ISC Building, Room 104
Academic Year: M-F 9-5
Summer: M-F 9-4
Elisabeth Sullivan, L/AC Director and 504 Coordinator.
Heather Shpiro, Associate Director. Tutoring/learning coordinator for all Pratt students.Starfish manager.
Anna Riquier, Associate Director of Accessibility. Coordinator for L/AC advisors and learning specialists; advisor for students with disabilities.
Beth Ann Bryant-Richards, Accommodations Specialist. Advisor for students with disabilities; L/AC presence at Pratt Manhattan.
Darelle Daniels, Access Coordinator. Specialized accommodations for students with disabilities, especially those involving assistive technology; advisor for students with disabilities.
Mon Lee, Exam Coordinator. Manages exam proctoring and office procedures.
Matthew Puvogel, Access Specialist. Advisor for students with disabilities.
What is the Learning/Access Center?
The Learning/Access Center (L/AC) has staff and tools available to help all Pratt students who are working toward academic success. To that end, at the L/AC, all students can participate in short-term, one-on-one meetings with peers and/or professional tutors to help with academic difficulties and time management, explore assistive technology, and take part in student success programming. Additionally, students with disabilities can enroll with the L/AC to determine and receive reasonable accommodations for classroom, housing, and other campus settings. The L/AC also supports students with special circumstances through the Senior Student Advocate and Care Coordinator.
If a student does not have a documented disability, how can the L/AC assist them?
The L/AC has a full-service learning center where students can meet with staff, explore assistive technology, and take part in student success programming. All Pratt students have the opportunity to receive academic coaching and/or tutoring. Academic coaching includes time management, study skills, reading skills and brainstorming for projects. Tutoring is also available in various subjects across the Pratt curriculum and instruction on specific softwares used by academic departments. If it is determined that further evaluation is necessary to test for the presence of learning disabilities or psychological or psychiatric conditions, the L/AC collaborates with both Health Services and the Counseling Center to help students with securing referrals. The L/AC also houses the Veteran Resource Center, which provides comprehensive support services to help military and veteran students and their dependents succeed at Pratt.
What kind of tutoring does the L/AC offer?
The L/AC provides tutoring in various subjects across the Pratt curriculum, including specific software tools. If a student needs tutoring help, you can refer them to the L/AC and we will match a tutor to their needs. There is also academic coaching for time management and academic strategies. Professors can refer students for academic support through the Starfish tool.
Classroom Accommodations and FNLs
What are accommodations?
Accommodations are reasonable adjustments or modifications to programs, facilities, or curricula that ensure equal access for students with documented disabilities. Some examples of reasonable classroom accommodations are extended time for testing and certain assignments, the use of assistive technology, classroom relocation, note-taker, and the use of sign language interpreters or Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) in the classroom. All accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis based on documentation review and interview(s) with the student, and professional review. Specific accommodations are described in more detail below.
Why are there special accommodations for students with disabilities? Why am I seeing more of them now?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990. The intent was to provide equal access to persons with disabilities. Over time, many conditions became regarded as “not rising to the level of a disability”, especially mental health conditions that may not have a lifelong impact, and other episodic conditions. In 2008, the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) was passed with the purpose of restoring the original intent of the law. It significantly broadened the categories and types of conditions that are considered to be disabilities. (A disability “significantly impacts a major life activity”). As particular questions arose as to whether a condition constituted a disability, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) continued to add to the examples included with the ADAAA; these revisions occurred up until October 2016. Many conditions like diabetes, Crohn’s disease, Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, and many other physical and mental health conditions that were not previously regarded as disabilities because of their episodic nature are now regarded as qualifying conditions for accommodation.
With the advent of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, we have seen a considerable rise in students who present with mental health issues that impact their life in school, as well as students impacted by long COVID.
What is the Faculty Notification Letter (FNL)?
The FNL verifies a student’s enrollment with the L/AC and lists specific accommodations the student is eligible to receive. Receipt of the FNL is considered the legal notification to provide accommodations. If needed, students and faculty are encouraged to meet and discuss the specifics of implementing the accommodations. Questions about the scope or nature of specific accommodations can be discussed with the student’s L/AC advisor, listed on the FNL. The L/AC will work with students and faculty as needed to implement the approved accommodations or to consider alternatives if a particular accommodation is deemed a fundamental alteration of the curriculum.
What is on the FNL?
The FNL lists specific accommodations the student is eligible to receive for access. Additionally, the student’s L/AC advisor and contact information are listed on the FNL. Information about the student’s particular disability and/or the impact of that disability is not included on the FNL.
How are accommodations for students determined?
The accommodations listed on the faculty notification letter are determined based on the student history, the submitted documentation from a licensed professional, and the enrollment interview to assess impact.These accommodations are designed to ensure equitable access. If the student requests additional accommodations and/or there is concern that implementing a particular accommodation will alter fundamental course requirements, the professor and/or department should contact the L/AC advisor to engage in an interactive discussion (see explanation of process below).
Who receives the FNL?
At the start of each new semester, the L/AC will email the FNLs for all enrolled students who have provided permission to each student’s current faculty, academic advisor, department chair and assistant chair, L/AC advisor, and the student. Additionally, throughout the semester, FNLs for students newly enrolled for a disability will be emailed following the enrollment meeting with the student.
Why did I receive an FNL later in the semester?
Students enroll with the L/AC on a voluntary basis and therefore can enroll at any point throughout the academic year, including and up until the last day of the semester. After a student has met with the L/AC to enroll for accommodations and has provided permission, the L/AC will email the FNLs to all the parties listed above. Student accommodations are designed to provide access going forward, not retroactively. If an FNL arrives in the last weeks of the semester, the faculty can let the L/AC advisor know the student’s status if there are concerns that the student is not on track to pass. Some students enrolling at the L/AC in the final weeks of the semester may be past the point where they will be able to achieve the learning objectives of the course. Students enrolling late in the semester may be seeking L/AC assistance in assessing whether they need to do a medical withdrawal.
Why doesn’t the FNL list the student’s diagnosis? Am I allowed to ask the student’s diagnosis?
Student disability information is considered private confidential information, and must be held in the strictest confidence. Any public disclosure of a student’s disability is a violation of the law. If you have any questions about how to best support a specific student, you can contact the student’s L/AC advisor for more information about the likely impact of the disability and guidance on accommodation implementation. The L/AC advisor contact information is on the FNL.
When should I speak directly with the student and when should I speak to the L/AC advisor?
Students appreciate hearing that you support their use of accommodations. A conversation could be in person or via email. If you need to discuss accommodations with a student in person, be sure to do so in a private conversation. Discussions about how to implement an accommodation are fine, but if there is an accommodation that you feel is problematic, please contact the L/AC advisor.
How do accommodations get implemented within the studio environment?
The FNL describes standard classroom accommodations the student is eligible to receive. Certain accommodations, such as extended test time, may not be applicable in the studio setting. Additionally, certain accommodations may not be considered feasible within the studio setting. If a professor has any questions or concerns about whether or not a specific accommodation will alter the fundamental requirements of a studio course, then the professor should contact the student’s L/AC advisor to engage in an interactive discussion of alternatives.
What if I disagree with an accommodation?
The right to accommodations are delineated by Section 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), and are considered reasonable adjustments or modifications to programs, facilities, or curricula that ensure equal access. However, accommodations that would fundamentally alter the nature and standards of a course should be reconsidered in an interactive process meeting between the student, professor, and L/AC. Please contact the student’s L/AC advisor if this situation arises.
What if I am unable to implement an accommodation?
If a professor feels they are unable to implement a specific accommodation, the professor should contact the student’s L/AC advisor to work out a solution.
What is an “interactive process”?
The interactive process is a term used by the Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Education to describe the required method of systematically and thoroughly evaluating any accommodation request in order to determine if it is both reasonable and fulfills the fundamental requirements of the course. The interactive process happens on a case-by-case basis and outcomes are not predetermined. Professors, the L/AC and sometimes academic departments and students engage in a collaborative discussion to determine what is feasible while still meeting fundamental requirements.
What can I expect in an interactive process meeting?
At an interactive process meeting, the assembled group meets to review the student’s particular accommodation request. During this meeting, the group reviews the course learning objectives and coursework, alternative solutions proposed, the fundamental or irreplaceable requirements, and the feasibility of implementing the requested accommodation. For portions of the accommodation that cannot be implemented, alternative solutions are also considered. All involved parties will receive notification of the determination of the meeting.
What if a student requests an accommodation that is not listed on their FNL?
The FNL describes standard accommodations the student is eligible to receive. However, a student may request additional specific accommodations for a particular situation. If the professor feels the accommodation is reasonable and appropriate, they can agree to it without including the L/AC. Otherwise, the professor should contact the student’s L/AC advisor to engage in an interactive discussion between the student, the professor, and the L/AC. The FNL describes standard accommodations the student is eligible to receive. However, a student may request additional specific accommodations for a particular situation. If the professor feels the accommodation is reasonable and appropriate, they can agree to it without including the L/AC. Otherwise, the professor should contact the student’s L/AC advisor to engage in an interactive discussion between the student, the professor, and the L/AC.
What is Advocacy as an accommodation?
All FNLs list “advocacy” as the first accommodation.This means that if there is a concern or complication with providing or interpreting any of the listed accommodations and/or additional request of accommodation, the L/AC advisor is available to assist in this process. The Office of Civil Rights has indicated that due to the power differential between professor and student, while students can directly discuss implementation of accommodation with a professor, negotiations for duration and scope of an accommodation should be conducted between the L/AC and the professor or department.
What does it mean for a student to have the accommodation of “flexible deadlines,” “slower project completion,” or “extra time for written assignments?”
Students with a variety of disabilities see the impact of their disability in the fact that it takes them longer to complete tasks than the average student, which leads to the need for an accommodation related to deadlines. Students should communicate with their professors regarding any deadline extensions or requests for more time on an assignment or project. We recommend that students email their professors about any such requests and copy their L/AC advisor. Extensions can become problematic if a student falls behind and is unable to catch up with the workload. In such circumstances, professors are encouraged to contact the L/AC advisor with concerns.
What should I expect when a student has the accommodation of “May have disability-related absences”?
The L/AC office has documentation on file verifying the student’s disability may result in absences and these would be considered “disability-related absences.” Additional documentation, such as a doctor’s note, is not required from the student when they have a disability-related absence. We encourage students to communicate clearly with their professors if they experience a disability-related absence by emailing the professor (and copying the L/AC advisor) as soon as they realize they will be absent. A student should not receive an automatic grade penalty for a disability-related absence. Even though a student may have ‘excused’ absences, students may miss enough instruction and classroom activities that it becomes difficult for them to achieve the fundamental requirements of the course. A professor should alert the L/AC of this situation via a Starfish flag or other communication.
What should I expect when a student has the accommodation of “Opportunity to take short breaks”?
The opportunity to take short breaks is a standard accommodation for students with a variety of disabilities, and as such the individual student’s need for taking short breaks will also vary. Similarly, the amount of time that each student will need for their short break will vary. If the professor has any questions or concerns about a student’s need for short breaks, the professor should contact the student’s L/AC advisor to engage in an interactive discussion.
Additional common classroom accommodations:
Reduced course load: This accommodation lets the academic advisor know that it is recommended the student take fewer classes per semester than may be customary.
Smartpen: Assistive technology device provided to the student by the L/AC that audio-records while writing for improved note-taking.
Use of laptop: For note-taking when student has impact related to writing by hand.
Note-takers: student identifies or professor identifies: L/AC will reach out to the professor if the student needs the professor to assist with identifying a note-taker.
Record class lectures/demonstrations (phone): For supporting capturing in-class instruction and feedback when handwriting and/or memory is an area of impact.
Interpreters: Sign language or CART provider: L/AC will be in touch before the start of semester to arrange for students with hearing-related disability issues.
Preferential seating: Some students need to sit in a particular location.
Alternative table/chair: L/AC will provide if needed.
Wheelchair (or elevator) accessible spaces: L/AC works with Registrar to relocates classrooms if needed. If your classroom location changes, please alert L/AC.
Consideration of options for group work: Student may request that the professor make group assignments or may wish to discuss alternatives to group work if possible. L/AC will assist in communicating about and brainstorming solutions if this accommodation if needed.
Consideration of options for presentations: Student may wish to discuss whether a different kind of assignment can be substituted or may need to explore ways to present that are more accessible. (L/AC is available for consultation).
Consideration of alternatives for classroom participation: Student may experience disability impact related to class participation and may wish to see whether there are alternative ways to demonstrate learning. This may only be needed when a student is experiencing episodic impact or this may be a general need. (L/AC is available for consultation).
Allergy/environmental issues: Student or L/AC will communicate with faculty if this is an anticipated issue. Some students may need to use additional protective equipment.
Extended test time: If it is not possible to provide extended test time within the class, the student can take tests and exams at the L/AC. The student should email the professor and the L/AC (email@example.com) at least one week prior to the exam to arrange for proctoring.
Separate testing environment: The L/AC will contact the professor about arranging for the test to be taken at the L/AC.
Word processor use for essays on tests: Some students require the option to type written responses. Internet is disabled.
Test questions read aloud: If needed, usually provided by L/AC or Kurzweil (a program that reads text aloud).
Alternate format reading materials on request: The L/AC provides students with Kurzweil, a program that can read pdfs aloud and can also provide audio books when available. If pdfs provided by professor are not clear enough to be read by Kurzweil, the L/AC may be in touch to assist with providing a clearer pdf.
Assignment instructions in written format: Some students may need assignments in written format if the professor is only giving verbal instructions.
May have disability-related late arrival: If it is anticipated that a student will be arriving late due to slow travel time between classes or other issues that impact arrival, the L/AC may be in touch to address concerns about what may be missed.
There may be other accommodations listed that are less common or related to a specific need. Please feel free to reach out to the L/AC advisor for additional clarification of any accommodation.
How do I record my online class lecture?
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for an instruction sheet on recording online lectures and making recordings (and transcripts) available to students.
What is the accommodation “Attendance with camera off?”
Students who have this accommodation should be considered present even if they have their camera off during a remote class.
What does the “Participation through chat” accommodation mean?
Students who have this accommodation should be able to type comments or questions into the chat rather than speaking on camera.
How do I adjust a student’s time for an online exam?
Please contact email@example.com for an instruction sheet on adjusting a student’s time for an online exam.
Helping a Student in Need
What if a student hands documentation of disability directly to me?
The student should be directed to take their documentation to the L/AC. In addition to determining and establishing appropriate accommodations, the L/AC can provide additional support services that may be beneficial to the student’s success. The L/AC stores student documentation in a private secure format.
What if a student asks for an accommodation but does not have an FNL?
If a student informs a professor that they have a disability for which they require accommodations, but the professor has not received a FNL from the L/AC, professors should encourage students to schedule a meeting with the L/AC to receive assistance with determining and establishing appropriate accommodations. We recommend that the professor raise a Starfish flag to refer the student to the L/AC.
What do I do with a student who is struggling academically but does not have an FNL?
All Pratt students have the opportunity to work with professional and/or peer academic coaches and tutors at the L/AC. If you notice a student is struggling, tell the student you have noticed they are struggling and provide the L/AC as a resource for getting academic help. We encourage professors to raise a Starfish flag to refer students to the L/AC. If further evaluation is necessary to test for the presence of learning disabilities or psychological or psychiatric conditions, the L/AC collaborates with Health Services and the Counseling Center to help students with securing referrals.
What if a student has a temporary injury, condition, or situation?
Often students with temporary injuries, conditions, or situations will require access to elevators or other temporary accommodations. The L/AC has a process for putting these temporary accommodations in place. Professors should raise a Starfish flag referring them to the L/AC.
For situations not related to access (such as death in the family, etc.), students may also seek assistance from the Senior Student Advocate and Care Coordinator, as well as the Counseling Center. Professors can raise a wellbeing flag in Starfish for these situations.
What assistance does the L/AC offer faculty and departments to address behavioral problems in the classroom?
Professors can also raise classroom conduct flags in Starfish and appropriate personnel will follow up. L/AC staff are also available to consult about individual students.
L/AC staff are also available to give presentations at departmental, faculty, or other meetings, on a wide range of topics related to the academic support and success of students at Pratt. If you notice any concerning behavior or if a student has shared information with you that you think needs follow up, please raise a Starfish flag related to the student’s wellbeing.
What are additional resources that faculty can provide to students?
The Counseling Center: 718.687.5356, firstname.lastname@example.org
Health Services: 718.399.4544, email@example.com
Senior Student Advocate & Care Coordinator: 718.399.4546, firstname.lastname@example.org
Title IX Office: 718.636.3639, email@example.com
NYC Well: 1.888.NYC.WELL (1.888.692.9355), text “WELL” to 65173
Do you have a recommended syllabus statement?
We recommend you include the following, in its entirety, in course syllabi. This is also the statement provided on the Provost’s website.
Students with Disabilities and Accessibility
Pratt Institute is committed to the full inclusion of all students. If you are a student with a disability and require accommodations, please contact the Learning/Access Center (L/AC) at LAC@pratt.edu to schedule an appointment to discuss these accommodations. Students with disabilities who have already registered with the L/AC are encouraged to speak to the professor about accommodations they may need to produce an accessible learning environment.
Requests for accommodation should be made as far in advance as reasonably possible to allow sufficient time to make any necessary modifications to ensure the relevant classes, programs, or activities are readily accessible. The L/AC is available to all Pratt students, confidentially, with additional resources and information to facilitate full access to all campus programs and activities and provide support related to any other disability-related matters.