The DSS Office will, in collaboration with students, make every effort to implement reasonable and effective accommodations for eligible students in order to assure equal access to educational opportunities. Requests for accommodations that fundamentally alter the collegeís programs or requirements will be denied.  

Students are responsible for meeting with faculty to discuss accommodations and to work out the details of such accommodations prior to needing them, wherever prior notice was given by faculty or where the student had reason to believe an accommodation might be needed (e.g., before an in-class quiz). 

Accommodations are not retroactive; they do not go into effect until students have furnished faculty with a copy of the DSS Office letter listing approved accommodations, and have discussed accommodation needs with faculty. 

Students and faculty should discuss how best to arrange accommodations for each situation. Students and faculty are encouraged to contact the DSS Office staff if consultation is needed regarding accommodations.


Alternate Formats of Text

Alternate formats of text may be available for students who have reading-related disabilities, as a reasonable accommodation. In order to determine a studentís eligibility for alternate formats of text, the student must schedule an appointment with DSS staff. In the event of such a need, the DSS Office will look into whether alternate formats of text will accommodate the student.

Alternate formats of text include, but are not limited to:

  •     Audio
  •     Electronic text (E-text)
  •     Large print
  •     Braille

Some formats may require the use of specialized hardware or software that may be provided by the DSS Office if it is available. These may include, but are not limited to, four-track tape players, MP3 players, and specialized computer software. Students should contact the DSS Office staff if they need assistance on how to use or acquire this equipment and software.

Guidelines for Requesting Materials in Alternate Formats

  • Students must be registered for courses for which they are requesting alternate formats.
  • Students can obtain information on textbooks and other materials required for each course from DigiPenís website, the Library staff, the course syllabus, and/or the course instructor.
  • If Students have their own Learning Ally, Bookshare, and/or Talking Book Library accounts, they should order the alternative formats they need in a timely manner to ensure that materials arrive by the time they need them.
  • An Alternate Format Request form must be completed and submitted to the DSS Office, if students are requesting that the DSS Office provide the alternate format. Students should submit the form as soon as possible to allow the DSS Office adequate time to find and/or order the alternate format. 
  • When a studentís alternate format is ready for pick up, the DSS Office will contact the student via email to discuss delivery or pick-up options.
  • In the receipt and use of alternate formats, students must adhere to all copyright and other relevant intellectual property laws. Students must purchase textbooks or other materials they request in an alternate format in accordance with such laws.
  • To provide alternate formats, students must purchase the physical textbook first, and provide proof of such purchase to the DSS Office. Students must submit copies of textbook receipts before or at the time of delivery or pick-up of the alternate formats.
  • Alternate formats provided by the DSS Office are solely for the studentís educational purposes and, in accordance with any copyright or other applicable intellectual property laws, materials may not be copied, shared, or distributed.
  • Students are required to return alternate format materials and equipment at the end of the semester.
  • Students who have dropped a course or no longer need requested alternate formats must inform the DSS Office immediately.
  • Students needing assistance requesting alternate formats should contact the DSS Office.


Testing Accommodations

Students must initially request testing accommodations through the DSS Office.  Students with documented disabilities may be eligible for reasonable and appropriate testing accommodations such as extended time, a distraction-reduced test setting, and/or use of a computer with word processing.

After having requested the accommodation from the DSS Office, it is the studentís responsibility to inform faculty of any need for testing accommodations before up-coming tests. At least one week prior to the test, students should complete the Proctor Request Form with faculty and submit it to the Library. 

The Library staff will contact the faculty member with regard to delivery and return of the test and any instructions for test administration.

If a student does not show up for the test, the test will be returned to the faculty member. It is the studentís responsibility to contact the faculty member to seek permission to reschedule the test.


Note-taking Accommodations

Students must initially request note-taking accommodations through the DSS Office. When students with documented disability are eligible for note-taking accommodations, the DSS Office will help students make the arrangements.  A student who chooses to utilize note-taker accommodations must adhere to the following:

  • Notify the DSS Office in advance if note-taker accommodations become unnecessary, due to withdraw from courses, or other reasons.
  • Pick up notes at the location designated in advance by DSS no more than three school days after the class period to which the notes pertain.
  • If any concerns arise Ė such as not receiving notes on a regular basis Ėimmediately notify the DSS Office.
  • If absent from or tardy to class, notes provided by the DSS Office will not be available. In this event, students are responsible for finding the notes missed (e.g., by asking a friend or fellow classmate).
  • Note-takers are only responsible for providing notes for the class they were assigned to take notes for. Students are prohibited from asking note takers to perform other duties (e.g., providing notes before an established date, assisting with homework or other class assignments, etc.).


Course Substitutions

As a result of disability, some students may be unable to satisfy specific coursework requirements for degree completion. Students with certain disabilities may request appropriate course substitutions as their reasonable accommodation.

The DSS Office staff, the Program Director, the Registrarís Office, and appropriate faculty and staff, will review course substitution requests on a case-by-case basis to determine eligibility and to reasonably accommodate students with alternative course work that will satisfactorily fulfill the degree requirement.

Students should initiate the steps described below to request a course substitution:

  1. Complete the Course Substitution Request form.
  2. Provide the DSS Office with complete and current documentation of disability. The documentation must not only include verification of disability, but also specific evidence of a disability-related need for the substitution, and justification for regarding the request as reasonable. Please refer to the documentation guidelines for more information.
  3. Provide the DSS Office with a history of any previous attempts to complete the course work in question, including high school and/or college transcripts as appropriate.
  4. Meet with the DSS Office staff to discuss the request and review the documentation.

Note: As described in the ADA, the substitution should not fundamentally alter an essential element of the program of study, including requirements for majors and minors.

Once the studentís completed course substitution request from and appropriate documentation are submitted to the DSS office, the following actions will be taken:

  1. The DSS Office will review the studentís request and consult with the Program Director, the Registrarís Office, and appropriate faculty and staff.
  2. The DSS Office will notify the student of the decision to grant or deny the course substitution request. Copies of the written notification will be retained in the DSS Office, and the Registrarís Office.

If the studentís request for a course substitution is denied, the student may request a review by the Dean of Students.


Housing Accommodations

The DSS Office and DigiPen Housing, LLC work together to make sure that students with disabilities have equal access to DigiPenís housing resources. Students who wish to request housing accommodations - such as a wheelchair accessible room, a single room, access to a kitchen, single-use bathroom and/or a visual alarm - should notify the DSS Office and DigiPen Housing, LLC.  Each request for a housing accommodation will be considered carefully on a case-by-case basis. Students must re-apply for housing accommodations each year.

Students must contact the DSS Office to discuss requested housing accommodations. Students requesting housing accommodations must be registered with the DSS Office by completing the intake appointment and all the necessary paperwork. This will include all documentation needed to demonstrate the existence of their disability, and needs of the specific housing accommodation. Please refer to ďDocumentation GuidelineĒ for the complete information. 

It is the responsibility of the student with disabilities to make their housing accommodation request and complete intake with DSS at least four weeks in advance of the closing of the housing registration process, or as soon as a need for accommodation is determined. On-campus housing is limited; requests for housing accommodations are considered on a space-available basis.

The review of documentation and intake process to determine eligibility for housing accommodations may take up to 4 weeks. The failure to submit a request or to provide the appropriate supporting documentation in a timely manner may result in a delay in implementation of housing accommodations. DigiPen Housing LLC may not be able to accommodate late requests due to limited availability of housing options, even if there is a recommendation from DSS.

The DSS Office or DigiPen Housing, LLC will notify students who have submitted complete information regarding decisions concerning requests for housing accommodations. Students who are denied a disability-related housing accommodation or who choose not to use the room offered must contact DigiPen Housing, LLC immediately and complete the standard room selection process.    

Please be aware that the single room housing accommodation is granted very rarely. A studentís preference for having a ďquiet, undisturbed place to studyĒ will usually not be sufficient justification for the single room accommodation.


Attendance Leniency

Some instructors maintain strict policies regarding the number of allowed student absences. However, some students have disabilities of an episodic nature or which for other documented reasons make it difficult for them to fulfill the typical attendance requirements. Accordingly, the DSS Office has established the procedures described below for considering/granting requests for attendance leniency.

Students with disabilities must request consideration of this accommodation from the DSS Office at the beginning of each semester in which the accommodation is requested. The determination of the curricular impact and appropriateness of such request will be considered for each class, individually. Documentation must be provided indicating both why the student may need to miss classes and to what extent. DSS understands that students cannot always predict the precise number of anticipated absences, but students are asked to provide some indication of the scope of the request. 

The DSS Office will evaluate the request and the documentation provided to determine whether students have provided justifiable disability-based reasons for requesting consideration of their attendance requirements. If DSS determines that the reasons provided do not constitute a need for an attendance leniency accommodation, the DSS Office will notify the student immediately.

If the DSS Office determines that the request is justified by the impact of a studentís disability, the Office will next contact the instructors of each class in which the student is enrolled for that semester. DSS will request information on any established attendance policies for the class and the importance of attendance/participation to the curricular integrity and learning process.

Traditionally, class attendance is considered a significant aspect of participatory learning. All requests for extension or leniency in attendance requirements will be evaluated carefully, with due consideration given to the following information, which each instructor will provide to the Office:

  1. Is there regular classroom interaction between the instructor and students and among the students themselves?
  1. Do student contributions in class constitute a significant component of the learning process?
  1. Does the fundamental nature of the course rely upon student participation as an essential method of learning?
  1. To what degree does a studentís failure to attend class constitute a significant loss of educational experience to other students in the class?
  1. What is the level of leniency allowed to students without disabilities who have legitimate reasons for missing additional classes (e.g., death in the family, car accident, etc.)?
  1. What do the course description and/or syllabus state regarding attendance?
  1. What is the method by which the final course grade is calculated?

If DSS determines, in light of its consideration of the above factors, that it is not possible to provide attendance leniency for a given course, the student will be so informed and given the opportunity to discuss other accommodation options. If the accommodation is deemed appropriate, DSS will send both student and instructor a letter explaining: (a) the established boundaries of the accommodation; and (b) the responsibilities of both student and instructor in carrying out this accommodation. 

Students are responsible for contacting the course instructor as soon as possible when a disability-related absence will occur/has occurred, and, as necessary, informing the faculty member as to when the student will return to class. If the student is unable to reach the faculty member directly, the student or someone acting on his/her behalf may contact the DSS Office. Information will then be relayed to the faculty member through the DSS Office.

This accommodation potentially provides relief from the requirements of physical attendance in class. Students are responsible for any material covered or work done during such disability-necessitated absences. Neither extension of deadlines for assignments due, nor arrangements for making up tests and exams missed during such absences are to be assumed in this assigned accommodation. These must be negotiated individually with faculty as needs arise. 

If, at any time, the faculty member believes that the studentís absences from class threaten the academic integrity of the curriculum or the accomplishment of learning objectives, the faculty member should contact the DSS Office immediately. After consulting with the faculty member, the DSS Office staff will contact the student to review available options. 


Extended Deadlines

All students, with and without disabilities, may fall behind in their work and may occasionally have need to approach a faculty member for permission to hand in a given assignment after the stated deadline. When such unusual circumstances arise, we leave it to students and faculty members to discuss options and, hopefully, come to a mutually agreeable conclusion. Asking for extension of deadlines as an ongoing and pre-arranged accommodation in response to disability is a very different matter and is not often a viable solution for students who are struggling to keep up with their class load and fulfill the expectations set out for all students

Assignments are given in class for a variety of reasons. Often, the due dates established for assignments are not arbitrary; deadlines are necessary to fulfill the purpose of the assignment, as a precursor to further learning. 

If DSS determines a request for an extended deadline accommodation is justified by the episodic and unpredictable nature of the student's disability (and thus difficulty in predicting the impact on time and concentration), then DSS will contact faculty from each class in which students are enrolled for that semester to request information about assignments and deadlines typically in place for that class. In these limited instances, requests for the accommodation of extended deadlines will be evaluated carefully, with due consideration given to the following information to be offered by the course instructor:

  1. Do assignments regularly build on one another? Is it necessary to complete one assignment in order to be able to begin the next, or are the assignments relatively discreet in nature (for example, assignments in a math class are often sequential in nature and application; assignments in an English class are more likely to be independent of one another).
  1. Is class discussion of completed assignments a significant component of the classroom interaction?
  1. Do completed assignments become part of the curriculum of the class (for example, the presentation of speeches in a speech class, or small group critiques of student work during class time)?
  1. When assignments are to be completed by the next class session, how much time do you estimate the typical student spends completing those assignments?
  1. Are long-term assignment deadlines indicated on the class syllabus?


Reduced Courseload

Students with certain disabilities may request a reduced course load as an academic accommodation. The reduced course load accommodation permits students to register for a less than full-time course load while providing accesses to all the rights and privileges of a full-time student at DigiPen. Also, students will be considered to be full-time students for purposes of financial assistance and student accounts, if applicable.

Students seeking the accommodation of a reduced course load must request it through the DSS Office. Medical documentation of the disability that supports the accommodation must be provided to the DSS Office.

The Dean of Students, Registrarís Office, and Financial Aid Office must approve the accommodation. Students will be eligible for a reduced course load only after the process described below is completed, and needed approvals have been granted.

Students seeking the accommodation of a reduced course load must notify the DSS Office each semester that they intend to utilize the reduced course load accommodation. Such notification must occur during the drop/add period.

There are maximum time limits to complete a degree program at DigiPen. Students are responsible for formally requesting an extension of that time limit from the Registrarís Office if students are facing potentially going beyond the time limit due to utilization of the reduced course load accommodation.

Reduced course load accommodations may impact student accounts and financial assistance. Students are strongly advised to discuss any concerns with the Financial Aid Office.


Service Animals

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Ė As Amended (ADAAA) requires that individuals with disabilities be provided with ďreasonable accommodationsĒ.  Part of these accommodations may include the use of service animals to assist individuals with disabilities while visiting or residing in facilities operated by DigiPen.  Service animals are generally permitted in all facilities operated by DigiPen.

Definitions of Service Animals

Beginning March 15, 2011, service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the personís disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

Where Service Animals Are Allowed

Under the ADA, DigiPen allows service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of DigiPenís campus where the public is normally allowed to go. 

Service Animals Must Be Under Control

As required by the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animalís work or the individualís disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls. 

Removal of Service Animals

An official may require an owner/partner to remove a service animal from DigiPen Institute of Technology facilities:

  • If the animal is sick, unclean or malodorous 
  • If its behavior is disruptive, e.g., barking, growling, running around, displaying aggressive behavior
  • If the owner/partner fails to clean up after his or her animal. 
  • If animal does not meet all applicable city/county/college ordinances or requirements.

If such circumstances or behaviors persist, DigiPen officials may direct the owner/partner not to bring the animal onto campus. The owner may remain on campus and participate in activities, but the animal will not be allowed to return until the issues have been resolved.

Inquiries Related to Service Animals

Only limited inquiries are allowed regarding service animals. Staff and faculty may ask two questions:

  1. Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and
  2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform. 

Resources

Questions regarding service animals and greater compliance with ADA regulations at DigiPen Institute of Technology should be referred to the DSS Office at (425) 629-5015.

References