Accommodations & Services
Western Connecticut State University offers a variety of legally mandated accommodations to students with documented disabilities in order to achieve equal educational opportunity and full participation. Eligibility for these services is determined individually based on documented need. Any student with a documented disability is eligible to receive services from AAS. The purpose of accommodations and modifications is to reduce or eliminate any disadvantages that may exist because of an individual's disability. The law does not require institutions to waive specific courses or academic requirements considered essential to a particular program or degree. Rather, they are mandated to modify existing requirements on a case-by-case basis in order to ensure that individuals are not discriminated against on the basis of their disability.
Students who are recovering from surgery, and/or injury may be eligible for temporary accommodations from AAS. Students should complete an Accommodation Intake Form and submit documentation. Reasonable accommodations are determined based on the nature of the medical condition. Students are encouraged to contact AAS as soon as possible and provide medical documentation.
Students who are out of school for five or more days due to a temporary medical condition and will miss five or more days of class should contact their professors and Health Services at (203) 837-8225. Students who are out for less than five days are encouraged to contact their professors directly.
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Below is a list of some accommodations provided by the University. In order for you to receive accommodations, you must provide appropriate documentation that indicates the need for each requested accommodation. The University may deny an accommodation if it would fundamentally alter an essential requirement of a course, activity, job and/or program or pose an undue hardship.
Reasonable accommodations are not intended to eliminate a student's disability, but to support the student's own efforts to circumvent obstacles to learning. Students are expected to meet the essential course and degree requirements. When necessary, AAS staff will consult with faculty regarding essential standards in order to determine reasonable accommodations. Accommodations are not substitutions for faculty academic decisions such as course content, grading, or syllabus requirements. These determinations are not within the jurisdiction of AccessAbility Services.
Disclosure of a disability is voluntary; however, it is important to note that the university is not responsible for providing accommodations to a student who has not provided appropriate documentation of a disability to AccessAbility Services and requested a reasonable accommodation.
- Alternate Format for Print Materials
- Students with disabilities who require alternate access to printed material may receive their textbooks in an alternate format. Eligibility for this accommodation is determined on an individualized basis, and students must be able to demonstrate a substantial visual, physical or learning disability, which requires alternate materials. Students approved for this accommodation are required to show proof of purchase of the book prior to receiving the book in alternate format due to copyright laws. For additional information please refer to the Alternate Format Request Policy and Procedure.
- Assistive Listening Devices
- Assistive Listening Devices allow students who are deaf or hard of hearing to use their hearing aids effectively in quiet environments. Frequency Modulated Systems, or FM Systems are the most commonly used assistive listening devices. FM systems allow the voice of an instructor to be amplified to the individual student. AAS has FM systems available to loan to students on a semester-by-semester basis.
- Class Attendance
- AAS does not have a role in determining course attendance policies. As attendance may be integral to the learning process, attendance policies are set by faculty, and/or academic departments. In many cases participation during class is a fundamental component of a course however, in some cases faculty may determine students can master course content despite some or many absences. It is important for students to understand that faculty are not required to lower or make substantial modifications of standards for accommodation purposes.
- In the event that a student's disability may impact their attendance in class, AAS at the request of the student will provide an Accommodation Letter to each faculty member documenting the need for occasional absences from class. It is recommended that the student meet with their faculty to discuss the implications that absences may have on course requirements.
- Computer-Assisted Real Time Translation (CART)
- CART is used for students with hearing disabilities. CART allows for instant translation of spoken words into English text. The text is displayed on a computer monitor for the student to read. If CART is determined to be a reasonable accommodation, AAS will make arrangements for the accommodation by hiring a qualified CART reporter. Students should request CART services as soon as possible.
- Laboratory Assistance
- AAS may provide laboratory assistants to those students who require assistance in lab. Students must show that their documented disability interferes with their ability to perform various laboratory requirements. Students should contact AAS early in the semester to discuss their needs.
- Notetaking Assistance
- Notetaking assistance is provided as an accommodation for students whose documented disabilities interfere with their abilities to take notes. This service is not considered a substitute for a student's full participation in each class. If notes are available online or provided by the instructor, notetaking assistance may not be provided.
- Oral & Sign Language Interpreters
- At the request of students who are deaf or hard of hearing, AAS will provide oral or sign language interpreters. Students are requested to submit current documentation consistent with AAS Documentation Guidelines for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Students are requested to contact AAS as soon as possible to arrange for interpreters as interpreter staffing is limited.
- Priority Registration
- Priority registration is available to those students who require it as an academic accommodation based on a documented disability. Students who may qualify for priority registration include:
- students with mobility disabilities
- students following a strict medication or treatment regimen
- students who require taped textbooks or alternate format textbooks
- students with energy limitations that require a particular schedule
- Reduced Courseloads
- Students with disabilities may request to enroll in a less than full-time courseload as an academic adjustment to accommodate their disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the regulations accompanying Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. On a case-by-case basis this accommodation may be approved. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss full-time courseload requirements with their academic advisor and a financial aid counselor prior to requesting a reduced courseload.
- Testing Accommodations
- Reasonable accommodations for testing are provided to students based upon the nature and degree of severity of the documented disability. Eligibility to receive testing accommodations is determined on a case-by-case basis. A test, as used in this context, refers to quizzes and examinations. When deemed an appropriate accommodation, students are required to request testing accommodation letters each semester for the courses in which testing accommodations are needed.
- Test accommodations determined on a case-by-case basis may include:
- Extended time to complete examinations and quizzes;
- A reduced distraction environment separate from the class;
- Special equipment such as a word processor, magnifier, or brailler;
- Readers and/or scribes; and
- Alternate formats such as oral or taped tests.
AAS works collaboratively with Residence Life in order to provide housing accommodations to qualified students with disabilities.
- Housing Accommodations
- Reasonable accommodations depend upon the nature and degree of severity of the documented disability. While the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires that priority consideration be given to the specific methods requested by the student, it does not imply that a particular accommodation must be granted if it is deemed not reasonable and other suitable techniques are available. Students requesting housing accommodations should notify AAS as soon as possible.
- Meal Plan Modifications
- Students must meet with the University General Manager and the appropriate dining manager, as designated by the General Manager, to determine whether or not modifications can be made in the dining halls based on the student's specific dietary needs. An appointment with the General Manager can be scheduled by calling (203) 837-8764.
- AAS will work with students who request assistance in learning how to appropriately self-advocate for themselves. Self-advocacy training can include one-on-one meetings on how to discuss a disability, how to talk with a professor and how to present yourself in a professional demeanor. Students interested in developing better self-advocacy skills can schedule a time to meet with a Learning Specialist by calling (203) 837-8225.
- Accessible Campus Transportation
- Accessible transportation is available for students to travel between the Midtown and Westside campus through WCSU shuttle busses.
- Academic Coaching and Educational Support (ACES)
- AAS offers one-on-one academic coaching to students on a first come first serve basis in the areas of time management, organization, study preparation, stress management, and academic strategies. Students are encouraged to schedule their weekly or bi-weekly meeting at the beginning of the semester as space is limited.
- Academic Advisement & Course Registration
- AAS strongly recommends that students meet with their academic advisor in order to obtain accurate advisement on courses. AAS is available to review completed schedules with a student in order to determine if the current courseload will be manageable.
- Pre-Admission Meetings
- AAS welcomes prospective students to campus to learn about Western and the office of AccessAbility Services. AAS suggests that prospective students and family members attend one of our monthly prospective student workshops prior to scheduling an individual meeting as generic questions are addressed in those meetings.
- Personal Assistant Referrals
- AAS can act as a referral source by assisting students with disabilities to locate personal assistants (PAs). PAs work directly with students who are in need of assistance with activities of daily living. Students who require a PA are responsible for securing and paying for the personal assistants.
- Referral to campus/community/other resources
- AAS works to refer students to the appropriate campus and community resources. AAS works closely with various departments on campus and has established working relationships with various community resources.