Introduction and Goal Statement

This handbook is designed to help faculty become more comfortable and effective when working with students with disabilities. Questions relating to reasonable accommodations for MSU Billings' faculty and staff should be addressed to Human Resources, (406) 657-2278. Questions relating to students with disabilities should be addressed to Disability Support Services, (406) 657-2283 or (406) 247-3029.

Disability Support Services' (DSS) goal is to ensure access for students with disabilities.  The services are available to all students who have a disability that substantially limits a major life activity.  Accommodations are determined by individual review between the student and the DSS Director/Coordinator.  There is no one-to-one correspondence of disability to accommodation. Items taken into consideration are a student’s disability, history, experience, request, and the unique characteristics of the course, program, or requirement in order to determine whether or not a specific accommodation is reasonable.

In the provision of accommodations, DSS makes decisions based upon the belief that the most successful students are self-advocates who identify their own needs, take personal initiative in problem solving and decision making, and effectively use available services to fully participate in the educational experience.

Legal Issues

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 are civil rights legislation which prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

According to these laws, no otherwise qualified individuals with a disability shall, solely by reason of their disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity of a public entity.

"Qualified" with respect to post-secondary educational services, means "a person who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the education program or activity, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies or practices; the removal of architectural, communication or transportation barriers; or the provision of auxiliary aids and services".

"Person with a disability" means "any person who 1) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, 2) has a record of such an impairment, or 3) is regarded as having such an impairment.”

With the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, Congress rejected the heightened standard for demonstrating disability that the Supreme Court articulated in a series of decisions and emphasized that it intended the protections of the ADA to be applied broadly. Revised Title I regulations state that “the primary purpose” of the ADA amendments “is to make it easier for people with disabilities to obtain protection under the ADA.”  Taken as a whole, the changes to the statute and regulations for Titles I, II, and III clarify (a) who has a disability entitled to protection under the ADA and Section 504, (b) who is entitled to accommodations, and (c) how those determinations are made and by whom.

Major life activities, as defined in the ADAAA include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.

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Service Animals


Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs and miniature horses are recognized as service animals under Titles II and III of the ADA. Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, 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, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. If an animal meet this definition, it is considered a service animal regardless of whether it has been licensed or certified by a state or local government training program.  Therapy, companion, emotional support animals and pets are not service animals according to the ADA definition, as they have not been individually trained to perform disability mitigating tasks.  Thus their handlers do not legally qualify for public access rights.

Miniature Horses

A miniature horse can be considered a service animal for use by an individual with a disability if the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability subject to an assessment of the type, size, and weight of the miniature horse and whether the facility can accommodate these features. The same provisions that apply to service dogs also apply to miniature horses.

Appropriate inquiries about service animal

When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed:   (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task. Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.

Requirements of Service Animals and their Partners/Handlers

Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls. Exclusions of service dogs are determined on an individualized basis and when one of the following conditions exist:

  • The dog is disruptive and not effectively controlled
  • The presence of the service dog would fundamentally change the nature of the job, service, or activity
  • The service dogs' presence, behavior, or actions pose an unreasonable or direct threat to property and/or the health or safety of others
  • The dog is not housebroken

Under the ADA, service animals are allowed to accompany individuals with disabilities in all areas of the institution where students are normally allowed to go.  There may be some areas of the university that restrict the admittance of service animals.  Access to these areas may be granted on a case-by-case basis and requests for access should be addressed to the Disability Support Services.


Vaccination- The animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal.  Dogs must have had the general maintenance vaccine series, which includes vaccinations against rabies, distemper and parvovirus.  Other animals must have had the appropriate vaccination series for the type of animal.  All vaccinations must be current.  Dogs must wear a rabies vaccination tag.

Licensing- Will be in accordance with The City of Billings.

Health- The animal must be in good health.  Animals to be housed in University Housing must have a clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian.

Leash-The animal must be on a leash at all times.

Clean-up Rule

  1. Always carry equipment sufficient to clean up the animal’s feces.
  2. Properly dispose of feces.

*Individuals with disabilities who physically cannot clean up after their own service animals may not be required to pick up and dispose of feces.  However, whenever possible please ask a person nearby to assist you.
Under Control of Partner/Handler- The partner/handler must be in full control of the animal at all times.  The care and supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of its partner/handler.

Not all students who use service animals have to register with DSS.


Disability-related information is deemed medical information under Title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and is considered confidential. Students who request services, provide documentation, and qualify for services are issued an identification card, (or a letter, if they prefer), which lists their accommodations.


Legislation does not seek to change the fundamental methods of ensuring a sound education and successful completion of an academic program. Rather, it is designed to ensure that students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to access academic programs. Persons with disabilities must meet the same admission criteria as do persons without disabilities. However, upon admission, students with disabilities who request services are entitled, under both Section 504 and the ADA, to reasonable accommodations and placement in the most integrated setting feasible and the participation in all campus activities to the extent appropriate. DSS will work with students with disabilities and with faculty to arrange appropriate accommodations.

Common academic accommodations include, but are not limited to, textbooks in alternative formats, notetakers, tape recorded classes, extended-time exams, scribes, sign language interpreters, computers for essay tests, and captioned videos.

Students are encouraged to be self-advocates who identify their own needs, take personal initiative in problem solving and decision making, and effectively use available services to fully participate in the educational experience.

Students served by DSS are expected to conform to MSU Billings' policy regarding student rights and responsibilities as noted in the Student Handbook.

Faculty should refer students who request accommodations for a disability to Disability Support Services.

Course Substitution

The decision to grant a course substitution is decided on a case-by-case basis.  Students must submit documentation of a disability which substantially limits a major life activity to Disability Support Services. Students must work with their advisors to determine if a substitution is warranted and what the substitution will be.  The substitution must be approved by the requesting student's advisor, the department head and dean of the College from which the course substitution is requested.

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When Meeting a Person with a Disability

Speak directly to the person.  Explore your mutual interests.  The conversation need not be limited to issues of disability.

Persons with disabilities are usually accustomed to explaining their disability and accommodations.  Relax.  If you do not know what to say, allow the person with the disability to help put you at ease.

When you are unsure if a person with a disability needs assistance, ask.  For example, before you push someone’s wheelchair, ask if assistance is needed.  Ask how to proceed for ramps, curbs, or other obstacles.
It is proper to address a person who is deaf (via an interpreter) directly by speaking in first person, e.g., "Did you finish your report?"

Speak calmly and distinctly to people who are deaf or hard of hearing, or to those who have difficulty processing speech.  Look directly at the person, and use gestures and writing to supplement your spoken words.

Consider the time it may take for a person with a disability to say or do things.  Let the person set the pace for walking, talking, etc.  Give unhurried attention to someone who has difficulty speaking.  When necessary, ask questions that can be answered with a yes or no response.

Allow the student the same anonymity as other students.  Avoid pointing out the student or the alternative arrangements to the rest of the class.

When a student uses a service animal, it is important to understand that it is a working animal rather than a pet.  It should be left alone unless the student states otherwise.  Similarly, a wheelchair is considered to be a part of a person’s physical space, and treated with respect.

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Suggestions for an Accessible Classroom

Provide a detailed course syllabus. Make it available in the department or on the Web prior to the registration deadline. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) requires educational institutions to inform students with disabilities of the services available to them, and OCR “strongly suggests" that class announcements and syllabus statements are the most effective method.

Course Instructors are encouraged to provide appropriate individual flexibility to all students. However, when disability-related accommodations are requested, Instructors should refer students to Disability Support Services and consult with DSS staff to identify strategies or accommodations which provide access and maintain academic rigor. If an accommodation is determined to be appropriate, faculty may coordinate it directly or ask DSS for assistance. The following statement is approved for use on syllabi:

For University Campus classes:

Students with Disabilities:
MSU Billings is committed to providing equal access. If you anticipate barriers related to the format or requirements of this course, please meet with me so that we can discuss ways to ensure your full participation in the course. If you determine that disability-related accommodations are necessary, please contact Disability Support Services (657-2283; located in the College of Education, Room 135). We can then plan how best to coordinate your accommodations.

For City College classes:

Students with Disabilities:
MSU Billings is committed to providing equal access. If you anticipate barriers related to the format or requirements of this course, please meet with me so that we can discuss ways to ensure your full participation in the course. If you determine that disability-related accommodations are necessary, please contact Disability Support Services (247-3029; located in the Tech Building, room A016). We can then plan how best to coordinate your accommodations.

Including this syllabus statement preserves students' privacy and also indicates your willingness to provide accommodations.

Define expectations early. Students with disabilities often need time to arrange for support services through DSS. 
Use a variety of teaching methods.  Some examples are:

  • Face the class when speaking
  • Put your lecture outline online (or pass out a hard copy).
  • Legibly write key phrases on the blackboard.
  • Present vocabulary aloud and in written form.
  • Use visual aids to reinforce the lecture.
  • Describe aloud any visual aids used during class.
  • Illustrate abstract concepts with concrete examples.
  • Give opportunities for hands-on learning where possible.
  • Encourage students to use current technology, such as hand-held spelling devices or word processors for tests and assignments.  Faculty should be aware that penalties for misspelled but correct responses might put some students at a disadvantage due to their disability.
  • Use closed captioning when showing videos in class.

For your deaf and hard of hearing students:

In preparation for any deaf or hard of hearing students in your class, all video or audio materials need to be captioned.  If you have a deaf or hard of hearing student, Disability Support Services (DSS) will contact you as soon as DSS is aware that the student has enrolled in your class. When you hear from DSS, please follow these procedures:

Step One:

Send a list of videos to the Library Director.  Include as much information as possible, including a link if the video is online.
Library staff will identify options for access to captioned versions, including DVD or streaming formats.

Step Two:
If you are unable to find a captioned copy of your video(s), please bring them to the Disability Support Services office in Room 135 of the College of Education. If they need to be outsourced for captioning, it can take up to six weeks for them to be captioned and returned to you, so please let us know the dates that you plan to show the video so they can be captioned accordingly.

Step Three:
Find suggestions for working with deaf and hard-of-hearing students in the DSS Faculty HandbookThe Lead Interpreter will then follow-up with each instructor to make sure that they have seen the email with the letter attached and are aware of the captioning accommodation. She will coordinate any videos that need to be captioned with Rob Masse in IT.  A list of movies that MSUB has captioned will be kept in case they are shown in future classes. The Lead Interpreter will do periodic checks on the status of captioned videos and will ensure that the original and the captioned copy are returned to the instructor.

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Exam Accommodations

Exam accommodations may be necessary to properly evaluate a student with a disability.  Examples of accommodations may include a distraction-reduced environment, extended time, a reader or scribe, and/or the use of a computer or adaptive equipment.  The DSS Director approves all disability-related accommodations. It is the student’s responsibility to meet with faculty to discuss the necessary accommodations well in advance of exams. See the Guidelines for Exam Accommodations appended to this handbook.

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Educational Assistants

DSS works with volunteers, workstudy students, and part-time help to provide access to classroom information and appreciates your cooperation in helping us to arrange for these assistants.

LAB ASSISTANTS perform the physical manipulation required for laboratory procedures, under the direction of the student with a disability.

NOTETAKERS are classmates willing to share their notes with students with a disability.

READERS read text and describe visuals for students with various disabilities.

RESEARCH ASSISTANTS physically assist students with disabilities who are gathering research materials.

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Computers and Other Adaptive Equipment

DSS, in conjunction with Information Technology and the Library, provides computer programs, equipment, and training to students with disabilities.  This includes text-to-voice and voice-to-text software, Smart pens, assistive listening devices, and magnification and screen reading software.

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Sign Language Interpreters

MSU Billings interpreters are skilled professionals and follow the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Code of Ethics.  The interpreters do not participate in class discussion and do not advise deaf or hard of hearing students.  In addition, they are not responsible for a student’s behavior, comments, study habits, or academic progress.

Interpreters will sit or stand facing the class and as close to the Instructor as possible. Faculty should be aware that interpreters are usually a sentence behind the spoken word.  This can cause a delay in the student’s response.  Interpreters will vocalize the words of the deaf or hard of hearing student in the first person, e.g. "I’m ready to give my presentation."  The interpreters will also sign all comments heard during class.

The interpreters have structured schedules.  They are not assigned exclusively to one student.  Faculty should be aware that interpreters may not be able to stay beyond the scheduled class time.  Students may request an interpreter for private meetings with faculty or for other course-related activities.

Some students benefit from technology that provides a real-time copy of lecture and class discussion.  Remote captioning is used to provide that accommodation.  A captionist in a remote location listens to the information in the classroom and transcribes it, sending the text to the student in real time.  The student uses a laptop in the classroom to access that information.

The interpreters present a training session each semester and invite Instructors who have deaf and/or hard-of-hearing students in their classes.  One-on-one training can also be arranged and a variety of printed information is available.  The DSS interpreters can be contacted at 657-2159.

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Students with disabilities need to become familiar with evacuation procedures and rescue assistance areas in each building.  Students should be aware of at least two exits from each floor where they have a class (the elevator cannot be one of them).

In an on campus emergency, notify authorities immediately using the following numbers:

Campus police: #657-2147
City services: #911

Be aware of the location of pull alarms in each building.

In emergency situations, persons unable to use the stairways to exit a building will wait at the nearest designated rescue assistance locations*, if safe to do so, until someone comes to help them evacuate the building. Designated rescue assistance locations are indicated by signs in buildings with stairwells. Montana State University Billings Campus Police or the Billings Fire Department will check all designated rescue assistance locations* for people who need assistance in the building when an evacuation is in progress. In cases of fire drills, persons needing assistance will be advised by those conducting the drill that if there had been a fire or other emergency, they would have received the help necessary to leave the building. Under no circumstances should anyone use the elevators, nor should any person who is disabled be carried down the stairways unless by trained personnel during an actual emergency evacuation. Be aware of RESCUE ASSISTANCE AREAS* in each multistory building.

If you know that someone needs evacuation assistance, notify rescue personnel immediately.

Keep Doors to Stairwells Closed.

Some MSU Billings' fire alarms are also equipped with flashing lights since deaf students may not hear the audio emergency alarms. It may be necessary to communicate with the hard-of-hearing student by writing a note to explain the emergency.

Students who are visually impaired may need to take someone's elbow and be escorted to the nearest emergency exit.

Wheel Chair Evacuation Areas: It is the responsibility of people in wheelchairs to check out the locations of exits and rescue assistance areas*.  Please contact University Police, (406) 657-2147 or Disability Support Services, (406) 657-2283 voice/VP if you have any questions.

Academic Support Center

  • Ground level exit

Apsaruke West

  • Ground level exit, 1st floor west entrance
  • Rescue assistance area, 1st floor north entrance area
  • Rescue assistance area, 2nd and 3rd floors east and west corridor ends

Art Annex

  • Ground level exit


  • Basement ramp up to south auditorium exit
  • Ground level exit, north side of 1st floor
  • Rescue assistance area, 2nd floor north exit
  • Rescue assistance area, 3rd floor north exit

McDonald Hall (COB)

  • Stairwell landing near the elevators

College of Education and Human Services

  • East and west entrances on first floor
  • Rescue assistance area, 2nd-4th floors center stairwells

City College

      Tech Building

  • Rescue assistance area, second floor stairwell between elevator and room B012

      Health Sciences Building

  • Rescue Assistance areas, North and South side stairwells

Liberal Arts

  • First floor, ground level exit out of south library doors
  • Rescue Assistance areas, 2nd-8th floors south stairwell


  • Rescue assistance area, 1st floor east stairwell landing
  • Rescue assistance area, 2nd floor east stairwell
  • Two ground level exits on south side of first floor
  • Two ground level exits on north side of second floor

McMullen Hall

  • Rescue assistance area in center stairwell for basement and 2nd and 3rd floors
  • First floor, exit north doors to ramp

Petro Hall

  • Rescue assistance, central stairway landings

Physical Education

  • First floor ground level exit
  • Basement tunnel exit

Rimrock Hall

  • Rescue assistance, central stairway landings


  • First floor north and west exits
  • Second floor west stairwell landing

Location of Rescue Assistance Areas

Students have the responsibility to verify the location of rescue assistance areas upon arrival at MSU Billings. (See chart above.)

Students needing evacuation assistance should:

Be familiar with exits and rescue assistance areas on every floor.

Notify your instructors and classmates if you know that you will need assistance during an emergency evacuation. 

Ask someone to notify rescue personnel of your location if you are in a rescue assistance area.

In emergency situations, persons unable to use the stairways to exit a building will wait at the nearest designated rescue assistance locations, if safe to do so, until someone comes to help them evacuate the building. Signs in buildings with stairwells indicate designated rescue assistance locations*. University Campus Police or the Billings Fire Department will check designated rescue assistance areas for people who need assistance in the building where an evacuation is in progress. In cases of fire drills, the persons needing assistance will be advised by those conducting the drill that if there had been a fire or other emergency, they would have received the necessary help to leave the building. Under no circumstances should anyone use the elevators, nor should any person who is disabled be carried down the stairways unless by trained personnel during an actual emergency evacuation.

In an emergency, students should ask to have emergency personnel notified immediately of their location. KEEP DOORS TO STAIRWELLS CLOSED.

Emergency Numbers

University police: 657-2147
City services (including police, fire, ambulance): 9-911
Health Center: 657-2153

Hospital Emergency Health Care (from on campus)

Deaconess: 9-657-4150
Saint Vincent: 9-237-4100

*Rescue assistance areas refers to a designated location where a person may wait for rescue personnel.  The wording is not meant to imply compliance with ADAAG requirements required for new multi-story buildings.

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The Different Disabilities -- visible and invisible

Deaf/Hard of Hearing

The age of onset of hearing loss will have a great impact upon the student’s English ability, both spoken and written. Generally, English is considered a second language for persons who are deaf.  Students who use interpreters will need to watch the interpreter and Instructor at the same time.  Therefore, they will sit at the front of the classroom.  Due to eyestrain, it is essential to have a short break every hour.  This will assist the interpreter as well.  See Interpreters

Sample Accommodations

Interpreter tips:

Direct questions and conversation to the student, not to the interpreter

In class or group discussions, suggest that one student speak at a time to allow for the interpreter to catch up with what is being said

Provide the interpreter with a list of technical terms and unfamiliar vocabulary to facilitate interpretation

Notify the interpreter of schedule changes or class cancellations in advance

Environmental techniques

Allow students who are deaf or hard of hearing to sit in the front row or other optimum locations

Avoid standing with your back to a window or other sources of light because the glare makes it difficult to read lips and facial expressions

Maintain enough light during videos to enable the student to see the interpreter and the notetaker to take notes

Use closed captioning when possible

Suggest that hearing aid wearers adjust their hearing aids when there will be a noisy environment

Be aware that closed circuit FM systems are available from DSS to transmit lectures in large classrooms to students who are hard of hearing

Inform the student who is deaf or hard of hearing by touch, signal or note to evacuate the building in an emergency

Communication techniques

Confer with the student to determine the rate and volume of voice communication which will promote comprehension

Convey your message through facial expressions, gestures, and other body language

Avoid blocking the area around your mouth to facilitate lip reading

Avoid speaking with your back to the person who is hard of hearing

Avoid pacing and speaking while writing on the board

Check for comprehension by asking for explanations or illustrations

Restate questions that are asked by class members

Allow time for students who are hard-of-hearing or deaf to participate in discussion

Instructional techniques

Provide a detailed syllabus and lecture outline

Use electronic mail for private and class discussions

Supply a list of terminology and unfamiliar words or terms

Utilize overhead projectors as a substitute for board work so that you can face the class while writing

Write key words or phrases of the topic being discussed on the overhead projector (or board) to improve understanding

Post notices of class cancellations, assignments, etc.

If you have a complete set of class notes, it is useful to allow students who are deaf or hard of hearing to make copies of your class notes

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Head Injury

A person with a head injury may experience difficulty with concentration, memory, problem solving, and abstract reasoning.  The most commonly reported problem is poor memory.  Faculty may find that such students perform better on exam items that involve recognition (multiple choice, matching) than on exam items requiring recall (fill in the blank, essay).

Accommodations depend on the type of injury and how it affects the brain.

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Learning Disabilities

Students with learning disabilities are the largest population of students served by DSS. Learning disabilities affect the manner in which individuals acquire, integrate, and/or express knowledge.  Learning disabilities (LD) may affect a student’s performance in reading, writing, spoken language, mathematics, or orientation to space and time. Students with LD report they learn best when Instructors write down key terms during lecture, give opportunities for hands-on activities, and use all modalities when teaching.  See Suggestions for an accessible classroom

Sample Accommodations

Notetakers and/or audio taped class sessions

Visual, aural, and tactile demonstrations incorporated into instruction

Computer with voice output, spellchecker, and grammar checker

Alternative testing

More information about Policies & Procedures

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Mobility Impairment

Physical access is one of the major concerns for students with a mobility impairment.  Students may encounter unavoidable delays when, for example, a vehicle blocks a ramp. When a course requires travel to other locations, those locations must be accessible. In order to participate fully in classroom activities, students may need to use Educational Assistants.  See Educational assistants

Sample Accommodations

Alternative testing

Lab assistants

Classrooms, labs, and field trips in accessible locations

Adjustable tables; lab equipment located within easy reach

Class assignments and notes made available in electronic format


Assistive technology

See Educational assistants

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Psychological Disabilities

Psychological disabilities include depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and schizophrenia, among others.  On rare occasions, classroom behavior can become an issue.  Students with disabilities who violate the student conduct code are subject to discipline according to that code. Faculty may want to discuss privately with the student what is and is not appropriate. DSS staff is available to consult on these issues.

Some students undergoing treatment take prescription medication to help control symptoms.  This medication may have side effects such as drowsiness or disorientation.

Sample Accommodations

Alternative testing

Time extensions

Note takers

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Seizure Disorders

Students with a seizure disorder may be affected at any time with little or no warning.  Some medications can lessen or control seizures, but produce side effects such as slowed response and impaired coordination.  See Suggestions for an accessible classroom

What should you do if someone has a convulsive seizure?

Keep calm and reassure other people who may be nearby. This is an important step! Check the carotid artery for a pulse. If you feel one, the person is not suffering from a heart attack, generally not connected with seizures. Clear the area around the person of anything hard or sharp. Loosen ties or anything around the neck that may make breathing difficult. Put something flat and soft, like a folded jacket, under the head. Turn the person gently onto his or her side. This will help keep the airway clear. Do not try to force the mouth open with any hard implement or with fingers. It is not true that a person having a seizure can swallow his or her tongue, and efforts to hold the tongue down can injure the teeth or jaw. You can lose a finger if you put one in the mouth. Don’t hold the person down or try to stop his or her movements. Don’t attempt artificial respiration except in the unlikely event that a person does not start breathing again after the seizure has stopped. Stay with the person until the seizure ends naturally. Be friendly and reassuring as consciousness returns. Offer to call an RA, friend, or relative to help the person get to their room if he or she seems confused or unable to get there by himself or herself.

Should an ambulance be called?

If you know the person has seizures it is usually not necessary to call an ambulance unless the seizure lasts for more than 10 minutes, unless another seizure begins soon after the first, or unless the person cannot be awakened after the jerking movements have stopped. If the person shows evidence of serious bleeding or other injury resulting from the seizure, escort the student to the nearest health services for attention, Keep in mind that the student may speak with you, but not remember any conversations until fully recovered from the seizure.

What does a seizure look like? Do they last long?

A convulsive seizure happens when the whole brain is suddenly swamped with extra electrical energy. It often starts with a hoarse cry caused by air being suddenly forced out of the lungs. The person may fall to the ground unconscious. The body stiffens briefly, and then begins jerking movements. Bladder or bowel control is sometimes lost. The tongue may be bitten. A frothy saliva may appear around the mouth, caused by air being forced through mouth fluids. Breathing may get very shallow and even stop for a few moments. Sometimes the skin turns a bluish color because the lower rate of breathing is supplying less oxygen than usual. The jerking movements then slow down, and the seizure ends naturally after a minute or two. After returning to consciousness the person may feel confused and sleepy, In some cases, only a very short recovery period is required, and most people can go back to their normal activities after resting for a while.

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Speech Impairment

There are several kinds of speech impairments, including stuttering, articulation problems, and voice disorders.  The ability to enunciate is not a measure of intelligence. Most speech-impaired students have a means of communication that is effective for them.  Faculty should encourage these students to use their preferred mode of communication.

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Visual Impairment

"Legally blind" indicates that a student has less than 20/200 vision in the better eye or a very limited field of vision (20 degrees at the widest point).

Students with visual impairments may experience eyestrain, sensitivity to light, an inability to read printed material or to distinguish certain colors.

Students who have been blind from birth (or shortly after) have no visual memories.  Their concepts of objects, space, and distance may be different from those persons who became visually impaired later in life.  Mobility and orientation skills also vary due to numerous factors.

Coordination of support services for a visually impaired student is often complicated. Advance notice of assignments and requirements is imperative for the student’s success.  DSS can put written materials into alternative format for students, including enlarged font, audio files and/or Braille.  Some students use a variety of formats, depending upon the material that needs to be accessed.


If needed, identify yourself at the beginning of a conversation and notify the student when you are exiting the room.

When giving instructions, be clear. For instance, say the chair is to your left.

Sample Accommodations:

Large print black on white handouts, lab signs, and equipment labels

Texts in alternative format

TV monitor connected to microscope to enlarge images

Enlarged fonts on computer

Taped class lectures (consent forms are available upon request)

Raised-line drawings and tactile models of graphic materials

Braille access for information if requested

Computer with optical character reader, voice output, and Braille printer (available in LI 158)

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Other Disabilities

There are a number of other disabilities and medical conditions that may interfere with a student’s academic work, concentration, and attendance.  Some students may be in pain or be taking medication with varying side effects, such as drowsiness.  The same general accommodations would apply here.  Questions about various disabilities may be directed to DSS

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Guidelines for Exam Accommodations

Procedures for arranging to take a test at DSS:


  1. Meets with Instructor to discuss exam arrangement
  2. Contacts DSS to request time/space/assistance for an exam


  1. Meets with student to discuss exam arrangements

Informs DSS if there are any special instructions

Examples of special instructions may include:
-Calculator allowed
-Notes allowed
-Open book
-Dictionary allowed

Emails the test to DSS or makes another arrangement for DSS to get the test


  1. Administers exam at the same time the class takes the exam. (Exceptions must be approved by the Instructor.)
  2. Closely proctors all exams by video camera or live proctor.
  3. Seals completed exams and returns to designated person (Instructor or administrative assistant).

Exams are kept in a secure file except during actual testing time or when being returned.

Disability Support Services invites Instructors to share any concerns regarding the alternative testing procedures or concerns regarding students with the Director of Disability Support Services.


All exams should be scheduled in advance. Standbys may be accepted based on schedule availability.

The test will be given on the day and at the time scheduled. The amount of time authorized to complete the exam will be decreased by the amount of time the student is late.

Rescheduled exams are permissible with the consent of the Instructor and availability of DSS staff. Exams that are not taken by a student are shredded unless otherwise instructed.

It is the students' responsibility to notify the Instructor and DSS if they are not able to test at their scheduled time.
DSS staff are not authorized to modify instructions given by the Instructor.

Students are to remain in the assigned room once testing begins unless supervised breaks have been authorized. Staff may accompany the student during a break.

Students found with unauthorized instructional materials will be referred to the Instructor.

City College Alternative Testing Procedures

Exam Accommodations for Online Classes
The Online testing request form must be completed by the student at the beginning of the semester and emailed to the Director of Disability Support Services.  The Director will confirm the student's accommodations with an email to the Professor.

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Testing Procedures at City College

Tests can be delivered to DSS through one of the following options:

  • Tests can be hand-delivered by the instructor to the Testing Center.
  • Tests can be hand-delivered by the instructor to the DSS office which will deliver the tests to the Testing Center.
  • Tests can be emailed to DSS where they will be printed and delivered to the Testing Center.

After receiving the test, DSS will use the following procedures:

  • DSS will make necessary adjustments to test formats to ensure accessibility.
  • If the tests are e-mailed, the test will only be kept on the computer for one week or until the student takes the test, and then the test is immediately deleted.
  • On Friday, all paper tests WILL be destroyed unless the instructor advises differently (e.g., the student is absent or there is an unforeseeable testing delay).
  • The test will be proctored according to the instructor’s directions to include the students’ qualifying accommodations.

Upon completion of the test, DSS will use the following procedures to ensure the integrity of the test:

  • The test will be handled only by a staff member and placed in a sealed envelope.
  • A confidential stamp will be used at least twice across the flap.
  • The stamped flap will be covered with tape.  This will allow the instructor to see that the test has not been tampered with once it has left the Testing Center.
  • The test will be placed in the instructor's mailbox or sent to the instructor via inter-campus mail if he/she is on the other campus.  If an instructor prefers, he/she can pick up the test at the Testing Center. 

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