Frequently Asked Questions - Faculty

Frequently Asked DSP Questions from Faculty

Introduction

There are more than 3500 students with disabilities at UC Berkeley today including undergraduates and graduate students. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, our students with disabilities have a right to full access to all of UC Berkeley’s academic environments. 

The Disabled Students’ Program is the campus department that has the responsibility of determining which accommodations, services, and adjustments each student needs to address barriers in the academic environment.  We do this by reviewing medical, psychological, and educational documentation and interviewing the student regarding their past educational experiences.

If a requested accommodation alters an objective or standard of your course, then it may not be a reasonable accommodation. 

For Example:

  • If a student with a vision impairment is taking a language course that requires manually producing the written language with its characters, a request to use a word processor and type the words would most likely not be a reasonable accommodation. 
  • If a student in a PE course missed enough foundational skills classes and there is no way to make up for the missed skill practice, additional absences may not be reasonable.
  • If you are concerned that an accommodation request is not reasonable in your course, please contact the DSP specialist who sent the accommodation letter right away.  Please do NOT discuss your concerns with the student.
  • We hope that the information below answers many of your questions about DSP and accommodating students with disabilities.  If you have additional questions, feel free to contact any Disability Specialist or the DSP Director at knielson@berkeley.edu.  Contact for specific service areas are below.

How far in advance must students with disabilities inform an instructor about needed accommodations?

Students who work with DSP are strongly urged to request and send letters of accommodation as soon as they register for a course or become eligible for accommodations. However, the University must make every effort to accommodate students, regardless of the timing of the notice of a student's need for accommodations. DSP may be able to assist with late requests. Please contact the Disability Specialist who sent the student’s accommodation letter if you need assistance.

A student with a disability is enrolled in my class. What adjustments or other accommodations must I make?

If the student is being served by DSP, you will receive a letter of accommodation that specifically describes the accommodations to which a student is entitled to ensure their equal access to your course. If a student requests accommodations on the basis of disability and you have not yet received an accommodation letter, then you should ask the student to log in to their DSP account via the DSP website to request that a letter of accommodation from DSP is sent to you.

How can I create accessible materials for my class?

OCR Scanners

Before you scan a document for use in your class, first check if the document is already available electronically through one of the Library’s subscriptions. If the book is in the public domain, you can also check for electronic copies at Project Gutenberg.

How can I prepare my classes so that they are accessible to students who use alternative media (braille, large print, e-Text)?

  • Adopt your textbooks and prepare your course reader before the Accommodation Deadline.

  • If you are using a print shop for a course reader, retain a digital copy of the course reader files. DSP may need to request the digital version of your course reader for conversion purposes.

A notetaker has reached out to me and asked for permission to use their laptop. I do not allow students to use technology in class. What should I do?

Some DSP students have specific accommodations to receive typewritten notes from a student notetaker in their class. If this is the case, the notetaker should be allowed to use their laptop in the classroom as long as they have identified themselves to you. A DSP specialist will reach out to you to confirm the accommodation.

In my classroom, we often discuss sensitive topics/information. How do I handle this?

In this case, it’s best to reach out to the student's Disability Specialist to discuss your concerns and make a plan. Please do not discuss your concerns with your student.  A common solution is to allow the student to record any lecture-based material, but turn the recording off during discussion of sensitive topics. 

 

A student in my class has an audio recording accommodation, but I don’t allow recording.

All DSP students who are approved to audio record sign an Audio Recording Agreement. The agreement states that they acknowledge the recording is the intellectual property of the instructor and that they will not distribute the recording. You may request a copy of this from the students’ assigned Disability Specialist.  If you still have concerns about audio recording in your class, please contact the Disability Specialist who signed the letter of accommodation.  

 

A student in my class has an accommodation to receive notes. Am I required to find the student a notetaker?

No action is required on your part. DSP’s Note Taking office will coordinate recruitment of notetakers and delivery of notes to the student. In certain cases, DSP may contact you directly for assistance in recruiting a notetaker.

Can DSP Proctoring proctor exams at night?

Due to staffing considerations, we may schedule exams to end as late as 7:00 pm on evenings when there is staff available. Please call our office at (510) 643-4691, or email proctoring@berkeley.edu  to discuss your needs. If you are able to provide your own space, we may be able to send you proctors to cover your evening exams under your supervision.