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Student Disability Access Center

College of Arts and Sciences Foreign Language Accommodation Policy

Disability Accommodation
Upon the recommendation of the Student Disability Access Center (SDAC), the College of Arts and Sciences provides appropriate accommodations for students with diagnosed disabilities.  Students diagnosed with a specific foreign language disability are referred to the policy outlined below.

Foreign Language Learning Disability
In order to meet the needs of students with specific learning disabilities that impede the learning of a foreign language, the College faculty passed the following legislation at its February 1984 meeting:

Students who are diagnosed by approved services, either before or after their admission to the University, as having specific learning disabilities may petition the Dean of the College to receive such accommodation within the structure of required courses in foreign language as in the view of the department concerned is feasible and appropriate. If an accommodation proves unworkable, the Dean of the College, on the department's recommendation, may authorize the substitution of other courses dealing (in English) with the culture or literature of a non-English speaking people or with the history or description of language.  For every semester of required foreign language not taken the student will be required to pass an authorized substitute course.

Therefore a student experiencing exceptional difficulty in a foreign language class should:

  1. Consult immediately with the appropriate language course coordinator.  The name of the coordinator may be obtained from the foreign language department.
  2. Undergo testing.
    1. Consult the SDAC, located in the Elson Student Health Center (434-243-5180), and present either a prior diagnosis or discuss testing to be undertaken.  The Center will determine if previous diagnoses were made according to acceptable standards and within three years of admission to the University or anytime thereafter.  In the absence of an acceptable prior diagnosis, the SDAC staff will counsel the student regarding undergoing neuropsychological testing for purposes of establishing a diagnosis.  The SDAC will refer the student to approved testing agencies both within the University and the community.  The student bears the cost of such testing.
    2. If a student has received a diagnosis of a learning disability deemed acceptable by the SDAC and can document unsuccessful efforts to learn a foreign language at an accredited educational institution, a student may confer with his/her College Association Dean regarding modification of the foreign language requirement.  A petition from the student will be reviewed by the College's Disability Accommodations Committee.
  3. Request Accommodation
    1. If testing confirms a learning disability that adversely affects the learning of a foreign language, the SDAC will suggest possible accommodations in the foreign language classroom (e.g., extended time in class tests, de-emphasized oral or aural components, extra tutorial assistance).  The student then takes the accommodation request to both instructor and the language coordinator.  The instructor and the coordinator will inform the student of the accommodations the student will receive in the class.  The coordinator will notify the student's Association Dean in writing what these accommodations are to be. Ideally accommodations should be in place prior to the student's enrolling in the course.
  4. Enroll in a course with accommodations:  The coordinator reviews the student's progress after six weeks.
    1. If the student is able to succeed, the student continues to take courses with accommodations until the foreign language sequence is completed.
    2. If the department finds that accommodations prove unworkable despite the student's maximum effort, the Coordinator may recommend in writing to the student's Association Dean that the foreign language requirement be modified.
  5. Modification:  Upon receipt of the Coordinator's recommendation and a diagnosis from the SDAC, the student's Dean may authorized the modification of the requirement and so notify the student in writing.  The student's transcript will have the notation "Foreign Language requirement modified." Grades earned in foreign language classes will continue to appear on the transcript.  However, for the semester in which the requirement is modified, a failing grade will be converted to "NC." Also, if a student is diagnosed with a foreign language learning disability, a failing grade received in the semester when the student was referred to the SDAC for testing, or the student with a prior diagnosis identified him/herself to the SDAC, will be converted to "NC" (no credit).
  6. Substitute courses:  Upon modification, the student will be required to take the appropriate number of substitute courses to fulfill the foreign language requirement.  As specified in the faculty legislation, these courses are to deal (in English) with the culture or literature of a non-English speaking people, or with the history or description of language.  The substitute courses should form a cohesive cluster focused on one language area, either continuing the work begun in the language class or choosing a new area.  The substitute courses should be drawn primarily from foreign literature in English translation courses (course mnemonic ending with "TR": e.g., CHTR, FRTR, GETR, ITTR, JPTR, PETR, RUTR, etc.); Classics (CLAS); those classes from the Anthropology, History, Religion, or other departments that deal exclusively with a specific non-English speaking country or culture; or Linguistics (LNGS, with the exception of Black English, since the faculty legislation calls for a non-English speaking culture or literature.)  The student is to seek his/her Dean's prior approval for each substitute course.  Substitute courses may not be applied toward the first major or towards other area requirements except the Second Writing Requirement.  They must be taken for a grade.

December 10, 1997