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FAQ's for Faculty and Staff

Disability is defined by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits (impairs, prohibits, or significantly restricts) one or more major life activities; or a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment.
According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, "substantially limiting" is defined as being unable to perform a major life activity, or is significantly restricted as to the condition, manner, or duration under which a major life activity can be performed, in comparison to the average person or to most people.
Major life activities are many and varied and may include such functions as caring for one's self, working, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, listening, thinking, communicating, memorizing, and processing information just to name a few.
Universities are required by Section 504 and Title II to provide students with disabilities with appropriate academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services that are necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in the school’s program. An example of an academic adjustment is extra time to take a test. Examples of auxiliary aids include note takers, interpreters, readers, and specialized computer equipment.
TAMIU complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and state and local requirements regarding the provision of accommodations to students with disabilities. Academic accommodations are provided to qualified students with appropriate documentation of a disability or disabilities in compliance with federal and state regulations.

Acceptable documentation must reflect the following:

  • Specific diagnoses supported by documentation;
  • Documentation must be current (in most cases, within the past 3 to 5 years)
  • Evaluation findings that support all diagnoses, to include relevant background history, tests administered, test scores (composite and subtest scores), test results, and interpretation of test results;”
  • How identified disabilities (problem areas or diagnoses) substantially impair day-to-day functioning of a major life area(s) is must. So, a description of the student’s functional limitations and how the limitations are directly related to the stated disabilities is paramount;
  • Specific recommendations for accommodations for curriculum, instruction and testing that are based on identified diagnoses and associated functional impairments is needed;
Documentation must be on a letterhead, typed, dated, and signed with the evaluator’s name, address, telephone number (in the event that the office needs to contact them), and professional credentials relevant to the diagnosis (see forms).

Yes. Academic accommodations make it possible to level the playing field for a student with a disability and to allow the student to compete more effectively with non-disabled peers.

  • Students are encouraged to advocate for themselves and communicate their needs for success with their professors and/or instructors.
  • Faculty has a legal responsibility to provide appropriate accommodations. Faculty members do not have the right to refuse recommended accommodations, not do they have the right to review a student’s eligibility documentation (including diagnostic data).
  • Faculty have a responsibility to work collaboratively with the DSS office to provide reasonable accommodations and to keep all records and communications with students confidential. For more information go to the Americans with Disabilities Act website ada.gov

Students are encouraged to meet with their professor individually to discuss the recommended and reasonable accommodations. The purpose of this meeting is to collaboratively discuss and work out the details for implementing the requested accommodations like the need for extended time for assignments, or the need for time allowances [time and-a-half or double time] for tests, or determining when best to take the exam, and so on. Any questions regarding the appropriateness of the accommodations or how to best implement requested accommodations should be directed to DSS.

Faculty should contact the DSS office as soon as possible to discuss their concerns with the Disability Services Coordinator who is working with the disabled student. The DSS staff, to include the Director, are available to meet with faculty and students to discuss reasonable alternatives.
No. The goal of accommodations in higher education is to provide students with disabilities equal access and opportunity, not to provide an unfair grading advantage. Overall, students with disabilities are held to the same standards and requirements as their non-disabled counterparts, though accommodations may alter how these requirements are met (e.g., providing more time to complete an assignment, time allowances for tests, allow test-taker to take tests in an alternate location, etc.). Students with accommodations, like those without, should be graded on the quality of their work. In addition, just like their non-disabled counterparts, students with disabilities are entitled to fail for non-performance.
The University has a testing center that can and will make approved testing accommodations. The DSS testing center, though small and limited, may be able to provide the space (and supervision) necessary to students whose accommodations call for extended time for testing, test scribes, proctors, readers, and/or assistive technology.
This, indeed, is a sensitive topic, necessitating a tactful and non-judgmental approach. It is not advisable to say “I think you have a learning (or other) disability.” It is best to be discreet, supportive, and non-directive. One might express concern that there might be something hindering or getting in the way of the student realizing her/his potential and, if student agrees, one could then suggest that she/he avail themselves of helpful on-campus resources like the student disability services office, etc. You can also refer them to our website to obtain more information at www.tamiu.edu/disability
Any student who feels s/he may need accommodations based on the impact of a disability should contact the Disability Coordinator directly to discuss your specific needs. You may contact the Disability Services for Students office at 956-326-3086. We are located in the Student Center, room 126.
While we strongly encourage students to set up accommodations at the beginning of the semester, a student might choose to request accommodations mid- to late-semester. Please note that academic accommodations begin when the memorandum letter is shared with you; accommodations are not retroactive.