CASAA new students

REQUESTING ACCOMMODATIONS

All AIC students have been accepted to the College based on their ability to succeed academically and are required to meet the same academic and technical standards. Center for Accessibility Services and Academic Accommodations (CASAA) provides accommodations and academic support to students with disabilities or temporary conditions. Each student’s requests will be evaluated on an individual basis.

HOW TO REQUEST ACCOMMODATIONS

  1. Schedule an appointment in the CASAA Office: via phone (413.205.3037), or by emailing our office at accessibility.services@aic.edu.
  2. Meet with the Coordinator of Accessibility Services to discuss the impact of the disability in the AIC environment.
  3. Provide documentation of your disability. Documentation should be from an appropriate professional, such as a doctor, psychologist, licensed therapist, psychiatrist, etc. Documentation should include:
    • Diagnosis.
    • Impact of the disability within the AIC environment.
    • Recommendations for academic adjustments or accommodations.

FIRST MEETING – WHAT TO EXPECT

During your first meeting, the Coordinator will talk with you about what brings you to our office and listen to your concerns. They will then describe what our office does and why. The Coordinator will ask questions about your situation and your disability so the two of you can figure out what barriers you are facing and what we may be able to put in place to help minimize those barriers and ensure equal opportunity for you at the College. We will work with you to plan for any next steps and refer you to other resources, where appropriate.

If you have information about your disability from a therapist, doctor, or other licensed professional, it’s helpful if you can email it ahead of time to accessibility.services@aic.edu, fax it to 413-205-3405 or bring it with you to the meeting. If not, we still will talk with you about your concerns and next steps.

DOCUMENTATION

Please submit in person to CASAA in the basement level under the Dining Common between 8:30-4:30 Monday-Friday. You can also send it via mail (address below), fax or email.

Center for Accessibility Services and Academic Accommodations
American International College

Box #50
1000 State St

Springfield, MA 01109
Fax: 413-205-3405
accessibility.services@aic.edu

Documentation may include, but is not limited to, a letter from your provider, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), 504 Plan, neuropsychological assessment, and/or psychoeducational testing report.

The purpose of documentation is to assist in providing information and understanding about how the courses or facilities might present barriers and to what degree the disability affects you, and to plan for accommodations to facilitate access.

High school versus college

Please see below the many ways in which college students need to alter their expectations as they move from high school to college.

Special Education in High School: Disability Services in College:
The relevant disability law is the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA). The relevant disability laws are Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Schools must make available to all eligible children with disabilities a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment appropriate to their individual needs. Colleges are prohibited from discriminating against qualified students because of a disability.
Behavior can be viewed as a manifestation of the disability and accommodated within limits. You must meet the essential standards (educational, behavioral, and others) established by the college or university.
Guiding principle: The environment is fit to the student Guiding principle: The student fits the environment

FOR PARENTS

The transition to college can sometimes be as difficult for the parents as it can be for the student. One of the biggest challenges in this is that the responsibility for success shifts to the student. Many parents, especially those who have children with disabilities, are used to playing an active role in securing the necessary resources for their students to be successful. College, however, is a time when the student is given the chance to learn to self-advocate and to assume responsibility.

SUPPORTING YOUR STUDENT

Even though your student will be responsible for self-advocating, you can offer support in a number of ways.

One way is to make sure that you know the rights and responsibilities the student has under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and ensure that your student knows them.

In addition, you can help your student learn to understand and articulate the impact of his or her particular disability. Once the term begins, you can ask them questions about their performance and the services they are accessing. If you sense that they are struggling, ask them about it and work with them to determine the steps they need to take to get help.

The most important way you can support the growth of your student, however, is to let them assume responsibility for their own education.

PRIVACY AND PARENTS

INDEPENDENCE AND COMMUNICATION

We in CASAA appreciate the importance of fostering independence in our students. We begin by placing the responsibility for communication on the student. In that spirit, once the student begins their career at AIC, we do not initiate communication with parents about a student’s academic performance or use of CASAA services.

We encourage you to open lines of communication before your student arrives at AIC. Let your child know what you expect from them and what information you expect them to share with you. We will also let students know that we consider it their responsibility to communicate with you.

WHY WE INSIST THAT THE STUDENT COMMUNICATE DIRECTLY WITH YOU

There are three important reasons that we place the responsibility for communication on the student. The first reason is quite simple: the law requires us to do so. FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, requires colleges and universities to maintain the privacy of students’ educational records.  HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, requires colleges and universities to maintain the privacy of students’ medical records.

The second and third reasons are less simple, but we think more important. If we are to be effective in facilitating learning, it is of paramount importance that we build a trusting relationship. The student needs to know that we can be trusted to maintain confidentiality, to always hold their interests before any others.

Lastly, we know from both our research and experience that if a student is to learn to behave responsibly, they must be given responsibility. We give students this responsibility and encourage them to use us as facilitators or as guides as they begin the journey to a college degree.

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