For Faculty

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Access and Disability Services (ADS)?

 The ADS office provides services to students with disabilities to assure access to all facets of the HGSE community. It is the office that oversees implementation of academic and programmatic accommodations for students with disabilities.

 Access and Disability Services provides leadership to ensure an accessible, welcoming learning environment for students with disabilities while ensuring compliance with federal and state regulations. Additionally ADS ensures consistent implementation of standard University disability- related practices procedures and resources including but not limited to the provision of reasonable accommodations, assistive technology and adaptive equipment.

 ADS acts as a point of contact and resource at HGSE for disability related information, procedures and services. Accommodations are available to enable eligible students with disabilities to have equal access to programs, events and services at HGSE and university wide.

What defines “disability?”

 According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and ADAAA 2008 a disability is a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, regardless of duration or condition. A disability can also be defined as a chronic illness which periodically causes episodes severely limiting life activities such as thinking, learning, breathing, walking, hearing, seeing, speaking, etc.

How do students know if they are eligible for disability services?

The student contacts or is referred to the Access and Disability Services (ADS) Office located in Gutman Library 124 A & B (ads@gse.harvard.edu)

  • Submits the ADS Request for Service Form
  • Provides acceptable documentation
  • Meets with the ADS Administrator as soon as possible
  • Receives notification of eligibility within 10 days of intake interview and documentation review

How are reasonable accommodations determined?

Accommodations must be supported by documentation from a qualified professional, such as a physician, psychologist or learning specialist. In general, disability documentation must be comprehensive enough to allow the ADS to make informed decisions about reasonable accommodations. Accommodations are determined after careful consideration of disability documentation, need for accommodation and program requirements.

How do I ensure that students can access class materials?

If you can provide us with a complete syllabus and/or reading list in advance of the semester, that will allow us to begin scanning and formatting materials so that the students may have access to them at the same time as their classmates. We can also format new material added during the semester, the lead time required varies widely based on the quantity, the nature of the material (prose, equations, images, etc.), and the format the student requires. We often contact professors to get syllabi or reading lists for courses our clients are considering before classes begin to help them decide which classes to enroll in.

Can faculty talk to students about their disability?

Some students may wish to keep specific disability information confidential, while others may choose to openly discuss their diagnosis and related information. The decision to disclose disability information is made by the student. You can best accommodate students by asking about their needs related to learning and fulfilling the requirements of the course, program or degree.


View our Faculty FAQ brochure for more questions 


If you have questions of your own, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the ADS Administrator.

 

Helpful Links

Class Act Website

- The goal of the Class Act website is to improve existing teaching practice by enhancing access to instruction for deaf and hard-of-hearing students in mainstreamed post-secondary classrooms. 
At the site there are links that take you to:

I. Challenges faced by faculty members in working with deaf and hard-of-hearing students. 
This Challenges/Strategies link of the website is organized into four main categories: 
• Teaching 
• Communication 
• Support Services 
• Environment

When you click on one of the almost 40 subcategories, you’ll navigate to individual pages where you will find the following:

• Short videotaped segments 
• Ready-to-use handouts, files you can download for your own classroom usage. 
II. A discussion board for faculty. 
III. A page of links to student videotapes providing comments from students. 
IV. A page of links to videotapes of faculty commenting on their experiences.

Disabilitiy Law Handbook | ADA National Network