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Accommodations compliance

clpiggclpigg 8 replies1 threads New Member
My son is close to graduating. One of the classes required for his degree is a communications class(speech). He has a generalized anxiety disorder diagnosis. He is enrolled in student disabilities with an ADHD diagnosis. After taking the speech class for theTHIRD time, we went to student disabilities to see if they could help. They said they needed the g.a.d. diagnosis, which we gave them. We met with the student disabilities coordinator, who said they could give him a class to replace the speech class, or waive it altogether. That meeting took place a year ago. The guy still hasn’t checked into it yet. He is saying now that my son will probably have to take the class to graduate. He says that EVERYBODY has to take it. According to section 504 “modifications may include...substitution of specific courses required for the completion of degree requirements”. My problem is that there is NO WAY my son can complete this class. I have already paid for it three times. He completed all the work and wrote and memorized all the speeches every time, and every time he would be dressed in a suit with note cards in hand, but could not go through with it. He would get hysterical. The guy from Stu. Dis. Doesn’t understand. He acted like my son should just suck it up and give the speech. I don’t know what qualifies him as student disabilities coordinator if he can’t even understand how debilitating anxiety attacks can be. I graduated from the same school in1985. I had the exact same problem with the exact same class. I dropped it after 2weeks. It was required for my degree but I got lucky and they let me substitute another class. Otherwise I would not be a teacher today, and that would be terrible. I have decided to go to the state level for help, but I don’t know who to contact. We live in AL. My son needs to apply for graduation next month, but he can’t as long as this is hanging over him. If anyone can help, I would really appreciate it. Also, my son had to sign paperwork to allow me to discuss this with the school. What will I need to do to discuss this with others? It will ruin my son’s future, along with his self esteem, if he can’t graduate because of this one class. He has worked SO hard.
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Replies to: Accommodations compliance

  • BunnyBlueBunnyBlue 866 replies10 threads Member
    edited June 2019
    There are different methods for handling a dispute with the 504 plan. One of them is mediation in which the parents and school agree to have a third party settle the dispute. You can initiate this process with a phone call to the Alabama State Department of Education requesting mediation. You should have received a booklet from the school which gives information about 504 plans and how to handle disputes.

    I am in full agreement with you that the school should substitute a different class. To me it is just common sense. I am sorry that you and your son are going through this.
    edited June 2019
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  • thumper1thumper1 78483 replies3537 threads Senior Member
    @BunnyBlue I believe this student is talking about college...not high school.

    I am not sure 504 accommodation plans happen at the college level.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78483 replies3537 threads Senior Member
    @clpigg

    Are you talking about a high school student or a college student??
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  • techmom99techmom99 3532 replies6 threads Senior Member
    As an accommodation - can he tape his speech privately and then the class can watch it?

    What type of class are you looking at as a substitution?
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  • janjmomjanjmom 357 replies10 threads Member
    @thumper1 at the college level there is ONLY the equivalent of a 504 (governed by ADA) and there is no IEP (governed by IDEA, which only applies until high school graduation).
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  • Aug2019Aug2019 201 replies15 threads Junior Member
    https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/transition.html

    Office of Civil Rights enforces Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Title II), which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. Practically every school district and postsecondary school in the United States is subject to one or both of these laws, which have similar requirements. The responsibilities of postsecondary schools differ significantly from those of school districts. You will have responsibilities as a postsecondary student that you do not have as a high school student.

    OCR strongly encourages you to know your responsibilities and those of postsecondary schools under Section 504 and Title II. Doing so will improve your opportunity to succeed as you enter postsecondary education.
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  • BunnyBlueBunnyBlue 866 replies10 threads Member
    edited June 2019
    @thumper1 Thanks for catching my mistake. I thought it was high school, but reading it more carefully I see it is probably college because the course was paid for.

    @techmom99 What a great idea to have him tape his speech!
    edited June 2019
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24968 replies20 threads Senior Member
    An accommodation can also be within the required class. As someone suggested, on a video tape, or perhaps with just the professor as an audience of 1. The professor can alter the final even if he takes the required class.

    The office of disabilities can't change the requirement but can advocate for the substitution or for the accommodation in the required class. If no professor will agree, go to the Dean of the college (arts and sciences?) to request the substitution.

    Is there another school that has a similar class near you where your son can take it this summer and transfer it? My daughter did that for the dreaded math requirement. There is a page on her home college's portal where you can put in a course taken at another school and it will tell you which requirement it will meet. Maybe the communications class at your local school doesn't require a final speech or teachers might be easier to work with. The pre-req at daughter's home school for the 'Q' math class were 3 other classes or taking a pre-test(!) but at the local university it was just a high school gpa of 2.5 and daughter had that. I so wish she'd taken it after freshman year because it really weighed on her all through college and in the end it was so easy to just take the class in the summer.
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  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU 14518 replies106 threads Forum Champion
    Also is there a way to give speeches..but not in front of people? So would he be okay recording himself giving a speech to an empty room?

    Also go outside the disability office...have your son ask the Dean of Students what to do
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  • stradmomstradmom 5235 replies51 threads Senior Member
    I don't suppose he ever spoke about the issue to the professor or course coordinator or department chair any of the three times he took the course?
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  • clpiggclpigg 8 replies1 threads New Member
    I really appreciate the input! We talked to my son’s advisor about it. He didn’t have any idea about what my son could do. Then we talked to an administrator. She didn’t know anything either. She called the student disabilities office, but no one there could help her at that time. The speech class required is one of the general courses. They have to give three speeches. They are the majority of the grade. Without them, he won’t pass. The instructor has no say in what happens in this situation. It depends on student disabilities and what they decide. We talked about my son recording the speeches, but the Stu. Dis. Coordinator never followed up. The last thing he told us was that the course requirements are decided at the state level, and he doubted they would change anything for us. He was supposed to find out and let us know,but he still hasn’t. That is why I want to go to the state level myself. I just don’t know who to talk to. Also, if he took the same class somewhere else he would have the same problems. I think that maybe my son needs someone other than student disabilities to advocate for him. Where can I find such a person?
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  • BunnyBlueBunnyBlue 866 replies10 threads Member
    I'm no expert on this, but I found a website that lists some nonprofit organizations that might help. Google "Understood, Where to find legal help". In their list, for example, you can click on "National Disability Rights Network" and find places in Alabama to contact. Some people hire attorneys who specialize in this area, but I think it is expensive.
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  • clpiggclpigg 8 replies1 threads New Member
    Thank you. I will definitely check it out!
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  • STEM2017STEM2017 4117 replies97 threads Senior Member
    Google "Understood, Where to find legal help". In their list, for example, you can click on "National Disability Rights Network" and find places in Alabama to contact.

    It's an unfortunate final step, but when lawyers get involved and start contacting the college, that's when the advisor, the administrator, and the disabilities office will start to come up with solutions.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78483 replies3537 threads Senior Member
    . He has a generalized anxiety disorder diagnosis.

    Perhaps you have already done this...but I would speak to the psychiatrist managing this disorder for your son. See if this person has any suggestions to help your son be able to meet this course requirement. Maybe this doctor has an idea. This type of anxiety can be awful...but there should be a way to manage it.

    Good luck.

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  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU 14518 replies106 threads Forum Champion
    Did anyone talk to the professor about doing videos of the speeches? They are the ones who would say if that met the course requirements.

    Did anyone talk to the Dean of Students about an alternative class?
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  • OctagonOctagon 339 replies7 threads Member
    Speak with a psychiatrist about medication to reduce anxiety to allow him to complete the speech. Also, you need a special ed lawyer or an advocate. Third, exposure therapy is what works for social anxiety- so take him to a psychologist right away who has expertise in this condition (academy of cognitive therapy is a good resource, also anxiety and depression association of America). A psychologist might be able to treat this problem relatively quickly. Please don't catastrophize about him not graduating. It will only make his anxiety worse. This sounds more like social anxiety rather than generalized anxiety. There are workbooks about social anxiety.
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  • sylvan8798sylvan8798 6955 replies143 threads Senior Member
    ^Agree, it seems like overcoming is a better outcome than accepting defeat.
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  • ECmotherx2ECmotherx2 2316 replies11 threads Senior Member
    I think that a call to the Office of Civil Rights in your region will shed some light on the best way to approach this and will give pointers on who to contact at the college, how to document, etc. I called them frequently when my son was younger and they were always helpful and I was well prepared when I met with school administrators. I wish your son the best of luck.

    Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee
    Office for Civil Rights,
    Atlanta Office
    U.S. Department of Education
    61 Forsyth Street S.W., Suite 19T10
    Atlanta, GA 30303-8927
    Telephone: (404) 974-9406
    Facsimile: (404) 974-9471
    Email: [email protected]
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  • compmomcompmom 11874 replies82 threads Senior Member
    Has anyone prescribed beta blockers? They are used for heart issues but musicians use them for stage fright and they also counteract panic. Talk to the psychiatrist.

    I totally agree with the suggestion to get a lawyer. You can also call the federal Dept, of Education's Office for Civil Rights in your area. We have found them to be helpful.

    But nothing helped more than talking to a lawyer. You may be able to get away with simply meeting with the lawyer and then telling the school, with a smile, "Our lawyer suggested...." Or the lawyer could write a letter.

    The language for accommodations at the college level says they cannot pose undue financial or administrative burden, or substantially change the academic program. The vagueness of this is being tested in various court cases. But there may be no precedent for this.

    so- beta blocker and/or lawyer would be my vote
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