Accessibility Support Services offers the following services:

  • Recommendations for program accommodations in accordance with recent documentation which meets the criteria established by the University System of Georgia
  • Referral to appropriate student support services on campus
  • Information and assistance in the area of academic planning
  • Liaison activities between faculty, staff and students with disabilities
  • Referral to off-campus resources
  • Alternative testing
  • Consultation with public school administrators, rehabilitation or high school counselors, parents, and prospective students concerning Middle Georgia State services for students with disabilities

Accessibility Support Services does not:

  • Perform psycho-educational diagnostic assessments
  • Ask faculty to compromise the quality of instruction or evaluation or sacrifice class standards

The following is a list of frequently asked questions regarding the roles and responsibilities of faculty and teaching associates in providing accessible learning for students with disabilities. Although these questions address the most common of concerns, the issue of faculty responsibility is situation-specific and as such can be difficult to define. As you are confronted with some of your concerns, keep in mind that the Accessibility Services is the office on campus that coordinates services. Feel free to call the office at 478.471.2985 if there is a need to discuss specific situations or need for clarification about these questions and answers.

Who do I contact about questions I may have pertaining to disability related issues?

Middle Georgia State University provides services for students with disabilities. Please contact Accessibility Services for information about eligibility of services and accommodations:

Accessibility Services
Middle Georgia State University
Student Life Center, Room 266
Phone: 478.471.2985
Fax: 478.471.5730

What is the Accessibility Support Services office?

The Accessibility Support Services office provides services and support for Middle Georgia State University students with disabilities in order for these students to have equal opportunities to benefit from all programs, services and activities offered at Middle Georgia State University.

Who is responsible for determining appropriate accommodations?

Accessibility Services is the office on campus that determines appropriate accommodations. The office bases decisions upon documentation collected from a student with a disability, the student's functional limitations, and the student's clarification about specific needs and limitations.

Am I required to provide exam accommodations to students who request it?

Yes. Students with disabilities are protected by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These laws require that qualified students with disabilities get equal access to an education, including exam accommodations.

A student has asked for accommodations. How do I know the student truly has a disability and needs accommodations?

You may ask the student to provide you with a letter verifying that s/he has a disability. The student, if registered with Accessibility Services will be given a letter within 24 hours after a request is made. Accessibility Services has a file with documentation of the disability for every student who is registered with the office and uses services. The specifics of the disability cannot be disclosed due to confidentiality issues.

A student with a disability has requested that s/he take an exam at ASO.

The ASO will only test in special circumstances and if it has been approved by the instructor and the Director of Accessibility Services. Most exams will be proctored in the Testing Center. Arrangements for testing will be made by the student on-line at mga.edu/testing-services.

A student needs specialty items such as a reader or adaptive technology for their test, who do they contact?

The instructor needs to contact the ASO and address the needs of the student. The ASO will make the assisted technology available to the student and work with the instructor to get the student tested.

I've been debating about what book I want to use for my class, but Accessibility Services keeps asking me to select a book ASAP. Do I have to?

Yes. Textbook conversion is a time consuming, labor intensive task, and ASO has many books or other reading assignments each semester to be converted to electronic formats, audio tapes, Braille or enlargements. Students who are print impaired need to be able to access their textbooks at the same time as others in the class. By delaying the selection of textbooks, the ASO may not be able to get books converted to an appropriate format in a timely fashion. This means that students may have to start the semester without access to their textbooks. None of us want to contribute to a student getting behind or failing a class.

When I have a deaf student in class, am I required to have an interpreter or transcriber in the class too? My class is very crowded and also, the students sometimes watch the interpreter instead of me.

You are required by law to have what is essential for the student to have equal access to an education, and this includes having a sign language interpreter or transcriber in the classroom when there is a need.

A student in my class has asked me for assistance getting notes. After I have made these arrangements, the student has missed most of the lectures. Should s/he be getting these notes?

If a student with a disability regularly skips class, then s/he has no right to get notes on the days skipped. The note taker should be informed of this. If the student has a legitimate excuse for the absence, i.e. illness, death in the family etc., handle the situation as you would all other students.

I have a student who is having difficulty in my class. I think this student may have a disability. What should I do to help the student?

Talk privately with the student to discuss your observations. The student may reveal s/he has a disability. If this is the case and the student is registered with the Accessibility Services, suggest that the student talk to his/her counselor in this office.

The student may also be referred to Accessibility Services for diagnostic testing referral for a suspected learning disability, or Accessibility Services may refer students to other qualified professionals for other disability diagnoses. Suggest that the student call 478.471.2985 for further information.

Am I required to lower the standards of a required assignment because the student has a disability?

No, the standards should be the same for all students; however, some students with disabilities may exhibit their knowledge, production, and other course expectations differently than their peers. For example, a student with a learning disability in writing may produce an essay exam by using a computer or scribe rather than writing out an answer without the use of accommodations. The quality of the work should be the same.

I have a student with a disability getting behind in his/her schoolwork. This student has missed a number of classes and has not handed in several assignments. Although s/he has taken a midterm and used accommodations, the student received a 'D' for the midterm. At this point, the student is not passing the class. Do I have a right to fail a student with a disability?

The student with a disability has the same right to fail as anyone else. Their work should be equivalent to their peers. It may be a good idea to discuss your observations with this student just as you would with anyone else in your class who is experiencing difficulty.

I have a student who is blind in my chemistry lab. How is s/he going to participate and be graded in his/her lab work?

If possible, assist the student in getting a lab partner or assign a student assistant to work with the student with a disability. In either situation, the student who is blind should direct the assistant to carry out the functions of the lab assignment. If a volunteer lab partner cannot be found, suggest to the student that s/he needs to contact the ASO as soon as possible for assistance in getting a lab partner. The speed in making these arrangements is critical so that the student will not fall behind. In most situations, students have made arrangements for a lab assistant prior to classes starting.

Do I have any recourse if I disagree about requested accommodations?

To clarify any disagreement about a requested academic accommodation, you must contact ASO at 478.471.2985. A meeting will be arranged with the instructor, the student and the ASO counselor to resolve the situation. Occasionally, some students may ask for accommodations not recommended for specific classes. When in doubt, call the office to discuss your concerns.

We are making a decision about accepting a student with a disability into our professional degree program. I am concerned about the cost of providing accommodations, the extra time this student will require, etc. Are we required to accept this person?

Students with disabilities need to meet the same requirements as all other students when considering acceptance in a program. If a student with a disability meets the same requirements as other applicants and are otherwise qualified, then any disability related concerns cannot be taken into consideration.

A student came to me in the sixth week of the semester requesting accommodations. I feel that this is too late to ask for accommodations and that arrangements should be made at the beginning of the semester. I even made an announcement on the first day of class to meet with me about these arrangements. Do I have to provide accommodations for someone this late?

Yes, you do. There could be numerous reasons why a student makes a late request. Perhaps s/he could not get documentation of his/her disability any earlier and therefore could not initiate accommodations earlier. Some students try to take a class without accommodations, but find that they aren't doing well and need accommodations. Whatever the reason, students may make requests for accommodations any time during the semester. There may be a few situations where students make a request for accommodations so late that appropriate arrangements are impossible to make. You must only provide accommodations at the point when a student makes a request, and you and Accessibility Services are able to make appropriate arrangements. The student is too late if s/he reveals a disability after the completion of a class and requests deletion of unsatisfactory grades.

This section of this publication was previously published as part of a grant commitment funded by the US Department of Education under grant #P333A990046. It has been updated for this publication, and additional questions have been added.