Ten Steps to Providing Accommodations
1. Make a verbal statement inviting students with a disability to request accommodations. Put a statement, such as the following, on your syllabi, “If you have a disability and would like to request accommodations, please visit AccessAbility Services, located in Wilder Hall B4. They will give you an accommodation letter which you should bring to me as soon as possible.”
2. Encourage students with accommodation letters to meet with you privately to discuss their needs. Appreciate that, for many students, this can be intimidating. Help to make this process a positive experience by treating your student with compassion. Importantly, respect confidentiality.
3. Read the accommodation letter carefully. If you believe the requested accommodations will fundamentally alter an essential requirement of your course or pose an undue hardship, please call the AccessAbility Services Director and explain your concern. Other appropriate methods of accommodation may be considered. Keep the accommodation letter in a secure location for your own records.
4. If a student requires testing accommodations, discuss logistics. Should she remind you of accommodations before every test or will you remember? If extra time on exams is needed, should she arrive early or stay late? If reduced-distraction test location is needed, will you use a nearby empty classroom, a quiet office, or send her to AccessAbility Services? Note: students must schedule testing appointments in AccessAbility Services two weeks in advance.
5. Some accommodation letters may also include other information, such as suggestions of teaching strategies that would help the particular student, information about the particular disability, or how to respond in case of a seizure or other medical emergency.
6. Accommodations are not meant to give a student with a disability an advantage over other students, make the course easier, or in any way change essential requirements or standards of the course or major. Rather, accommodations are intended to remove barriers to learning or to demonstrating what a student has learned.
7. Please respect confidentiality. Do not talk about a student’s accommodations or disability in front of others. It is invasive to ask what the student’s disability is. Instead, when a student brings you an accommodation letter, ask her how she learns best and what activities she finds difficult. If a student reveals areas of difficulty, discuss possible solutions.
8. Remind your students the importance of seeking assistance. Consider posting names and locations of campus support services such as Library, Information, and Technology Services (LITS), AccessAbility Services, and the Counseling Center. Post your office hours and contact information for tutors in your department.
9. If a student requires a reader, scribe, accessible furniture or text in alternate format, please contact AccessAbility Services for assistance.
10. Contact AccessAbility Services at extension 2634 or Deborah Cohen for suggestions, support, assistance with accommodations, and strategies for making your course accessible. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.