Faculty Guide for Serving Students with Disabilities
Who verifies disabilities and determines accommodations?
The DSPS program verifies disabilities and determines accommodations, also referred to as academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and services.
How do accommodations (academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and services) assist students with disabilities?
Accommodations assist students with disabilities in equally participating in the instructional offerings and activities of the college. Accommodations cannot make fundamental alterations to the curriculum, meaning a change to a course curriculum or course of study that alters the required objectives or content of the curriculum in the approved course outline.
Is there a statement I need to include on my syllabus?
Yes, we ask that faculty include a statement on syllabi. An example is:
Students in need of accommodations in the college learning environment:
Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a learning disability should contact Learning Services in the Library and Learning Resource Center (LLRC), room 1766, phone (707)256-7442. A Learning Disability Specialist will review your needs and determine appropriate accommodations.
If you need accommodations for physical or other types of disabilities, schedule an appointment with DSPS Counselor, Sheryl Fernandez, in the Counseling Department located in the 1300 building, phone (707)256-7220 for appointment.
All information and documentation is confidential.
Please feel encouraged to make an appointment with me privately to discuss your specific learning needs in my class.
How do I know if a student in my class has a disability?
Students with disabilities must go through an intake process to verify their disability and determine reasonable accommodations that support their education or functional limitations. Instructors will receive an email detailing the accommodation(s) from DSPS. We highly encourage the student to talk with you regarding their learning needs; however, students with disabilities are entitled to confidentiality.
What do you mean by "confidentiality"?
Students with disabilities are protected under key federal and state laws including Section 504 and 508 of the federal Rehabilitation Act, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title 5. NVC complies with federal and state laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, creed, color, nationality origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, age, or status as a veteran or foster youth in any of its policies, procedures, or practices. All information regarding disabilities is confidential. Staff and personnel cannot talk about the student's disability without written permission. To that end, students do not have to discuss their disability with instructors or staff. Students may choose to volunteer information, but do not directly ask them without their initiation.
Do I have to provide accommodations to a student who says they have a disability?
No, faculty should not provide accommodations unless the student is enrolled in the DSPS program. You will know that the student has enrolled when you receive an email with listed accommodations for your class through DSPS. Refer the student to DSPS if you have not received an email from us.
Do students have to meet with me in person after they've requested their accommodations?
We tell students they can contact instructors in person or via campus email or phone, whichever they are most comfortable with, or if their instructor suggests a mode of contact, which you can do as a general announcement to your classes and/or as a statement on syllabi.
And no, it's not legally required to meet in person or even that they make contact with you at all. However, there are a few reasons that we ask for this interaction, the most important being it is extremely important for students with disabilities to advocate for themselves.
Other reasons are that some emails get lost or never get delivered, or it's possible that an instructor didn't check all of their emails. In these cases, we like to avoid complaints to Student Affairs, or, worse, the Office of Civil Rights.
If a student asks if you have received an email containing their Accommodations Notification, and you have not received it, refer the student to DSPS.
When should students request accommodations?
We recommend that students request their accommodations as soon as they register for classes or during the first week of school at the latest. Many students wait until their first exam to submit their request, but we require 3-5 days to process the request, so requesting accommodations the day before or the day of an exam is not recommended. Submitting a request at the last minute may result in the student not being able to use their accommodations for that exam.
Do I need to keep a record that I've allowed students to use their accommodations?
We don't keep a record proving that instructors have attended to students' requests, but we do ask students to let us know if they are in some way not able to use their accommodations.
How are testing accommodations provided?
All testing accommodations are provided through the Testing and Tutoring Center in the Library and Learning Resource Center, room 1764. You will need to fill out an Academic Exam Direct Cover Sheet and submit it with the exam preferably 48 hours in advance, but no later than 24 hours before the exam. Exams can be submitted in person or via email to TTC@napavalley.edu.
Can students take exams with their accommodations earlier or later than when my class meets?
While it is the students’ responsibility to make sure they allow enough time in
their schedule for them to use the full time-and-a-half, we ask that you be
flexible regarding the time frame that DSPS students take their exams. If the
time-and-a-half extends beyond the end of a class period, it may cause a time
conflict with the student’s next class, which then may cause them to rush
through their exam or turn it in before they finish the test, thereby defeating
the purpose of having time-and-a-half. In these cases, we tell students to
inform you that they need to start their exam at an earlier time, or if coming earlier
doesn’t work for their schedule, a later time (or even a different day) may
have to be arranged. Again, we ask that exams are submitted to the TTC 48 hours
but no later than 24 hours in advance of an exam. If the student does not
arrange an earlier or later time to take their exam at the TTC when a time
conflict may occur, it is not your responsibility to make sure they have all
the time they are allotted to take their exam.
If I am allowing my class to use notes on their exam, do I have to allow students with accommodations to use notes since they're getting extra time?
if you are allowing your students to use notes on an exam, then you must allow
a student to use notes while taking the exam with their accommodations in the
TTC. However, you are not required to allow a DSPS student to use notes if you
are not allowing students to use them in the classroom; being able to use notes
on an exam is not a reasonable accommodation.
Do students have to use their accommodations? Can they take exams in class?
students are not required to use their accommodations, although we do highly
recommend that they do. If a student has requested accommodations but wants to
take an exam in the classroom, they may do so. However, if the student doesn’t
do well on the test, retaking the test is not an accommodation.
Does the time-and-a-half accommodations apply to due dates on assignments?
time-and-a-half is for exams only. There may be rare cases where accommodations are needed on assignments; however, this would be determined through the interactive process with certificated staff.
Are there any changes I need to make to my classroom materials?
508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires all electronic and information that is
technology developed, procured, maintained or used will be fully accessible by
people with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities must have an equal
opportunity to participate and benefit from services provided to other
- Make Websites accessible
- Make videos and DVD accessible
- Only purchase accessible electronic information technology
- Webpages - provide a text description for every non-text element
- Instructional Materials Online - all online instructional materials need to be accessible including PDFs. PowerPoints, Podcasts, videos
- Videos must be captioned, but there are exemptions. If no users require captions, you do not need to caption. Raw footage is exempt. Transcripts cannot be used for videos as it doesn't synchronize text and video.
- Podcasts - a written transcript needs to be provided for podcasts
- YouTube - yes, these can be captioned; however, if it is a single-use, accommodate as necessary, rather than providing access
I received notice that a note-taker is needed for my class. What do I do?
accommodate many types of disabilities. You will need to find a note-taker for
your class by reading the script that will be emailed to you outlining the
student’s accommodations, remembering to keep the student’s name(s)
confidential. Once you find a note-taker, you will need to fill out the form
sent to your email with the student’s information and return it to DSPS
Instructional Assistant, Jason Bell, email@example.com.
Are you interested in my notes, PowerPoints, and other written information?
It is much appreciated if you can send this information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Jason will email the material to the student. If
the student gives you permission, you can directly send your materials to their
email if you like.
What are recorders?
types of disabilities require the use of recorders. These are described as
using technology to capture sound and/or visual images. These can be phones,
Smart Pens, tablets, laptops, audio recorders and other mobile devices. Any
students using these devices have signed an agreement to protect the
confidentiality and ownership of the recorded material.
Do I need to arrange for lectures to be recorded? How do lectures get recorded?
record the lectures themselves. We have digital recorders that students can
check out for the semester, but many have their own device or use the recording
app on the phones.
There is furniture in my classroom marked for disabilities. Do I need to do anything?
students require the use of special furniture. DSPS will tell specific students
needing the furniture how to access it. Sometimes other students will sit at
the furniture specified for DSPS. If we have any problems or need your help, we
will contact you.
What is a mobility break?
with this accommodation may need to get up to move around a bit during class.
You can provide the whole class with a break if you’d like, but the students
with this accommodation should know that they can get up when they need to.
Some leave the class for a short time, and some may stand in the back of the
room if they don’t want to miss any of the lecture.
Who do I contact if I have questions?
We are here for you! If you have any questions, please contact us by calling (707) 256-7345 or (707)256-7442 or stop by our office. During Fall and Spring semesters, our office is open Monday - Thursday, 8a.m. - 4:30p.m., and Fridays, 8a.m. - 11a.m. For Summer semesters, our office is open Monday - Thursday, 8a.m. - 5:30p.m.