Official documentation of disabilities must be submitted to Accessibility Services to qualify for accommodations. Once you have provided the appropriate forms you will need to speak to your Accessibility Services Specialist about finalized accommodation information. Our office provides the following assistance for qualified students:
Alternate Testing Arrangements
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 a Test Request.
Our testing accommodations include:
- assistive technology
- large print
- 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 contact us if you have any questions.
Our office strictly adheres to Parkland’s Academic Honesty Policy.
- 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.
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.
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?
- Note-taking Services
PLEASE NOTE: Notetakers, readers, lab assistants, or others present in the classroom are not personal aides.
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.
- 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. 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 related to spelling may be eligible for 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
- Sign Language Interpreting Services
Parkland College employs area sign language interpreters who work as independent contractors. Although 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.
- Submit a request for a classroom interpreter at least three (3) weeks in advance of the date the interpreter is needed.
- Submit a request for an event interpreter at least 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.
- Interpreting and Captioning with CART Services
Parkland College can obtain interpreting, transcribing, and/or captioning (e.g. CART) services for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Students should notify Accessibility Services of their proposed schedule for requested services as soon as possible. Students should also specify if services are needed for didactic (e.g. classroom, lecture) settings or clinical (e.g. rotation, fieldwork) settings. Students should note if the course/activity will require knowledge of medical terminology (e.g. an advanced healthcare course); in some cases a specially-trained medical captioning provider will be required.
Interpreting, transcribing, and/or captioning services are intended to act as a supplement to the classroom experience, not a substitute; therefore, these services will not be provided on days in which students are absent from class. If interpreting, transcribing, and/or captioning services have been requested, and you know that you will be unable to attend class, you should provide Accessibility Services staff with at least 48 hours advanced notice so that the service provider can be informed. In some situations, students may not be able to provide 48 hours' notice; however, any advanced notice is helpful. Failure to provide any advanced notice is considered a "No-Show".
To give advance notice a student may: Call Accessibility Services at 217-353-2338 or leave a message. Email Accessibility Services at firstname.lastname@example.org ; students may choose to copy ("cc") the coordinator they work with as well.
Accessibility Services Staff facilitates communication between students and service providers and is always the primary contact for students who need to add or cancel dates of services. In the event of a cancellation, Accessibility Services Staff will notify the service provider. At no time should students discuss schedule changes (adding a course or additional date) with a service provider without prior permission from Accessibility Services.
Accessibility Services understands that students may not be able to go to class for personal reasons; therefore, when providing notifications of service cancellations, students are not required to disclose why they will not be using the service. Accessibility Services only requires that students share the course(s), dates, and times that will be cancelled; students should also specify when services should resume. If students are unaware or unsure of when services should resume, they can inform Accessibility Services that they would like to temporarily suspend services until further notice. Students should contact the Accessibility Services with 48 hours prior notice to resume services.
No-Show Policy. Failure to provide notice will result in the following actions: *First "No-Show": A letter will be sent to remind the student of the policy and appropriate procedures. *Second "No-Show": A letter will be sent to the student informing the student that they have two "No-Shows." In addition, the letter will remind the student of the policy and appropriate procedures. *Third "No-Show": Services will automatically be temporarily suspended and a letter will be sent to the student informing the student of the policy and the appropriate procedure. Services will remain suspended until the student makes an appointment and meets with a Coordinator in Accessibility Services to reinstate services. For each subsequent "No-Show": Services will automatically be suspended and a letter will be sent to the student informing the student of the policy and the appropriate procedures. The services will remain suspended until the student makes an appointment and meets with a Coordinator in Accessibility Services.
- 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.
Assistive Technology and Equipment
When specified in the documentation, students are permitted to use assistive technology such as calculators, spell checkers, word processing, auxiliary aids, iPads, 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.
iPads can be checked out for a maximum of 9 hours a day and must be returned before 5 p.m. on the same business day that they were checked out. Programs already installed include: Kurzweil, Voice Dream Reader and Writer, and many other apps. iPads are available on a first come, first serve basis, so come check one out today!
- App Spotlight: Kurzweil Screen Reader
Kurzweil is a screen reading software for students who may struggle with reading. Accessibility Services can assist students with obtaining a login to utilize this screen reader. Email email@example.com for more information.
- 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.
Students are encouraged to be self-advocates and are provided guidance when necessary. In the event there is student-faculty communication issues, the Director of Counseling Services may act as a liaison to assist communication or cooperation between the two parties.