DSS Faculty Guide: FAQs for Instructors

What are the rights and responsibilities of a student with a disability?
Students with disabilities have the right to equal access to courses, programs, activities, services, and facilities offered at UAB. Students are also entitled to reasonable accommodations. All information about the student’s disability is to be kept confidential. Students have the responsibility to provide acceptable documentation of disabilities and to register with Disability Support Services (DSS) if they would like to receive accommodations. If students deem it necessary to receive accommodations for a particular class, students have the responsibility to inform the instructor, to deliver the accommodations letters that verify their approved accommodations, and to participate in the discussions about how their needs can be met.
What are the rights and responsibilities of an instructor when working with students with disabilities?
An instructor has the right to confirm a student’s request for accommodations and to ask for clarification about a specific accommodation with DSS. Instructors do not have the right to refuse to provide an accommodation or to review a student’s documentation including diagnostic data. Instructors have a responsibility to work with DSS in providing reasonable accommodations, keep all records and communications with students confidential, and to refer a student to DSS who requests accommodations but is not currently registered. Instructors do not have to provide accommodations for students not registered with DSS.
Why does an instructor have the responsibility to make reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities?
An instructor has the responsibility to make reasonable accommodations because accommodations make it possible for a student with a disability to overcome barriers enabling the student to communicate what he or she knows in the same way that glasses do not strengthen vision but help a person to see. The instructor also has a legal responsibility to provide appropriate accommodations. For more information go to the Americans With Disabilities Act website.
How are appropriate accommodations for a student determined?
To determine appropriate accommodations for a student, the student must submit acceptable documentation to DSS. The DSS staff reviews the information and determines appropriate accommodations based upon the substantial limitations of the student and the essential elements of the course.
If an instructor feels that a particular student may have a substantially limiting disability, to where should he or she refer the student?
If an instructor feels that a particular student may have a substantially limiting disability, he or she should refer the student to DSS.
What if a student with a disability is disruptive in class?
A student with a disability who is disruptive in class should be treated as an instructor would treat any student who is disruptive in class.  If an instructor feels that there is a medical reason for the student’s behavior, the instructor can discuss this with a DSS counselor to determine if there is a solution to the problem.
What if a student with a disability is failing?
It is important for instructors to remember that providing reasonable accommodations to a student with a disability does not guarantee success in the course. Students with disabilities may not master the course material, just like any other student. Students with disabilities have the same right as other students to fail as part of their educational experience.
Where can I get forms and publications provided by the DSS office?
Visit the "DSS Forms & Handbooks" tab on the Faculty DSS site for downloadable copies of common forms.  Instructors may also want to review the online Faculty Handbook.