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Accessibility Services

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The mission of AMDA's Accessibility Services Office is to ensure that all students are afforded an equal opportunity to fully participate in and benefit from AMDA's unsurpassed performing arts education and diverse community of creative artists. We believe that disability is an integral part of the diversity of experience that fuels creative excellence. Therefore, it is our goal to provide accommodations that remove access barriers and allow every student to reach their fullest potential.

Students with disabilities

The term 'disability' is very broad and encompasses more than people often think. The ADA defines a disability as 'a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities'. A disability can mean visual or hearing impairments. It can mean using a wheelchair or crutches to get around. It can mean mixing up letters or numbers, processing information more slowly, or having difficulty maintaining focus. It can mean suffering repeated depressive episodes or panic attacks, freezing up in social situations, or having difficulty with organization.

If you have a disability, you should have your healthcare professional fill out AMDA's Disability Verification form and register with the Accessibility Services Office as soon as possible after being diagnosed. This allows time for you to request and receive accommodations BEFORE any situations become urgent. If you aren't sure whether you will need accommodations, register anyway! You aren't required to request any accommodations to register, but if you decide you need them later, the process will be much easier.

Disabilities can be apparent or invisible. They can be mild or severe. But they all 'count', and can qualify you to receive the accommodations that will help you reach your potential as a performer.

Students without disabilities

Students without disabilities can also utilize the Accessibility Services Office. Irrespective of disability status, EVERYONE needs accommodations and support from time to time. Unexpected life events cause temporary situations that may require adjustments. For example:

Students with medical conditions

Certain permanent or temporary medical conditions can also place limitations on major life activities. When this occurs, the medical condition may be classified as a disability. If your medical condition is affecting your ability to study at AMDA, you should follow the same process as a student with a disability. However, you will have your doctor fill out the Medical Verification Form in place of the Disability Verification form.

Students with injuries

While temporary injuries are generally not regarded as disabilities, the Accessibility Services Office should be made aware of the injury as soon as possible so that accommodations or modifications to physically demanding classes can be made. Students who sustain an injury, whether during a class/performance or outside of school, should have their doctor fill out AMDA's Medical Verification form as soon as possible and submit it to the Accessibility Services Office. We will communicate that information with the Education Department and with your instructors, who can help you figure out how you can temporarily learn and demonstrate course material without exacerbating your injury.

Students with other issues

Students who feel that small accommodations would help them be more successful in their education are encouraged to come into the Accessibility Services Office for guidance. We can help you break down the issue(s), identify potential solutions or strategies, and practice advocating for yourself with instructors, peers, or other staff. Even if your needs don't stem from a documented disability, there may be a way to meet them without changing the design or requirements of the course.

To meet with Accessibility Services, please call 323-603-5984, email LAAccessibility@amda.edu, or visit us on the 4th floor of Tower.

Process for Requesting Disability Accommodations

Accessibility Services
Tower Building, 4th Floor
323-603-5984
LAAccessibility@amda.edu

This sheet describes the process of requesting accommodations for a disability or medical condition. This process should be started as early as possible before the beginning of the semester, or, in the case of a newly diagnosed disability or condition, as soon as possible after the diagnosis. Accessibility Services will make every effort to process your request quickly, but some accommodations require time to coordinate.

Step 1: Obtain documentation

Have your healthcare professional fill out AMDA's Disability Verification Form or Medical Verification Form, depending on your condition. This form can be picked up at the Accessibility Services Office or downloaded from our website.

If you already have documentation and prefer to use that, please ensure that it is from a licensed professional who is experienced with your condition, is treating you for your condition, AND includes ALL of the following information:

  • The name of the disability
  • How diagnosis of the disability was established
  • Expected severity and longevity of the disability
  • Standardized testing results (if applicable)
  • Functional impairments resulting from the disability in an academic, residential, and/or general campus setting
  • Recommendations for accommodations in a college setting

Step 2: Have an intake appointment

Schedule an access meeting with Hannah Enenbach, Accessibility Services Coordinator, by emailing LAAccessibility@amda.edu or calling 323-603-5984. Please bring your documentation. During this meeting, you will discuss your individual situation and needs. Your accommodations will be determined shortly aftewards.

FAQs for students

  • What is a disability? How do I know if what I have is a disability? +

    AMDA follows the definition of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), which defines a disability as ‘a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities'. It can mean visual or hearing impairments, using a wheelchair or crutches to get around, processing information more slowly, having difficulty maintaining focus, or any number of other limitations. If you are not sure whether you have a disability, you are welcome to come into Accessibility Services to discuss your individual situation.

  • What kind of proof is needed in order for me to get accommodations for a disability? +

    We recommend having your doctor fill out AMDA's Disability Verification Form. However, if you already have documentation of your disability and prefer to use that, please ensure that it is from a licensed professional who has been treating you for your condition, is experienced with your condition, AND includes ALL of the following information:

    • The name of the disability
    • How diagnosis of the disability was established
    • The expected severity and longevity of the disability
    • Standardized testing results (if applicable)
    • Functional impairments resulting from the disability in an academic, residential, and/or general campus setting
    • Recommendations for accommodations in a college setting

    Also, since course requirements at AMDA are different from those at traditional colleges, especially as pertains to physicality, we recommend showing your doctor your program's Program Learning Outcomes or the learning outcomes for your specific courses. This way, your doctor can see what is required from you and can make accommodation recommendations accordingly.

  • Do I have to have a disability to get help from Accessibility Services? +

    No. You can visit Accessibility Services if you have any questions about how to make your education more accessible to you, whether you have a disability or not. We are also the office to visit if you have a medical condition, are injured, or experience any other situation that is causing problems with attendance, participation, or campus life. If you are not sure whether our office can help you, email us! If we can help you, we will; if not, we will refer you to an office or individual who can.

  • What kind of proof is needed in order for me to get accommodations for a medical condition or injury? +

    We recommend having your doctor fill out AMDA's Medical Verification Form. However, if you already have documentation of your condition or injury and prefer to use that, please ensure that it is from a licensed professional who is treating you for your conditions, is experienced with your condition, AND includes ALL of the following information:

    • The name of the diagnosis
    • The expected severity and longevity of the condition or injury
    • Functional impairments resulting from the condition or injury in an academic, residential, and/or general campus setting
    • Recommendations for accommodations/physical modifications in a college setting

    Also, since course requirements at AMDA are different from those at traditional colleges, especially as pertains to physicality, we recommend showing your doctor your program's Program Learning Outcomes and/or the learning outcomes for your specific courses. This way, your doctor can see what is required from you and can make accommodation recommendations accordingly.

  • I received accommodations in high school for a disability. Does it work the same way in college? +

    No. If you received accommodations in high school, you may notice that accommodations work differently in college. In college, you are responsible for self- identifying to Accessibility Services and providing documentation of your disability. Accessibility Services will not seek you out unless you choose to self-identify.

    In addition, the accommodations you are eligible to receive are different. In high school, you may have been entitled to modifications of the curriculum; that is, you may have received individually designed instruction, been allowed to demonstrate different types of skills, or been given alternate assignments.

    Colleges, conversely, do NOT modify curricula or program outcomes; all students must be able to demonstrate the same knowledge, skills, and proficiencies in order to receive a degree or certificate. For AMDA specifically, this means that NO accommodations approved will constitute a ‘fundamental alteration' to an academic program. This means that you will still be learning, developing, and demonstrating the same Learning Outcomes as your peers.

    For specific examples of what accommodations may and may not look like at AMDA, see the bottom of this page.

  • Can Accessibility Services excuse me from my classes or performances as an accommodation? +

    No. Since AMDA's attendance policies are written to correlate with professional standards and industry expectations, being excused from AMDA obligations is not possible; excused absences do not exist. In cases where missing class may occur as a direct result of your condition, Accessibility Services may be able to work with you to get up to two absences ‘discounted'; however, you are still responsible for course material, and the absence may still impact your grade as pertains to participation points and fulfilling course requirements.

    The Accessibility Services Office will, however, work with you to make sure that any barriers to attendance are addressed thoroughly and fairly. For example, if anxiety makes sitting in class uncomfortable, we may issue you an accommodation for preferential seating near the door. Or, if you have a medical issue that causes you to need to take frequent breaks, we may issue you an accommodation that allows you to do this without taking an absence.

  • What if I did poorly on an exam or performance, or had poor attendance due to a disability? If I give you documentation afterward, can you do anything about that? +

    No. Accommodations cannot be made retroactively. That is why it is in your best interest to register with Accessibility Services as soon as possible after becoming aware of your disability.

  • If you approve me for accommodations, will you tell my instructors about my disability? +

    No. It is up to you whether you want to disclose your disability to your instructors. The letter we send to your instructors includes only the accommodations to which you are entitled, and does not include specific information about your condition. That said, your instructor may be better able to understand how to support you if he or she is aware of your disability, so if you feel comfortable disclosing, it can be helpful – and good practice for when you need to advocate for accommodations in the professional world!

  • What if my instructor does not give me the accommodations you approved me for, or treats me differently because of my accommodations request? +

    If this occurs, promptly notify Accessibility Services. We will attempt to resolve the matter with the instructor. In the event that the instructor has concerns about fundamental alteration of learning outcomes, we will ensure that you receive the accommodations for which you were approved until a final decision is made.

  • Can Accessibility Services help me with accommodations that aren't related to the classroom? +

    Yes. Accessibility Services can help with any kind of accommodation that relates to your overall campus experience. If you need housing accommodations, for example, we can help you determine what you need, and then coordinate with Residential Life to make any needed adjustments. If you find that something on campus is set up such that it is difficult for you to access a service you need, we can either work on getting that barrier removed or work with you on finding an alternate path.

  • Will my academic record or transcript show that I was registered with Accessibility Services? +

    No. This information is confidential and will not be included anywhere on your academic record.

  • How do accommodations work in a performance-based setting, anyway? +

    Great question! Many of the common college accommodations you've probably heard of (extra time on tests, having a note-taker, the use of a computer for essay-writing, etc) may not apply to classes where grades are determined largely by performance. That means we at AMDA – both you and Accessibility Services – have the opportunity to get creative! Your AMDA education is unique because of its emphasis on rigorous performance-based training and an industry-focused experience, so why shouldn't your accommodations be unique too?

    YOU are the person who knows the particulars of your situation the best, so when you meet with Accessibility Services, we will take your feedback and suggestions into account when determining accommodations. The point of accommodations is to ensure you are on a level playing field with your peers – not at an advantage or a disadvantage. If together we can come up with an accommodation that meets this definition, doesn't alter the learning outcomes of your course or program, doesn't constitute an undue burden on your instructor, and doesn't impact the educational experience of other students, it will at least be given strong consideration.

    See below for examples of accommodations that may and may not be considered in the context of your AMDA education.

FAQs for faculty

  • What are my responsibilities in terms of providing accommodations to students? +

    When a student in your class needs accommodations, you will receive a detailed email from Accessibility Services letting you know what their accommodations are. (You will not be told the student's disability or given disability documentation directly – please do not request that information from the student!) Please follow the directions in this email. Most accommodations require only minor action from you: allowing limited breaks, for example, or providing a preferred seat, or allowing electronic note-taking. If the student has test- related accommodations, you may choose between proctoring the exam yourself with these accommodations, or providing the Accessibility Services office with the exam 24 hours ahead of time so we can proctor it. If the student's accommodations relate to an injury, you will be provided with the functional limitations as described by their doctor, and then you may work with the student to determine what movement or vocal modifications will work best for them.

  • What do I do if a student divulges their disability to me directly and asks me to accommodate them? +

    Please DO NOT provide students with accommodations unless they have been approved by Accessibility Services. This will ensure that every student is being treated fairly and that accommodations are only being provided when they are medically necessary. If a student hands you disability documentation or requests accommodations directly, please direct them to Accessibility Services. Accessibility Services will ensure the student completes the intake process fully before being approved for accommodations. You will receive a notification when that process is complete.

  • Am I required to provide the accommodations that Accessibility Services approves? What if I disagree with your decision? +

    ADA mandates the rights of students to have reasonable accommodations provided for documented disabilities. This means that yes, you are required to provide the accommodations that have been approved. However, if you feel that an accommodation is not reasonable – that is, it constitutes a fundamental alteration of your course or program outcomes, or puts an undue burden upon you or your other students – please make an appointment with the Accessibility Services Coordinator to discuss your concerns. Until the matter is resolved, the student will continue to receive the accommodations that were approved.

  • I suspect that one of my students may have a disability. What should I do? +

    You can mention to the student that you have noticed they are struggling, and ask if there is anything going on with them. You can also mention generally that some students who struggle may have an undiagnosed disability, and that Accessibility Services can help guide them if this is a possibility.

  • How should I handle a student with a disability who is misbehaving or being threatening? +

    The same way as you would handle any other student. Having a disability does not excuse poor behavior, and these students are subject to the same code of conduct as their peers.

Examples of Accommodations at AMDA:

  1. You are a Music Theatre student who has been diagnosed with panic disorder. Your attacks often occur right before you are supposed to sing in front of an audience. +

    An accommodation MIGHT BE:

    • Being provided a quiet, private place to calm yourself before performances/auditions
    • The ability to perform first or last in a classroom setting where students are taking turns

    An accommodation WILL NOT BE:

    • Being excused from performances
    • Performing on video and then playing it back for an audience
    • Performing in front of your instructor but not in front of the class or an audience
  2. You have been diagnosed with dysgraphia and are taking English Composition. +

    An accommodation MIGHT BE:

    • Being allowed to type your assignments, essays, and exams instead of handwriting them
    • Being given extra time to complete essay exams

    An accommodation WILL NOT BE:

    • Providing all essays orally instead of in written form
    • Fewer written assignments, replaced by assignments in other forms
  3. You are a Dance Theatre student who is hard of hearing and enrolled in Jazz. +

    An accommodation MIGHT BE:

    • Visual cues to accompany audio cues if the audio cues are too subtle for you to perceive
    • Music played at a louder volume or specific frequency during solo auditions

    An accommodation WILL NOT BE:

    • Being allowed to dance without musical accompaniment
  4. You are an Acting student who has been diagnosed with autism. Your disability makes it difficult for you to read facial cues in improvisation exercises. +

    An accommodation MIGHT BE:

    • Having the professor help you identify objective physical cues that signify certain emotions or directions

    An accommodation WILL NOT BE:

    • Being excused from all nonverbal improvisation exercises
    • Always beginning the exercise so as not to have to evaluate and follow a peer's performance