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Accommodation Services

Accommodation and Access support services for students with disabilities.

Overview of Accommodation Services

Accommodation Services

Accommodation Services assists students through an interactive process to identify reasonable accommodations to ensure students have equal access to the educational opportunities. Staff provide advocacy and support for students with disabilities while working with and providing training for faculty, staff and the College to remove unnecessary barriers.

Accommodation Services is here to provide advocacy, quality services, and support to students, faculty, and staff. The College is committed to creating an environment that is welcoming, inclusive and accessible.


Our Staff 

Our staff serve as Accommodations Access Advocates and provide the following supports for students with disabilities:

  • Advocate for equal access and inclusion for students with disabilities

  • Provide academic support (such as academic skill building) and connect students with college and community resources

  • Collaborate with faculty and staff to remove unnecessary barriers

  • Maintain up to date knowledge of disability related policies, procedures, and law

Accommodation Services main office location is on the Cedar Rapids Main Campus. Advocates are available at the Iowa City campus, and all county and regional centers. 

 


Accessibility and Accommodation Law Requirements

Colleges and universities have an obligation to provide access to students with disabilities in all institutional programs and activities. This obligation is articulated in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Dear Colleague Letters issued by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, and/or the U.S. Department of Justice and numerous state and local laws[1].

Kirkwood Community College has established policies and procedures to implement provisions of the above cited legal documents. These policies and procedures are used to determine reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities to meet academic and technical standards required for their educational program. Policies can be found in the Kirkwood Community College Credit Catalog and Policy Manager for Employees.


[1]Excerpt from the Association of Higher Education and Disability, https://www.ahead.org

 

Providing Equal Access and Determining Reasonable Accommodations

Providing Equal Access and Determining Reasonable Accommodations 

 

What is equal access?

Equal access is a civil right. State and Federal entities and laws enforce equal access as a civil right. As an educational institution, we follow guidance from the Office of Civil Rights who “ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence…through enforcement of civil rights” (https://www2.edu.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/aboutocr.html).

Equal access means that a program, course, or service is accessible by ALL individuals. It applies to all goods, services, information and communication. It provides an equal opportunity to participate and benefit from the aforementioned. By working towards ensuring equal access at the college, we can help to create additional opportunities for individuals with disabilities and reduce the need to find reasonable accommodations, modification or exceptions.

Determining Reasonable Accommodations

For some accommodation requests, reasonable accommodations are already established and a process is in place to provide these accommodations. For example, providing extended time on exams or quizzes for a student.

For other accommodation requests, Accommodation Access Advocates will need to seek out additional information in order to identify what would be considered a reasonable accommodation. In these situations, Advocates will engage in an interactive process and work closely with both students and faculty to determine options. Within the interactive process, Advocates are seeking and evaluating information about the following: 

  • Students accommodation request and specific information related to their disability 
  • Course and/or Program learning outcomes, standards, essential functions, policies, and/or procedures. 
    • This includes specific information about the course and assignment structure and requirements

Definitions and Process

Disability

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. 

This includes people who have a record of such an impairment, even if they do not currently have a disability. It also includes individuals who do not have a disability but are regarded as having a disability.

The ADA also makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person based on that person’s association with a person with a disability.

 

Major Life Activity

Major life activities include, but are not limited to: caring for onesself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating and working. A major life acitivity also includes the operation of major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions. (http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/902cm.html#902.1b)

 

Equal Access

First, State and Federal entities and laws enforce equal access as a civil right. As an educational institution, we follow guidance from the Office of Civil Rights who “ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence…through enforcement of civil rights” (https://www2.edu.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/aboutocr.html).

Equal access means that a program, course, or service is accessible by ALL individuals. It applies to all goods, services, information and communication. It provides an equal opportunity to participate and benefit from the aforementioned. By working towards ensuring equal access at the college, we can help to create additional opportunities for individuals with disabilities and reduce the need to find reasonable accommodations, modification or exceptions.

 

Reasonable Accommodation

Reasonable accommodations are academic adjustments that allow a student with a disability to have an equal opportunity to meet an academic standard or requirement. Reasonable accommodations...  

  • Do Not Reduce the established course standards or learning objectives.
  • Do not lessen the expectations required of a college student to fulfill general academic responsibilities.

Reasonable accommodations are determined through an interactive process based on individual needs related to a disability, documentation, and course or program standards, outcomes, and objectives. Accommodations Access Advocates will facilitate and assist students and faculty through this process and make the determination of a reasonable accommodation. Some examples of reasonable accommodations include:

  • Testing accommodations: additional time when taking a test, a quiet environment for testing, having the test read to you or having a scribe to write answers.

  • Recording class lectures: using a recording device when the instructor is lecturing to allow you to listen to the recording at a later time for the purpose of completing notes or re-learning material. (Will be allowed if there are no discussions protected by privacy laws within the lecture).

  • Other note-taking aides: having access to lecture notes, power point slides or other note-taking aides provided by the instructor. 

  • Specific seating location in class or adjustments to desks, chairs and tables within the classroom: to allow optimal access to the classroom experience.

  • Alternative Text: allows students to receive their textbooks in an electronic format. Read&Write software will be downloaded to your personal computer, which allows you to hear the textbook being read as you follow along. Read&Write software has many features to enhance you reading and writing experience and is provided free of charge. Learn more about alternative text and how you can get started at www.kirkwood.edu/alternativetext.

  • Assistive Technology: students can learn about additional technology aides which may enhance their educational experience.  

  • Sign Language Interpreters: are provided to deaf and hard of hearing students who know American Sign Language (ASL).

  • Other requests for accommodations will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Please talk with an Accommodations Access Advocate. 

Best Practices

Best Practices

 

  • If a student has extended time on quizzes and exams, we recommend setting up the time extensions right away for the entire semester to avoid any delays or issues. 

  • Providing video content with captions meets Section 508 compliance and accessibility guidelines but can also be a helpful tool to support all student learning in the course.  

  • Encourage students to seek assistance early! Often times the biggest barrier for a student is seeking help, even if they have received services in the past or are currently a student who has accommodations. If you notice a student is struggling, please encourage them to connect with us. 

  • We recommend taking time at the beginning of the semester to cover information on Accommodation Services while discussing your course syllabi.

  • Accommodations take effect when the accommodation letter is delivered, and are not retroactive.

  • A commonly asked question is if a student is required to tell instructors what their disability is. The answer is No, students are not required to disclose their disability or nature of their disability to you. It is also not appropriate to ask a student to disclose that information.

  • If you have questions regarding a student’s accommodations, such as why they need a specific accommodation or concerns about how it will work in your course, please contact the assigned Accommodations Access Advocate on the accommodation letter.

Testing Accommodations

Testing Accommodations

Frequently Asked Questions:

How does Read and Write work with TALON quizzes or exams with Respondus Lockdown Browser?

Read and Write will work with TALON quizzes or exams with Respondus Lockdown Browser IF the student has a Window's PC and the latest version of Read and Write installed on their personal device. 

Tutoring Services and the Accommodations Access Advocate will work with the students to determine if they have what they need. If not, alternative proctoring options are available through the Test Center.

A student has an exam online through TALON and have an individual quiet testing room accommodation. How is this provided to a student who doesn’t come to campus?

The student is responsible for ensuring they have a quiet testing environment at home. If the student has a need to come to campus for a quiet environment, they will need to talk with their Accommodations Access Advocate about accessing the Test Center.

What do I do if a student has extended time for an online exam/quiz (proctored or not)?

Instructors will only need to set up the extended time on TALON or other online site. Students will log in and take their exam in the same way other students would take their exam.

A student will be coming to a Test Center location to take their exams, but my exams are proctored with Respondus Lockdown Browser. What steps do I need to take?

You will need to submit a Test Instruction Form to the Test Center location (see links above) and you will be asked to turn off the Respondus Lockdown Browser for this specific student. You can find instructions on how to disable the Respondus Lockdown Browser in TALON INSTRUCTOR TRAINING under Module 7--Quizzes.

The Test Center Staff are trained to proctor exams using desktop monitoring software and video camera surveillance. Any suspected violation of academic integrity is reported and evidence is shared with instructors.

What is the Virtual Test Center (Zoom Proctoring) for Students with Accommodations?

Zoom Proctoring is a new accommodation that may be listed on a student's accommodation letter. If a student is approved for this accommodation, their Accommodations Access Advocate will follow up with the instructor to provide additional information.