Faculty and Staff Information

Faculty and Staff Information

Welcome Faculty!

Information in this section of the website is intended to serve two objectives. It should provide an understanding regarding  how and why this office functions as it does. It can also provide useful information about teaching college students who have medical, physical, sensory, and brain related issues.


Faculty Resources and Tools

What is Disability?

Under ADA Section 504 of the ADA, disability is defined as physical, or mental impairment that substantially limits one more major life activities, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having an impairment.
Major Life Activities?
Examples of major life activities include: caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, standing, sitting, lifting, sleeping, speaking, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and interacting with others.
Record of Impairment?
Documentation is required for a student to receive academic accommodations from an appropriate evaluator. Each disability category has slightly different requirements in regards to who should complete the required documentation.
In general the documentation should meet these requirements:
•    Be recent and comprehensive
•    Demonstrate a substantial impairment to one or more major life activities
•    Describe the specific accommodations necessary for the student as a result of their disability
•    Completed by licensed clinical professional familiar with the impairment/condition
Students who do not provide appropriate documentation that outlines the student’s functional limitations and need for academic accommodations based on their diagnosis will not be provided accommodations. Also if their condition does not substantially impair one or more major life activities, it would be determined that the student does not have a disability, thus not eligible for accommodations.

Who is Eligible for Accommodations?

There are 10 primary categories that are used in determining who is eligible for academic accommodations at the college level. The 10 disability areas are general in nature and include subsets in each categories.

Disability Categories and Subsets

(1) Visual- Blind, low-vision, etc.

(2) Hearing- Deaf, hearing loss, etc.

(3) Mobility- Paraplegic, Arthritis, Cerebral Palsy, Back Disorders, Amputation, etc.

(4) Psych- Anxiety Disorders, Bi-Polar Disorder, Depression, Borderline Personality Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Specified Phobias, Panic Disorders etc.

(5) Learning Disability- Auditory Processing Disorder, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Language Processing Disorder, Non-Verbal Learning Disability, Dyspraxia, etc.

(6) ADHD- Inattentive Type, Hyperactive Impulse Type, Combination Type

(7) Autism Spectrum Disorder- Asperger’s, or Pervasive Developmental Disability Not Otherwise Specified

(8) Brain Injury -Concussion, Traumatic Brain Injury, Hematoma, Hemorrhage, etc.

(9) Health-Cystic Fibrosis, Chron’s Disease, Epilepsy, Fibromyalgia, Kidney Diseases, Cancer, Autoimmune

Disease, etc.

(10) Temp- Concussions, broken limbs, postsurgical procedures (depending on severity and determined on a case-by-case basis).

Syllabus Statement

Students with disabilities are a protected class under ADA and have the right to reasonable accommodations that promote equal access and opportunity.  To appropriately fulfill reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities, the Ability Services office recommends that professors use the syllabus statement listed below in all taught courses:  

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls welcomes students with disabilities into its educational programs, activities, residential halls, and everything else it offers.  Those who’ll need academic adjustments or accommodations for a disability should contact the Ability Services office, 129 Hagestad Hall, 715-425-0740.  Decisions to allow adjustments and accommodations are made on the basis of clinical documentation the students provide to sufficiently indicate the nature of their situation. Additional information is found at”

Common Accommodations

Test Taking Accommodation:
•    Extended time is usually 50% more time to take a test. Greater percentages of additional time, Frequent Breaks during tests may also be possible if justified by documentation.
•    Questions read out loud- Almost always the person who’s reading the questions is not the professor who wrote the test, so in that situation the wording of questions cannot be changed.
•    Writing Assistance allows students to answer questions out loud while someone else does the writing.
•    Alternative test taking locations can reduce distractions that might occur in the classroom.


Copies of Lecture Notes:
Professors may choose to provide copies of their own lecture notes to the student, or ask the student to obtain any copies of notes through Ability Services.  Lecture notes that the student receives from Ability Services are obtained anonymously from a classmate in the course. 


Text Accommodations:
Text accommodations could be audio textbooks, electronic textbooks, or written transcripts of audio media such as the soundtracks of a videos. Typically the office must develop these accommodations itself (versus being able to purchase them commercially). The U.S. Copyright Law usually makes it illegal to develop the accommodations unless a student's documentation thoroughly indicates the need, and the student has signed certain agreements to honor a publisher's copyright. Because of these things it can take the office considerable time to deliver text accommodations.

Test Accommodations


The most common test taking accommodations are: a specified amount of additional time, a distraction reduced testing location, questions read out loud by the proctor, and transcription of student's verbal answers. Educational Support Plans are made for individual students who use particular accommodations which can offset a negative influence of their self-disclosed, document-supported barrier. The objective is not to raise the potential of  success. The objective is to ensure that a test is measuring the student's knowledge and skills, versus measuring how the disability impacts the test taking event.

General Test Protocols

  1. The student provides documentation to confirm there is a substantial need for test accommodations.
  2. An Educational Support Plan is collaboratively created to show what accommodations the student may have.
  3. The student receives an Accommocation Notification Memo that identifies the accommodations.
  4. The student gives the professor a copy of the Memo showing the need for test accommodations.
  5. The student makes an outward request each time the test accommodation is wanted, on a per test basis.
  6. The professor elects to unilaterally give the test with the accommodations, or can refer the student to Ability Services so the test can occur there.  The professor contacts Deb Morgan if it seems the accommodation is inappropriate.
  7. If referred to Ability Services, the student fills out an Accommodated Test Request Form and asks the professor to sign it.  The student delivers the form to Ability Services a minimum of one week prior the scheduled test.
  8. Ability Services uses the information on the form to make plans for the test.
  9. If Ability Services administers the test, professor makes decision regarding how the test is transported.

Note: It's highly recommended that inter-campus mail should not be used to send a test to Ability Services; generally a test that's sent that way doesn't arrive on time and it's difficult for the staff to track it down within the campus mail system.

 Routine Testing Proctoring Protocols at Ability Services

  • Students should deliver Accommodated Test Scheduling Forms to the office 5-business days in-advance of a test date during the regular part of a semester. For a final exam it should be delivered by the student 2 weeks in-advance.
  • Tests take place in small rooms and cubicles
  • Tests are monitored by video camera and recorded, unless the proctor is actully physically present to read questions out loud and/or transcribe the student's verbal answers
  • Students are asked to have nothing on the table, except the test and any thing that's necessary to write the answers.
  • Ability Services never leaves a test unattended and when the office is closed its in a locked file cabinet

Student's Responsibilities

Link to Directions for Test Accommodations

        Note: If you have questions, comments, or concerns on this subject, contact Deb Morgan.

Contact Us

Ability Services
Phone: 715-425-0740
Fax: 715-425-0742
Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
129 Hagestad Hall