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{ Understanding Disability Services By Holly Zuckerman – Access Coordinator Disability Resource Center.

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Presentation on theme: "{ Understanding Disability Services By Holly Zuckerman – Access Coordinator Disability Resource Center."— Presentation transcript:

1 { Understanding Disability Services By Holly Zuckerman – Access Coordinator Disability Resource Center

2 The Foundation  Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA – 1990): Civil rights law that “Prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.”  FACT: Only minority group that any person can become a member of at any time.  ADA Amendments Act (ADA-AA – 2008): Creates the current standard for defining a disability and how a person qualifies as having a disability.  Definition of Disability: (A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual; (B) a record of such an impairment; or (C) being regarded as having such an impairment

3 The Foundation Cont.  Where does UTC fit into the ADA?  Title II: Public Entities – “(B) any department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a State or States or local government.”  UTC, as a public entity, is thereby responsible for complying with the ADA and preventing discrimination against people with disabilities in all aspects of its functions.  How is ADA compliance enforced?  Department of Justice Rulings/Letters create legal precedents  Office for Civil Rights

4 It’s About Civil Rights  The purpose of the ADA-AA is to ensure civil rights.  Prevent discrimination (including, but not limited to the following) Retaliation Exclusion Refusal of equally effective accommodations Different treatment due to disability  Respect privacy Diagnosis is a medical condition and therefore confidential Individuals with apparent disabilities are still entitled to this respect  Protect equal rights People with disabilities have the right to achieve the most fulfilling life as possible. It’s not about providing success, but making sure people with disabilities have the opportunity to succeed by removing the barriers to those opportunities.

5 Some More Definitions Functional Limitation: The extent to which a disability affects a person’s abilities; the limitations incurred as the result of a disabling condition. Otherwise Qualified: An individual, regardless of disability, is still responsible for being able to fulfill the essential functions of the task at hand. Accessibility: Infrastructure that should be put in place automatically according to regulations under the law to mitigate the functional limitations of a disability. i.e. ramps; automatic doors; captions Accommodations: Modifications necessary to reduce the impact of a person’s disability in specific scenarios so that they are able to complete the essential functions of the task at hand. i.e. extended time on exams; ergonomic furniture in offices/classrooms; allowing the use of certain accessible technology Fundamental Alteration: The possibility that an accommodation may change or neglect the essential functions of a task. In this case the accommodation is inappropriate and may not be applied.

6 Disability Services Providers  Exist to be the experts in their field on accessibility and accommodations  Attend conferences to stay up to date on new policies and ways for providing access  Members of professional community listserv to give and receive professional advice  Professional organization provides resources for researching and reviewing policy and litigation  Serve as liaisons for people with disabilities to ensure access  First contact for students with disabilities in order to receive accommodations  Work across campus with faculty, staff and administrators to ensure access is being provided  Have the knowledge to provide the resources necessary for accomplishing access

7 How do we determine accommodations?  4 step, often collaborative process (always done on an individual basis): 1)What is the person’s diagnosis? Diagnosis made by a qualified professional in the field pertaining to the diagnosis. 2)What is the individual impact of the diagnosis? Interview between individual and DRC staff helps to understand the individual’s functional limitations. 3)What accommodations are reasonable to help reduce the impact of the individual’s functional limitations? Determined by DRC staff based on functional limitations and knowledge of reasonable accommodations. May require additional explanation from faculty or staff regarding the scenario being accommodated. Often requires thinking outside the box in unique scenarios; no set rules for what accommodations can be. 4)Are the accommodations appropriate in the current setting? DRC staff will often defer to faculty or staff in each situation in order to understand the essential functions of the specific setting in order to know whether or not an accommodation will fundamentally alter those essential functions.

8 The Rules We Follow  Rule #1: The process for being granted eligibility to receive accommodations must be as “user friendly” as possible  Rule #2: Accommodations cannot be denied to a qualified person with a disability.  All efforts and due diligence must be made to provide accommodations to the best of the provider’s abilities.  Rule #3: Access and accommodations must be as equally effective for people with disabilities as it is for their peers.  Keeping two things in mind here: How are the non-disabled peers of people with disabilities able to have access and how can we as closely meet that same level? What is the individual’s functional limitation, and how can we best mitigate that?

9 Shaping How We Provide Access at UTC…  TEACH Act: Technology, Equality and Accessibility in College and Higher Education  Initiative to provide more specific guidelines for providing access to electronic instructional materials and technologies in higher education.  Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) has created an Accessibility Task Force to help with moving forward with the new guidelines for accessible technology. (First state to initiate such a task force in the wake of the TEACH Act)  UTC has implemented an Accessible Technology Initiative to ensure that accessibility of products is addressed prior to making purchases of new technology.

10 Snapshot

11 Most Common Accommodation  Exam Accommodations: Extended time and distraction reduced environment  Fall ’12:  Daily Average Exams: ~12  Max on a day: 36  Total Final Exams: 242  Max on a day: 63  Total Semester Exams: 1044  Fall ’13:  Daily Average Exams: ~18  Max on a day: 80  Total Final Exams: 303  Max on a day: 79  Total Semester Exams: 1488 Procedures for exams are critical for the organization of students at the DRC by the exam coordinator, for academic integrity of the exam on behalf of professors, and for the benefit of students receiving accommodations.

12 Contact Info. And References DRC Staff: ADA-AA: TEACH Act: Interested in learning more about the ADA? Take this self-paced ADA basics course online:

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