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Pre-Planning for Anticipated Disability Related Absences

The following suggestions may assist students in identifying a schedule that allows for the greatest flexibility in meeting course attendance requirements.


  • Early planning, self-advocacy, and disability self-management lead to the best outcome.
  • Consider and plan for your disability needs when you make enrollment choices.
  • Include in your plan the time it takes to participate in medical treatment and self-care.
  • Obtain all information you can to investigate course format, design, sections, professors, attendance policies, course requirements, etc. to pick a good match for your disability-related needs.
  • If available, communicate with the professor and/or review a sample syllabus and course requirements regarding attendance.
  • Consider multiple options e.g. 12 credits only for full-time, part-time load, online courses, independent study, self-paced courses, etc. (some may be off campus)
  • Request assistance from your Academic Advisor.
  • If you receive Financial Aid, consult with your Financial Aid Counselor before you finalize your decisions so you do not disrupt your funding.

Academic Advisor

  • Communicating with your academic advisor should be the first step in planning your schedule.
  • Make sure to share your DRO eligibility and your access needs with your Academic Advisor.
  • Your academic advisor can provide valuable assistance and share important information. However, there will be information that your academic advisor does not know.
  • For a number of courses, the name of the instructor will not appear in the Student Information System and it may actually not appear until right when the semester starts.
  • Very few courses have syllabi published in advance of the starting date.
  • Sometimes the structure of the course is shown in the enrollment data — for example, as hybrid — and other times it isn’t. The academic advisor will be able to see what the student sees in this regard and can provide assistance.
  • For some courses, there are only single sections, and the course is taught only one time a year. If the course is required for a specific major, waiting could meet a much longer time to graduation.
  • The academic advisor can help the student look at the Pack Planner to be deliberate in planning for these.

Course Format

  • Find the class format that works best for you. Consider number of days the course meets, the length of the class meeting, the overall schedule for the day, the distance between classes (even between campuses if one or more courses are on Centennial), and the time of day.
  • Consider distance education courses for some or all of your classes (if that is a good way for you to learn). DE may allow greater flexibility about when you participate. However, some DE courses are quite strenuous, require multiple assignments every week, include a lot of interaction with technology (e.g., uploads of assignments).
  • Consider self-paced courses if you need more flexibility or independent study to complete the course or if you may not finish the course in one semester.


  • Meet with instructors whenever possible to find out course design, methods, and materials, as well as, how attendance affects course success. Ask what is essential, what can be made up, what may not be able to be made up and why, etc.
  • Choose an instructor that has multiple sections so that you may be able to attend a repeat lecture.
  • Consider an instructor or section that has online options or greater flexibility e.g. hybrid, online lectures, chat rooms, notes posted online, full professor notes. Instructors who teach DE sections as well as seated sections may be more familiar with participating at a distance.
  • Some labs or other performance based courses are taught for one week and then taken down. So consider a section early in the week so that you may be able to attend another section when you are well.
  • Time/Day/Location
  • Make sure you set up a schedule that takes into account your best times of day
  • and your physical tolerance issues.
  • Think about number of credits and course load. Some students have a better outcome when they take a reduced course load. Other students will be able to take as many as 15 hours, depending on the disability.
  • Base your number of credits on your functioning level.
  • Build in breaks for resting if you need to recharge physically or cognitively.

For assistance with disability accommodations, contact
the DRO at