Specific Disabilities and Accommodations
SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITY (SLD)
Definition: Learning Disabilities is a generic term that refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning or mathematical abilities. These disorders are intrinsic to the individual and presumed to be due to central nervous system dysfunction. Even though a learning disability may occur concomitantly with other handicapping conditions, (e.g., sensory impairment, mental retardation, social and emotional disturbance) or environmental influences (e.g., cultural differences, insufficient/inappropriate instruction, psychogenic factors), it is not the direct result of those conditions or influences. Eligibility Criteria: To be eligible for services, the student must exhibit significant problems in one or more of the psychological processes involved in using or processing information in the areas of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning or mathematical abilities. For a student to be eligible for Learning Disability accommodations, he/she must submit to SLDS written documentation from a certified/licensed psychologist and/or learning disability specialist. SLDS maintains a referral list of area psychologists who provide LD testing for adults.DOCUMENTATION must include a complete multi-factored evaluation (MFE) or evaluative team report (ETR), with assessments in the following areas:
- Diagnostic Interview to disclose academic background, family history, presenting problems, medical history, developmental, psychosocial and employment information (see F7).
- Aptitude Test - A complete intellectual assessment with all subtests and standard scores reported.
- Academic Achievement - A comprehensive academic achievement battery with all subtest and standard scores reported for those subtests administered. The battery should measure relevant areas such as decoding and comprehension in reading, calculation and math reasoning in math, and oral and written language.
- Information Processing - Specific areas of information processing: short and long term memory, sequential memory, auditory and visual perception/processing, processing speed, executive functioning and motor ability should be assessed.
- Other test as indicated.
Policies Regarding Students with Prior LD Identification
Individuals coming to Ohio State Mansfield who have current documentation of a learning disability done within the past five years shall generally be eligible for learning disability services. However, eligibility determination is always made on a case-by-case basis. The student shall provide to the SLDS, a copy of a diagnostic report that contains a specific statement of diagnosis and a copy of the most recent Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and multi-factored evaluation (MFE) or evaluative team report (ETR). Diagnoses must be made by qualified personnel i.e., licensed/certified school psychologist, licensed psychologist, or learning disabilities/educational specialist. Transfer and non-traditional students shall provide the Office for Disability Services (SLDS) with the most recent copy of a psycho-educational evaluation that validates the learning disability. Transfer students should provide written verification from their previous school that lists the accommodations that were made available to them. This information shall be used in determining eligibility for services at Ohio State Mansfield. Students having a 504 Plan may or may not have the documentation required to substantiate the finding for a learning disability. Each 504 Plan submitted to the Office for Disability Services shall be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine eligibility for LD services. There are several situations where individuals would not meet the eligibility criteria for accommodations. These include, but are not limited to:
- Letters or reports used as documentation from medical doctors, optometrists, or speech pathologists that have not administered a complete MFE to make a diagnosis.
- Psycho-educational test reports that do not specifically state that the individual is learning disabled.
- A 504 Plan that is not supported by a learning disability diagnosis.
Policies Regarding Students with No Prior Identification
ODS maintains a referral list of area psychologists who provide LD testing for adults.
Depending on the diagnosis, accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
- Reduced course load
- Extended time on tests, quizzes, in-class assignments
- Reader/tape for tests
- Scribe/Computer for tests
- Notes from lectures
- Textbooks on tape from RFB & D
- Priority scheduling
- Course substitutions for non-essential course requirements in major
- Taped texts
- Testing area free from auditory and visual distractions
- Computer spellcheck or spelling dictionary for in-class assignments
- Tape recorder for oral presentations
- Study Skills counseling
ATTENTION DEFICIT/HYPERACTIVE DISORDER (ADHD)
Definition: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder characterized by persistent patterns of inattention and/or hyperactivity that are more frequent and severe than is typically observed in individuals at comparable levels of development, as described in DSM-IV. It is a neurological syndrome that is usually transmitted genetically. It is characterized by distractibility, impulsivity and restlessness. In ADHD these symptoms are present from childhood, with a much greater intensity than in the average person, in such a way as to interfere with everyday functioning. Eligibility Criteria:
For a student to be eligible for accommodations for ADHD, the student must provide to the SLDS, written documentation from a qualified physician, neuro-psychologist, or licensed psychologist attesting to the fact that he/she has an ADHD disorder and that accommodations may be needed (see F 9, 10, 11). Diagnosis will include:
- Evidence that the impairment from inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity is present in two or more settings.
- Clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic or occupational functioning.
- Evidence that symptoms have been present for the past six months prior to diagnosis.
- A demonstration that the evaluator has ruled out alternative explanations for inattentiveness, and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity as a result of psychological, medical disorders or non-cognitive factors.
The name, title, and professional credentials of the evaluator, including information about license or certification, should be clearly stated in the documentation. The documentation must include a specific diagnosis of ADHD based on the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria. The diagnostician shall use direct language in the diagnosis of ADHD, avoiding the use of such terms as, “suggests,” “is indicative of,” or “attention problems.” The diagnostician must describe the impact, if any, of the diagnosed ADHD on a specific major life activity as well as the degree of impact on the individual. The diagnostic report should include specific recommendations for accommodations that are realistic and that postsecondary institutions and examining, certifying and licensing agencies can reasonably provide. In most cases, the evaluation should have been completed within the past five years to determine reasonable accommodations, based on the current impact of the disability. The SLDS shall evaluate the significance of presented documentation on a case-by-case basis to determine eligibility for reasonable accommodations. If the documentation is inadequate in scope or content, or does not address the individual’s current level of functioning and need for accommodations, re-evaluation may be required. By definition in the DSM- IV, ADHD is first exhibited in childhood, and manifests itself in more than one setting. The following should be included in a comprehensive assessment:
- Clinical summary of objective historical information that indicates ADHD symptomology as exhibited from childhood through adulthood, as gathered from records, and multi-factored evaluations.
- A record of current attentional symptoms, including evidence of ongoing impulsive, hyperactive, or inattentive behaviors that significantly impair functioning in two or more settings.
- Family history for presence of any other educational, learning, physical, or psychological difficulties deemed relevant by the evaluator.
- Relevant medical and medication history, including the absence of medical basis for the symptoms being evaluated.
- A thorough academic history of elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education.
- Relevant employment history.
- Description of current functional limitations pertaining to an educational setting that are presumably a direct result of problems with attention
- Relevant history of prior therapy.
It is not unusual for other disorders to have symptoms in common with ADHD. The evaluator may need to rule out an alternative or co-existing mood, behavioral, neurological, personality, or psychiatric disorder that may confuse the ADHD diagnosis. Frequently, students who have ADHD also have symptoms of a specific learning disability. When this occurs, the student may be referred for a complete multi-factored evaluation. ACCOMMODATIONS Reasonable accommodations shall be determined by SLDS on a case-by-case basis, dependent upon the documentation provided by the student. Accommodations may include but are not limited to the following:
- Extended time for test taking
- Test taken in a quiet area free from auditory and visual distraction
- Referral to Study Skills Specialist
- Referral to Psycho-social Counselor
- Notes from lectures
PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDERS/PSYCHIATRIC DISABILITIES/MENTAL ILLNESS/EMOTIONAL DISORDERS
Definition: Under ADA, a person is qualified as psychologically disabled if he/she has a mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, or is regarded as limiting a major life activity by others, as a result of their attitudes and perceptions. These disorders include emotional disorders or mental illness as defined by the DSM-IV. Eligibility Criteria: The student must provide written verification of his/her psychological disability as diagnosed by a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist who has a Ph.D., or licensed mental health professional. It can be provided by the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Social Security Administration, or school records. The student must have the ability to benefit from the instructional programs, as well as the ability to complete the necessary admission and matriculation processes. The student shall not be in imminent danger to him/herself or others. It is the student’s responsibility to disclose his/her disorder and to request accommodations.
Documentation shall be provided to the ODS for known psychological disorders only. The documentation, provided by an authorized professional listed above must include the following:
- Verification of an individual’s psychiatric condition.
- Dates of treatment and termination dates.
- Last date of contact.
- Diagnosis of functional limitations; how the person’s disability/disorder affects him/her in the academic setting.
- The professional’s credentials, including license or certification numbers and area of specialization.
It is helpful, but not required to have the documentation include a description of presenting symptoms of the disorder, a list of medications with possible side effect(s) on the person, recommendations for accommodations and why they are needed, along with a timeline to re-evaluate the positive impacts of treatments. The nature of mental illness is complex. It can cause cognitive or perceptual difficulties, increase vulnerability to stress and anxiety, and may make it difficult for the affected individual to function at the highest level of his/her ability. DISCIPLINE Students with psychiatric/psychological disorders may exhibit inappropriate behaviors. This can be caused by changes in medication, difficulty handling increased stress, verge of a relapse, or difficulty handling symptoms. Should the student with a psychological disorder engage in behaviors that are inappropriate and covered under the Ohio State Mansfield Codes of Conduct, that student shall be subject to the same consequences for behaviors covered in the code, as every other student on campus. When the behavior is such that it seriously disrupts the learning environment or if the student is a direct threat to him/herself or others, it may be necessary to withdraw the student from school. Under such circumstances, the rights of the student shall be safeguarded. Appropriate due process shall be provided. The school will invoke the Codes of Conduct from Ohio State Mansfield as follows:
- Shall provide verification that the student engaged in or threatened to engage in the indicated behavior in question;
- Shall provide advance notice to the student that he or she may be subject to withdrawal;
- Shall allow the student to examine the evidence against him or her prior to a formal hearing;
- Shall provide a formal hearing within ten working days after notice has been given;
- Shall provide to the student a written rationale for any decision made by the institution;
- Prior to a withdrawal or an imposition of sanctions, a due process hearing must be held that clearly states the rights and responsibilities of each person, including the student, and a description of the step-by-step process for the hearing process. The due process hearing should include a clear explanation of re-admission procedures after dismissal; a process for reporting, recording, and maintaining records; and a student grievance procedure.
In general, a disciplinary withdrawal will only be used when all else has not worked. It will be imposed to maintain safety for all. The Codes of Conduct for Ohio State Mansfield clearly describe which behaviors are prohibited and which policies and procedures will be followed if a student violates the code. General categories of student behavior for a disciplinary withdrawal might include the following:
- Causing physical harm, or intentionally/recklessly causing, apprehension of such harm
- Interfering with typical college-sponsored activities, such as studying, teaching, research, administration, or any emergency services.
- Destruction or theft of college property.
- Possessing or storage of illegal substances, weapons, or explosives.
- Forgery, unauthorized alteration, unauthorized alteration, unauthorized use of college documents as instruments of identification.
- Presenting false information to the college.
- All forms of academic dishonesty, including; cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty, and plagiarism.
- Failure to comply with the lawful direction of college personnel acting in performance of their duties.
Possible sanctions resulting from a disciplinary withdrawal:
- Expulsion: Permanent separation of the student from the college.
- Suspension: Separation of the student from the university for a specified period of time.
- Disciplinary probation: Probation with or without the loss of privileges for a definite period of time. During this time the student not be able to represent the college or to hold a student office.
- Disciplinary reprimand: The student is warned that further misconduct may result in more severe disciplinary action.
- Restitution: The student is required to make payment to the college or to other people, groups, or organizations for damages incurred as a result of his or her actions.
- Other sanctions may be imposed instead of, or in addition to those previously specified.
Withdrawal will rely on the Code of Conduct from Ohio State Mansfield for procedural guidelines. It will separate the student from his disorder by looking only at the behavior(s), if the code is violated. It provides for formal procedures in which due process can be followed, and removes arbitrary decisions that can occur with psychiatric disorders and possible violation of student rights. CRISIS INTERVENTION If a student becomes very agitated, aggressive, or threatens health and safety of him/herself or others, the situation requires immediate and specific attention:
- Remain calm.
- Listen to the student.
- Focus the student on here and now.
- Ask the student what he/she wants to do. What would he/she like for you to do?
- Refer the student to help by calling 300 for campus assistance, 911 for police intervention, 246 for SLDS, or 464 for Personal Counselor.
- Make sure the student is calm and in control before leaving him/her alone.
PSYCHIATRIC LEAVE POLICY
Students having psychological/psychiatric disorders may be obliged to drop out of school at various times for hospitalizations or other medically related reasons. When the absence is determined to be valid, the following policy shall be in place.
- Students shall remain matriculated at the college without the need to reapply, when they must take a leave because of their illness.
- Students shall be able to register by mail or by phone so that their return can go smoothly and without the stress of registration.
- Students will be able, with the instructor’s permission, to complete work in absentia or receive “incompletes” to complete coursework upon their return to school, or they shall be allowed to withdraw from courses without penalty. They will have the opportunity to complete their coursework in a manner that is acceptable to both the instructor and the student.
- Students shall be eligible to receive tuition and fee refunds according to the published refund policy.
- Students shall provide proper documentation from professionals on readiness to return to school.
- Upon return, the student should meet with the disability service provider or designated person to develop a plan with the college for on and off campus supports.
Accommodations for individuals who have a psychiatric disability shall be determined on an individual basis. Medications have many side effects and these shall be considered when determining the accommodations. Possible side effects are:
- Inability to sit still
- Memory lapses
- Need to leave classroom to take medication
- Concentration difficulties
- Involuntary movement of hands, feet or facial muscles
- Blurred vision
A student with a psychiatric disability may need help in the following areas:
- Applying for financial aid
- Learning strategies
- Selecting classes
- Managing internal distraction
- Reader for tests
- Time management
- Focus strategies
- Study skill strategies
- Attending class regularly and on time
Appropriate accommodations will be determined on an individual basis. If academic achievement does not appear to be commensurate with ability, the student may be advised to have a complete multi-factored evaluation to determine the possibility of a co-existing specific learning disability.
TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY
Definition: A traumatic insult to the brain that may cause physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and vocational change. Traditional intelligence test interpretations bear little relationship to the mental processes required for everyday functioning. Students with TBI may perform very well on brief, structured, artificial tasks, yet have such huge deficits in learning, memory and executive functions that they are unable to cope in the real world. Eligibility Criteria:
The student shall provide SLDS with documentation that substantiates the need for services, and describes the condition, its etiology and cause. DOCUMENTATION Documentation for a Traumatic Brain Injury shall consist of a written letter provided by a physician/ neurologist who describes the extent of the injury to the brain, with a description of functional limitations that it causes in the patient. A complete psycho-educational evaluation is required to assess the functioning level of the student. SERVICE PLANNING Planning services for a student with TBI:
- Recognize that the recovery process varies individually with respect to pre-accident ability, age, severity and type of injury and the resultant disability, family support system and available community resources.
- Ongoing modification is necessary because changes in symptoms and condition can occur, both forward and back. This may require changes in accommodations, as well as in the education program.
- The student remembers how he/she was before the injury and often does not recognize nor understand how he/she has been changed by it.
Functional limitations associated with TBI that may affect a student’s performance are listed below. As part of the initial interview process, have the student check those that he/she feel relates. PHYSICAL EMOTIONAL, PSYCHOSOCIAL, BEHAVIORAL
- Inability to recognize the presence of the head injury
- Fatigue (sleep disturbances)
- Vision/hearing problems
- Limited movement
- Post traumatic stress disorder
- Lowered self esteem
COGNITIVE NEGATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
- Slowness of thinking
- Concentration problems
- Short attention span
- Visual distracters
- Memory deficits
- Unexpected change in routine
- Inadequate support/information/transportation
- Expressive language skills
- Rejection by others
- Study/academic skills
Interview questions for students with TBI (if not covered in documentation): (see F13)
- How is your life different since your brain injury?
- How long were you unconscious?
- What was your last memory before the accident of injury?
- What is the first thing you remember after your injury?
- Do you ever have difficulty finding the right word?
- Do you experience headaches, pain, nausea, dizziness, or loss of balance?
- Have you noticed changes in your behavior, e.g., irritability, impulsivity?
- Do you have problems with memory, attention/focus, or concentration?
- Are there other stressors in your life that could account for problems you are experiencing?
Accommodations shall be determined on an individual basis, based on exhibited need, documentation and observation. The student should request a tutor for most coursework. The tutor can provide some compensatory strategies that may be indicated (see F3). Strategy suggestions for tutors:
- Provide demonstrations of new tasks and provide examples, pictures, charts and other graphic cues to illustrate ideas and concepts.
- Ask person with TBI to restate instructions in different words. Go over each step to insure understanding.
- Paraphrase information to help with recall. Provide repeated practice to help in long term memory.
- Review and summarize often.
- Be flexible: slow down routines, if possible.
- Encourage the use of schedules, checklists and notebooks to assist in organizing daily information.
- Ask questions to clarify statements or instructions.
- Teach compensatory strategies such as word association for increasing memory.
- Provide extra response time and pause often to allow for diminished information processing speed.
- Break assignments into smaller parts. Break complex tasks down into steps.
- Be prepared for reduced stamina and increased fatigue.
Accommodations needed may be, but are not limited to:
- Regular consultation with the Learning Skills Specialist
- Note-taking assistance
- Extended time on tests
- Tape recording of oral presentations
- Texts from RFB and D when indicated
- Reader for tests
- Note takers
ORTHOPEDICALLY IMPAIRED/MOBILITY DISABILITIES
Definition: Orthopedic/mobility disorders result from a variety of accidents, congenital causes, or progressive neuromuscular diseases. Functional limitations and abilities vary widely.
Limited ability to manage the mobility/motor requirements of one’s matriculation in the academic environment. DOCUMENTATION Documentation for orthopedic and physical disabilities shall include a medical report or a medical doctor’s written statement, providing information that describes the nature of the functional limitations, with recommendations for compensatory strategies.
Reasonable accommodations shall be determined on a case-by-case basis. They may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Accessible location for the classroom and place for faculty to meet with student
- Extra time to get from one class to another, especially in inclement weather
- Special seating in classrooms
- Note-takers, use of tape recorders, laptop computers
- Test accommodations: separate place, extended time scribes, access to word processors
- Adaptive computer equipment/software: voice activated word processing, word prediction, keyboard modification, oral exams with instructor pending instructor’s approval
- Extra time for assignments due to slow writing speed
- Adjustable table and/or pneumatic chair in classrooms and labs
- Lab assistance
- Parking privileges
Definitions: Any physical condition, chronic or temporary that inhibits the student’s ability to benefit from the school environment, when they are otherwise qualified to perform adequately in school. The degree to which these disabilities affect students in the academic setting vary widely. At times it is not the condition itself but the medication that is required to control symptoms that impairs academic performance. In some cases the degree of impairment may vary from time to time because of the nature of the disability or the medication. Some conditions are progressive and others may be stable.
A partial list of medical disabilities includes, but is not limited to:
- Motor neuron diseases
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Cardiovascular disorders
- Renal-kidney disease
- Chronic pain
- Respiratory disorders
- Sickle cell anemia
- Tourette’s syndrome
To document a medical disability, the student will submit a letter to SLDS from his/her physician that provides a diagnosis and describes the functional limitations of the disorder.
Accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
- Extended time for tests
- Enlarge printed materials
- Tape recorded course materials
- Computers or other adaptive equipment
- Flexibility in attendance requirements in case of health related absences
- Service animals in the classrooms and labs
Definition: Any existing loss of vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a student’s academic performance. The term includes both partially sighted and blind individuals. Visual disabilities vary widely. Some students may use a guide dog, others a white cane, while others may not require any mobility assistance.
Any documented visual impairment that interferes with the student’s ability to function in the classroom/school environment without modifications/accommodations.
The necessary documentation shall consist of a medical statement and recommendations by a physician or the results of a recent eye examination completed by a licensed ophthalmologist/optometrist.
Accommodations shall be determined on a case-by case basis. They may include, but are not limited to:
- Syllabi in advance to permit time for transferring into alternate format
- Priority scheduling
- Textbooks ordered the preferred medium
- Seating in the front of the class without glare from windows
- Tape recording of lectures and class discussions
- Note-taking devices such as pocket Braille computers
- Handouts in the medium that the student prefers
- Clear black print on white or pale yellow paper for students with visual impairments
- Testing accommodations: taped tests, reader for tests, scribe, extended time, separate place, enlarged print, computer word processing software with speech access
- Magnified computer screen
- Advance notice of class schedule changes
Definition: A hearing impairment is a disability that limits the way that an individual processes linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification. Deafness is an inability to use hearing as a means of communication. A person born with a hearing loss may have language deficiencies and exhibit poor vocabulary and syntax.
Services are provided to students whose hearing loss significantly limits the ability to receive information auditorily. In order to receive accommodations for a hearing impairment, documentation is required.
Documentation shall include a written report from a qualified physician or certified/licensed audiologist that describes the extent of the hearing loss and how that loss can be expected to interfere with the learning of the student. A copy of a recent audiogram shall be included.
Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis by exhibited and documented need. They may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Interpreters/signers: Coordination of interpreter and captioning services including diagnostic assessment, individual therapy, adjustment and fitting of FM systems, and counseling and consultation. The student shall meet with the SLDS Manager to determine specific interpreting needs and make necessary arrangements based on the students official class schedules. The student must come for help early. Timing is a major factor in the ability of SLDS to provide service.
- Sound amplification scheduling assistance
- Note taking services
- Speaker repeating the questions that other students in the class ask
- Test accommodations may include proofreading of essay tests, access to word processor, or extended time.
ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE DISORDERS
Definition: Students who are recovering alcoholics and/or are recovering from addiction to drugs are considered to have a disability under the provisions of ADA. Such students must provide appropriate documentation that defines how their addiction has caused residual problems that interfere with their ability to be successful in a major life activity such as learning.
To be eligible for disability services, the student must be in recovery that is documented by appropriate professional personnel: a physician, licensed treatment counselor, or treatment facility.
The illegal use of drugs and alcohol is not considered a disability under ADA. Current users of illegal drugs are not protected. Students who use drugs or persons who are using alcohol may be held to the same standards of performance/behavior/compliance to the law and school policy, as are all other students, even if unsatisfactory performance or behavior is related to the individual’s drug use or alcoholism.
The documentation to determine eligibility for accommodations that are related to the residual effects of the former chronic alcohol and/or drug abuse, requires that the student provide to ODS, written documentation from a medical doctor or a licensed treatment counselor that diagnoses the student’s condition, outlines the student’s treatment plan, and describes the persistent symptoms that interfere with the student’s learning. The professional needs to make recommendations for possible accommodations. If a student exhibits learning characteristics that are typically associated with a learning disability disorder, he/she will be advised to have a complete MFE administered.
Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis. They may include but are not limited to:
- Extended time on tests
- Notes from lectures
- Testing area free from auditory and visual distractions
- Tape recording of oral presentations
- Study Skills counseling
- Referral to Psycho-Social Counselor