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The power to be successful as a student comes in being responsible for one’s actions, learning, successes and failures. For students with disabilities it also includes knowing their own unique ways of processing information and having a set of personal tools that can be used to adapt, learn, and create strategies effectively. Learning to develop problem-solving skills that can be transferred from course to course while extremely valuable can sometimes be a challenge to students with disabilities.

BayCare Student Assistance Program

Florida Gateway College is interested in providing the tools and support students need to reach their academic goals while recognizing that “life happens” financial, health, emotional wellbeing, relationships and family, transitioning from military to civilian life). The BayCare Student Assistance Program is a valuable resource available to all students through My FGC and provides information and tools which will assist students in learning to balance the various aspects of their life.

Office of Accessibility Services

The mission of the Office of Accessibility Services team is to provide an accessible and inclusive educational environment for students with documented disabilities; promote independence and self-advocacy as a means to reaching one’s full potential; and, ensure compliance with all state and federal ADA laws and guidelines.

If you don’t see what you are looking for, we are here to assist you. Contact us at 386-754-4393 or accessibility.services@fgc.edu .

Documentation Guidelines

STEP 1

In order for the Office of Accessibility Services to accommodate students at Florida Gateway College, students MUST register with the Office of Accessibility Services. A Request of Services form must be completed by the student AND appropriate documentation must be submitted by a doctor and/or a licensed professional to verify the presence and impact of their disability.

Appropriate clinical documentation must substantiate the disability and present evidence to establish a rationale supporting the need for accommodations. A school plan such as an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a 504 plan is insufficient documentation in and of itself but can be included as part of a more comprehensive evaluative report. If the requested accommodations are not clearly identified in the diagnostic report, the Office of Accessibility Services will seek clarification and, if necessary, more information. The Office of Accessibility Services will make final determination of whether appropriate and reasonable accommodations are warranted and can be provided to the individual.

For conditions that are subject to change over time (including health related disorders or psychological disabilities) the student may be asked to provide updated documentation for his/her file on an on-going basis in order for accommodations to be continued.

U.S. Department of Education: Office of Civil Rights

STEP 2

The Office of Accessibility Services will follow a timeline that allows for one week (from the date we receive the report) to review the report and/or diagnostic evaluation: after which, we will schedule an appointment to meet with the student and discuss the request and appropriate accommodations (if necessary).

Step 3

In order to provide reasonable, effective and appropriate academic accommodations to students at Florida Gateway College who have disabilities, the Office of Accessibility Services requires students to provide recent (within the last three years), relevant and comprehensive medical documentation of the disability and the disability’s impact on the student’s participation in a course, program, or activity.

“A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a course, program, service, or activity that enables a qualified student with a disability to obtain equal access. Equal access means an opportunity to attain the same level of performance or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges as are available to a similarly situated student without a disability. Only the peripheral requirements of courses, programs, and activities are subject to modification; essential elements of courses, programs, and activities must remain intact.”

~ Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act & the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The student will also have the opportunity to discuss the impact of the disability on his or her academic performance, as well as discuss what accommodation have or have not been effective in the past.

Information regarding a student’s disability provided to the Office of Accessibility Services is considered confidential and cannot be released to individuals or agencies outside the college without a student’s signed consent. Disability records are covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Under FERPA, information regarding a student’s disability can be legally subpoenaed. It can also be released to Florida Gateway College administration if there is a threat to self or others or if there is a legitimate educational need to know.

Disability documentation is maintained by the Office of Accessibility Services in locked files and secure electronic storage, separate from the student’s other academic records.

All documentation/information is confidential and should be submitted by mail or fax to:

Office of Accessibility Services
Florida Gateway College
149 SE College Place
Lake City, FL 32025
PHONE: (386) 754-4393
FAX: (386) 754-4893

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a reasonable accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is an accommodation that must first and foremost be based on an individual’s documented need. According to the law, a reasonable accommodation cannot produce “undue hardship” on the college. An undue hardship is defined as “an action requiring significant difficulty or expense” when considered with various other factors, including the nature and cost of the accommodation in relation to the size, resources, nature and structure of the college. Also, the accommodation cannot require a fundamental alteration of any essential aspects of the program. A member of the Accessibility Services Office (ASO) staff would be glad to provide further specification and discuss these issues more fully with you.

What types of accommodations are instructors required to make?

Faculty are required to make only the reasonable accommodations stated on an individual’s accommodation letter. After the instructor receives the student’s accommodation letter, the student is responsible for meeting with the instructor to discuss the accommodation arrangements for the particular course.

What if a particular accommodation is inappropriate for my class?

Professors are encouraged to contact the ASO if they believe the requested accommodations are not reasonable or that they fundamentally alter the course. The ASO staff are available to consult with instructors to determine the primary functions of the class and what, if any, accommodations may meet the goal of providing reasonable access to the student without changing required course learning outcomes.

What should I do if I disagree with, or have questions regarding an accommodation?

Contact the ASO immediately. Accommodations are designed to level the playing field for students with disabilities to receive equal access to educational experiences. The intent is not to compromise the essential components of a class. The ASO staff are available to consult with instructors to determine the primary functions of the class and what, if any, accommodations may meet the goal of providing reasonable access to the student without changing required course learning outcomes.

How do I refer a student that I suspect may have a disability to the Accessibility Services Office (ASO)?

Students may be referred to Building 7, the Accessibility Services Office (located in the Test Center). It then becomes the student’s responsibility to seek out services.

What should I do if a student identifies him/herself to me as having a disability and I have no verification from the ACCESSIBILITY Services Office?

You should refer the student to the ASO, Building 7. Do not accept documentation or try to provide accommodations. The ASO is exclusively charged by the college to review a student’s documentation and determine any reasonable accommodations which are to be made. We all need to follow the policies and procedures outlined or we expose ourselves and the college to potential legal action.

Are instructors required to alter test format (ex. number of multiple choice questions, essay, short answers, etc.) or course standards for a student with a disability?

No. All students, regardless of disability, are expected to be evaluated in the same manner. ASO determines and coordinates reasonable accommodations to ensure the exams are accessible to students with disabilities.

If an individual discloses a disability midway through the semester, am I required to provide accommodations before a student has completed registration with ASO?

Instructors are not required to make reasonable accommodations for disabilities before students register with ASO. Reasonable accommodations are determined by ASO based on the request of the student and need for accommodations based on supporting documentation. You will know a student has completed registration with ASO if you receive a copy of their accommodation letter.

If a student registers with ASO midway through the semester am I required to accommodate past assignment/exams, etc.?

Accommodations are not retroactive. Reasonable accommodations begin after a plan is created with ASO and the Academic Accommodation Letter (Faculty Copy) has been submitted to the instructor based on the student’s request.

What is the process for students to be proctored for alternative exams in the ASO once I have received the accommodation letter?

The student is expected to sign-up for each exam with the Test Center 48 hours in advance or earlier if they have been informed of the exam. The student must also confirm with their instructor, their intention to take the test at the Test Center.

As a faculty member am I able to schedule an exam for a registered ASO student in my class?

The student is expected to sign-up for each exam with the Test Center 48 hours in advance or earlier if they have been informed of the exam. The student must also confirm with their instructor, their intention to take the test at the Test Center.

When ASO proctors exams for my students, how will the Test Center know what my proctoring conditions are for students in my class?

Once a faculty member has received the notification from the Test Center that the student has signed up for an exam, you will have an opportunity to fill in the proctor portion of the email and return it with an electronic copy of the exam. If a paper test is to be used, attach a sheet of paper with the proctor instructions.

How will the completed exams be returned to me?

Faculty members will receive an email that the test is completed and can be picked up, scanned and emailed, or faxed back. Please make sure to check the electronic copies to make sure they are legible and you have received all the pages.

As the professor of the college can I call to inquire about one of my students who has self-identified?

Yes. The ASO coordinator can share relevant academic information with faculty when there is a legitimate need to know.

How do I maintain a student’s confidentiality?

By law, confidentiality is a right guaranteed to students with disabilities. This means that you as a faculty member may not single them out in class as a student with a disability. You cannot say things like, “Well, Jamie needs to take her test in the Test Center because she has a disability” or “John has a learning disability so he needs notes, can anybody see him after class to give him the notes?”

When you receive an Academic Accommodation Letter, it is the student who has given permission to provide you with his/her list of accommodations. Please do not discuss this student and/or their accommodations with anyone other than the student themselves or if you have any questions or concerns regarding the accommodations, you may contact the ASO.

Where can I go to get more information and answers regarding students with disabilities and how to make my classroom accessible?

Faculty may contact the ASO by:

Websitewww.fgc.edu/students/office-of-accessibility-services/

Phone: 386-754-4393

Emailaccessibility.services@fgc.edu

In Person: Building 7 during regular business hours