DRC Frequently Asked Questions

The Arizona State University (ASU) Disability Resource Centers’ (DRC) staff hope the following information will assist faculty and all other ASU teaching staff in planning for and accommodating diverse ASU learners in their classes, including students with disabilities.

Most Frequently Asked Student Questions:

Most Frequently Asked Faculty/Staff Questions:

 

Why is it important to be aware of and plan for potential disability access issues in your classes?

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) including the ADA Amendments of 1990 and 2008, mandate that ASU make facilities, educational and co-curricular programs, campus activities, and employment opportunities accessible to qualified individuals with disabilities. (back to top)

 

Who is an “individual with a disability” under Section 504 and the ADA?

Under the ADA Amendment, an “individual with a disability” is someone who has a physical or mental impairment substantially limiting one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. (back to top)

 

Are faculty and other teaching staff legally responsible for accommodating qualified students with disabilities?

Yes. They have a legal responsibility to ensure each course, when viewed in its entirety, is accessible for qualified students with disabilities. Doing so necessitates planning ahead and considering that every class will have diverse learners, including students with disabilities. The ADA mandates students’ rights to accommodations and their right to file complaints through the Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR), and/or lawsuits through the Department of Justice, against the University, for financial reimbursement if these accommodations are not provided.

NOTE: Faculty and staff can ensure access to the greatest number of students in their classes and, in many cases, they can reduce the need for individualized disability accommodations, by incorporating the Principles of Universal Design for Instruction (UDI) and Learner Centered Education (LCE) into course materials design and technological development. For more information, contact the Center for Learning and Teaching Excellence (CLTE) on the Tempe campus at 480.965.9401 and the DRC on your campus. (back to top)

 


Is disability information confidential?

Disability information is privileged and confidential. Students have a right to confidentiality when disclosing disabilities and expect confidentiality will be maintained. Disability information should be secured and accessed only by those “with a need to know”, e.g., a graduate assistant responsible for providing actual accommodations. Students are not required to divulge the nature of their disabilities to faculty and staff or provide them with copies of their disability documentation. They are required to provide faculty and staff a letter from the DRC verifying DRC registration and eligibility. (back to top)

 



When students identify themselves as having disabilities, what should faculty and staff do?

Interaction with students with disabilities is the same as with any other student. However, they usually self-identify because they require an accommodation. Keep in mind, not all students are at ease with this process. Listen, and ask questions only about how the disability will impact them in your class and about the accommodations they are requesting. To qualify for disability accommodations, students must be registered with their campus DRC. Ask about their DRC registration status. If students are registered, they will have been assigned to a disability professional who can facilitate the accommodation process. Students who are not registered with the DRC must be informed and referred to the DRC to establish their eligibility for disability accommodations at ASU. (back to top)

 


What should faculty and staff do if they suspect a student has a disability?

Approach the student as any other student having difficulty in class and inquire about what might be impacting progress. A student with a disability will likely disclose at this time, if difficulties are disability related. If this occurs, refer him/her to the DRC. If a student doesn’t disclose a disability, faculty should not tell the student he/she might have a disability. We recommend providing the student with a list of campus resources, e.g., Student Success Center, Counseling and Consultation, etc., and including the DRC. (back to top)

 


Is it essential to provide the requested disability accommodations?

Faculty/staff have a legal responsibility to provide reasonable and effective accommodations for qualified students with disabilities, as recommended by the DRC. Consideration should be given to accommodating students in the manner requested. However, there may be effective alternatives. When essential elements of a course are clearly defined, the appropriateness of a requested accommodation is clear or can be negotiated, thus avoiding inconsistencies in standards which could open the door to litigation.

NOTE: The laws protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities also protect the standards of the attending institutions. Students must meet essential course elements and follow established policies and procedures. (back to top)

 


What are the faculty/staff responsibilities to qualified students with disabilities regarding textbooks and other in-class materials?

When faculty/staff receive a DRC text/book information request to facilitate alternative print conversions for qualified students in their classes, they must provide DRC requested information for textbooks. This means title, author, copyright, publisher, ISBN; and information for other required course reading materials, including a reading list (i.e., sequence of assigned chapters or sections and supplemental reading, not necessarily a syllabus) to the student or DRC by the required deadlines.

Lead time is essential for ordering, securing, and translating textbooks and other print materials into alternative print formats, e.g., Braille, large print, taped text, e-text, tactile charts, graphs, and diagrams. It is also essential for securing required print materials for Interpreter and Real Time Captioning (CART) provider preparation to ensure access to information for Deaf and hard of hearing students from the start of the semester.

Deadlines for compliance are specific, i.e., within ten days of receipt of the written request from the DRC. This typically comes via email, during each priority enrollment period. By working closely with students and the DRC, and meeting required deadlines, faculty and staff can facilitate access for students from the first day of class.

NOTE: If the DRC does not get information when requested, the academic department may be financially responsible for additional expenses incurred by the DRC when contracting off-campus vendors for timely completion. For more information, see DRC policy: USI 701-07: Alternative Format Services at http://www.asu.edu/drc. In-class materials, e.g., reading lists, syllabus, handouts, overheads, videotapes, etc.:

Faculty/staff have a legal responsibility to ensure that appropriate alternative formats are available to qualified students with disabilities along with their peers. The DRC has resources for translating materials to assist faculty in meeting this obligation.

Adequate lead time is also essential to ensuring timely access to information for students who are Deaf or hard of hearing. e.g.,

  1. Interpreters must be given copies of all printed materials in advance for class preparation.
  2. Audiovisuals, such as slides and overheads, should be copied and given to Deaf and hard of hearing students prior to the class, to provide context for the class lecture.
  3. Faculty/staff planning to show videos must consider they may have Deaf, hard of hearing or blind students in class and check for captioning capabilities, i.e., equipment and/or captioned videotape, to ensure accessibility for all students. The DRC can assist with this process. (back to top)

 

What is assistive technology and will it alter what I teach?

Assistive technology (AT), as identified by the Assistive Technology Act of 1988, is “… any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.” Within LCE and UDI based instruction, AT is used to endow curriculum materials with the flexibility necessary to serve diverse learners. Assistive technology will not alter what you teach. Lesson objectives remain the same for every student. However, presentation of the lesson objectives may vary depending on an individual student’s skills and abilities. (back to top)

 


What accommodations are required if a student discloses a disability after-the-fact (e.g., after failing an exam)?

Consistency in standards for all students is the guide for response to such requests. If exceptions are not made for any student after-the-fact, none are required for students with disabilities. However, if exceptions are made for other students, requests from students with disabilities must also be considered. (back to top)

 

In case of emergency evacuation, how should faculty and staff advise individuals with disabilities who may need assistance?

Faculty and staff should be familiar with primary and alternate routes of evacuation and are responsible for directing emergency evacuation from their respective work areas. Unless given specific instruction to the contrary, they should:

  • Direct individuals with disabilities to avoid elevators, as elevators are operable by emergency rescue personnel only.
  • Guide individuals with disabilities who need assistance to the nearest exit or area of rescue (usually the stair landings) and if no smoke is present close any fire doors.
  • Let students know the first place rescue personnel will check for people needing evacuation assistance.
  • Leave the building and immediately notify the ASU Department of Public Safety of the location/s of the individual/s with disabilities in need of evacuation assistance. (back to top)

 

What are some of the teaching techniques that can make a class more accessible?

following are just some of the common learner centered teaching techniques being used by many ASU faculty in their classes. These techniques improve learning for all students while facilitating access for students with disabilities:

  • Announcing in each class and on a syllabus, “…availability to privately discuss any needs, including disability accommodations” (for specific syllabus statement examples, click here or contact any campus DRC).
  • Meeting with interpreters and computer assisted real time (CART) or voice to text providers periodically to ensure communication access
  • Providing and adhering to a course syllabus which includes test/quiz dates and due dates for assignments
  • Providing lecture outlines, notes, and/or copies of overheads for all students to reference during class
  • Speaking clearly and slowing down if you typically speak quickly or have an accent
  • Introducing each lecture with a brief overview of the previous class information
  • Using verbal and visual highlighting for major concepts and terminology
  • Giving assignments both orally and in written form
  • Verbally describing or explaining charts, diagrams, and graphs
  • Demonstrating new procedures, whenever possible
  • Discussing information presented on the board or on transparencies
  • Encouraging active use of office hours for information clarification
  • Using cooperative learning techniques
  • Encouraging students to tape lectures or pair up to share and discuss the day’s lecture notes
  • Encouraging students to form study and discussion groups
  • Being student centered to create a low anxiety situation and optimal learning for the whole class
  • Approaching teaching and learning from a multi-sensory perspective
  • Encouraging peer learning and teaching
  • Using and creating materials that focus on students’ experiences, opinions, and reactions
  • Making sure course technology is accessible technology at point of purchase, e.g., computers, assistive listening equipment, captioned videos, in-class testing tools, etc. (Ask questions ahead of time.)
  • Assisting qualified students in finding student note takers or providing them with lecture notes
  • Contacting the DRC with questions and for assistance regarding individual student needs
  • Preparing course notes, handouts, and overheads in advance and making them available to all students, in advance, through an accessible website (Contact: Samuel DiGangi, Associate Vice President, University Technology Office, (480) 9652047)
  • Using voluntary student response options when possible to allow for differences in student response time
  • Incorporating and adhering to the Principles of Universal Design (UD) and Learner Centered Education (LCE) in all course materials, technological development and selection, e.g., DO-IT
  • Working closely with and participating in programs and classes sponsored by the ASU Center for Learning and Teaching Excellence (CLTE) (back to top)

 

What kind of academic support, disability accommodations, and community referrals are available to qualified students at the DRC?

  • Academic and career consultation
  • Registration and advisement consultation and referrals
  • Individualized accommodations recommendations, advocacy support, training and consultation:
  • Assistive technology support
  • In-class note takers
  • Alternative print format services (e.g., Braille, large print, e-text)
  • Non-standard academic testing accommodations
  • Specialized equipment (e.g., assistive listening devices)
  • Sign language interpreting services
  • Computer assisted real time (CART) or voice to text services
  • Educational materials and lab equipment adaptations
  • Lab aides
  • Building and classroom access
  • Campus and community referrals, e.g.,
  • Department of Vocational Rehabilitation / Orientation and Mobility Services
  • Career Services
  • Academic Success Resources
  • TRiO Student Support Services (SSS) (referrals available to qualified ASU students through the Tempe DRC and on the West campus)

Are there DRC professionals available for faculty and staff consultation on each campus?

Yes. There is a Disability Resource Center (DRC) on each of the Tempe, West, Polytechnic and Downtown Phoenix ASU campuses, working closely with students, faculty, staff and each other to expedite answers to disability-related questions and concerns. Student-requested disability accommodations, such as DRC test proctoring, are provided on each campus. The Downtown Phoenix campus DRC also provides consultation and recommendations to assist faculty and staff at the Tucson component of the School of Social Work. The DRC mission in conjunction with the University’s goals is to facilitate access for qualified students. As such, the DRC staffs are continually working to strengthen and develop interdepartmental and community relationships that support faculty and staff in the disability accommodations process. Please contact the DRC on your campus for more information. | home | contact us|