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Office of Disability Services

Welcome to today's presentation on the Office of Disability Services at Austin Peay State University. Our office staff comprises of myself, Jamie McCrary, David Sanford, Elithia Johnson, and Dusty Dyce-Boxx. Our mission statement is to provide all students access to both curricular and co-curricular activities. This simply means that all students have access to all information being shared in class and equal access to participate in all campus events throughout our campus.

It is very important to understand what qualifies as an individual as having a disability. As you see here, this is the Americans with Disabilities Act. Clear definition of what qualifies as having a disability, as you see, is very clear and succinct, but also very inclusive. Currently at Austin Peay State University, we serve over 800 students with a wide variety of varying disabilities, such as visible disabilities, for example, such as blind or visually impaired, hearing impaired individuals who utilize a wheelchair, as well as individuals who might have a non-visible disability. For example, individuals who might have post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or depression. Also, we have students who have permanent disabilites as ones we've just labeled. Additionally, however, we are serving students who have temporary disability. For example, a student who somehow during the semester might hurt themselves or break an arm or a leg injury and would need substantial services as they recover from those injuries.

Oftentimes I'm asked, are there policies and laws that require us to provide accommodations for students with disabilities? And the answer is yes. We are a state institution and we do receive federal funds due to the fact we are a state institution. And so federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the ADA, which is the amendment of 2008 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Title to the Rehabilitation Act, Office of Civil Rights, which is under the umbrella of Department of Education. And even our own policy at our university, Policy 6:04.

You see here that the average of an individual who has a disability is approximately 25 to 30%. However, in post-secondary education, it is imperative and required that the student actually identify with the Office of Disability Services. The national libraries, as you see here, is 19%. Currently at our university, we're a little over 8%.

Oftentimes the terms "accommodations" and "accessibility" are used interchangeably. It is important to understand the differences. However, accommodations are built on a specific individual or persons' disability needs. While accessibility is access for everyone in education, it is vitally important that we build our content so that all of our students can access it no matter who they are or where they are. For example, utilizing information inside of D2L that can be accessible can ensure that all students have access to your course material. As you see here, these are types of accommodations that the Office of Disability Services at Austin Peay offer such as extended test time and note-taker services, just to name a few. These are not all the services we provide as we have to build accommodation on each student's specific needs.

How does a student receive accommodations at Austin Peay State University? First, they must identify through our office and complete our one-page demographic application. Next, they will provide us medical documentation concerning their specific disability. Next, they will meet with myself for a one-on-one meeting to discuss the appropriate and reasonable accommodations to be given. After that, we have them sit down with our upfront staff to send out the Accommodations Letters to the specific instructors, as well as encourage them to meet with their instructor as well. As you see here, we have created tutorials and videos for our faculty to go back and review at their leisure concerning accommodation letters that they may see from their students. When a student requests accommodations for each class, the Office of Disability Services will email the professor the accommodation letter, as well as the student. In the body of the email that we send to the student will be the student-teacher conference form that we ask each student to meet with the professor. It is important to note that it is not a requirement that the student meets with the professor, but we highly encourage each student to meet with a professor to make sure everyone is understanding and in alignment of what the accommodations are. Professors are not allowed to withhold accommodations if the student chooses not to meet with the professor. Students may not choose to use or utilize all the accommodations that they had been approved for through the Office of Disability Services for your course, for example, many of our students choose to take their quizzes or chapter test inside the class and utilize office a display services in their testing center for their midterms and finals. It is up to the student to determine how to utilize the accommodations, not up to the professors or the Office of Disability Services.

If a student desires to take their exam through the Office of Disability Services, our Testing Coordinator, Elithia Johnson, will coordinate with the student and the faculty about the time and date to take the exam. We let professors and students know that we do monitor our testing spaces with cameras, and we take seriously test integrity. For many students, assistive technology is an integral portion of how students will learn and retain the information being taught by the professor. Assistive technology is not provided by their professor or by the Office of Disability Services. Assistive technology, such as Zoom text or JAWS, which stands for Job Access with Speech for our low vision students, or even recording a lecture is essential to assisting each student as they learn the material being taught. Alternative formats of providing print material to students may be necessary to assist those students during their learning process. Formats such as large print or in Braille, or even audio files can be very beneficial for those students. Our Office of Disability Services does have a Braille printer and can assist each professor with providing the essential materials for each student. Necessary cart service is provided for our students who have hearing impairments. For our curricular and co-curricular activities, students are not required to purchase anything, but the professor is required to wear a microphone so that transcriptionists can be able to transcribe everything that is going in the class. The Office of Disability Services will and would provide each student and professor the equipment needed.

Note that Austin Peay State University does allow service animals to be on campus. A service animal is a dog or a miniature horse. There's only two questions that an individual can ask concerning is that a service animal or emotional support animal. Question one: is this an emotional support animal or a service animal? Number two: what services do they provide for you. There are no other questions that can be asked. Federal law prohibits any other questions being asked. Additionally, Austin Peay does have residential facilities on campus and we do allow emotional support animals to be in residence halls. Those are to be in the residence halls only. They are not allowed to be in the library, the student union, or any other classroom setting setting.

The Office of Disability Services has active partnerships with our full-spectrum learning program that assist students on the autism spectrum: TRIO, Academic Support Center, other offices around Student Affairs such as adult, a non-traditional students, military students that are just to name a few.

We want to thank you for joining us today for this presentation concerning the office of disability services. Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office to talk to any of us concerning any questions you may have. In closing, if we work together, we can all make a difference for our students.

To ensure access for students with disabilities to ALL curricular and co-curricular opportunities offered at APSU.

The ADA defines a disability as an individual who: 

  • Has a physical or mental impairment  that substantially limits one or more major life activities to include major bodily functions  

OR

  • Has a record of such impairment   
  • Visible vs. non–visible  disability
  • Permanent vs. temporary disability
  • ADA
  • ADAA(2008)
  • Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Title II And Title III
  • OCR
  • APSU Policy 6:004
  • College students with a disability  – 25-30%
  • National average of students that disclose their disability – 19%
  • APSU students who have disclosed their disability – 8%
  • Accommodations - are built on a specific person’s disability needs.
  • Accessibility - access for everyone.

(not limited to)

  • Extended Testing Time (Example1.5)
  • Minimal Distraction Testing Area
  • Note-Taker Services
  • Use of Assistive Technology
  • Preferred Seating
  • Adjustable Seats/desks
  • Copy of Power Points
  1. Identify to the ODS office
  2. Complete student application online
  3. Complete intake meeting with Director/Associate Director
  4. Request accommodations each semester via accommodation portal
  5. Receive  Accommodation Letters Via Email
  6. Encourage the Scheduling Of student/teacher conference

It is recommended (not required) that student and instructor have a conference to discuss the approved accommodations.  This can be done in person, on the phone, or via email.  Once the conference is completed, please forward the information to DisabilityServices@apsu.edu.

  • In person – Student or Instructor may deliver a signed copy of the conference form to ODS.
  • On the phone – Send an email to ODS stating you have conferenced with the student. Please CC: the student in the email.  The student may also email ODS and CC: the instructor.
  • Email – Forward the final email to ODS.

Students may not use all accommodations requested.  It is at the student’s discretion on what accommodations he/she will utilize.

  • Example 1: Student may be approved for minimal distraction testing location but does not feel that it is needed for every test.
  • Example 2: Student may be approved for CART services but he/she may decide to use a recorder or a note taker in lieu of, if approved.
  • All tests are stored in a secure location. Test are automatically shredded
  • Testing rooms are monitored by proctors and video camera. Instructors may request video from ODS for any reason.
  • Only instructor approved material will be allowed in the testing room. No cell phones or other electronic devices are allowed in the testing room, unless pre-approved.
  • Test should be delivered to ODS 24 hours prior to the scheduled test.

Assistive technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities. AT can be computer software: screen readers and communication programs or devices.

Alternative formats include audio, braille, electronic or large print versions of standard print such as educational material, textbooks, information leaflets and test.

CART: Communication access real-time translation (CART), also called open captioning or real-time stenography, or simply real-time captioning.

Faculty Accomodation Letter Video: 

Disability Services Training Tutorials - click here

To Complete this portion of the orientation, please click here take the quiz over the Office of Disability Services at APSU. 

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