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Disabled Student Services Index:


Who is Eligible for Services?
All students attending the Howard University with a documented disabilities are eligible and encouraged to register for services.

How Do You Apply for Services?
As soon as you are admitted to the University, you must submit a Self-Disclosure of a Disability form to the Office of Special Students Services along with:

  • A copy of the documentation of your specific disability must be provided at the time of intake
  • Information regarding your academic history (transcripts, IEP, etc.)
  • A copy of the class schedule (if applicable).
How Is It Determined Who Gets What Accommodations?
Accommodations are determined as a result of a comprehensive individualized assessment, including a review of medical reports, psychological reports, academic background and an interview with the student.

What If Accommodations Are Not Provided?
ODSSS strives to provide reasonable accommodations, and works to facilitate an agreeable working relationship between you and the University. If you feel that you are not being treated fairly because of your disability, you are encouraged to contact our office and make an appointment to discuss the issue.

What If I Disagree With A Decision, How Do I File A Grievance?
You may contact the Dean of ODSSS to request a grievance form and instructions and timelines regarding filing a grievance will be provided to you.

Responsibilities of the Office of the Dean for Special Student Services

  1. Determine eligibility
  2. Identify appropriate accommodations (academic, auxiliary aids, etc.)
  3. Develop accommodations plan and complete faculty notification forms with student
  4. Work with faculty to insure delivery of accommodations (arranging testing, use of auxiliary aids in classrooms, classroom modification, etc.)
  5. Maintain detailed confidential records that document the plan for the provision of selected accommodations
  6. Assist in course registration each semester
  7. Assist students in development of self-advocacy
  8. Development and revise policies/guidelines for accommodating students with disabilities.
  9. Work with ADA Coordinators from each school.

Responsibilities of the Student

    1. Meet with ODSSS and provide appropriate documentation in a timely manner. It is recommended that students provide documentation at least eight weeks prior to the start of the semester for which they are requesting services. Students should schedule an appointment with ODSSS during the first few weeks of classes so that accommodations can be finalized.
    2. Submit proper forms requesting services (Braille, interpreters, etc.)
    3. Deliver faculty notification forms to faculty as soon as possible.
    4. Follow guidelines regarding use of accommodations/ODSSS services.
    5. Consult with the ODSS, within five business days regarding any problems encountered during the semester.
    6. Attend all classes.
    7. Organize time.
    8. Follow course syllabi.
    9. Meet with ODSSS Advisor at least twice a semester.

Responsibilities of the Faculty

  1. Adopt teaching practices and evaluation methods which promote equal access.
  2. Collaborate with the ODSSS and ADA Coordinator for your school to provide accommodations.
  3. Contact your ADA Coordinator for your school or the ODSSS with any questions or problems.
  4. Treat all matters related to students with disabilities in a confidential manner.
  5. Consult with the ADA Coordinator of your school or the ODSSS if a disagreement between a student and faculty member regarding an accommodation is not resolved.
  6. May request a written agreement before allowing the student to tape record the lecture/class.
  7. Do not provide academic adjustments under the guise of a disability unless a faculty notification form has been processed by ODSSS.

In compliance with the law (Section 504, Rehabilitation Act and the American with Disabilities Act, "ADA"), Howard University is committed to providing its disabled students with reasonable accommodations. There are specific guidelines for the acquisition of accommodations and services under ADA. This brochure explains in detail of the information you will need to request and to receive them. Please read this information carefully and share it with the professional who will be conducting your testing and evaluation or providing you will the results of prior evaluations.

Guidelines for Documenting Medical Disabilities
(mobility,manual,hearing and visual)

    1. The clinician appears to be qualified to make the diagnosis in the area of specialization and is not a member of the student's family.
    2. The evaluation is written on professional letterhead, is current and contains the date of the last appointment with the student.
    3. The clinician clearly indicates a claimed disability that is covered under the ADA.
    4. Documentation clearly supports the claimed disability with relevant medical and other history.
    5. The evaluation contains a description of current medications, treatments and assistive devices and technologies with estimated effectiveness in ameliorating the impact of the disability, i.e., extent of effectiveness of corrective lenses, use of crutches, etc.; and history of medication side effects known to have affected the student.
    6. Give a description of the functional limitations resulting from the disability, which specifically addresses a postsecondary residential and educational setting.
    7. The documentation clearly supports the direct link to and need for the requested accommodations.

If there are any questions, you may call the Office of the Dean for Special Student Services at 202-238-2420 or fax us at 202-588-9755.

In compliance with the law (Section 504, Rehabilitation Act and the American with Disabilities Act, "ADA"), Howard University is committed to providing its disabled students with reasonable accommodations. There are specific guidelines for the acquisition of accommodations and services under ADA. This brochure explains in detail of the information you will need to request and to receive them. Please read this information carefully and share it with the professional who will be conducting your testing and evaluation or providing you will the results of prior evaluations.

Guidelines for Documenting Learning Disabilities

  1. A Qualified Professional Must Conduct the Evaluation
    Professionals conducting assessments and rendering diagnoses of specific learning disabilities and making recommendations for appropriate accommodations must be qualified to do so. For example, the following professionals would generally be considered qualified to evaluate specific learning disabilities provided that they have additional training and experience in evaluating adolescent/adult learning disabilities: clinical or educational psychologists; school psychologists; neuropsychologists; learning disabilities specialists; medical doctors with training and experience in the assessment of learning problems in adolescents and adults. It is not appropriate for professionals to evaluate members of their own families. All reports should be on letterhead, typed, dated, signed, and otherwise legible.
     
  2. Testing Must Be Current
    Because the provision of all reasonable accommodations and services is based upon assessment of the current impact of the student's disabilities on his or her academic performance, it is in a student's best interest to provide recent and appropriate documentation. In most cases, this means that testing usually has been conducted within the past three years.
     
  3. Comprehensive Documentation Necessary to Substantiate the Learning Disability Must Be Provided
    Prior documentation may have been useful in determining appropriate services in the past. However, documentation must validate the need for services based on the individual's current level of functioning in the educational setting. A school plan such as an individualized educational plan (IEP) or a 504 plan is insufficient documentation in and of itself but can be included as part of a more comprehensive assessment battery. A comprehensive assessment battery and the resulting diagnostic report should include a diagnostic interview, assessment of aptitude, academic achievement, and information processing.
    1. Diagnostic Interview
      Because learning disabilities are commonly manifested during childhood, though not always formally diagnosed, relevant historical information regarding the student's academic history and learning processes in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education must be investigated and documented. An evaluation report should include the summary of a comprehensive diagnostic interview by a qualified evaluator. By using a combination of student self-report, interviews with others, and historical documentation such as transcripts and standardized test scores, the diagnostician should provide a summary of the following:
      1. A description of the presenting problem(s);
      2. Developmental history;
      3. Relevant medical history including the absence of a medical basis for the present symptoms;
      4. Academic history including results of prior standardized testing; reports of classroom performance;
      5. Relevant family history, including primary language of the home, and the student's current level of fluency of English;
      6. Psychosocial history;
      7. Relevant employment history;
      8. A discussion of dual diagnosis, alternative or co-existing mood, behavioral, neurological, and/or personality disorders along with any history of relevant medication and current use which may impact the individual's learning; and exploration of possible alternatives which may mimic a learning disability when, in fact, one is not present.
         
    2. Assessment
      The neuropsychological or psychoeducational evaluation for the diagnosis of a specific learning disability must provide clear and specific evidence that a learning disability does or does not exist. Assessment, and any resulting diagnosis, must consist of and be based on a comprehensive assessment battery, which does not rely on any one test or subtest.
      1. Aptitude/ Cognitive Ability. A complete intellectual assessment with all subtests and standard scores reported is essential.
      2. Academic Achievement. A comprehensive academic achievement battery is essential with all subtests and standard scores reported for those subtests administered. The battery must include current levels of academic functioning in relevant areas such as reading (decoding      and comprehension), mathematics, and oral and written language.
      3. Information Processing. Specific areas of information processing (e.g., short- and long-term memory; sequential memory;auditory and visual perception/ processing; processing speed; executive functioning; motor ability) should be assessed.
      4. Other Assessment Measures. Non-standard measures and informal assessment procedures or observations may be helpful in determining performance across a variety of domains. Other formal assessment measures may be integrated with the above instruments to help rule in or rule out the learning disability to differentiate it from co-existing neurological and/or psychiatric disorders, i.e., to establish a differential diagnosis. The evaluator should address why these assessments were included in addition to the standard measures. In addition to  standardized tests, it is also very useful to include informal observations of the student during the test administration.
         
    3. The Documentation Must Include a Specific Diagnosis
      Nonspecific diagnoses, such as individual "learning styles," "learning differences," "academic problems," "computer phobias," "slow reader," and "test difficulty or anxiety," in and of themselves do not constitute a learning disability. It is important to rule out alternative explanations for problems in learning, such as emotional, attentional, or motivational problems, that may be interfering with learning but do not constitute a learning disability. The diagnostician must use direct language in the diagnosis and documentation of a learning disability, avoiding the use of such terms as "could possibly" "suggests" or "is indicative of." If the data indicates that a learning disability is not present, the evaluator must state that conclusion in the report.
       
    4. All Actual Test Scores from Standardized Instruments Must be Provided
      Standard scores and/or percentiles must be provided for all normed measures. Reports of grade equivalents must be accompanied by standard scores and/or percentiles. The data must logically reflect a substantial limitation to teach which the student is requesting the accommodation. The particular profile of the student's strengths and weaknesses must be shown to relate to functional limitations that may necessitate accommodations.
      The tests used should be reliable, valid, and standardized for use with an adolescent/adult population. The test findings must document both the nature and severity of the learning disability. Informal inventories, surveys, and direct observation by a qualified professional may be used in tandem with formal tests in order to further develop a clinical hypothesis.
       
    5. Each Accommodation Recommended by the Evaluator Must Include a Rationale
      It is important to recognize that accommodation needs can change over time and are not always identified through the initial diagnostic process. Conversely, a prior history of accommodation, without demonstration of a current need, does not in and of itself warrant the provision of a like accommodation. The diagnostic report must include specific recommendations for accommodation(s) as well as a detailed explanation of why each accommodation is recommended. The evaluator(s) must describe the specific impact the diagnosed learning disability has on a specific major life activity as well as the degree of significance of this impact on the individual's academic abilities. The evaluator(s) should support recommendations with specific test results or clinical observations. If no prior accommodation(s) has been provided, the qualified professional and/or the student should include a detailed explanation of why no accommodation(s) was used in the past and why an accommodation(s) is needed at this time. If an accommodation(s) is not clearly identified in the diagnostic report, ODSSS will seek clarification, and, if necessary, more information. ODSSS will make the determination as to whether appropriate and reasonable accommodations are warranted and can be provided to the individual.
       
  4. A Clinically Interpretive Summary Must be Provided
    A complete and clearly stated diagnostic summary based on a comprehensive evaluative process is a necessary component of the report. Assessment instruments and the data they provide do not diagnose; rather, they provide important elements that must be integrated with background information, observations of the client during the testing situation, and the current context. It is essential, therefore, that professional judgment be used in the development of a clinical summary. The clinical summary must include:
    1. Indication that the evaluator ruled out alternative explanations for academic problems such as poor education, poor motivation and/or study skills, emotional problems, environmental issues, attentional problems, and cultural/language differences;
    2. Indication of how patterns in cognitive ability, achievement, and information processing are used to determine the presence of a learning disability;
    3. Indication of the substantial limitation to learning presented by the learning disability and the degree to which it effects the individual in the learning context for which accommodations being requested; and,
    4. Indication of why specific accommodation(s) are needed and how the effects of the specific disability are mediated by the recommended accommodation(s).

If there are any questions, you may call the Office of the Dean for Special Student Services at 202-238-2420 or fax us at 202-588-9755.

Accommodations

Accommodation Letters
Once a student's eligibility has been determined, ODSS prepares letters to professors, which verifies the existence of the student's disability and documents the need for accommodations and academic adjustments. The student is responsible for delivering the letters to the professors and formally requesting accommodations.

Assistive Technology
Assistive technology is housed in the I Lab. A computer is available with speech, text enlargement, voice recognition, and scanning capability. Kurzweil 3000 (scan and read), Text Help and Inspiration software packages have been installed to assist students.

Interpreting Services
ODSSS provides sign language and oral interpreting services by freelance interpreters for classes and special events by written request.

Learning Disability Screening
ODSSS conducts screening interviews of students referred to assess the possibility of a learning disability. When appropriate, students are referred to community resources for formal diagnostic evaluation, which would be at the student's expense. Screenings generally take a minimum of one hour. To give each student uninterrupted and full attention, advance appointments are requested.

Note taking Assistance
ODSSS requests faculty assistance in locating a note taker from the class in which the student is enrolled. If students are not available from the class, ODSSS will assist the student with identifying outside note takers.

Reading Services
ODSSS provides assistive technology and text in Braille for students who are blind or have print disabilities such as dyslexia. Students are asked to obtain any available textbooks from Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, prior to requesting books in Braille or on tape. All request must be made in writing or in person.

Test Accommodations
Accommodations may include extended time, and/or use of adaptive equipment. Standard practice is time and a half for exams. Students with more severe or multiple disabilities may be granted additional time as determined by ODSSS.

Forms- Self Disclosure & Request for Services
All services must be requested in writing. Please contact ODSSS for a Request for Service Form or you may download the form from this website.


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