Services Available to Students with DIsabilities
Although you may not have to become directly involved in providing some types of accommodations to students with disabilities, it is a good idea for faculty to become familiar with the services that GCSC offers through Student Accessibility Resources (SAR). The use of any accommodation must be supported by the student's documentation and approved by SAR. The following are descriptions of more common accommodations provided by the college, but depending upon a student's situation, other reasonable accommodations may also be considered.
- Extended Time on Exams/QuizzesFor a variety of reasons, students with disabilities often need extra time to complete exams or quizzes. Students typically use time and a half or double time to complete exams. If you have questions about extended test time, please contact SAR.
- Alternative Testing Locations/Private TestingAs with extended test time, there are a variety of reasons that a student with a disability will need an alternative testing location. Attention and distraction problems or the use of a reader and/or writer are the most common. Testing is monitored by the GCSC Testing Center staff, and students are not allowed to use any class materials without the instructor's consent. The GCSC Academic Honor Code is strictly enforced and students are monitored while taking exams. Please read the Alternative Testing Procedures section in this guide.
- Alternate Format of test/quiz/assignmentBecause standard test formats may be limiting to some students, alternative formats are offered to students who have documented challenges such as sensory impairments and Autism Spectrum Disorder. For example, a student who is on the spectrum may require their tests/exams to be broken up into two to three parts or they may require online exams administered on paper. You will be notified in advance if your tests should be presented in an alternate format. These tests will, again, be administered by the staff in the Testing Center in conjunction with a SAR staff member if one is required to read or scribe. If a student requires an alternate format, they must first request it through SAR. If the request is reasonable, a notification will be sent to the instructor well in advance. If there are any questions or concerns about the format of the test, instructors are encouraged to get in touch with SAR staff as soon as possible.
- Alternate Format of Course MaterialsLike tests, the way that course materials are presented can create a barrier for some students. For example, a student who is blind or visually impaired will not be able to participate in class if they are given a paper handout to read. In order to properly accommodate them, all handouts should be produced in a readable format so that the student has the opportunity to use their screen reader before class. This way, they will be able to participate in class discussion and will have full access to the course. You can create your own readable handouts using Microsoft Word or Acrobat Pro. If you are unsure how to do this or if your handout is readable, you can send it to SAR and we will convert it to a format that is compatible with a screen reader. Some students may also require audio versions of their textbooks. While there are many online resources such as Learning Ally that offer audio textbooks, if the book is a newer edition, a student may have to request an audio book directly from the publisher.
- Closed CaptioningClosed captions are similar to subtitles in foreign language films. Captions appear at the bottom of the screen so the viewer can follow narration and dialogue. The main difference between subtitles and closed captions is that closed captions include not only dialogue but also non-dialogue audio information such as sound effects and speaker identification.
- Note-taking SupportAgain, there may be a variety of different reasons that students with disabilities will need note-takers. The most common reasons include auditory processing deficits, attention deficits, or physical limitations that impair the ability to write. If a student needs a note-taker, you will be informed by SAR through a faculty letter memorandum and asked to make an anonymous announcement in class asking for a note-taker. SAR will pay a student for this service. Please include this information as part of the anonymous announcement because it often helps in the recruiting of note-takers. SAR also provides many other note-taking support services based on technology resources available.
- Readers/ScribesStudents with disabilities who need a reader and/or writer for exams due to a mobility or learning disability will be assisted by a SAR member. Readers/writers for other course requirements will be arranged by SAR.
- Sign Language InterpretersPostsecondary institutions are required by law to arrange and pay for interpreting services for students who qualify for this service. This includes any class that the student is enrolled in and any program sponsored by the College. Students who use interpreters inform SAR of their class schedules and then SAR makes arrangements for an interpreter to be present at every class meeting. Students who do not use interpreters may use an assisted listening device (see SAR Faculty and Staff Resource Guide for more information).
- Flexible AttendanceRegardless of a disability, all students are responsible for fulfilling the essential requirements of courses/programs/degrees for which they are enrolled, including attendance expectations. However, when a student has a chronic condition with random or cyclical acute episodes, modifications to attendance policies may be reasonable. Student must provide disability documentation that supports this accommodation request.
Student Accessibility Resources (SAR) can provide verification of a disability which may address the legitimacy of absences, but not necessarily excuse it. SAR cannot officially excuse absences; the ultimate decision regarding absences and the resulting influence those absences have on grade is at the discretion of the instructor after close examination of the essential course requirements. Faculty are not required to lower or effect substantial modifications of standards for accommodation purposes. Attendance flexibility is not a waiver of attendance policies. Please see our "How to" Guide for questions regarding flexible attendance or contact SAR.
- Course Substitution
Section 240.152 of the Florida Statutes provides for the reasonable substitution of admission requirements to a state university, community college, or postsecondary vocational institution for any person with a disability. Students with disabilities who are admitted to a state university, community college, or postsecondary vocational institution are eligible for reasonable substitution for any graduation requirement, requirements for admission into program of study or upper division where such a substitution does not significantly alter the nature of the program (F.S. 250.153). Examples of this may include substitution for or waiver of math or foreign language requirements for some students with specific learning disabilities. Waivers and/or substitutions for sections of the CLAST examination are also possible. BOE Rule 6C. 6018 provides specific requirements for implementation of these statutes. Students with disabilities must request a substitution of course requirements through the SAR department and provide documentation supporting their request.
Student Accessibility Resources
Panama City Campus, McSpadden Student Union East
5230 West U.S. Highway 98
Panama City, FL 32401
Phone: (850) 747-3243
Fax: (850) 767-8034