Accommodation of Disabled Students (Procedure 3.0600)

 
Based on board policy number and Florida Statute:Effective Date:
1007.264, 1007.265; F.S.; 6A-10.041; .041 (1,2,3,4,5); .041 (5) 5/25/01; Rev. 01/2012

Purpose

To provide a procedure to accommodate the educational needs of students with disabilities. Seminole State College of Florida recognizes its responsibility to provide equal access to opportunity for persons with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and as revised in 2010. Reasonable accommodations will be provided in order to assure that there will be no discrimination on the basis of disability. It is the responsibility of all staff, faculty and students to adhere to the philosophy of equal access to opportunity.

Procedure

  1. Documentation

    Students with disabilities requesting accommodations must provide appropriate documentation from a recognized professional source. This documentation must be provided to Disability Support Services prior to any provision of services and should include each of the following seven essential components,* in order to facilitate determination of appropriate and reasonable accommodations.
    1. The credentials of the evaluator(s). The best quality documentation is provided by a licensed or otherwise properly credentialed professional who has undergone appropriate and comprehensive training, has relevant experience, and has no personal relationship with the individual being evaluated. A good match between the credentials of the individual making the diagnosis and the condition being reported is expected (e.g. orthopedic limitation might be documented by a physician, but not a licensed psychologist.)
    2. A diagnostic statement identifying the disability. Quality documentation includes a clear diagnostic statement that describes how the condition was diagnosed, provides information on the functional impact, and details typical progression or prognosis of the condition.
    3. A description of the diagnostic methodology used. Quality documentation includes a description of the diagnostic criteria, evaluation methods, procedures, tests and dates of administration, as well as a clinical narrative, observation, and specific results.
    4. A description of the current functional limitations. Information on how the disabling condition(s) currently impacts the individual provides useful information for both establishing a disability and identifying the possible accommodations.
    5. A description of the expected progression or stability of the disability.
    6. A description of the current and past accommodations, services and/or medications.
    7. Recommendations for accommodations, adaptive devices, assistive services, compensatory strategies, and/or collateral support services. While the postsecondary institution has no obligation to provide or adopt recommendations made by outside entities, those that are congruent with the programs, services, and benefits offered by the College or program may be appropriate.
    An Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) or a 504 plan is insufficient documentation in and of itself, but can be included as part of a more comprehensive evaluative report.

    * Retrieved 10/13/10 from Association on Higher Education and Disability website (www.ahead.org) article: AHEAD Best Practices: Disability Documentation in Higher Education. The specific section in the article is: Seven Essential Elements of Quality Disability Documentation.
  2. Requesting Accommodation
    1. The Admissions Process

      Qualified applicants may request accommodations in the admission process. Admission to Seminole State College is based on the requirements outlined in the College Catalog. All applicants are expected to present academic credentials at or above the minimum standards for admission. Any student eligible to take a non-standard SAT/ACT may submit those scores that will be accepted as valid and equivalent alternatives. Students without SAT/ACT scores may take a college placement test required by the College with accommodation to meet the State placement requirement.

      All applicants to the College are reviewed according to standard procedures for admission regardless of disabilities. Accommodations provided in the admissions process do not automatically guarantee acceptance to any specific course or program.

      Any applicant with a disability who needs information about Seminole State College, about the admissions process, an application for admissions, or any other information in an alternative format should contact Disability Support Services, phone 407.708.2109 or 407.708.2110.
    2. Academic Accommodations

      Seminole State College seeks to ensure that an individual with a disability who can meet the academic and technical standards for admission is not excluded from full participation in the programs the College operates because of the absence of necessary auxiliary aids or reasonable accommodations.

      In order to be recognized as a student with a disability and receive consideration/ accommodation for a disability-related need, the student must contact the Disability Support Services Office (DSS). While there may be other circumstances in which a student discusses his/her disability with College personnel, official recognition of his/her protected status under the law begins with contact with DSS. Students should either come to the DSS office or phone/mail to arrange a time for an interview to initiate the process. Students must provide complete, adequate documentation from an appropriate source(s) prior to recognition, consideration, and accommodation as a student with a disability.

      Accommodations are assigned on the basis of need, as demonstrated by the documentation provided by the student. Because it takes time to fully evaluate all available information, and because accommodations may take time to put in place, students are encouraged to identify themselves to DSS as early as possible. Even if the student does not anticipate needing any accommodation at this time, the student is encouraged to bring/send documentation and meet with DSS personnel as soon as possible upon enrollment. DSS will then be able to move with expediency should a request surface at a later date.

      DSS is designated by the institution as the party equipped to determine and authorize accommodations based on documentation provided. Partnering with DSS protects the student, faculty member and institution from legal and non-legal problems pertaining to serving student with disabilities.

      Seminole State College does not provide the following:
      1. Transportation to or from the campus.
      2. Personal attendant care.
      3. Individually prescribed devices.
      4. Readers for personal use or study.
      5. Other devices or services of a personal nature.
      6. Proctors/administrators for in-home testing.
  3. Substitutions to the Degree Requirements (Course Substitutions)

    Course substitutions will be considered for those students who have documented disabilities. Documentation must “substantiate that the disability can be reasonably expected to prevent the individual from meeting requirements for…graduation.”**

    Course substitutions will only be granted in cases where the modification does not constitute a fundamental alteration in the nature of the college program or when the academic requirement(s) are not essential to the program of study being pursued by the student or to meet licensing or certification requirements.

    Students who qualify for a course substitution may be "exempt from the college preparatory requirements, as provided in State Board Rule 6A-10.0315, F.A.C., in the basic skill area for which the student is eligible for a course substitution, provided that successful completion of the college preparatory coursework is not considered an essential part of the curriculum in the student’s academic program”. **

    ** Revised Board Rule 6A-10.041 effective 10/25/10.
    1. Eligibility

      According to the State of Florida [s.1007.02(2)], the term “student with a disability” means any student who is documented as having an intellectual disability; a hearing impairment, including deafness; a speech or language impairment; a visual impairment, including blindness; an emotional or behavioral disability; an orthopedic or health impairment; an autism spectrum disorder; a traumatic brain injury; or a specific learning disability including, but not limited to, dyslexia, dyscalculia, or developmental aphasia.

      “Any student with a disability, as defined in s.1007.02(2), in a public postsecondary educational institution, shall be eligible for reasonable substitution for any requirement for graduation, for admission into a program of study, or for entry into the upper division where documentation can be provided that the person’s failure to meet the requirement is related to the disability and where failure to meet the graduation requirement or program admission requirement does not constitute a fundamental alteration in the nature of the program.” (s.1007.265)
    2. To request a course substitution, students who meet eligibility requirements for requesting course substitution must:
      1. Meet with the Disability Support Services Director or designee to discuss their individual situations and to determine required documentation. If appropriate documentation has not already been submitted, it must be provided at this time.
      2. Provide the current, relevant, and comprehensive documentation and assessment data from certified professionals. This documentation must substantiate that the disability can be reasonably expected to prevent the student from meeting the degree requirement(s) for which a substitution is being requested.
      3. Submit the request to the Director of Disability Support Services or designee in writing. Provide a one to two page explanation of why a substitution based upon a documented disability is necessary. Explain what attempts, if any, have been made to meet the requirement and the challenges encountered. If an attempt to satisfy the requirement has not been made, explain. It is recommended that students carefully proofread their requests.
      4. Include an unofficial copy of the transcript along with the request.
      5. Upon receipt of the student’s written request and all required documentation, a committee consisting of the Associate Vice President of Arts and Sciences, the appropriate Associate Dean and the Director of Disability Support Services will review the requests. If necessary, the Committee will consult with the appropriate licensed professionals and/or College personnel to make informed decisions.
      6. Students will be notified in writing within two (2) weeks of the Committee’s decisions. The Registrar will be notified in writing of the Committee’s decisions in order to update student records and transcripts.
      7. A list of courses has been approved by the appropriate academic departments as substitutions for graduation requirements. For a current list of approved course substitutions, contact Disability Support Services. This list will be updated as necessary or required. If the student believes that another course meets the criteria of the course required in the degree, the student may request a substitution for that specific course.
      8. Students wishing to appeal the Committee’s decision may do so using the Appeals Procedure outlined in Section VI below
  4. Minimum Basic Skills Waiver Procedures for Career and Technical Education Certificates

    Students are required to take the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) prior to enrolling in the Post-Secondary Adult Vocational Career and Technical programs. Students with disability documentation will be provided with appropriate accommodation upon request. After testing, students receive a written copy of their TABE scores and, if appropriate, information on remediation procedures. Students who do not receive required TABE minimum scores are to seek academic assistance in the Student Transition and Achievement Resources (STAR) Center. To assist with the remediation of skills, students with disabilities may request appropriate accommodation for their disability while working in the STAR Center. Students will be referred for a retest when their academic skill levels improve to the point of challenging state requirements.

    If students are unable to make a satisfactory score on the TABE or unable to attain the required academic skill levels, after participating in remediation, then students with documented disabilities may request a waiver of the TABE subtest.
    1. A request for the TABE waiver may be made by the student, a student advocate, a faculty member, a Disability Support Services staff member, a STAR staff member, an Assessment Center staff member, a Student Services staff member, or an administrator as long as the student is aware of and wants someone else to advocate for this on his/her behalf.
    2. A committee made up of one representative from each of the following areas shall review and sign the Minimum Basic Skills Waiver request form: STAR, DSS, Career and Technical Education, Assessment and Testing r, and Instructional Administration.
    3. If all members of the Committee agree, the waiver will be given and the Minimum Basic Skills Waiver form will be completed. If there is disagreement in the recommendation to waive the TABE, the Committee shall meet, discuss the case, and make a recommendation based on a majority vote. To consider the recommendation for waiver, the Committee should consider the student's disability, professional reports, achievement in the Career and Technical l program, remediation effort, job opportunities, and any other pertinent data. The student may appear before the Committee, and the Committee may interview the student if the student agrees to the interview.
    Students wishing to appeal the decision of the Committee may do so by using the Appeals Procedure outlined in Section VI below.
  5. Confidentiality

    Disability Support Services is committed to ensuring that all information and communication pertaining to a student’s disability is maintained as confidential as required or permitted by law.

    The following guidelines about the treatment of such information incorporate relevant state and federal regulations:
    1. No one will have immediate access to student files in DSS except appropriate staff of DSS. Any information regarding a disability is considered confidential and will be shared only with others within the College who have a legitimate educational interest.
    2. This information is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
    3. Sensitive information in DSS student files will not be released except in accordance with federal and state laws.
    4. student’s file may be released pursuant to a court order or subpoena.
    5. If a student wishes to have information about his/her disability shared with others outside the College, the student must provide written authorization to DSS. Before giving such authorization, the student will be informed of the purpose of the release and to whom information is being released. The student will also be informed that there may be occasions when, within the College, the Director or designee will share information regarding a student’s disability at his/her discretion if circumstances necessitate such sharing and the Director or designee has determined that there is an appropriate and legitimate educational interest involved.
    6. A student has the right to review his/her own DSS file with reasonable notification.
  6. Appeals Procedure
    1. Students wishing to appeal decisions made regarding academic accommodations, or course substitutions must adhere to the following:
      1. File a written appeal with the Vice President of Student Affairs before the end of the following semester of the decision being made.
      2. Petitioners must provide convincing documentation of relevant College contacts, services or incidents in support of the appeal.
      3. Petitioners may, at their own expense, submit additional documentation, evidence, or expert opinion to support their appeals.
    2. The Vice President of Student Affairs or designee will provide the final decision on the appeal within ten business days.
    3. Complaints of Discrimination: An individual who has a complaint of discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, marital status, or disability may discuss the situation with the Equity Coordinator. For details on the procedure for making a complaint of discrimination, refer to the College’s Discrimination Complaint Procedure 2.1800.
  7. Articulation with Other Institutions Admission and Graduation Requirements: Substitutions granted by all other post-secondary institutions will be reviewed individually by the Director of Enrollment Services and the Director of Disability Support Services. Seminole State College will accept all substitutions to general education or degree programs provided by other State of Florida post-secondary institutions (see Rule 6A-10.041(3)). For substitutions provided by Seminole State College, a record of the substitution or waiver will be maintained in the student's college record. Upon student request, this record will be forwarded to the institution and the substitution or waiver will be honored.
    Recommended by Executive Staff Date 01/2012
    Approved: President, E.Ann McGee Date 01/2012

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