Faculty and staff play a crucial role in providing access and opportunity for individuals with disabilities. Working together, the Office of Disability Services for Students can assist you in creating a welcoming and respectful learning environment that promotes equity and fairness to all. Please feel free to contact us with questions or concerns.
The Role of the Office of Disability Services for Students
The Office of Disability Services for Students (ODSS) is responsible for coordinating
disability services and reasonable accommodations for students and university guests,
promoting disability awareness, and providing opportunities for professional development
for the campus community.
As part of these responsibilities ODSS requests, reviews and maintains disability-related documents, determines eligibility for services and develops plans for reasonable accommodations.
Online “Accommodate” System
ODSS uses the “Accommodate” system for accommodation workflow, appointment booking, test room booking, and record-keeping.
Faculty can use this system to verify approved accommodations for students enrolled in your courses, to approve test room booking requests, to securely upload exams for booked test room appointments, and to access resource information.
To access this system as a faculty member:
- Click on the University Resources drop-down menu on the top left of your D2L home page, and choose
- Follow the prompts using your LHU email and password to log in.
- Please refer to the Faculty Guide for Accommodate for further instruction.
If you know a student who would like to request accommodations from our office, please refer them to the ODSS page on the LHU website. Direct them to click on the Requesting Accommodations link on the menu block on the right side of the page.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that is intended to stop
discrimination against people with disabilities. It applies to employers, state and
local government agencies, places of public accommodation, transportation facilities,
telephone companies and others. Under Title II of the ADA, public colleges and universities
are required to provide auxiliary aids and services to qualified students with disabilities.
Providing auxiliary aids and services is not considered special treatment, but rather
an equal opportunity to participate in the services, programs or activities offered
by the university. Faculty and staff play an important role in assuring institutional
compliance with nondiscrimination laws.
Communicating with Students About Accommodations
Effective communication between faculty, staff, students and ODSS plays a crucial role in appropriately providing accommodations.
Students will approach you early in the semester to discuss their academic needs and
to deliver a letter from ODSS verifying their approved accommodations. You can also
verify their accommodations by logging into the Accommodate system.
Tips for Effective Communication
- Give students the opportunity to privately discuss their need for accommodations. If a student catches you after class or in a space that does not allow for a confidential conversation, suggest that you meet in your office or find an empty classroom. It is okay to schedule an appointment to meet at a better time or location.
- Encourage students to discuss their strengths and weaknesses as they relate to the course or activity. It is important for you to know that students are not required to disclose their disability, and by law, you are not permitted to ask.
- Also, it is important to remember that each student is an individual, and different disabilities create different circumstances. Even among those with the same disability, an accommodation that works for one student may not for another.
- Most reasonable accommodations are easy to arrange. Discuss with the student how you will implement their accommodation plan (how, when, where). Invite the student to make suggestions based on his/her experiences in other courses.
- Remember that students with disabilities have a right to use their accommodations. They may not be ignored and the student should not be persuaded either overtly or covertly into not using them. Legally, this would be considered discrimination. For example, a faculty member may not say "Why don't you try the first exam to see how you do before using accommodations." Since a student may not then re-take the first test using accommodations in an effort to improve, students should be afforded their accommodations from the start.
Accommodating Disability-Related Absences
Students are expected to follow the attendance policy established by the professor in each class. However, some students with disabilities may be approved for an accommodation of consideration of "reasonable flexibility with regard to attendance due to a disability." Reasonable flexibility, in this case, means an exception to the attendance policy when educationally feasible.
Accommodating Students Approved for Use of a Recording Device in the Classroom
According to the regulations, students with disabilities who are unable to take or read notes have the right to record class lectures only for personal study purposes. The recording of lectures is one of the accommodations specifically mentioned in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. ODSS requires students approved for this accommodation to sign a Lecture Recording Agreement.
Service Animals On Campus
As a general rule, animals are not permitted in campus buildings (except for approved
purposes and as allowed by the Housing & Residence Life Department (pet-friendly housing,
or approved as Emotional Support Animals through ODSS). The Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA) and its 2008 amendments, however, establish that service animals shall not
be excluded from university/college facilities or activities.
The ADA defines service animals as: "...dogs (or miniature horses) that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities."
Examples of such work or tasks include:
- Alerting people who are deaf
- Pulling a wheelchair
- Alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure
- Reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications
- Calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack
Service Animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a service animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person's disability. Students with Service Animals are invited to contact and register with ODSS, but are not required to do so.
Information about student disabilities is confidential. Although you may be informed of a student's disability status or accommodation needs, you may not share this information with others unless the student specifically requests you do so.
- Never discuss or refer to a student's disability or accommodations in the presence of other students, staff, or faculty.
- When meeting with a student, arrange to meet in your office or in a private classroom.
- Do not ask students to disclose their disabilities. You may inquire about their difficulties, the challenges they face in your classroom or in the residence hall, or how you can help.
- Always ask the student before bringing another faculty or staff member into conversations that might include the student's disability.
- Email is not a secure form of communication so be careful about sending messages containing student names with disability information.
- When leaving phone messages for students, don't refer to a disability. Simply leave your name, phone number and the best time to reach you.
Creating a Welcoming Environment/Universal Design in Education
The intent of universal design (UD) is to simplify life for everyone by making products,
communications and the physical environment more usable by as many people as possible.
Using this concept in education benefits all students and all abilities.
- Include a statement on your syllabus that invites students to meet with you to discuss disability-related accommodations and other learning needs.
- Utilize multiple methods to deliver content (including lecture, discussion, hands-on activities, web-based interaction, and fieldwork) to engage all learners.
- Use examples that appeal to a variety of students with respect to race, age, gender, and disability.
- Provide printed or web-based materials that summarize content that is delivered orally.
- Face your audience and speak clearly.
- Use captioned videos and ensure PowerPoint presentations and web pages are accessible (text descriptions for graphics).
- Provide printed materials in an accessible electronic format.
- Provide printed materials early so that students can prepare to access the materials in alternate formats.
- Provide prompts during an activity and feedback after it is completed.
- Provide multiple ways for students to demonstrate knowledge.
Audio-recording class lectures is sometimes an accommodation for students with memory
impairments, visual impairments, attention deficits or distractibility, impaired auditory
processing, or limited manual dexterity. The audio recording is a supplement to the
student's own or a note taker's written notes.
According to the regulations, students with disabilities who are unable to take or read notes have the right to record class lectures only for personal study purposes. Lectures recorded for personal study may not be shared with other people without the consent of the lecturer. The information contained in the audio-recorded lecture is protected under federal copyright laws and may not be published or quoted without the express consent of the lecturer and without giving proper identity and credit to the lecturer. LHU students who are approved to audio record lectures sign an agreement with the ODSS outlining these responsibilities as part of their Letter of Accommodation (LOA).
Legally, a professor may not forbid recording if it has been approved as an accommodation for the student's disability to provide meaningful access to the educational experience. The recording of lectures is one of the accommodations specifically mentioned in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The issue of copyright as a concern is referenced here.
Professor's Right to Privacy/Copyright Protection
Objections to the use of a recording device in the classroom are typically based on concerns surrounding the right to privacy of information discussed in the classroom or concerns regarding breach of copyright. The professor's right to privacy or concern over copyright does not override the student's right to accommodation. It is the responsibility of ODSS to see that the instructor's concern for privacy and protection of copyright is respected and addressed while still assuring the availability of accommodation for the student. ODSS maintains copies of signed recording agreements that detail the limited use of the recordings and arranges for their disposal when the purpose of the recording has been fulfilled.
Classes Involving Student Self-Disclosure
Occasionally, professors object to the use of a recording device in classes that involve a great deal of self-disclosure from students as part of the class, fearing that the use of a recording device will inhibit students from freely sharing. The use of a recording device is to supplement the student's note-taking ability. If these open discussions are not appropriate subject matter for any student to be taking notes, it would be appropriate to issue a general announcement to the class to request that any students who are using a recording device turn it off.
Audio Recording Devices and Apps
Approved students may utilize smart-pens, digital recorders, and smartphone/tablet/computer
applications for the purpose of making audio-recordings or transcripts of a lecture.
In addition, there is an increasing number of apps and software designed for this
task. Typically, students for whom this accommodation is granted, are those who have
difficulties attending to the lecture content and making cogent written notes at the
same time; the audio recording allows the student to 'fill in the gaps' after the
lecture or clarify meaning in their written notes.
Please contact ODSS at 570.484.2665 with any questions or assistance in providing this accommodation.
The ADA defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having an impairment. A major life activity includes:
- Caring for one's self
- Performing manual tasks
The ADA also covers bodily functions and systems including the immune system, normal
cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory,
endocrine and reproductive functions.
A person's impairment can substantially limit a major life activity depends on the nature and severity of the impairment, the duration of the impairment, and the long-term impact (Americans with Disabilities Act, Public Law 101-336, 1990 and ADA amendments of 2008).
Examples of disabilities include but are not limited to:
- Learning disabilities (such as dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia)
- Medical health conditions (such as cardiac disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, seizure disorder, etc.)
- Physical/mobility impairments (ambulatory, wheelchair)
- Deaf/Hard of Hearing
- Blind/Vision loss
- Emotional/psychological conditions (such as bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, etc.)
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Traumatic brain injury
- Temporary disabilities - disabilities existing only for a short period of time (6-months or less) as a result of injuries, surgery or short-term medical conditions
What is a "Record of Impairment”?
An individual has a "record" of having an impairment when the individual has a history of a disability, whether or not s/he is currently substantially limited in a major life activity. Such disabilities may include a history of heart disease, cancer, or mental illness.
What is "Regarded as Disabled?"
An individual is "regarded" as having an impairment when s/he is perceived or treated as having an impairment, although no impairment exists. For example, an individual who speaks slowly may be regarded as having an intellectual impairment, although no impairment exists.
The ADA protects individuals who have a known association or relationship with a person with a disability. For example, a public entity may not discriminate against the companion of a person with cerebral palsy, or an employer cannot refuse to hire an applicant because he or she is dating someone with HIV.