For University faculty and staff members seeking to assist students succeed, Accessibility Services provides access to the full range of educational programming and activities in order to assure those students and others with disabilities:
- Have access to educational programs and college courses
- Can obtain materials and publications in alternate formats
- Can utilize academic support and other services
- Can fully participate in college sponsored events and activities
If I suspect a student is having difficulty because of a disability, what should I do?
Review the resources that are available to students of Bemidji State University including those available through the Student Center for Health and Counseling and through the Advising Success Center. Also mention that, for students with documentation of a disability, other services and accommodations may be available. The decision to disclose a disability and request accommodations should remain with the student.
If a student with an obvious disability requests an accommodation that is easily provided, do I need to insist that they contact the disability services office?
No, some issues can be resolved in a simple and straight-forward manner. Even with all the mandates, legal and other requirements, there is still a place for common sense solutions.
If the disability is not obvious, and the solution is not so straight-forward?
In most cases refer the student to the Accessibility Services Office. The student will formally apply for services and provide documentation of a disability. The Accessibility Services Office will coordinate the provision of reasonable accommodations. You may be asked to assist, and in some cases, to enter into “a collaborative process.” There are many advantages to maintaining a formal and consistent process for handling requests for accommodations.
Should I speak with parents, service providers or people who identify themselves as advocates for the student with a disability?
Not without the permission of the student.
If a student asks to be excused for certain behaviors or course requirements based on a disability, what should I do?
Contact the Accessibility Services Office. Students remain responsible for meeting academic and other institutional requirements. Course substitutions or waivers should only be granted following a formal collaborative and decision-making process.
Will I receive information about students with disabilities participating in my class?
Students sometimes request that Accessibility Services provide information to the instructors, sometimes they choose to provide information on their own, and sometimes they choose not to provide any information. We are able to communicate disability and accommodations related information if the student has signed a Release of Information form indicating their approval.
What are the most commonly requested accommodations?
Testing Accommodations: Students often request additional time or a distraction-free environment for test taking. If students have been approved for this or other testing accommodations, they will present you with a form indicating the specific testing accommodations that have been approved. Please forward instructions and examinations to the Accessibility Services Office for test proctoring. Reasonable accommodations can vary depending on the nature of the subject area, essential course requirements, and documentation of a disability provided by the student. Please feel free to contact Accessibility Services in order to discuss the details of any specific request.
Notetaking: Students often request class notes, especially in the case of class lectures. In this case, the student should present you with a form including information on how to initiate the provision of note taking services. It is also helpful to know if lecture notes are already available to students via hand-outs, an instructor webpage, or other means.
Other Accommodations can vary widely based on individual needs and the nature of a specific course. It is important to treat students as individuals and not as a member of a group while working through the accommodations process. For this reason, we try to avoid generalizations about blanket accommodations linked to a specific disability.
How can students access Accessibility Services?
- Phone: 218/755-3883
- Office: Decker Hall 202
- Web Resources
- Additional Resources and Information:
Colleges within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MinnState) system participated in the development of the Individual Accommodations Model (IAM) under the leadership of the University of Kansas. This initiative results in the creation of information materials that can be found at the following website: http://das.kucrl.org/materials/aawd
- Minnesota State Policy Statement, Access for Individuals with Disabilities