Collaborating with CSD
The Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) at the University of Connecticut has been at the forefront in creating a comprehensively accessible University experience for students, where individuals with disabilities have the same access to programs, activities, and opportunities as all others. The Center currently works with over 2,900 students with disabilities including but not limited to students with psychiatric disabilities, chronic health conditions, visual impairments, learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder and students who are deaf or hard of hearing.The CSD engages in an interactive process with each student and reviews requests for accommodations on an individualized, case-by-case basis, class-by-class basis. Depending on the nature and functional limitations of a student’s documented disability, he/she may be eligible for reasonable and appropriate accommodations. Accommodations are adaptations made to elements of a student’s postsecondary program that help to compensate for the student’s conditions(s) and provide equal access to students with disabilities. Here are the basics:
- Any student with a documented disability may be eligible to receive accommodations & services from the CSD;
- In order to access accommodations, students must disclose their disability to the CSD and state their requested accommodations;
- The purpose of accommodations and modifications is to reduce or eliminate any disadvantages that may exist because of an individual’s disability;
- Accommodations are not a guarantee for success, but rather seek to promote non-discrimination and equal access opportunities;
- Accommodations are not student preferences; they are determined through an established review process based on documentation received regarding the student’s disability;
- The law does not require institutions to waive specific courses or academic requirements considered essential to a particular program or degree. Rather, they are mandated to modify existing requirements on a case-by-case basis in order to ensure that individuals are not discriminated against on the basis of their disability.
The CSD collaborates with departments across the University, including faculty and Teaching Assistants (TA) to coordinate a wide-range of academic accommodations. This may include the recruiting and hiring of qualified peer note takers, proctoring of exams for those requiring a computer or reader, or setting up screen sharing technology in the classroom for students to view presentations on their own laptops.
During the spring 2016 semester, the Center deployed the instructor module of MyAcess. MyAccess is a secure online database managed by SAIT through which students register with the CSD. It is now available to instructors and their designated TA’s with several functions to coordinate approved academic accommodations for students with disabilities. Students cannot access or see the same information as instructors. NetID and password are required to login.
In MyAccess, instructors can:
- Access a list of students who are approved for accommodations with their individualized accommodation letters;
- See a list of students taking exams at the CSD for each course, including accommodations students will be using and when the exam is scheduled to be taken at the Center;
- Set exam preferences for each test, quiz or final exam including:
- Materials allowed during the exam;
- Instructor contact info during the exam (cell phone, email);
- Class date and length of time for exam as provided by student;
- Upload exam(s) to be taken by students at the Center;
- If there are multiple students in the class and/or multiple versions of an exam, instructors may assign specific exams to specific students;
- Download completed exams once students finish taking their tests.
Students approved for accommodations are encouraged to speak with their instructors to determine how approved accommodations will be coordinated. Specific to approved exam accommodations, students should take their exams with their classes and/or instructor/TA whenever possible to ensure equal opportunity to have questions addressed during the exams; however, when a student cannot take an exam with his/her class and received the approved accommodation, the CSD may be available to proctor the exam. Additional information regarding exam accommodations, other academic accommodations, and MyAccess can be found on the CSD website at www.csd.uconn.edu along with resources on teaching and working with students with disabilities. Instructors/TA’s should contact the CSD with any questions regarding a specific student or coordinating accommodations at (860) 486-2020.
As a nationally recognized leader in providing accommodations and services for students with disabilities, the CSD’s philosophy is one that promotes self-awareness, self-determination and self-advocacy in a comprehensively accessible environment in order for students to achieve their postsecondary goals.