Administrative Procedures: Students with Disabilities
It is the policy of Skagit Valley College to not discriminate on the basis of sex, disability, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, or age in admission and access to, or employment in, its programs or activities as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination Act, RCW 49.60.040 and their implementing regulations.
Scope and Procedure
Skagit Valley College is committed to providing academic adjustment and auxiliary aids and services to students with qualifying disabilities. The purpose of this document is to identify the rights and responsibilities of students under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; Title II; and the Washington State Core Services Bill, RCW 28B.10.910-14. Further, this document establishes clear guidelines and procedures for seeking, and the responsibilities associated with receiving, academic adjustment and auxiliary aids and services at Skagit Valley College.
To receive academic adjustment and auxiliary aids and services, a student is responsible for (1) Identifying him/herself as a student with a disability and, (2) providing appropriate documentation regarding the nature and extent of the disability and requesting accommodation in a timely manner. Skagit Valley College will make those modifications to its programs and services that (1) are necessary to ensure that they do not discriminate, or have the effect of discriminating, against a qualified student with a disability based on that disability and (2) do not impose an undue burden on the college or require a fundamental alteration of essential program requirements.
Section 202 of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act states:
"No qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from the participation in or be denied the benefits of the services programs or activities of any private entity, or be subject to discrimination by any such entity."
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states:
"No otherwise qualified, handicapped individual in the United States shall solely, by reasons of his/her handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."
- "Academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services", also referred to in this manual as "accommodations," are those modifications to programs, policies, practices, and procedures that enable a student with a qualifying disability an equal opportunity to access college programs and services.
- "Student" is a person who has been accepted and registered at Skagit Valley College.
- "Qualifying disability" is "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities." (Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973)
- "Qualified student" is one who, with or without academic adjustment and auxiliary aids and services, meets the academic and technical standards required for admission to, participation in, and/or fulfilling the essential requirements of college programs or activities. A "qualified student with a disability" is the same as above, who has self-identified and provided appropriate documentation of his/her disability to the office of Disability Access Services at Skagit Valley College. The appropriateness of any documentation shall be determined by the individual designated as Coordinator of Disability Access Services, or in the event of his/her absence, his/her designated proxy.
- "Student with a disability" is a student who (1) has a physical, mental or sensory impairment that substantially limits one or more of his/her major life activities; (2) has a record of such an impairment; (3) is perceived to have such an impairment, or; (4) has an abnormal condition that is medically diagnosable.
- "Undue burden" is defined as "significant difficulty or expense."
- "Fundamental alteration" is a modification that is so significant that it alters the essential nature of the facilities, privileges, advantages, or programs and services offered by Skagit Valley College.
- "Program accessibility" means that all programs, when viewed in their entirety, are accessible to persons with a disability.
- "Core services" are those services listed in Washington State Laws of 1994, Chapter 105, that are necessary to ensure students with disabilities are accommodated while attending college.
Responsibilities of the College
Skagit Valley College shall:
- Comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Section 202 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended; and Washington State Laws of 1994.
- Notify students of the college's policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of disability and of steps the student may take if he/she believes discrimination has taken place. These steps shall include explanation of both informal and formal grievance procedures. Notice of formal grievance procedures shall include the phone numbers of the United States Department of Education, U.S. Office of Civil Rights, and the Washington State Human Rights Commission.
- Make available to all students, information on the services available to students with disabilities, and location of the program designated by the college to coordinate such services. At Skagit Valley College, this office is Disability Access Services.
- Work with the student, faculty, and staff on an individual basis, to determine the appropriate accommodation for each qualified student with a disability.
- Protect the confidentiality of information regarding the nature and extent of the documented disability.
- Maintain the academic integrity of its programs.
- Not make pre-admission inquiry as to whether the applicant has a disability, except as provided by law.
- Require specific documentation from the student's physician and/or other or qualified professionals, to verify the disability and to identify specific academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services which may be necessary, based on the nature of the disability.
Student Rights and Responsibilities
To ensure that needed accommodations are provided in a timely manner, the student shall:
- Self-identify with the office of Disability Access Services and participate in an initial intake process with the Coordinator of Disability Access Services or his/her designated proxy.
- Provide timely notice and documentation of the nature and extent of his/her disability, and the accommodation requested, to the office of Disability Access Services. Certain accommodations, such as interpreters or taped books, may require considerable time to arrange. Requests for accommodation, whenever possible, should be received by the college six (6) weeks prior to the beginning of the quarter for which the request is made. Lack of advance notice may delay the availability of an accommodation.
- Provide such additional documentation on the nature and extent of his/her disability as the college may require to determine appropriate accommodation. Such documentation may include, but is not limited to medical reports, identification of tests administered, test results, description of the covered disability, and recommended accommodations.
- Provide a signed Release of Information form to the office of Disability Access Services, which allows for the communication and exchange of information between staff and other schools and agencies involved in the student's development and provision of accommodation.
- Follow the procedures and guidelines established by the office of Disability Access Services.
- Promptly notify the office of Disability Access Services of any problems encountered in receiving the agreed-upon accommodations.
Responsibilities of Disability Access Services
The office of Disability Access Services is responsible for the coordination of services to qualified students with disabilities, who may require academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services.
The office of Disability Access Services is committed to a reasonable approach in the identification of students with disabilities, which includes listing of location and information on Disability Access Services in all major college publications and all electronic means of communication pursuant to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended.
The office of Disability Access Services will keep a confidential file on each student who provides documentation on his/her disability. This file may contain an intake form, contact notes, release of information form, medical/psychological information, academic records, achievement test results, Letters of Accommodation, and other pertinent information. This file will be kept as long as the student is enrolled at Skagit Valley College, and for seven (7) years thereafter.
The office of Disability Access Services will assist and advise each qualified student with a disability, who requests accommodation under this policy, in developing a plan, which identifies academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services appropriate for the student, and will ensure that the agreed-upon accommodations are provided.
Academic Adjustments and Auxiliary Aids and Services
The process of selecting academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services for each qualified student with a disability shall be made on an individual basis, appropriate to the nature and extent of the student's disability. Disability Access Services reserves the right to determine the type and manner in which an academic adjustment and auxiliary aid will be provided. Academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services are made available after assessing the needs of a student and determining those factors of disability, which might cause interference with a student's academic progress. Services are determined based upon individual need and may consist of one or more of the following examples:
Disability Access Services does not coordinate or fund the use of personal aides or attendants. Aides or attendants provide direct personal assistance or care. For students with disabilities on campus and in the classroom, this might include, but may not be limited to assisting with personal care, hygiene, and safety; administering medications; assisting with mobility; providing transportation; monitoring medical equipment; etc.
Disability Access Services does not coordinate or fund the use of facilitated communication, nor recognize its use for entry-assessment, classroom testing, or in the evaluation of student learning.
- (ASL) Interpreter
- Use of assistive technology
- Classroom access
- Note taking assistance
- Audio texts
- Extended time for testing
- Reader for testing
- Scribe for testing
- Large print
- Orientation to campus
Supplemental Instructional Materials for Students with Print-Access Disability
Section (1) of RCW.28B.10.916 provides that:
"An individual, firm, partnership or corporation that publishes or manufactures instructional materials for students attending any public or private institution of higher education in the state of Washington shall provide to the public or private institution of higher education, for use by students attending the institution, any instructional material in an electronic format mutually agreed upon by the publisher or manufacturer and the public or private institution of higher education. Computer files or electronic versions of printed instructional materials shall be provided; video materials must be captioned or accompanied by transcriptions of spoken text; and audio materials must be accompanied by transcriptions. These supplemental materials shall be provided to the public or private institution of higher education at no additional cost and in a timely manner, upon receipt of a written request as provided in subsection (2) of this section."
Such alternative format instructional materials shall conform to the following designations, determinations, and procedures:
- Designation of materials deemed "required or essential to student success" "Required or Essential" shall refer to any and all materials designated in a course syllabus by a course instructor, and shall include those "optional" items purchased by the student with a qualified disability.
- Determination of the availability of technology for the conversion of materials pursuant to subsection (4) of RCW.28B.10.916 Skagit Valley College will purchase and maintain technology, both hardware and software, to facilitate conversion of supplied text files to alternate format on an "as-needed" basis.
- Determination of the availability of technology for the conversion of mathematics and science materials pursuant to subsection (5)(c) of RCW.28B.10.916 Skagit Valley College will purchase and maintain technology, both hardware and software, to facilitate conversion of supplied text files to alternate format on an "as-needed" basis.
- Procedures and standards relating to distribution of files and materials pursuant to RCW 28B.10.916 Skagit Valley College will comply with the standards set forth in Sections (2) & (3) of RCW28B.10.916 regarding certification of student eligibility to receive alternate format instructional materials, and that these materials will be for the sole educational use of the student named in the written request; Skagit Valley college will undertake to ensure that no unauthorized duplication or copies of provided material will be made by the student.
- Procedures for granting exceptions when it is determined that an individual, firm, partnership or corporation that publishes or manufactures instructional materials is not technically able to comply with the requirements of this section If an individual, firm, partnership or corporation that publishes or manufactures instructional materials conclusively demonstrates the technical inability to comply with the requirements of RCW 28b.10.916, Skagit Valley College will, to the best of its ability, purchase the necessary material and process it to meet the needs of a qualified student with a print-access disability.
- Other matters as are deemed necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes of RCW.28B.10.916
Service Animals on Campus
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs are permitted in college facilities. Service dogs are trained to assist people with disabilities in the activities of daily living. The (ADA) definition of service animals is:
"…any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items."
Department of Justice Regulations of 2010 have further narrowed the definition of "service animals" to read "service dogs." (In some limited circumstances, miniature horses are permitted the designation of "service animal.”)
To work on campus, a service dog must be specifically trained to perform a service function. If a dog meets this definition, it is considered a service dog regardless of whether it has been licensed or certified by a state or local government or a training program. Service dogs whose behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or is disruptive to the campus community may be excluded regardless of training or certification.
The guidelines (below) have been developed with the understanding that most service animals working on the college campus will be dogs. If another kind of animal is to be employed as a service animal on campus, the partner (person with a disability) should contact the Disability Access Services office as soon as possible to explore any additional health or safety concerns.
- Owner/Handler: A person with a service animal.
- Service Dog: Any dog individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.
- Guide Dog is a carefully trained dog that serves as a travel tool to persons with severe visual impairments or who are blind.
- Hearing Dog is a dog that has been trained to alert a person with significant hearing loss or who is deaf when a sound, e.g., knock on the door, occurs
- Service/Support Dog is a dog that has been trained to assist a person who has a mobility or health impairment. Types of duties the dog may perform include carrying, fetching, opening doors, ringing doorbells, activating elevator buttons, steadying a person while walking, helping a person up after a fall, etc.
- Ssig Dog is a dog trained to assist a person with autism. The dog alerts the partner to distracting repetitive movements common among those with autism, allowing the person to stop the movement (e.g., hand flapping.) A person with autism may have problems with sensory input and need the same support services from a dog that might be given to a person who is deaf or blind.
- Seizure Response Dog is a dog trained to assist a person with a seizure disorder; how the dog serves the person depends on the person's needs. The dog may stand guard over the person during a seizure, or may go for help. A few dogs have learned to sense and predict a seizure and warn the partner in advance.
- Requirements of Service Dogs and Their Owners/Handlers
- Under Control of Owner/Handler: The owner/handler must be in full control of the dog at all times. The care and supervision of a service dog is solely the responsibility of its owner/handler.
- Licensing and Tags: Service dogs must be licensed and immunized according to local ordinances. Samples of these ordinances follow: "Dogs four months old or older shall be vaccinated against rabies;" "all license tags issued shall be securely fastened to a collar or other like harness which shall be worn by the animal at all times when off the premises of the licensed owner."
- Responsibilities for Faculty, Staff, and Students
- Allow a service dog to accompany the owner/handler on campus, except where service animals are specifically prohibited.
- Do not feed, pet, or deliberately startle a service dog.
- Do not separate or attempt to separate a handler from his or her dog.
- An Owner/Handler May Be Asked to Remove an Animal because of:
- Disruption: An owner/handler may be asked to remove a dog that is unruly or disruptive from college facilities. If the improper behavior occurs repeatedly, the owner/handler may be told not to bring the dog into any college facility until the owner/handler has taken significant steps to mitigate the behavior.
- Ill Health: Service dogs that are ill should not be taken into public areas. An owner/handler with an ill animal may be asked to leave college facilities.
- Comfort animals in campus housing.
Comfort animals may not reside in campus housing without express approval of the Director of Student Life. (These requests are covered under the Fair Housing Act, NOT Disability Access Services.) Such requests will be processed as follows:
- A requesting individual should provide the Director of Student Life with appropriate documentation at least 30 days before prospective housing will be needed for the comfort animal.
- The Director of Student Life will review the documentation and arrange a meeting with the prospective student.
- A person who has a service or comfort animal on campus (including campus housing) is financially responsible for any and all property damage caused by his/her animal.
Requests for Substitution of Program/Degree Requirements
Skagit Valley College recognizes that certain disabilities may preclude a student from successfully completing a specific course requirement for a degree, even with appropriate accommodation. In those cases, the college will consider course substitutions when they do not compromise the integrity of the academic program. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the college is not required to waive or substitute essential requirements of a student's program of instruction. Therefore, every student enrolled in a degree program must meet the essential requirements of that program. In the case of substitution requests, the college understands that any such substitution must not weaken the curriculum, but rather expand the opportunities available.
Course Substitutions Procedure for Students with Disabilities
Skagit Valley College also recognizes that altered methods of course delivery and/or the use of accommodation will enable most students with a disability to successfully complete course requirements, except in unusual circumstances. Therefore, the student is encouraged to attempt successful completion of the required course and/or prerequisites with accommodation. Course substitution may be requested with the following procedures:
- Skagit Valley College may grant conditional course substitutions for degree or certificate requirements to a qualified student with a disability.
- Course substitutions will be approved only when such substitution is consistent with the essential degree requirements.
- Requests for substitution for a required course shall be considered only when a qualified student with a disability has demonstrated that, even with academic adjustments and auxiliary aids/services provided by the college, he or she is unable to successfully complete the course solely because of his/her disability.
All requests for course substitution shall be submitted to the Disability Access Services Coordinator in a timely manner and shall include the following information:
- A description of the accommodations previously provided to the student for the course.
- An explanation of the relationship of the student's disability to the lack of success in completing the course.
- The proposed substitute course, if known.
- A statement by the student that he/she has made a good faith effort to complete the required course with appropriate accommodations.
- A statement from a medical, psychological, or learning disabilities specialist who works in the field of the disability which makes this request for substitution necessary.
- A release signed by the student, authorizing the department chair, appropriate dean or associate dean, and Vice President of Educational Services to review the documentation on the student's disability and to contact the evaluating doctor, psychologist, or learning disabilities specialist.
The Coordinator of Disability Access Services shall forward the request, with documentation, to the appropriate Department Chair. On approval, the request will be submitted to the vice President of Educational Services. Upon obtaining necessary approvals, the course substitution will be allowed. If approval at any level is denied, the student may appeal the decision to the Grievance Review Committee.
Process for Receiving Academic Adjustments and Auxiliary Aids and Services
- The student must complete an intake interview with the Coordinator of Disability Access Services or his/her designated proxy.
- The student must sign a release form and provide the office of Disability Access Services with documentation of disability that verifies the need for receiving academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services. This information is confidential and will be kept in a file by Disability Access Services.
Procedure for Documentation of Disability
Students who are seeking support services from Skagit Valley College on the basis of a diagnosed disability may be required to submit documentation to verify eligibility. Documentation of a disability must originate from a professional diagnostician. Information may be necessary from physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, audiologists, nurse practitioners, etc. This information may be obtained through third-party sources, such as schools, vocational rehabilitation agencies, Veterans Administration, etc.
This information shall be kept in a confidential file in the Disability Access Services office and will only be used to develop appropriate accommodations and in supporting a student's progress at Skagit Valley College. The responsibility and cost for providing professional documentation shall be borne by the student.
Temporary Disability, which may cause interference in a student's ability to participate in programs, services and activities for an extended period of time, will be treated on an individual basis. The policy for disability documentation will apply in the same manner as that for a permanent disability, and the information will have to be current in order to support the request for accommodation.
The Coordinator of Disability Access Services and/or other support staff will provide the student with basic information regarding academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services.
Acceptable Disability Documentation Guidelines
Guidelines for Documentation of Physical Disability
Written statement from a “qualified medial professional” which includes:
- A description of the "nature and extent" of the disability/disabilities.
- Information about what tests and/or records were used to make the diagnosis.
- Information about what effect the disability/disabilities has/have on the student's ability to access the educational process, and any limitations or special needs which should be addressed in the housing placement process.
- Information about medications prescribed and the side effects of these medications ( if needed for identification of appropriate accommodations.)
Guidelines for Documentation of Auditory/Hearing Impairment
Audiogram and audiology report from a "qualified medical professional" which includes information about the extent of the hearing loss and prescribed adaptive equipment (hearing aids, FM system, etc.). Audiology report must include the diagnosing professional's interpretation of the audiogram.
Guidelines for Documentation of Visual Impairment
Results of visual examination from a "qualified medical professional" which include correctable visual acuity and the diagnosing professional's interpretation of examination results.
Documentation of Learning Disability
Students who are seeking support services from Skagit Valley College on the basis of a diagnosed learning disability are required to submit documentation to verify eligibility. Documentation of learning disability consists of the provision of professional testing and evaluation with test report, which reflects the individual's present (adult) level of information processing, as well as present (adult) achievement level. The cost and responsibility for providing this professional assessment shall be borne by the student. The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that evaluation reports are appropriate to document eligibility.
Guidelines for Documentation of Learning Disability
The document must:
- Be prepared by a professional qualified to diagnose learning disability. This might include, but not be limited to a licensed neuropsychologist, psychologist, or school psychologist.
- Be comprehensive. One test alone is not acceptable for the purpose of diagnosis. The test report shall include a DSM-IVR (or subsequent edition) notation based on intake interview and testing results. Minimally, areas to be addressed must include, but not be limited to:
- Aptitude. Testing must have been administered at the adult learning level. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R) with sub-test scores is preferred. In lieu of a WAIS-R (or subsequent WAIS), two Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-III (WISC-III) tests correlated within 15 IQ points of each other may be acceptable.
- Achievement. Current levels of functioning in reading, mathematics, and written language are required. The Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-educational Battery-Revised is preferred. The WRAT-R and the WRAT-III (Wide Range Achievement Test) are NOT comprehensive measures of achievement and therefore are not appropriate for documentation purposes.
- Information Processing. Specific areas of information processing (e.g., short and long term memory; auditory and visual perception/processing; processing speed) must be assessed.
- Be current. Testing must have been administered at the adult learning level. Since assessment constitutes the basis for determining academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services, it is in a student's best interest to provide recent and appropriate documentation to serve as the basis for decision-making about a student's needs for accommodation in an academically competitive environment.
- Present clear and specific evidence, which identifies a specific learning disability and reflects the individual's present (adult) level of functioning. That is, processing and intelligence, as well as achievement in written expression, writing mechanics and vocabulary, grammar and spelling, reading comprehension and rate. Note: individual "learning styles," "learning differences," or "learning problems" in and of themselves do not constitute a learning disability.
- Include in the report, the exact instruments used and procedures followed to assess the learning disability. Report shall include test results (including sub-test score data); a written interpretation of the results by the professional doing the evaluation; name, title, and professional credentials of the evaluator; and date(s) of testing.
- Provide sufficient data to support the request for the particular academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services. Requests that are not supported by documentation may not be provided without additional adequate verification.
Guidelines for Documentation of Attention Deficit/Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorders
Statement from a "qualified professional" (physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist) which confirms diagnosis of ADD/ADHD and provides information about the diagnostic procedures used, the student's "functional limitations" in an educational setting, and medications prescribed/side effects of those medications ( if needed for identification of appropriate accommodations.)
Guidelines for Documentation of Psychological Disability
Written statement from a "qualified medical professional" (i.e., psychologist, psychiatrist) which includes:
- A description of the "nature and extent" of the disability/disabilities,
- Information about what tests and/or records were used to make the diagnosis,
- Information about what effect the disability/disabilities has/have on the student's ability to access the educational process,
- Information about what, if any, medications are prescribed and the side effects of those medications, (if needed for identification of appropriate accommodations.)
Process for Complaint Resolution
Grievance Procedure for Denial of Academic Adjustments and Auxiliary Aids and Services by a Faculty Member
Any student alleging a violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or the ADA shall, as a first step in the grievance procedure, contact the Disability Access Services office. The student may contact the Counseling Office for contact information.
The Disability Access Services office shall:
- Provide information about informal and formal options within and without the college. (a)
- Intervene, if requested by either party, in order to resolve a complaint to the satisfaction of all parties. If the Disability Access Services office is unable to resolve the grievance, the student may request a hearing with the Dean of Student Services.
Any grievance not resolved by the Disability Access Services or the Dean of Student Services office may be appealed to the Grievance Review Committee for a hearing. The grievant or respondent shall petition the committee by obtaining an official grievance form from the Counseling office. That petition shall be made within five (5) working days of the notice of decision in any or all previous proceedings.
Consultations with the Disability Access Services office shall be strictly confidential.
Grievance Procedure for Discrimination based on disability
A student who feels that s/he is being discriminated against on the basis of his/her disability shall be referred to the existing anti-discrimination policy.
The right of a person to prompt and equitable resolution of a complaint shall not be impaired by the person's pursuit of other remedies such as the filing of a complaint with the responsible State or Federal agencies. Use of this complaint process is not a prerequisite to pursuing other remedies from state and federal agencies. These agencies are:
Washington State Human Rights Commission
Seattle, Washington 98101
Online complaint form: http://www.hum.wa.gov/complaintProcess/
Office for Civil Rights Region X
915 Second Avenue, Room 3310
Seattle, Washington 98174
Online complaint form: http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/CFAPPS/OCR/complaintform.cfm
Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
1424 New York Avenue, Room 5041
Washington, D.C. 20005
TTY (202) 307-0818