Disability Services
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Official documentation of disabilities must be submitted to the Office of Disability Services to qualify for special accommodations. Our office provides the following assistance for qualified students (select a link for more information):

Alternative Testing Accommodations
Students who have disabilities that prevent them from being evaluated fairly using traditional testing methods have a legal right to reasonable test accommodations. Test accommodations are determined on an individual basis and depend on the nature and degree of the disability, course material, the type of test, and the abilities of the student to use alternative test taking methods. Click to submit an Alternate Testing Appointment request. Our Testing accommodations include:
  • assistive technology
  • large print
  • reader
  • scribe/writer
  • low-stimulus environment
  • extended time testing
During each student’s semester planning session, we will address the need for testing accommodations. We will advise the student of the eligible accommodations based on functional limitations as outlined in the disability documentation. Our office will send an accommodation notice to the student’s instructors which outlines the approved testing accommodations. Please visit our office with questions.

Our office strictly adheres to Parkland’s Academic Honesty Policy.

Assistive Technology (Auxiliary Aids), Equipment
When specified in the documentation, students are permitted to use assistive technology such as calculators, spell checkers, word processing, and other mechanical tools that provide an equal opportunity for participation in the academic environment. Students should contact us at least two weeks in advance to assure the availability of equipment.

Our office has a Loan Program for students who need access to portable equipment. Students will be asked to complete and sign an Equipment Loan Agreement stating their understanding that their college account may be charged for repair/replacement costs if the equipment is damaged or not returned.

Instructors have been encouraged to purchase closed-captioned videos when new purchases are made. Other arrangements will be made to provide equal access when closed captioning is unavailable on existing videos.

Special Furniture Requests

As a courtesy, larger desks and chairs are available, to students for whom the standard classroom furniture may be uncomfortable. All such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Contact our office for more information.

Advocacy Support
Students are encouraged to be self-advocates and are provided guidance when necessary. In the event there is student-faculty communication issues, our Director or Assistant Director may act as a liaison to assist communication or cooperation between the two parties.

Lab/Classroom Assistants
Lab assistants may assist qualified students by reading, writing/scribing, or by manipulating lab tools/materials. Clear boundaries are absolutely necessary in these situations. In all cases, the student is responsible for directing the actions of the lab assistant, not vice versa.
PLEASE NOTE: Notetakers, readers, lab assistants, or others present in the classroom are not personal aides.

Math Accommodations
Our office works closely with the math department to provide appropriate and reasonable accommodations for students diagnosed with learning disabilities in the subject area. When a student is approved for accommodations in mathematics, the math department has the discretion to determine the method of accommodation. If a calculator is allowed, the type will vary depending on the course or module being tested and will be provided by either our office or the instructor. If the instructor has compelling pedagogical arguments as to why calculator use should be prohibited, an acceptable alternative may be substituted, such as a multiplication table or fact sheet.

If the instructor specifies that a multiplication table must be used, this is a reasonable substitution for a basic, 4-function calculator and would take precedence over a student’s desire to use a calculator. In a situation where the instructor has not listed a preference for a table or calculator, the student may choose between the table or a basic, 4-function calculator.

Guidelines for determining if a calculator should be used are based on general legal interpretations from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the best practices of other post-secondary institutions:
• Is the accommodation request reasonable based on the documentation presented?
• Does the provision of a calculator fundamentally alter the nature of the exam?
• Is the test designed to measure skills that the calculator would eliminate?
• What is the relationship between the purpose/goals of the course and the test?

Due to the specific nature of some disabilities (e.g., visual impairments) a calculator may be the only way that students can have equal access. Our office will collaborate with the instructor to determine the appropriate use of such items. Please contact our office or the math department for additional information.

Notetaking Services
Notes may be provided in the one of following manners:
• Instructors may provide a printed or electronic copy of lecture notes.
• Instructors may solicit (verbally or by email) a volunteer notetaker from the class.
• If no suitable volunteer is found, our office will assist in securing a notetaker.
PLEASE NOTE: Notetakers, readers, lab assistants, or others present in the classroom are not personal aides.

Reader Services
Our office sponsors an institutional membership with Reading for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D) which provides eligible Parkland students the opportunity to obtain their texts in an alternate format (audio, CD). If a RFB&D text is not available, we will provide the text in a different format.

In most cases, students and our staff work in conjunction with faculty to obtain the course syllabus and prioritize the materials to be scanned/converted. Every effort will be made to provide course materials to the student in a timely manner. A minimum two-week notice is required in most instances.

Test Readers

Qualified students may be eligible to have their tests read aloud. It is critical to note that a test reader only reads the text as it appears on the page. The reader may not interpret, modify, provide word definitions, or otherwise clarify the questions or responses.

Recording Class Lectures
Qualified students may be permitted to record lectures; such students may be required to sign a recording agreement:
Students with disabilities who are unable to take or read notes have the legal right to record class lectures for their personal study only (84.44 of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 P.L. 93-112, amended P.L. 93-516). Lectures taped for this purpose may not be shared with other people without the consent of the lecturer. Students requesting to record lectures should be aware that privacy laws may require the instructor to inform all class members that a recording of the class session is being made. Such recordings may not be used in any way against the faculty member, other lecturers, or students whose classroom comments are taped as a part of the class activity. Information contained in the lecture is protected under federal copyright laws and may not be published or quoted without the express written consent of the lecturer and without giving proper identity and credit to the lecturer.

Spelling Accommodations
Students with a learning disability affecting spelling may be eligible in-class assignments and test spelling accommodations. Spelling accommodations might be:
  • Permission to use a spellchecking device (i.e. Franklin speller)
  • Permission to use a word processor with spellchecking
  • No penalty for spelling errors
  • Permission to use an instructor-approved “word list.”
Deciding which accommodation to use is dependent upon the purpose of the test or in-class assignment and the student’s ability to use the technology. Sometimes the situation dictates which accommodation is appropriate. For example, it will take longer for the student to use a dictionary and if extended time is not possible, another method of accommodating might be necessary. A discussion between the student and the instructor usually results in finding a workable solution. Our office will evaluate spelling accommodation requests on a case-by-case basis.

Sign Language Interpreting Services
Parkland College employs area sign language interpreters who work as independent contractors. Though there is a current nationwide shortage of certified sign language interpreters, we will make a diligent effort to ensure that interpreting services are provided in a timely manner to all eligible Parkland students. Students utilizing sign language interpreters will be asked to sign an interpreter responsibility agreement.
Click to submit a Request for a Classroom Interpreter. Submit this request three (3) weeks in advance of the date the interpreter is needed.
Click to submit a Request for an Event Interpreter. Submit this request one (1) week in advance of the date the interpreter is needed.

Team Interpreting
The standard interpreting practice is that two interpreters be provided for classes over two hours in length. The two interpreters work as a team to avoid repetitive motion injury and to provide quality of service. In most cases, Parkland College classes over two hours in length will include a ten-minute break each hour thus requiring that only one interpreter be utilized. Team interpreting will be utilized when regularly scheduled breaks are not possible or when the policy of the contracting agency requires it.

Textbooks in Alternate Formats
Textbooks may be provided in Braille, digital, or audio format depending on the student’s needs and the availability of the textbooks.

Arranging for textbooks in an alternate format is a time-consuming process; therefore, students are urged to inform us about their needs at least four weeks prior to the first day of classes so that the books will be available when the semester begins.
Click to submit a Request for an Alternate Textbook. Submit this request four (4) weeks in advance.

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