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The DSS Office will make every effort to implement reasonable and effective accommodations for eligible students in order to ensure equal access to educational opportunities. Requests for accommodations that fundamentally alter the college’s programs or requirements will be denied.

Please refer to our steps for Requesting Accommodations for more information about the process and responsibilities related to accommodations.

Accommodations are not retroactive, and cannot go into effect until a student has discussed accommodation needs with faculty and given their instructors a copy of the DSS Office letter listing approved accommodations.

Students are responsible for meeting with faculty to discuss accommodations and to define the details of such accommodations prior to needing them. Students and faculty should discuss how best to arrange accommodations for each situation. We encourage students and instructors to contact the DSS Office if consultation is needed regarding accommodations.

The following are some of the most common forms of accommodations made for students with disabilities. In order to receive any accommodations, students must complete the accommodation request process. In addition, other students may need to complete other steps outlined in the description of the accommodation they are requesting.


Alternate Formats of Text

Alternate formats of text may be available for students who have reading-related disabilities. 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 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 if they need assistance using this equipment and software.

Request Materials in Alternate Formats

  • Students must be registered for courses for which they are requesting alternate formats of text.

  • Students can obtain information on textbooks and other materials required for each course from DigiPen’s website, the library staff, the course syllabus, and/or the course instructor.

  • If students have their own Learning Ally, Bookshare, or Talking Book Library account(s), they should order the alternative formats they need from one of these services in a timely manner to ensure that materials arrive by the time they need them.

  • If a student would like to request an alternate format of text from the DSS Office, the student must complete and submit an Alternate Format Request Form to the DSS Office. Students should submit the form as soon as possible to allow the DSS Office adequate time to locate and/or order the alternate format.

  • When a student’s alternate format is ready for pick up, the DSS Office will contact the student via email to discuss delivery or pick-up options.

  • Students must purchase physical materials (such as textbooks) before receiving them in an alternative format and must provide proof of purchase to the DSS Office before receiving alternate formats.

  • Alternate formats provided by the DSS Office are solely for the student’s 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.


Testing Accommodations

Students must 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 requesting accommodations from the DSS Office, the student must inform their instructor of any need for testing accommodations before upcoming tests. At least one week prior to the test, students should complete the Proctor Request Form with their instructor and submit it to the DigiPen Library. Library staff will contact the instructor with regard to delivery and return of test materials and any instructions for test administration.

If a student does not show up for the test, the test will be returned to the instructor. It is the student’s responsibility to contact their instructor to seek permission to reschedule the test.


Note-taking Accommodations

A student who requests and receives note-taking accommodations must:

  • Notify the DSS Office in advance if note-taking accommodations become unnecessary due to withdrawal from courses or other reasons.

  • Pick up notes at the location designated by DSS within three school days of the class period to which the notes pertain.

  • Immediately notify the DSS Office if any concerns arise, such as not receiving notes on a regular basis.

If absent from or tardy to class, the DSS Office will not be able to provide note-taking accommodations. In this event, students are responsible for acquiring the notes from the missed class.

Note-takers are only responsible for providing notes for the class for which they were assigned to take notes. 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 Registrar’s Office, and appropriate faculty and staff will review course substitution requests on a case-by-case basis to determine eligibility. If eligible, a student may be accommodated with alternative coursework that will satisfactorily fulfill the degree requirement. Students must complete these steps to request a course substitution:

  1. Complete the Course Substitution Request Form.

  2. Provide the DSS Office with complete and current documentation of disability, if not already provided during the intake meeting when requesting accommodations. The documentation must include verification of disability, specific evidence of a disability-related need for the substitution, and justification for the request. Please refer to the Documentation Guidelines section for more information.

  3. Provide the DSS Office with a history of any previous attempts to complete the coursework in question, including high school and/or college transcripts.

  4. Meet with DSS Office staff to discuss the request and review the documentation.

Note: As described in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a course substitution should not fundamentally alter an essential element of the program of study, including requirements for majors and minors.

Once a student’s completed Course Substitution Request Form and appropriate documentation have been submitted to the DSS Office, the following actions will be taken:

  1. The DSS Office will review the student’s request and consult with the Program Director, the Registrar’s 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 Registrar’s Office.

If the student’s 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 DigiPen’s housing resources. Students who might need housing accommodations — such as a wheelchair-accessible room, a single room, access to a kitchen or single-use bathroom, or a visual alarm — can request those accommodations as part of their housing application. Request for housing accommodations are considered on a case-by-case basis. Students must reapply for housing accommodations each year.

It is the student’s responsibility to submit their housing application and accommodation request at least four weeks before the housing registration deadline or as soon as a need for accommodation is determined. Failure to submit a request or provide the appropriate supporting documentation in a timely manner may result in a delay in implementation of housing accommodations. On-campus housing is limited; requests for housing accommodations are considered on a space-available basis, and 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.

After receiving a request for housing accommodations, the DSS Office or DigiPen Housing, LLC may request additional information to consider the specific housing request. The student will be notified regarding their housing accommodation decision. Students who are denied a disability-related housing accommodation or who choose not to use the room offered must contact DigiPen Housing, LLC immediately to complete the standard room selection process.

Please be aware that the single-room housing accommodation is granted very rarely. A student’s preference for having a “quiet, undisturbed place to study” is usually not 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 for which 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 and granting requests for attendance leniency.

Students with disabilities must request consideration of this accommodation from the DSS Office at the beginning of each semester for which the accommodation is requested. The determination of the curricular impact and appropriateness of such a request will be considered for each course individually. Students must provide documentation indicating why they 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 accompanying documentation to determine whether a student has provided justifiable disability-based reasons for altering their attendance requirements.

Traditionally, class attendance is considered a significant aspect of participatory learning. All requests for extension or leniency in attendance requirements are evaluated carefully, taking into consideration the following information provided by each instructor:

  • Is there regular classroom interaction between the instructor and students and among the students themselves?

  • Do student contributions in class constitute a significant component of the learning process?

  • Does the fundamental nature of the course rely upon student participation as an essential method of learning?

  • To what degree does a student’s failure to attend class constitute a significant loss of educational experience to other students in the class?

  • 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, etc.)?

  • What do the course description and/or syllabus state regarding attendance?

  • How is the final course grade calculated?

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

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 or has occurred, as well as informing the instructor — if the situation permits — when the student will return to class. If the student is unable to reach the instructor directly, the student or someone acting on their behalf may contact the DSS Office. Information will then be relayed to the instructor 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.

If at any time an instructor believes that a student’s absences from class compromises the academic integrity of the curriculum or the accomplishment of learning objectives, the instructor should contact the DSS Office immediately. After consulting with the instructor, the DSS Office may 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 for all students.

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 the student is 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:

  • 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 discrete 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.)

  • Is class discussion of completed assignments a significant component of the classroom interaction?

  • 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.)

  • When assignments are to be completed by the next class session, how much time do you estimate the typical student spends completing those assignments?

  • Are long-term assignment deadlines indicated on the class syllabus?


Reduced Course Load

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 access to all the rights and privileges of a full-time student at DigiPen. Also, students will be considered to be full-time students for the purpose of financial assistance and student accounts, if applicable.

In addition to the DSS Office, the Dean of Students, Registrar’s Office, and Office of Financial Aid 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. The student is responsible for formally requesting an extension of that time limit from the Registrar’s Office if they believe they may exceed 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 Office of Financial Aid.


Service Animals

Individuals with disabilities that are accommodated via a service animal in accordance with the ADA Amendment Act of 2008 are given the same level of access to facilities operated by DigiPen, in accordance with the law.

Definitions of Service Animals

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, assisting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with PTSD during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a service animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Where Service Animals Are Allowed

DigiPen allows service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of DigiPen’s campus where the public is normally allowed to go.

Service Animals Must Be Under Control

Service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s 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;

  • Its behavior is disruptive (e.g. barking, growling, roughhousing, displaying aggressive behavior);

  • The owner/partner fails to clean up after his or her animal;

  • Or the 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

Staff and faculty are allowed to ask only two questions regarding an individual with a service animal:

  1. Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?

  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 can be answered by the DSS Office at (425) 629-5015.

References