CCSU's Office for Student Disability Services (SDS) is committed to providing equal access to an educational experience through the provision of reasonable accommodations and services to qualified students with disabilities in order to reduce or eliminate any disadvantages that may occur as a result of an individual's disability. In determining reasonable accommodations, CCSU is guided by the federal definition of "disability" which describes an individual with a disability as someone who has:
A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of an individual; for example: caring for oneself, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, eating, sleeping, walking, performing manual tasks, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, and working.
A record of such impairment; or
Is regarded as having such an impairment
Defining Reasonable Accommodations
A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a course, program, service, job activity, or facility that ensures an equal opportunity for qualified students with disabilities to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of, a service, program, or activity. Aids, benefits, or services need not produce equal results, but must afford an equal opportunity to achieve equal results. When necessary, SDS staff will consult with faculty regarding whether an accommodation would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program or activity or whether an academic requirement is essential to the instruction being pursued or to any directly related licensing requirement. In doing so, SDS will examine the following:
Barriers between individuals with disabilities and the campus environment in accessing courses, programs, services, jobs, activities or facilities without accommodations;
Requested modifications, accommodations, and auxiliary aids;.
Whether the proposed accommodations would fundamentally alter the nature of the course, program, service, job, activity, or facility;
Whether an academic requirement is essential to the instruction or to any directly related licensing requirement;
Whether effective alternatives exist that would allow the individual with a disability to participate without lowering essential requirements or fundamentally altering the nature of the program.
When the University determines that a modification related to facilities or communication would result in a fundamental alteration or undue burden, SDS shall acquire the written opinion of the proper authority, i.e. department chair of impacted discipline, providing the reasoning supporting the decision.
Eligibility for Services
Eligibility for services/accommodations from SDS is a separate process from admissions. The admissions process for students with disabilities is the same as for all other students. Disclosure of a disability is voluntary; however, students may consider disclosing the disability when high school academic performance was adversely affected due to the disability.Disability documentation is reviewed on a case-by-case basis and does not override the primary admissions criteria. For confidentiality reasons, is it recommended that disability documentation be provided directly to SDS.
In order to receive accommodations from SDS, students must first obtain appropriate documentation of their disabilities from a qualified professional. Disability documentation is credible evidence from, for example: a licensed or certified professional, PhD, MD, psychologist, audiologist, etc. who can attest to the existence of a disability, the impact of the alleged disability on academic performance and related competencies and make recommendations for equal access and/or academic compensatory measures, known as accommodations.
Services for Students
SDS offers a wide variety of legally mandated services for students with documented disabilities. After reviewing the documentation of disability, the coordinator will provide appropriate academic accommodations specific to the student's functional limitations in the academic setting and train the student on accessing the approved accommodations. Students should request accommodations in a timely manner and follow SDS policies and procedures for accessing accommodations as outlined in this section.
Note: SDS does not provide assistance or equipment, i.e. homework assistance, typing, personal laptops, or personal aids.
There are six main services at SDS:
- Exam Accommodations
- Alternate Format Instructional Materials
- Sign Language Interpreting/Transcribing Services
- Auxiliary Support Services
SDS collaborates with students and their faculty to provide approved exam accommodations that ensure equal access. In order to schedule exams with SDS, students are responsible for meeting with the faculty member to discuss the exam date/time and scheduling the exam date/time with SDS.Exam accommodations can include but are not limited to:
Extended time (time + ½)
Screen-enlargement software (Zoom Text Magnifier)
Text-to-speech reader (Kurzweil)
Large print (large font)
SDS coordinates personal reader and scribe services for scheduled exams.
SDS provides authorized students with alternate format media, the term applied to course materials converted to an accessible format. Requests must be made in a timely manner to aid in the production process. The office can convert textbooks, electronic documents, exams and other print materials into the following formats:
- DOC (MS Word), PDF (Portable Document Format), RTF (Rich Text Format), TXT (Text)
- Large print (large font)
SDS coordinates interpreting services and/or transcribing services for deaf or hard of hearing students registered with the office. Sign language interpreting and transcribing services are available for classroom lectures, lab requirements, field work, meetings with faculty members, academic related activities, and university sponsored activities. At the initial time of registration, students needing sign language or captioning services must immediately notify SDS. Provision of interpreters is arranged through the Connecticut Commission on the Deaf and Hearing Impaired (CDHI). Interpreters are in high demand throughout the State of Connecticut and are assigned on a first come first serve basis. Therefore, if changes are made to your schedule just before the beginning of the semester, or during the semester, interpreting services cannot be guaranteed.
- When students arrive late to class, they can expect their interpreters to wait for a period of 15 minutes.
It is mandatory for students to notify SDS immediately if he/she is unable to attend class so that the interpreter can be cancelled for the day. If students do not cancel prior to the 24 hour cancellation notice, CCSU is still obligated to pay for the interpreting services. If a student fails to show up for a scheduled interpreter two times without notifying SDS this accommodation may no longer be provided. Students who miss two scheduled classes without canceling interpreting services are required to contact SDS to discuss continuation of this service.
SDS coordinates note-taking services for authorized students. Notes can be obtained in several ways: a volunteer or paid note-taker/classmate can provide course notes as e-mail attachments or use a carbon copy note pad provided by SDS; SDS students may also use a Live scribe pen (some are available for loan) or record the class with faculty permission.
Deaf and hard of hearing students are eligible to receive note-taking assistance. Deaf and hard of hearing students should discuss with their instructors or note-takers an alternate plan in the event that the interpreter is absent for class.
In addition to assisting students with academic services and accommodations, academic coaches in the Learning Center are available to meet with students weekly or as needed. Academic Coaches can assist in enhancing study strategies, time-management and self-advocacy skills.