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Roles in the Accommodation Process

Role of the Student in the Accommodation Process

  • Self-disclose medical or clinical diagnosis to the DSO by completing the disclosure form in a timely manner prior to the need of an accommodation;
  • Provide the appropriate documentation when requested by the Disability Services Office.
  • Understand the nature of one’s disability and the impact of a diagnosis on the educational experience;
  • Request and obtain course accommodation letters at the beginning of each semester;
  • Speak with professors to implement accommodations for those classes where the need for accommodations exist;
  • Schedule exams through the DSO when the course instructor is unable to provide appropriate exam accommodations;
  • Remind professors before the exam (preferably at least one week) about the need for accommodations; do not assume the professor remembers your particular needs from one exam to another;
  • Speak with professors if experiencing difficulties;
  • Contact the DSO office if believe accommodations are not working or if a professor is not being helpful with coordinating accommodations;
  • Be a self-advocate at all times and in situations not just disability related;
  • Provide your own personal care and independent living supports as necessary when applicable;
  • Understand your rights and responsibilities with respect to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act;


Role of Course Instructors in the Accommodation Process

  • Respect the student’s privacy throughout the accommodation process;
  • Know what aspects of the course are essential functions (i.e., what must the student be able to demonstrate in terms of skill, knowledge, and participation in order to pass the course). Ensure student awareness of both the essential aspects through information on the syllabus and in your communication with all students in the classroom.
  • Design a classroom environment that acknowledges the unique needs of all students and learning styles present by using a variety of teaching and assessment techniques;
  • Create an environment where students with disabilities feel comfortable discussing personal situations. Explain to students your willingness to provide academic accommodations by mentioning it on the syllabus and in the classroom;
  • Log in to the DSO portal to view accommodation letter and allow a follow-up discussion about specific accommodations (instructors need not approach students, but instructors may initiate this conversation to provide a welcoming environment);
  • Clearly communicate with students your expectations and requirements (means and frequency of contact about accommodations, etc.) in the accommodation process for your course;
  • Coordinate accommodations requested assuming the student requests accommodations within a reasonable time frame and the accommodations requested are reasonable;
  • Permit the use of auxiliary aids and assist with implementation of these aids as necessary. Example auxiliary aids include note-takers, sign language interpreters, readers for exams, tape recorders, assistive listening devices, calculators, computers for essay exams, etc. Reasonable auxiliary aids vary from one student to another and from one class environment to another;
  • Provide testing accommodations in the classroom or department OR coordinate with the DSO to administer your exams with accommodations;
  • Upon request, provide course materials in formats that can be easily converted to an accessible document (electronic file, enlarged font, audio file, etc.);
  • Ensure that any course interactions on the internet are accessible for all students;
  • Ensure that any course activities within the classroom (videos, small group discussions, community activities, etc.) are accessible for all students;
  • Modify teaching techniques as necessary to assist students upon request. Examples include repeating questions for students with hearing impairments, explaining visual information for students with visual impairments, facing students during important lecture points, displaying key points visually, etc.;
  • Provide sign language interpreters and transcriptionists appropriate seating/space in the classroom if they are scheduled to work with one of the students;
  • Assure that all videos shown in the class are captioned when a deaf or hard of hearing student is registered;
  • Contact the DSO if there is a question about the accommodations process, student performance, etc.
  • With or without accommodations, students are expected to meet the goals and objectives of the course. Assess student performance accordingly. The purpose of accommodations and provision of auxiliary aids is to ensure equal access in the academic environment, but accommodations and aids do not ensure success. Once accommodations have been provided, treat the student in the same way as all other students with respect to attendance, assignments, test content, grading, etc.;
  • Collaborate with students with disabilities and the DSO as necessary to create an accessible class experience. Modifications listed on the accommodation letter are usually the bare minimum accommodations that need to be coordinated. However, creativity is welcomed in the process and instructors are free to consider other outcomes they believe would be reasonable given the situation.


Role of the Disability Services Office in the Accommodation Process

  • Advocate for an accessible educational and campus experience for students while respecting the boundaries and limits of the accommodation process;
  • Promote the development of an environment that is designed in such a way that students and people of all abilities can engage with minimal to no need for accommodations;
  • Determine who is a student with a disability, and based on documentation and student input, determine appropriate reasonable accommodations;
  • Ensure that no student is discriminated against on the basis of disability when reasonable accommodations, aids, and adjustments can be provided;
  • Ensure that academic accommodations do not:
    • Substantially modify program requirements;
    • Result in fundamental alterations;
    • Cause undue administrative burden;
  • Provide students with accommodation letters in as timely of a manner as possible;
  • Explain to students the range of resources available across campus and how to access those resources;
  • Support students in their efforts to arrange the necessary accommodations by promoting student self-advocacy;
  • Respond to student requests, concerns, and complaints over the course of the semester; probe issues as necessary; assist students with disability-related appeals as necessary;
  • Refer students to other campus resources as necessary;
  • Provide assistive technology devices and auxiliary aids deemed a reasonable accommodation for the student;
  • Be a resource as necessary to faculty and the campus community through telephone consultations, email contacts, and department training sessions upon request;
  • Support faculty and course instructors in coordinating necessary and appropriate accommodations;
  • Monitor campus accessibility through participation on committees and other campus-wide activities.
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