Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

  • Accommodation: Adjustments made in course materials or instructional methodology which do not change the essential nature or academic and technical standards of the course.
  •  Adaptive/Assistive Technology: Equipment or software items designed or used to compensate for areas of disability or impairment.  It allows students with disabilities the same access to information and production as their peers.
  •  Alternative Format/Media/Textbooks: Alternative format/media/textbooks is the provision of printed material in alternative formats, providing equal access to the information contained in the printed material.
  •  Auxiliary Aids: Services, equipment, and procedures that allow students with disabilities access to learning and activities in and out of the classroom.  They include but are not limited to: sign language interpreters, real time captioning services, adaptive/assistive technology, and alternative format/media/textbooks.
  • Disability: A disability is defined by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment (ADAAA) of 2008 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, as a physical or mental condition that substantially limits major life activities.  These include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.
  •  Essential Nature of a Course:  this is language from applicable case law; ref. the Davis decision.  Colleges need to identify the essential elements of each course requirement and curriculum program (i.e. curriculum committee approved learning objectives); elements that are identified as “essential” after a student with disabilities has challenged or raised a question about the element will not stand program review.  Colleges are not required to waive or substitute essential elements of programs.
  •  Interpretive Services: An auxiliary aid provided to individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing.  The sign language interpreter, who provides this service, assists by facilitating communication.
  •  Major Life Activities: These include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.
  • Reader: This is an accommodation in which a reader reads print material verbatim to the student with a disability.  A reader never interprets nor augments what is in print.  This accommodation includes use of a screen reader computer program such as Jaws.
  • Reasonable: is a term central to disability services and the design of accommodations.  A request for accommodations which would put the requesting student or others in danger would not be considered reasonable.
  • Scribe: This is an accommodation in which a scribe takes pure dictation from a student with a disability.  The scribe never edits the material, and the student is responsible for proofing the work to ensure the scribe has been accurate.
  •  Substantial Impairment: rather than specifying particular disabilities, the disability laws set an individual’s threshold for “mental or physical impairment” as the existence of a limitation on any major life activity.
  •  Testing Accommodations: accommodation services that allow students with disabilities to exhibit their knowledge on assessments by using auxiliary aids which include but are not limited to: extra time, a reader/scribe, computers, large print, and distraction-reduced environment.