Student Disability Services
209 Alumni Hall
Phone: 607.436.2137
Fax: 607.436.3167

Office Hours
Mon - Fri: 8am - 4:30pm

Faculty Resources

ADA Statement for Syllabus
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Definition of Disability
- Practical Advice for Academic Advisement
- Practical Advice for Classes

Faculty Resources

ADA Statement for Syllabus - Please feel free to use this statement as you see fit.

Students Diagnosed with a Disability

All individuals who are diagnosed with a disability are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. As such, you may be entitled to certain accommodations within this class. If you are diagnosed with a disability, please make an appointment to meet with Accessibility Resources, 209 Alumni Hall, ext. 2137.

It is entirely your responsibility to contact Accessibility Resources, and concurrently supply me with your accommodation plan, which will inform me exactly what accommodations you are entitled to. You will only receive accommodations once you provide me with an Accessibility Resourcesaccommodation plan.

Any previously recorded grades will not be changed.


Frequently Asked Questions

Students in the classroom
Advising students

In the classroom:

Q. How will I will I know if a student in my classroom has a disability?

A. It is each student's responsibility to self identify him/herself to you. If s/he does not, you are not required to make any accommodations, and can not be held liable for discriminatory behaviors.

Q. When a student does approach me, how do I know what the student is entitled to?

A. Any student seeking accommodations within the classroom must be registered with SDS. Once this is done, s/he will receive an accommodation plan that spells out exactly what s/he is entitled to. This is how you will know. If they don't provide an accommodation plan, chances they are not registered with SDS, and that should be their first step. Anything the student asks for beyond the accommodation plan has not been approved by this office.

Q. Who is responsible for providing services to students diagnosed with a disability?

A. The professor of any given class is responsible for providing accommodations to the students in his/her classroom; however,
- SDS can help. Part of what we do is offer assistance to faculty in areas of high need such as exam proctoring. If you have a student diagnosed with a disability in your classroom and need assistance providing accommodations just give us a call at ext. 2137.

Q. What if I think the accommodations stated on the accommodation plan are unreasonable?

A. All accommodations that SDS approves are supported by federal legislation; however, there may be specific exceptions. If you question what is stated on the accommodation plan for any particular student, please call the Coordinator of SDS at ext. 2137.

Q. Do I have to change my teaching style to meet a student's needs?

A. For the most part, No. Part of the reason there is an SDS office on this campus is just for that reason. The majority of the time, the accommodations provided will assist the student in such a way that it will not disrupt your teaching style; however, there are some exceptions. The following is a list of some exceptions to this rule that have been made on the Oneonta campus over the past few years:

  • A blind student in a yoga class. The professor needed to make his presentations more verbal to give the student an equal opportunity.
  • A hard of hearing student in a lecture hall. The professor wore a microphone that transmitted directly to earphones that the student was wearing.

Again, accommodations such as notetakers, lab assistants, enlarged overhead copies, in class exercises handed out ahead of time, etc. not only meet a student's specific needs, but help your class and teaching style remain, for the most part, unaffected.


Q. How do I know if the student I am advising has a disability?

A. Ask all your advisees in a discreet way. For example: "Before we begin, would you like to share with me any personal information which might assist us in choosing the best schedule for you. For example, are you diagnosed with a learning disability that you would like to disclose to me?"

Please note that you should not ask directly if the student has a disability, only ask if they have a diagnosis they would like to share. It is up to the student to decide who s/he shares this personal information with.

Q. How do I know what to ask the student?

A. If a student does disclose his/her disability, consider asking the following questions:
How will your disability affect your performance in the classroom?

  • What specifically do you have difficulty with?
  • What considerations should I keep in mind when helping you arrange your schedule?
    Please see the specific definitions below for techniques to work with once you have these answers.

Q. What is my responsibility to students diagnosed with a disability?

A. The best way to answer this question is with options. Whenever possible offer your students options to each course they are taking.

Example: You are working with a blind student who lives in Hulbert Hall. Two sections of the same course are being offered, one in the Human Ecology Building and one in Schumacher. Here you should make every effort to sign this student up in Human Ecology because its proximity is much closer to his/her residence hall.


Student with a Disability: A student whose educational performance is affected by one or more of the following conditions:

  • mobility impairment,
  • visual impairment,
  • acoustic impairment,
  • learning disability,
  • emotional disturbance,
  • speech-impairment,
  • other health impairment.

Mobility Impairment: A student who, typically, must use a standard or electric wheelchair, or other assistive devices (crutches, braces, etc.) to move from place to place.

Advisement Suggestions

1. Schedule classes close to one another and close to the students residence hall (if on campus)
2. Attempt to arrange classes on the ground floor.

In Class Suggestions

1. If you are able to, reassign your class to the ground floor of an accessible building.
2. Do not run your class over the allotted time, or begin the class early. Keep in mind a student with a mobility impairment may have a class on the other side of campus before or after your class.

 Visual Impairment: A student with a visual disability, which, even with correction, adversely affects that individuals educational performance.

Advisement Suggestions

1. Schedule classes close to one another and close to the students residence hall (if on campus).
2. Try to assign professors who are less visually oriented in their teaching presentation (when possible).


In Class Suggestions

1. All in class material (syllabus, handouts, etc.) must be presented to the student on floppy disk, preferably before the class in which it is needed.
2. The student will need notetakers, please refer to notetaker announcement form on this web site.
3. Do not run your class over the allotted time, or begin the class early. Keep in mind a student with a mobility impairment may have a class on the other side of campus before or after your class.


Acoustical Impairment: A student with a hearing impairment, whether permanent or fluctuating.

Advisement Suggestions

1. Try to assign professors who meet the students acoustical needs. Ask the student whether they can hear women or men better, high pitch or low pitch.
2. Attempt to assign the smallest classes possible to cut down on background noise.

In Class Suggestions

1. The student may need notetakers, please refer to notetaker announcement form on this web site.
2. Speak facing the class and preferably facing toward this student. Try to refrain from "speaking to the board".
3. Keep in mind that the more background noise there is, the more difficulty the student will have.


Learning Disability: A student with a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which manifests itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual handicaps, brain injury, neurological impairment, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, developmental aphasia, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The term does not include students who have learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing or motor handicaps, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage.

Emotional disturbance: A student with an inability to learn which cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors and who exhibits one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a market degree:
(1) an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers;
(2) inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances;
(3) a generally pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or
(4) a tendency to develop physical symptoms of fears associated with personal or school problems.

The term does not include socially maladjusted students unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance. Students with autism may be included in this category.


Speech impairment: A student with a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language or voice impairment, which adversely affects the student's educational performance.

Traumatic brain injury: A student with an injury caused by an external physical force or by certain medical conditions such as stroke, encephalitis, aneurysms, anoxia or brain tumors with resulting impairments that adversely affect educational performance. The term includes open or closed head injuries from certain medical conditions resulting in mild, moderate or severe impairments in one ore more areas, including cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgement, problem solving, sensory, perceptual and motor abilities, psychological behavior, physical functions, information processing, and speech. The term does not include injuries that are congenital or caused by birth trauma.

Orthopedic impairment: A student who has a physical disability or who has a severe orthopedic impairment, which adversely affect a student's educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly (e.g., clubfoot, absence of some member, etc.), and impairments caused by disease (poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis, etc.), and impairments from their causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputation, and fractures or burns with cause contractures).

Other health-impairment: A student who has physical disabilities and who has limited strength, vitality or alterations due to chronic or acute health problems, including but not limited to a heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell anemia, AIDS, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia, diabetes or tourette syndrome, temporary disabilities, repetitive motion syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, which adversely affects that individual's educational performance.

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