Resources for Disabled Students

Accommodative Services

The following are descriptions of the academic accommodations provided by RDS.  Policies and procedure information is available from the menu on the left. 

Alternative Testing Services
Alternative Text Services
Interpreting Services
Note-Taking Support Services

Alternative Testing

Alternative Testing Services are helpful when a student's disability affects his/her performance on exams when taken in a regular classroom environment.  Accommodations that may be needed include, but are not limited to: extra time; less distracting environment; provision of a reader/scribe; and use of a computer, including adaptive software and hardware

Students with cognitive disabilities that affect the learning process (e.g., dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, etc.) and/or students with disabilities that slow their performance on exams have found Alternative Testing Services a beneficial accommodation.

Any Alternative Testing accommodations provided must be supported by the effects of a student's disability, either as stated in appropriate documentation and/or through approval of the RDS Counselor.

Arrangements for Alternative Testing are negotiated between the student, instructor and RDS staff.  While instructors may implement specific accommodations, they do not alone determine what is or is not appropriate or reasonable for a student. A student must be verified through RDS before any testing accommodation is implemented if it is based on the presence of a disability and its affects on the student.

For more information regarding policies and procedures, please click on: Alternative Testing Services.

For any questions concerning Alternative Testing in general, contact the Alternative Testing coordinator.

Alternative Text  

Alternative Text Services are helpful for students who are unable to read, or have difficulty with, printed material.  Text is converted to an alternative format, either into E-text or Braille

Prior to receiving Alternative Text accomodations, the student will be referred to the Assistive Technology Resource Center (ATRC) for an assessment for the most effective format.  Once determined, textbooks and other print materials can then be converted into this format, which include e-text and Braille. 

Students who have visual limitations or have specific learning disabilities (e.g., dyslexia) have found Alternative Text accommodations useful, if not essential.  For students with learning disabilities, an auditory compensation method and input can often enhance comprehension.

E-Text is basically text that is converted to format that allows a student to access the material through technology.  Alternative Text Services provided by RDS converts print material into digital files to be read either visually and/or with the support of speech reading adaptive computer software/hardware.  Books are unbound and then scanned for the conversion process.   Students must buy the book which will be used by RDS for conversion. The book is re-bound and given back to the student once this process is finished. This same process is also used for translating print material into Braille.

All books required in an alternative format should be requested for conversion the semester preceding the semester for which they are needed.  On average, a four to six weeks lead time is necessary to process these requests effectively.

Many textbooks have been converted into e-text (Daisy format) by Learning Ally, a non-profit service organization that provides educational and professional books.  It is highly recommended that students apply to Learning Ally as a source for alternative text for student use as well as future professional needs.  Applications can be obtained directly from Learning Ally, 10 Roszel Road, Princeton, NJ, 08540, (800) 221-4792.    Contact the RDS Coordinator of Alternative Text Services for more information.

For more information regarding policies and procedures, please click on: Alternative Text Services. 

For questions about Alternative Text Services in general, please contact the Alternative Text coordinator.

Interpreting:  Sign Language, Oral and RTC

Interpreting Services includes the accommodations of Sign Language interpreters, oral interpreters and real-time captioning as well as the provision of FM systems.

There are two staff interpreters in the RDS office.  Both are qualified to interpret college level courses.  The RDS Coordinator of Interpreting Services is one of these staff interpreters.  The other staff interpreter provides  support to the Coordinator as well as the RDS office in addition to interpreting for students.

RDS contracts with qualified interpreters from the surrounding community in order to fulfill the needs of students for this service.  All RDS interpreters are graduates of a recognized Interpreter Training Program and/or otherwise have the skills necessary to interpret a college level curriculum.  All interpreters are expected to abide by the Interpreters Code of Ethics while employed with the university. Oral or sign language interpreting services are provided, at no charge, to qualified Deaf/hard of hearing students for classes and other academic meetings or university sponsored programs.

For students who do not know sign language or cannot benefit from oral interpreting, real time captioning (RTC) may be an option. However, this accommodation is limited due to specific university and community resources and cannot be guaranteed.  FM systems are helpful for students with less severe hearing loss or who have central auditory processing limitations that make it difficult to block extraneous noises.

Requests for any of the Interpreting Services for classes and/or academic meetings need to be made through the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator in a timely manner in order to ensure the accommodation will be available. 

University sponsored programs that are open to the general public are often interpreted in Sign Language. If not publicized as interpreted, a student may need to contact the sponsoring unit or contact the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator to request an interpreter be present. It is the responsibility of the sponsoring university unit to arrange and pay for this service although RDS interpreters are often used for such purposes.

For non-university meetings or programs, a student may request an interpreter from Connections, Greeley, CO, (970) 352-8682.  The student may be responsible for making arrangements, as well as for the cost, depending upon the purpose of the meeting (e.g., personal).

For more information regarding policies and procedures, please click on: Interpreting Services.

For questions about Interpreting Services or other support for Deaf/hard of hearing students, please contact the Interpreting Services coordinator.

Note-Taking Support

Note-Taking Support Services are helpful for students who are unable to take notes in a class due to their disabilities.   One method of support is to use volunteer peer note takers, usually recruited from within each class as needed.  Students are encouraged to select a note taker that best supplements their own note-taking style.  Carbonless paper (NCR paper) will be provided, or copies of notes made, by RDS if a volunteer note taker agrees to the duties of a note taker according to RDS criteria.  When a volunteer note taker is not a sufficient support for a course, RDS will attempt to provide a paid note taker.  Another method that might work in some classes for some students is to tape-record lectures to capture the auditory information.  Tape recorders may be available on loan from the ATRC.

Students with some types of cognitive/learning disabilities and students who are Deaf/hard of hearing benefit from Note-Taking Support as well as students who physically may not be able to take notes in a class.

There are basically two methods used to solicit and secure note takers: through student initiative or through the assistance of RDS.

Student initiative: A student may ask permission from an instructor to make an announcement in class for a volunteer or the student may have the instructor make the announcement.  A student may also more discretely request help from students sitting near them in class. 

RDS assistance: At the request of the student, RDS staff will go to a particular class to solicit volunteers as notetakers. When necessary, RDS staff will also work with a particular faculty member in identifying possible candidates within a class. A student's desire for anonymity within a class will be respected but is not guaranteed if essential to the process of obtaining notes. When paid note takers are used, these individuals may be recruited from other areas on campus and may or may not be students.

For more information on the process of obtaining and using in-class note takers, contact the one of the RDS Counselors.

If a student needs more support in note-taking than can be provided by a peer volunteer, other alternatives are provided depending upon availability of resources.  These arrangements are made only through the recommendation of one of the RDS Counselors and/or Director.

For more information regarding policies and procedures, please click on: Notetaking Support Services.


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