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Lone Star College System Policy for Disability Services

Legal Basis:
The District and each college comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. In accordance with these laws, the college provides reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities and assures access to college facilities, programs, and activities.

Identification and Referral of Students with Disabilities:
In order to qualify as a student with a disability, a student must identify himself/herself to the college as a person with a disability. The student must contact the designated office for disability services in order to provide documentation of the disability and request accommodations. Should a student identify first with another office of faculty member within the college, the student should be referred to the designated office so that the disability may be documented and the need for accommodations may be determined.

Initiation of Services:
In order to initiate accommodations and support services, a student with a disability must contact the college's designated office for disability services. This office may be titled differently at the various colleges within the District. Each college has one or more designated individuals who are qualified to interpret documentation of disability and determine reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. For information on a specific college's designated office or representative, contact the Admission's Office.

Application Process and Confidentiality of Records:
Once a student has identified himself/herself to the designated office of disability services as a person with a disability, the documentation process begins. The college's designated representative shall complete forms which document the following issues: intake; confidentiality release form; accommodations checklist. Additionally, the representative shall keep a copy of the student's disability documentation within the student's files. Counseling notes may also be kept in these files. These files shall be kept in a locked cabinet within the office that has been designated to provide disability services. These records are maintained under strict confidentiality and are treated as medical records. Other than the college's designated representative(s), there shall be no access to these records. There shall be no record or mention of these records within any of the student's permanent college records,such as student transcripts.

Based upon the nature of the student's disability and specific courses in the student's curriculum, the college's representative shall, on a case-by-case basis, be documented on the college's specified accommodations checklist. it is the responsibility of the student to share this checklist with his/her faculty so that the accommodations may be implemented.

Documentation of Disability:
It is the responsibility of the student to provide appropriate documentation of disability to the college's designated office of disability services. The college may request additional documentation if that which is provided is insufficient to indicate need for reasonable accommodations, or if the documentation provided is not current enough to indicate current needs. Typically, in order for records to be adequate to determine the current need for accommodations, these records would be no more than five years old when submitted to the designated office.

Reasonable Accommodations and Appropriate Academic Adjustments:
The college's designated representative shall review the student's documentation of disability and, on a case-by-case basis, prescribe and document reasonable accommodations. Reasonable accommodations may include services such as interpreter for the deaf, reader, scribe, student assistant, etc. Reasonable accommodations may also include testing modifications such as extended time for testing/in-class assignments; testing in separate room; oral testing; modified font size and color of paper testing/handouts in Braille, on tape, on computer, on disk; use of calculator; no penalty for spelling errors; etc. Other accommodations may include the use of assistive technology, as appropriate, such as magnification devices; tape recorders; adaptive computers; etc. As noted, reasonable accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis, and may vary, depending on the individual needs of each student, accommodations which are indicated, and the method of accommodation and implementation of each college's designated representative. Availability of certain types of assistive technology may vary, college - to - college.

Implementation of Reasonable Accommodations:
In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, once reasonable accommodations are documented by the college's designated representative, these accommodations are protected under law and must be implemented! Faculty members are encouraged to work closely with the college's designated office for disability services in order to insure compliance with the law and appropriate implementation of reasonable accommodations. Faculty members should not discuss concerns regarding accommodations with the student. Instead, such concerns should be addressed to the college's designated representative for disability services.

It is the student's right and responsibility to inform the faculty of the required accommodations and to share the checklist of accommodations with faculty. If the student chooses not to share this information with the faculty member, that faculty member is under no obligation to provide accommodations. Furthermore, accommodations are not retroactive. Instead, the faculty member's responsibility to accommodate a students disability is triggered by the student's submission of the official accommodation specification form produced by the designated representative for disability services. Accommodations are identified on a case-by case basis, taking into account the student's special needs and the essential elements of the class (as documented by the department or division). A faculty member who questions whether an accommodation fundamentally alters the nature of the program or class may raise this issue with the representative for disability services. Although the accommodation specifications may be modified at the discretion of the representative for disability services, the faculty member may not refuse to comply.

Definition of "Otherwise Qualified Person with Disability":
An "otherwise qualified person with a disability" is an individual who has documented with the designated representative for disability services the existence of a qualifying disability, and who is able to successfully complete the essential elements of the program/class.

Grievance Process:
Should a student wish to grieve or appeal the reasonable accommodations which are prescribed by the the college's designated representative, the student should be referred to the college's established Grievance Process.

Faculty members are encouraged to first consult with the college's designated representative for disability services. If said faculty member continues to have questions regarding the prescribed reasonable accommodations, the faculty member will provide the accommodations pending outcome of the civil rights and ADA grievance process as specified in Lone Star College System Policy & Procedure AH, Civil rights & ADA Grievance process. First, the member is advised to discuss concerns with his/her division associate dean. If concerns continue, a meeting must be scheduled, including the following representatives: faculty member; college's designated disability services representative; and chief administrative representatives for the college's areas of instruction and student services. If this meeting is unable to resolve differences, the faculty member is advised to pursue the college's Civil Rights and ADA Grievance Process.

Course Substitutions for Disability Related Substitutions:
Each individual college has an established process for course substitutions. Requests for disability-related course substitutions shall follow these established guidelines, attaching documentation from the college's designated representative for disability services which supports the requested substitution.

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