpreters

C-Print – C-Print is a computer aided speech to text system that creates real time captions for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Captioned videos – “subtitles” or captions that scroll on the screen to communicate auditory content to deaf and hard of hearing.

FM Device – Wireless assistive hearing devices that enhance the use of an individual’s hearing aid or cochlear implant.

Common accommodations for deaf and hard of hearing individuals.  Faculty can be proactive in ensuring deaf students access to their courses by always choosing audio content with transcripts and video content with captions.
Environmental Sensitivity/Allergy Announcements Notification provided to the class roster, faculty and residence hall floor (if applicable) via e-mail making recipients aware of a student’s allergy or sensitivity to something in the environment. This accommodation may be used to address the needs of a student with a food allergy, a chemical sensitivity, a latex allergy etc.  Students may be asked to refrain from eating peanuts, wearing perfumes, etc.  USM is able to make these requests but cannot require or mandate compliance.
Extended or Flexible Deadlines The ability to request additional time or alter a due date for an assignment, course reading or class project.  This accommodation is intended to be used proactively.  A student with the accommodation of extended or flexible deadlines should meet with their faculty at the beginning of the semester to discuss how this accommodation may be applied to a course. Extended/flexible deadline accommodations are generally awarded to students with executive function deficits related to brain injuries, attentional disorders and learning disabilities.  Students with chronic medical, neurological and psychiatric disabilities may also receive this accommodations to compensate for time they may lose to necessary medical appointments/treatment.
Extended Testing Time Extended testing time allows students extra time to complete their exam.  The goal is to accurately assess the student’s mastery of the material when time is not a factor.  The most common time accommodations are time and one half and double time. Students require additional test time for a myriad of reasons.  They might have an attentional disorder or a learning disability that impacts the processing of information.  Physical disabilities can impact a student’s writing ability/speed and medical disabilities can require interruptions to self-administer medications or medical treatment throughout the day.  
Flexible Attendance Exemption from established attendance policies due to a recurrent, disabling condition.  Class absence may not change the essential nature of the course. 

Flexible attendance is typically awarded to students who have a chronic, recurrent medical or psychiatric condition that requires intermittent intervention.  Students with this accommodation generally work closely with the DSC during class absences and have provided the DSC with documentation substantiating the need for class absence.

Note Taker A Peer Note Taker shares their in-class notes with a DSC registered student.  DSC takes primary responsibility for arranging this accommodation but will seek assistance from faculty when a volunteer does not come forward. Students with attentional and processing disorders often require the assistance of a note taker in order take in all the information conveyed during a class lecture.  A student may also need a note taker due to a physical impairment that impacts their writing ability.  
Preferred Seating Student is allowed to choose whereto sit in a class. Preferred seating is typically used by an individual with a vision or hearing disability or someone with a medical or psychiatric disability that may require the person to leave the room.
Priority Registration Priority registration allows students the ability to sign up for classes on the first day of registration regardless of class standing.  It is important for students to inform faculty advisors of this accommodation. Priority registration may be granted to a student who has a medical or physical disability that limits their daily hours of activity.  It is also granted to students whose accommodations take additional time to implement i.e. if special room assignment is needed or if technology needs to be installed in a room.
Reader or Scribe - Live A live reader or scribe is a person who reads or writes for a student during an exam or in class.   Generally used by blind and low vision students or by students who have a physical disability impacting their ability to write.  Often applied in situations where the physical disability is temporary i.e. a broken dominant hand.
Separate Space or Low Distraction Space for Testing

Separate space = a private testing room with a door in a low traffic area

Low Distraction Space=a private testing room (preferably with a door) in a low traffic area that can accommodate 2-3 students at a time.

Separate Space or Low Distraction Space for Testing is generally used by students with attentional disorders and students using assistive technology during their exams.
Use of Calculator Student is allowed to use a calculator on homework and exams. Awarded when a student has a documented math related learning disability.
Use of Computer for Essay Tests Student is allowed to use a computer to type their answers.  This does not mean a student is allowed internet access. Awarded when a student has dysgraphia or a documented learning disability that supports the need for word processing access.
Use of Livescribe Pen/Record Lecture

Livescribe Pen – an electronic pen that records the lecture while the student takes notes in a specialized notebook, syncing the notes and audio files and saves them in an uploadable format.

Recording Lecture - students utilize a MP3 recorder to record the lecture for replay at a later time.

Students who are granted the accommodation of smart pen and recording lectures are typically students who are strong auditory processors or students with memory deficits who require repetition to retain information.  This accommodation is not intended to support class absences.