1. This student does not look like s/he has a disability.
Chances are the student has what's called a hidden disability. Common disabilities
in this category are learning disabilities, cardiac problems, severe diabetes, psychological
problems, epilepsy and other conditions.
2. Can I ask the student about her/his disability?
Yes, and some might be relieved if you did because they are hesitant to discuss their
disability without some overture from you. The DSS office works with students to try
and get them comfortable about discussing their disability with faculty and how the
disability affects them academically. Some students have never had to speak with a
teacher about their needs. In high school it was usually handled by the Resource Room/Special
Education Instructor or by their parents. However, other students may not wish to
discuss the matter with you and their wishes must be respected.
3. If this student has a learning disability, how come s/he is in college?
SUNY Fredonia has no special admissions category for students with disabilities; and
this office plays no role in the admissions process. Students are admitted using the
same general admissions criteria used for all students. In most cases, the admissions
office is not aware an individual has a learning disability unless the student self
discloses. A learning disability should not be confused with a student's level of
intelligence. One of the factors in diagnosing a learning disability is that the individual
has been tested and determined to have average to above average intelligence.
4. Can the DSS office test students to see if they have a learning disability?
No. We do not have the resources to test students for learning disabilities. We do,
however, refer students to appropriate resources to be tested.
5. What if I get a memo from the DSS office about a student and the accommodations
needed, but the student never approaches me to discuss it?
A memo from DSS means the student has requested you be informed about her disability
and the need for accommodations. It is the student's responsibility to follow through
on that request. You are not responsible for seeking out the student.
6. Can ANY student take an exam in the DSS testing rooms?
No. Only students registered with the DSS office are eligible to use the testing rooms.
7. What happens if a student who uses a wheelchair cannot access my classroom?
Chances are the class will have to be moved to an accessible location.
8. Can I check to see if a student in my class is registered as having a disability?
No. All documentation of disability sent to the DSS office is confidential. Information
about disability is not discussed nor revealed to any SUNY Fredonia faculty or staff
without students' written permission.
9. I have a suspicion that a student in my class has a learning disability. How do
I get him to go see someone in the DSS office?
If you do not know for certain that the student has a learning disability, then it
would not be a good idea to confront him about seeking help from DSS. However, you
could encourage all students in your class to seek extra help during your office hours
or to go to the Learning Center for tutorial help. Remember, it is the student's responsibility
to self-identify any disabling condition.
10. As an instructor, what are my responsibilities to a student with a disability
in my class?
To ensure the student has received reasonable accommodation/s in your course. Academic
accommodations are not a guarantee of success. It allows students with disabilities
to operate on the same level as their non-disabled peers.
11. What about students with temporary disabilities?
Short term medical/physical injuries or conditions are not considered a disability
as expressed in the ADA. However, the DSS office recognizes that there may be instances
where a student with a temporary disability could benefit from assistance through
this office. Services for students in such cases may be provided if staff and space
is available. Requests of this nature will have a low priority because the needs of
students registered with DSS will come first.
12. Does DSS serve faculty and staff with disabilities?
No. Services for faculty/staff with disabling conditions are administered through
the office of Human Resources, 510 Maytum Hall.
13. Does Fredonia have a policy regarding service animals such as a seeing eye dog?
Yes. The policy for faculty, staff, students and handlers is posted in the "Handbook
for Students with Disabilities."
Feel free to contact the office of Disability Support Services for Students if you
have questions about services for students with disabilities on campus.