Frequently Asked Questions


•    Am I required to provide the accommodations requested by the student? Yes. If you received notification of the accommodations from the DSS office, the ADA requires that you make those accommodations.  If you have questions about the accommodations, check with the DSS office.


•    If my student wants to take a test at the DSS office, how can I get the test there? How and when will I get it back? Professors handle this in different ways: 1) The test can be sent to the DSS office by email attachment; 2) DSS personnel can pick up the test from the professor's office or from their department office or the test can be dropped off at the DSS office by the professor; 3) If the professor feels it is appropriate, he/she can put the test in a sealed envelope and have the student bring it to the DSS office.  Once the test has been completed by the student, DSS personnel will put the test into an envelope and seal it, and the test will be hand delivered to the office or the department office of the professor. We do not recommend sending tests through the Campus Mail.


•   How can students get an auditory/electronic version of my textbook? Some students make a request to get their textbooks in an auditory version so they can hear the information. One way to do this is through “Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic.”  This should be handled by the student, but the DSS office will assist the student in applying for their services.  There is a fee for applying for RFB&D. Another way to get an electronic version of the textbook is by contacting the publishing company for the textbook. Not all publishing companies offer this option, but many do; the DSS office will assist the student in this process. If neither of these options is possible, the DSS office can scan the textbook and make a word file from the information. This is more time consuming and should be
requested in advance of needing the word file. Once the student has the textbook in an auditory form, he will need to have a screen reader on a computer to listen to it. Some students have a screen reader on their personal laptop. Others will use the computers in the Christopher Center that have screen readers. Students who have a Kindle or Nook or an iPad can purchase and download their textbooks and listen to the books on these tools.

•    I have a student in my class who I think might have a disability. What should I do to help him? First ask the student what he has done to get some help.  Has he asked for help from the Academic Success Center or gone to any organized Help Sessions? Next, the student will need to be evaluated to determine if he has a disability.  We do not do that at VU. If the student is having a medical problem, he should begin by seeing his doctor.  If the problem might a learning disability or ADHD, he could see a clinical psychologist for testing.  These folks are generally pretty expensive, though, and insurance doesn’t always cover the cost. The DSS office will not be able to provide accommodations for him without the documentation described in Section III.


•   A student in my class asked me for assistance getting notes. After I have made these arrangements, the student has missed most of the lectures. Should he be getting these notes? If a student with a disability regularly skips class, then he or she has no right to get notes on the skipped days. The note taker should be informed of this. If the student has a legitimate excuse for the absence (like an illness), handle the situation as you would with all other students.


•   If a DSS student has excessive absences, is this considered to be accommodated? No. Excuse of absences is not considered an accommodation, especially if they are unexcused.  However, if it is clear that the absences are related to the disability, some flexibility might be considered, up to a point.  Even with a medical condition, when the student is missing so much class that she cannot keep up, you should have a discussion with the Dean regarding whether the student should take a medical leave of


•   Am I required to lower the standards of a required assignment because a student has a disability? No. Standards should be the same for all students; however, some students with disabilities may exhibit their knowledge, production, and other course expectations differently than their peers. For example, a student with a learning disability in writing may produce an essay exam by using a computer or scribe rather than writing out an answer without the use of accommodations. The quality of the work should be the same.


•   I have a student who is behind in her classwork. This student has missed a number of classes and has not handed in several assignments. Although he has taken a midterm and used accommodations, he received a D for the midterm. At this point, he is not passing the class. Do I have the right to fail a student with a disability? Yes. A student with a disability has the same right to fail as anyone else. Their work should be equivalent to their peers. It may be a good idea to discuss your observations with this student, just as you would with anyone else in your class who is experiencing difficulty.


•   A student came to me in the sixth week of the semester requesting accommodations. I feel this is too late to ask for accommodations and that arrangements should be made at the beginning of the semester. I even had the DSS Statement in my syllabus. Do I have to provide accommodations for someone this late? Yes. There could be numerous reasons why a student makes a late request. Perhaps she could not get the documentation of her disability any earlier and, therefore, could not initiate accommodations earlier. Some students try to see how well they can do in a class without accommodations, but later decide they will need the accommodations after all if they want to do well in the class.  Whatever the reason, students are allowed to make requests for accommodations at any time during the semester.


•   Am I required to give a student extended time on a test on Blackboard, when the test is set for a limited amount of time? Yes. There is a way to make that test available for the DSS student with an extended amount of time. Check with the Blackboard specialists in IT for assistance to do this.