In order to have an equal opportunity to convey their knowledge, students with certain disabilities or chronic medical conditions require reasonable accommodations. Without these accommodations, they are at a distinct disadvantage for competing on an equal playing field.
Extended time. Time and a half or double time are most standard. This accommodation addresses many limitations (lack of focus, anxiety, processing speed issues reading disorders, compromised memory, etc.).
- Quiet environment to test. Reduced Distraction Environment (quiet location separate from the classroom), or Private Room is most standard. This accommodation addresses issues of concentration, lack of focus, use of assistive technology, anxiety, space to address chronic medical conditions, etc.)
- Memory Aid/Unlabeled formulas. For students with certain cognitive impairments (traumatic brain injuries/seizure disorders/strokes/side effects from medication), a memory aid is reasonable. Authorized memory aids usually consist of one or more 3X5 index cards (written on both sides) that contain information that will help to jog a student’s memory. Examples: Mnemonics, unlabeled formulas, unlabeled diagrams/flowcharts, terms and definitions written in the student’s own understanding, etc. A memory aid is not to contain information copied directly from lecture PowerPoints, from the text or hold direct answers to test questions or compromise the integrity of the exam in any way. Instructors must approve all memory aids three days before the exam. If students take their exams at the Access Center, instructors then send the memory aid with the examination materials to the Access Center. The memory aid must have the instructor’s signature and date to indicate approval.
- Computer Access. For certain disabilities (physical limitations, certain processing disorders), students must be able to write answers to essay questions on the computer.
- Rest/Medication Breaks. Students may need to leave class for a short period of time to accommodate their medical condition. Some students may need to stand for a short amount of time.
- Volunteer Notetaker. If a student has requested a volunteer notetaker from the class, the Access Center Notetaking Coordinator will contact the instructor and discuss procedures.
- Access to lecture PowerPoints before class. Students with certain disabilities (ADHD, specific learning disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, information processing disorders) have great difficulty writing down information posted on PowerPoints and capturing what the lecturer is saying at the same time, due to processing speed limitations or reduced ability to retain information in memory for several seconds/minutes. Having access to PowerPoints before class reduces the amount of material a student has to capture and increases a student’s understanding of the material heard in class. Instructors, who are concerned about posting PowerPoints before class or sending them electronically to a student, may instead give a student a paper copy as they enter the classroom.
- Digital Recorder/”Smart Pen” (Livescribe). Students with processing disorders/memory loss benefit from recording lectures.
- Laptop usage. Certain limitations require that a student take notes on their computer as opposed to handwriting.
- Closed-captioned/transcribed audio materials. Deaf or Hard of Hearing students must have audio materials transcribed or closed captioned. This accommodation also assists students with auditory processing disorders. The Access Center will inform all instructors if they have a deaf or hard of hearing student in their course, to expedite the closed captioning process. NOTE: All students who record lectures or who receive lecture notes/PowerPoints as accommodations sign a Content and Materials Usage Agreement, agreeing they will not share materials received as an accommodation.
- Other Accommodations: The nature of certain disabilities sometimes require accommodations that are out of the ordinary, such as taking a test in an alternate format (oral exams instead of written exams, an essay exam instead of multiple choice, etc.), or the ability to take an exam over a span of several days or the ability to give an oral presentation to only the instructor. Please note that these accommodations will only be put into place after the student’s Access Advisor has a conversation with the course instructor.
- NOTE: Accommodations are not to compromise the integrity of the learning objectives or course goals. In addition, all accommodations must be clearly supported by disability/medical documentation.
For students with certain disabilities or chronic medical conditions (chronic migraines, seizure disorders, sleep disorders, cancer treatment), flexible attendance is considered a reasonable accommodation. Students are required to meet with each of their faculty members to discuss their attendance needs and to complete a Flexible Agreement Form (PDF draft) before attendance becomes an issue. Please note: The student and faculty member must engage in a conversation to arrive at a reasonable agreement for flexible attendance. Faculty members are encouraged to include the student’s Access Advisor in these conversations if there are concerns or questions. Please carefully read Flexible Attendance Guidelines (Link) to understand the procedures and student and faculty responsibilities.
Flexible Assignment Deadlines
In very limited situations, flexibility with assignment deadlines is considered a reasonable accommodation. Students are required to meet with each of their faculty members to discuss their needs and to complete a Flexible Assignment Deadlines Form (PDF draft) before deadlines become an issue. Please note: The student and faculty member must engage in a conversation to arrive at a reasonable agreement for flexible deadlines. Faculty members are encouraged to include the student’s Access Advisor in these conversations if there are concerns or questions. Please carefully read Flexible Assignment Deadlines Guidelines (PDF) to understand the procedures and student and faculty responsibilities.
Approved Service Animal
Students with certain disabilities benefit from the assistance of a trained service animal (dogs or miniature horses, as defined by the ADA). Service animals are not required to be approved through the Access Center unless students reside in university housing.
Instructors may ask a student with a service animal two questions:
1. Is this animal required due to a disability (yes/no);
2. What task is the animal trained to perform?
Instructors may not ask the animal to perform the task. Service animals must behave at all times. If they do not behave, instructors have the right to ask the student to remove the animal.