L/AC Contact Information
ISC Building, Room 104
Academic Year: M–Th 9–6, 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.
Anna Riquier, Associate Director of Accessibility. Meets 1:1 with students with disabilities; advisor for students with disabilities.
Sidra Greene, Assistant to the Director, manages the L/AC office.
Marie McLaughlin, Access Coordinator. Specialized accommodations for students with disabilities; advisor for students with disabilities at Pratt Manhattan.
Maegan D’Amato, Learning Specialist. Meets 1:1 with students with disabilities; advisor for students with disabilities.
Jenn Patel, Part-Time Learning Specialist. Meets 1:1 with 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.
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 work with professional and/or peer academic coaches and tutors. Academic coaching includes time management, study skills, reading skills and brainstorming for projects. Tutoring is also available in various subjects across the Pratt curriculum. 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 has both professional and peer tutors who provide 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.
CLASSROOM ACCOMMODATIONS AND FNLs
What are accommodations?
Accommodations are reasonable adjustments or modifications to programs, facilities, or curricula that ensure equal access. 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.
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.
What is the Faculty Notification Letter (FNL)?
The FNL verifies a student’s enrollment with the L/AC and describes standard 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 or specific requests for additional accommodations. The L/AC will work with students and faculty as needed to implement the approved accommodations.
What is on the FNL?
The FNL describes standard 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 access, not success. For a particular additionally requested accommodation, the professor and/or department should initiate the interactive process if they are concerned that implementing the request would interfere with meeting fundamental course requirements.
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 faculty, academic advisor, department chair and assistant chair, L/AC advisor, and the student. Additionally, throughout the semester, FNLs for newly enrolled students 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 services and has provided permission, the L/AC will email the FNLs to the student’s faculty, academic advisor, department chair and assistant chair, L/AC advisor, and the student. Student accommodations are designed to provide access going forward, not retroactively. If faculty at any time have concerns that implementing a particular accommodation will affect the student’s ability to meet the fundamental requirements of the class, they should contact the L/AC advisor to engage in an interactive discussion.
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 to engage in an interactive discussion.
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 need for occasional absences related to their disability symptoms. Additional documentation, such as a doctor’s note, is not required from the student. Students may or may not use this accommodation. However, if the student is using the accommodation and the professor has concerns about the student’s ability to meet the fundamental requirements of the course, then the professor should contact the student’s L/AC advisor to engage in an interactive discussion.
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.
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 reasonable 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.
Who arranges accommodations such as sign language interpreting, real-time captioning, or alternative format reading materials for students?
These types of accommodations are coordinated by the L/AC. Students who require these types of accommodations in the classroom should notify the L/AC to make arrangements.
The L/AC also arranges accommodations for students and staff for campus events. Students must notify the L/AC to request accommodation needs no later than one week prior to the event. Departments must notify the L/AC about campus event dates as soon as possible, but no later than one week prior to the event. The L/AC will determine the type of services necessary to provide access to event content and material.
What if I disagree with an accommodation?
Accommodations are determined by Section 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008, 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 discussion 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 engage in an interactive discussion.
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 specific 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 does it mean if a student has the accommodation of “Separate testing environment?”
The opportunity to take exams and quizzes in a separate testing environment is a standard accommodation for students with a variety of disabilities. Students may or may not use this accommodation for a particular exam or quiz. Students with this accommodation are permitted to take quizzes and exams at the L/AC office.
At least one week before the scheduled exam date, the student will need to complete the Student Request for Exam Accommodations form and the professor will need to complete the Instructor Testing Accommodations form. The completed forms will be submitted to the L/AC office. You do not need to follow up with the L/AC after submitting the form. Once the request is processed, the L/AC will contact the student and the professor via their Pratt emails with any additional instructions and next steps.
Any questions or concerns regarding testing accommodations can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if I am unable to provide a student with exam accommodations within the classroom environment?
If a professor is unable to provide a student with exam accommodations, such as extended time for testing, within the classroom environment, then arrangements should be made for the student to take quizzes and exams that require accommodations at the L/AC office. The student and/or the professor can contact the L/AC at email@example.com to arrange exam accommodations at the L/AC.
When must I provide the L/AC with a copy of the exam?
Once the student and professor have completed the online Request forms, then the L/AC will email the professor’s Pratt email account to schedule a time for delivery of the exam. Arrangements for exam delivery should be scheduled for no later than the morning of the exam, and sooner if the student’s accommodations call for format conversion (such as electronic or large-print).
Where is the exam administered?
The exam will be administered in one of the Study Rooms at the L/AC.
Who proctors the exam?
The exam will be proctored by an L/AC staff member.
What if my class meets in the evening or on weekends?
If the class meets outside L/AC office hours, the L/AC will coordinate with the professor and the student to reschedule the exam during L/AC office hours.
HELPING A STUDENT IN NEED
What if a student hands documentation of disability directly to me?
The student should be directed to take his or her 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.
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, then the student should be encouraged to schedule a meeting with the L/AC to receive assistance with determining and establishing appropriate accommodations.
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. 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 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. The student should be referred to the L/AC for further assistance.
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.
What assistance does the L/AC offer faculty and departments to address behavioral problems in the classroom?
L/AC staff are available to speak with faculty and departments regarding classroom behavioral concerns regardless of if the student is enrolled with the L/AC or not. 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.
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:
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 matter.