What is an Accommodation?

An accommodation is a legally mandated modification or service that gives a student with a disability an equal opportunity to benefit from the educational process. An accommodation may be:

  • Changes to an environment or task to allow a student with a disability to participate
  • Removal of architectural barriers
  • Modifications to policies, practices, and procedures
  • Provision of auxiliary aids and services
  • Other adaptations and modifications that will allow students to participate in campus activities, programs, and services

Reasonable accommodations are not intended to eliminate a student’s disability or responsibilities, but to support the student’s own efforts to circumvent obstacles to learning. Students are expected to meet the essential course and degree requirements. Accommodations are not substitutions for faculty academic decisions such as course content, grading, or syllabus requirements. These determinations are not within the jurisdiction of AccessAbility Services.

AccessAbility Services is the designated office at Mount Holyoke College for students to voluntarily disclose a disability, submit appropriate documentation for verification, and request accommodations. The college respects the student’s right not to disclose a disability or request accommodations. This decision rests with the student. Disclosure of a disability is voluntary; however, it is important to note that the college is not responsible for providing accommodations to a student who has not provided appropriate documentation of a disability to AccessAbility Services and requested a reasonable accommodation.

Accommodations should not lower academic standards or compromise the integrity of academic programs. Accommodations are provided at no cost to students. Students receiving accommodations are required to meet the essential requirements of courses, programs, and majors and are required to abide by the college’s code of conduct.

Examples of Accommodations

Classroom Accommodations: preferential seating, excused absences, extensions on assignments, captioning, print in alternate format, sign language interpreter, assistive technology, permission to take breaks, permission to bring a beverage or snack, accessible furniture, recording device, laptop, note taker, lab assistant, service animal, personal care attendant

Testing Accommodations: extended time, reduced-distraction location, reader, scribe, computer for essay exams, spell/grammar check, calculator, other assistive technology, breaks, alternate format such as large print, audio text, braille, lined paper instead of Scantron, oral instead of essay

Housing Accommodations: single, private bathroom, wheelchair accessible, quite floor, ground level, bed shaker, strobe light, outside light switch, alternate door handles and light switches, hand rails, braille, digital controls with voice output, air conditioning, scent free/non-toxic

Alternate Courses and Waivers: foreign language substitution, modified or waived exercise courses, other course substitution or waiver

Other Accommodations: relocation of classes/events/meetings to an accessible location, accessible parking or transportation, full time status and privileges with reduced course load