Part 3 - General Classroom Considerations

Part 3 - General Classroom Considerations

General Classroom Considerations


◊ Include a Statement on the Course Syllabus ◊

◊ Classroom Tips to Consider ◊

◊ Determining Disability ◊

◊ Referring Students for Disability Assistance ◊

Include a Statement on the Course Syllabus

As stated earlier this GUIDE, some instructors find it helpful to include an announcement about disability on their course syllabus (green-sheet). Not only does this encourage students to come forward, but it also reminds them it is their responsibility to request accommodations and to ensure that their accommodations are authorized, or reauthorized, for each class each quarter. This practice protects against later claims of non-accommodation.

This is the statement that DSS believes would be most effective for faculty to include in their course syllabi:

“Students who have been found to be eligible for accommodations by Disability Support Services (DSS), please follow up to ensure that your accommodations have been authorized for the current quarter. If you are not registered with DSS and need accommodations, please go to the DSS office in the Registration & Student Services Building (RSS) - Room 141 for information on eligibility and how to receive support services. You can also go online to for additional information.”


Classroom Tips to Consider:


Each Student with a Disability Is Unique

Individuals with disabilities vary in their abilities and limitations. Even with the same disability, no two people have the same needs, nor are the solutions to their challenges the same.


Ask the Student

Students are encouraged by the DSS to discuss their needs with instructors, but they don’t always do so. If you have questions or concerns, the student is the first and the best source of information.


Expect Performance

Expect students with disabilities to meet the same academic standards as anyone else. Students want to achieve, and they can claim success only if it is genuine. Remember, though, that “equal” does not necessarily mean “identical.” A student with a disability may master material and demonstrate that mastery differently than peers without disabilities.


Support the Student

If you foresee problems, discuss them, but remember that students have the right to try a course for which they are qualified and for which they meet placement and prerequisite requirements. Give feedback about performance early so that students can make adjustments or request help to succeed.


Consider Digital Formats

Make the syllabus, assignment sheets, and reading available on disk, by e-mail, or on the Internet. Allow students to communicate and turn in materials electronically if they wish.


Know About Student Services

Inform yourself about relevant campus services. Use the DSPS Division staff for additional information, referral, and advice.


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Determining Disability


Instructors usually learn there is a student with a disability in their class in several ways:

  • A student has a visible/obvious disability.
  • A student informs the instructor and requests accommodation.
  • An accommodation letter is sent by DSS at the request of the student.


The student who has a visible disability may or may not request specific accommodations.

Although most students with disabilities register with the DSS, which verifies the disability and assesses the accommodation needs, students are not required by law to do so. Some students with disabilities attend De Anza without affiliating with DSS.  Although these students are still protected by all applicable laws, instructors are not required to provide accommodations without appropriate verification of the disability. If a student submits such verification directly to the instructor, the instructor is advised to consult with DSS to evaluate the verification and determine the appropriate accommodations. Confidentiality, as required by law, can be kept by maintaining the student’s anonymity. (See Confidentiality in PART 2)


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Referring Students for Disability Assistance


If a student has not already done so, encourage them to connect with DSS.  Make an announcement to the whole class during the first week of the quarter that support services are available for students with disabilities. Placing a statement on your syllabus is also effective. To receive DSS services, a student must verify their disability with a DSS Counselor or LD Specialist.

If you suspect a student in your class may need academic assistance, approach the student privately.

Be sensitive to the fact that the student may be reluctant to discuss their needs or may have difficulty articulating them. If you are unsure how to approach a student, call either Disabled Student Services at ext. 8753 or the Learning Disability Support Team at ext. 8838 for assistance.

State in a matter-of-fact way your observation of any difficulty the student seems to be having and offer your assistance. You may learn that the student is already registered with DSS.  If the student is not accessing services from DSS, remember that students are often unaware of all the campus services available. Be sure to inform students of DSS in addition to Counseling, Health, Tutorial, or other services. If a student is interested, provide the phone number of either:

  • Disabled Student Services at (408) 864-8753 or
  • The Learning Disabilities Support Team at (408) 864-8838.

For information about frequently held DSS information meetings, you may also refer students to:


Of course, students struggle in courses for many reasons other than disabilities. If a disability does not appear to be involved in the classroom difficulties, the student may benefit from a referral to Counseling or other campus services. However, learning disabilities are often overlooked and undiagnosed. Some warning signs that might indicate a learning disability are listed in Learning Disabilities, Signs and Characteristics, in PART 5 of this GUIDE.

It can be difficult to know which program to refer students to, especially if you are unsure of the nature of the problem or the specific disability.  Faculty members can call a DSS Counselor, LD Specialist, or DSS staff member, who will then help connect the student to the appropriate program.


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Part 3 - General Classroom Considerations Building:

Last Updated: 6/14/17