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The purpose of this handbook is to help faculty become more comfortable and effective in working with students with disabilities. It presents information on various disabilities, definitions and procedures, and suggests classroom accommodations that can be made to fit teaching environments or teaching styles.

Jefferson State Community College is committed to making its academic programs and services accessible to qualified students who have disabilities. It is a goal of Jefferson State Community College to provide students who have disabilities equal opportunities to develop and demonstrate their academic skills while maintaining the academic integrity of the College programs.

Consistent with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and the ADA Amendments Act (ADA-AA) of 2008, it is the policy of Jefferson State Community College that no qualified person with a disability shall be subjected to discrimination because of that disability under any program or activity conducted or sponsored by the College.

Confidentiality is an extremely important issue when interacting with any student

  • Instructors may not ask the student the nature of his/her disability.
  • Students are under the protection of confidentiality laws and need not disclose the specific nature of the disability.

Note takers

  • The ADA Accommodations Office relies as much as possible on in-class volunteers to provide note taking services for qualified students. Special NCR (no-carbon required) note taking paper is available in the ADA Accommodations Office upon request.
  • Some students find their own note takers or may use technology to assist with note taking, but generally the ADA Accommodations Office asks the instructor to request a volunteer note taker.
  • The instructor must not identify the student for which note taking accommodations are requested.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to obtain the notes from the instructor at the end of each class. Students do not receive notes for a class in which they did not attend.
  • The student must present the instructor with an academic accommodation letter from the ADA Accommodations Office before receiving the supplemental notes.
  • If no one volunteers to take notes, please contact the ADA Accommodations Office as soon as possible. Email: Phone: 205-856-6077

Faculty have the responsibility to:

  • Expect students with disabilities to meet the same course expectations as their peers.
  • Provide accommodations only to students who are registered with the ADA Office.   It is NOT your responsibility to provide accommodations to students who are NOT registered with the ADA Office.
  • Use a syllabus statement and class announcements to invite students to disclose their needs.
  • Work to ensure that all audio-visual materials used in class are accessible (e.g., that  videos shown are captioned for students with hearing impairments and that the VCR equipment used has captioning capabilities, that videos shown will be made with auditory description in some way or that written transcripts will be provided).
  • To treat all disability-related information as confidential medical information.   For example, keep printed items, such as the Accommodation Letter submitted to you by students or any emails regarding student disability-related information in a protected location.
  • Clearly communicate your testing procedures with the student and with the ADA Office if the test will be taken in the ADA Office or approved testing site.  If the student is to take the test in the ADA Office, arrangements must be made to deliver the test. The student should be responsible to set up times to take the test.   The ADA Office will return the test to the instructor or department secretary.

Faculty have the right to:

  • Request verification of a student’s eligibility for any requested accommodations.   The  verification will be the Accommodation Letter which is delivered by the student directly to you.   The ADA Office is the only office designated to review disability documentation and determine eligibility for appropriate accommodations.
  • To expect the student to initiate accommodation requests.
  • If the student is taking his/her tests in the ADA Office, expect ADA staff to administer the exams in a secure and monitored environment.

The college will provide reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. The procedures for provision of these accommodations are as follows:

  • The college will inform all students and prospective students through statements in the catalog, course syllabi, and various other means that in order to initiate a request for accommodations, the student must obtain and complete a Student Request for ADA Accommodations Application. These forms are available online and at the ADA Offices:
    • Jefferson Campus, Fitzgerald Student Center, Room 300
    • Shelby Campus, General Studies Building, Room 120
    • St. Clair - Pell City Campus:  Enrollment Services, Room PCC 121
    • Chilton - Clanton Campus:  Enrollment Services, Room CCC 113
  • Upon completion of Student Request for ADA Accommodations Application, students must contact the ADA Accommodations Office for an appointment and further instructions relative to requesting accommodations.
  • The ADA Accommodations Office staff will accept the completed forms, interview all students requesting accommodations, and review all documentation provided by students to support their requests. At the time of their interview, students will be asked to complete a Student Request for ADA Accommodations Application and a Student Responsibility Form, if they have not already done so.
  • The ADA Accommodations Office staff will make a decision on the validity of the request for accommodations and maintain a file on each student. If the student needs placement testing accommodations, the student must submit an Accommodations Letter to the Testing Office.  The ADA Accommodations Office staff will provide accommodations that cannot be provided by the Testing Office.
  • The ADA Accommodations Office will provide students with an Accommodations Letter which outlines the proposed allowable accommodations. This form is to be taken by the student to each instructor when requesting classroom accommodations.  [Faculty Checklist for Providing Accommodations]
  • The instructor will indicate his/her agreement with the proposed accommodations by signing the letter or will negotiate with the student about what accommodations can be reasonably provided. If changes are negotiated, they will be described on the form and both student and instructor will sign the form. In either case, the student will return the signed letter to the ADA Office and a copy is kept by the instructor.  The ADA Accommodations Office is available to assist during this process.
  • If the student and instructor cannot agree upon the accommodations to be provided, the student should contact the ADA Office for assistance.
  • If the ADA Director is not able to resolve the problem, the student will begin the steps in Conflict Resolution.


Testing accommodations are not giving the student an advantage but are assuring an equal opportunity to show content mastery.

The ADA Office acts as an extension of the academic area by accommodating test administration when neither the instructor nor the department is able to provide the accommodations.

  • The ADA Director determines whether a student is eligible for accommodation(s) and what type of accommodation(s).
  • The student provides the instructor with an Accommodations Letter listing appropriate accommodations.
  • The student’s right to be accommodated can not be negotiated; however, if one type of accommodation can be substituted for another without losing the impact and effectiveness for the student, the change can be negotiated.  On the Accommodations Letter there is a space to list the accommodations which you and the student have agreed to forego. 
  • Once the student has conferred with you and then signs the letter, the student gives up the right of that accommodation.

Test Security

  • It is the instructor’s responsibility to send the test to the ADA Office or approved test site at least 24 hours prior to testing date/time.
  • You or your representative can deliver the test and the Test Proctoring Form to the appropriate test site.  No tests will be administered without a completed proctoring form.
  • Only approved instruments/materials can be taken into the testing room.  No coats, backpacks, books, notebooks, purses, cell phones, or other electronic devices are allowed in testing room. 

Courtesy Rules for Blindness

Things to consider when meeting a blind person

  • If I am walking with you, don’t grab my arm; let me take yours. I will keep a half-step behind, to anticipate curbs and steps. 
  • I want to know who is in the room with me; speak when you enter
  • Introduce me to the others.  Include children and tell me if there is a cat or a dog. Guide my hand to a chair.
  • The door to a room, a cabinet, or a car, left partially open, is a hazard to me.
  • At dinner, I will not have trouble with ordinary table skills.
  • Don’t avoid words like “see”; I use them, too.  I am always glad to see you.
  • I do not want pity but do not talk about the “wonderful compensations” of blindness.
  • My sense of smell, touch, or hearing did not improve when I became blind.  I rely on them more and therefore may get more information through those senses than you do – that’s all.
  • I will discuss blindness with you if you if you would like; however, I have many interests other than blindness that I can discuss.

Courtesy Rules for Speaking With People Who Are Deaf


  • face the deaf person when you speak and speak directly to him/her
  • use normal mouth movements and speak in a normal tone of voice
  • remember to include the person who is deaf in everything–even minor  details, especially when plans are changed write as much as possible.   Many words look exactly the same on the mouth.
  • demonstrate how things are done
  • take turns speaking–one person at a  time
  • be aware that there is a time lag  between the time a hearing person says something and the time when the person  who is deaf gets the information from the interpreter
  • remember the interpreter is  supposed to be “invisible; he/she is there to only help with communication
  • make sure the lighting in the room is appropriate
  • talk to a person who is deaf in a room with little or no noise; many people who are deaf have some hearing
  • talk to a person who is deaf in a room free of visual distractions


  • turn your face away while you are still speaking or tell the interpreter to "tell him/her”
  • use exaggerated mouth movements and do not yell
  • decide what the person who is deaf needs or does not need to know
  • be impatient – the communication process will be slower with or without an interpreter
  • assume that the person who is deaf understands a particular process just because he/she is watching you  
  • don't let more than one person talk at a time and let the person who is deaf  know who is speaking
  • think the person who is deaf is not smart or the interpreter is not skilled because of the time lag.  It takes time to  translate from one language to another
  • try to include the interpreter in the discussion; he/she is not part of the group
  • talk loudly to others, or sing, bang the table, or make other distracting noises when the person who is deaf is trying to watch the speaker
  • talk in a room full of activity; it makes it difficult for the deaf person to concentrate on the speaker


Students with disabilities encounter a variety of barriers to accessibility in the college classroom. Some disabilities create barriers to a student’s ability to take appropriate notes during class lectures. To address this barrier, the ADA Accommodations Office may approve an accommodation for note taking assistance. This accommodation may be implemented in any way that the student and instructor agree upon; however, there are two recommended methods.

The recommended first option is for the instructor to provide notes from the lectures. This does not have to be a summary that the instructor completes after each lecture and instructors are not expected to do so. However, if the instructor has notes they use for lectures that would be appropriate to share with the student it may be sufficient for the accommodation. Copies of powerpoints from lectures may be also sufficient note taking assistance. If the instructor does not have notes that can be shared with the student there are other options.

The recommended second option is for the instructor to identify a volunteer peer note taker in the class. Information about implementing this accommodation by utilizing a volunteer peer note taker can be found in the “Instructor Responsibilities” section of this document.

There is information below listing the responsibilities for the student receiving accommodations, the instructor, and the student serving as the peer note taker.

Student Receiving Accommodations Responsibilities

  • Share the accommodations letter with your instructor, discuss the note taking accommodation, and how the accommodation will be implemented. Be sure you understand the expectations the instructor has of you as it relates to the accommodation.
  • Students with the note taking assistance accommodation do not receive lecture notes for classes they do not attend.
  • The note taking assistance accommodation is to provide supplemental notes for the student’s own notes. Students with this accommodation are expected to take their own notes as best as they can.
  • Pick up notes from the instructor if they are handwritten.
  • Communicate with the instructor if the notes provided are not sufficient.

Instructor Responsibilities

  • After receiving the accommodations letter from the student stating that they are approved for note taking assistance, discuss the note taking accommodation with the accommodated student and how the accommodation will be implemented. You may choose to include these details on the signed accommodation letter. For example, indicating that the student has chosen not to use this accommodation in your class or indicating that the student states the notes provided through lecture powerpoint presentations are sufficient.
  • If you are not providing your own lecture notes, identify a peer note taker and a backup peer note taker in the class.
  • You may make an announcement at the beginning of class and/or you may send an email to the entire class requesting volunteer note takers.
  • You may also ask a specific student or students if you know them and believe them to be reliable.
  • The note taker does not need to know why the notes are being received and should not know the identity of the student for whom the notes are being received.
  • Coordinate with the volunteer peer note taker the best method of receiving their notes.
    • Ensure that the volunteer peer note taker’s notes are legible/can be understood.
    • If the notes are to be handwritten, they should be legible and easy to read. It is the responsibility of the student receiving this accommodation to pick up the notes from the instructor.
    • If the notes are typed and emailed to the instructor, the notes can be sent via email to the student receiving the note taking assistance.
  • Provide copies of lecture notes (your own or the peer note taker) after each class. It is recommended to set a reasonable timeframe for this to be completed which works with your schedule and considers the student’s need for receiving the notes in a timely manner.
  • Do not provide copies of lecture notes for classes for which the student receiving the accommodation is absent.
  • Contact the ADA Accommodations Office if you are unable to secure a volunteer peer note taker.

Student/Peer Note Taker Responsibilities

  • Take detailed notes for each class lecture. Shorthand or abbreviations should have explanations.
  • Ensure the notes are legible and easy to understand.
  • Provide copies of the notes to the instructor promptly after each class.
  • If you are going to be absent, please notify the instructor immediately (preferably at least two business days prior) so that an alternate note taker can be identified.