Appendix VI: Students with Special Needs
The necessity of meeting special needs and assuring that each student is afforded equal access to education, regardless of handicapping conditions, is a major challenge for higher education. Handicapping conditions (disabilities) are well defined in federal law and regulations, and recent federal legislation contains more extensive regulations that directly affect higher education.
Administrators and faculty recognize that persons with disabilities are capable of academic success, but may require specific accommodations to realize their goals. Individual faculty members should easily be able to comply with all regulations since most of the accommodations needed are relatively minor and require only sensitivity to special needs. Most student needs could be addressed by one or more of the following.
- arranging for class notes to be copied from another student;
- using a speech interpreter;
- preferential seating;
- additional time for class work and tests;
- special testing location (reduced distractions);
- test reader or scribe;
- furniture accommodations (wheelchair access);
- use of tape recorders and other assistive devices.
Current regulations stipulate that individual faculty as well as the University may be held liable if documented special needs are not addressed appropriately and reasonably. The following procedures have been developed to accommodate students with special needs and to ensure documentation of the good faith efforts of faculty and administrators to provide reasonable academic accommodations.
The student, in order to receive instructional accommodation, must apply for services with Disability Support Services (DSS).
Application forms are available in Denton from the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Disability Support Services Office. In Dallas and Houston, forms are available from the Campus Manager.
The student must complete all information and attach documentation to determine appropriate accommodations. All materials must be submitted to DSS in Denton for validation. The application and documentation will be reviewed by the DSS Director and the Academic Review Committee. Reasonable academic accommodations are determined based on the diagnostic information provided.
Once registered, the student may request that the DSS Director contact individual faculty concerning appropriate and reasonable accommodations needed for academic programming. The DSS Director will send suggested accommodations to each faculty member requested by the student as well as to the dean or director of the academic component involved.
The student is responsible for initiating accommodations to allow for appropriate response by the faculty.
Deans/department chairs are responsible for informing faculty of the needs of disabled students in their academic programs and for maintaining compliance data. The administration will, on an annual basis, provide faculty with information about the academic needs of disabled students and the services available through DSS. The administration will provide information/seminars, etc., to assist faculty to develop awareness of disabilities or handicapping conditions which affect the academic progress of students in higher education. Administrators will maintain documentation that indicates a reasonable effort has been made to accommodate students with disabilities.
Faculty will assure that an appropriate response has been made to requests for academic accommodations. Faculty will counsel with each student upon written request from the DSS Director to determine individual learning needs and appropriate accommodation arrangements. Faculty will verify in writing to the dean and DSS Director that accommodation of the student's needs has been offered.