The Accommodations Process
Determining Reasonable Accommodations
Providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities requires an individual assessment of need and is a problem solving process. Specific accommodations depend upon the nature and requirements of a particular course or activity and the skills and functional abilities of a particular student. Modifications and adjustments to course content and evaluation criteria that do not alter the fundamental nature of the course can generally be arranged.
The counselor responsible for disability services determines reasonable academic adjustments for students, taking into consideration recommendations from the physician, psychologist, or other clinician that diagnosed the student’s disability. Consideration is also given accommodations that previously have been used in educational settings with the student. In addition, the disability counselor consults with faculty to assist in tailoring reasonable accommodation to individual course requirements. Although some persons may have similar diagnoses, each person is treated as an individual since accommodations must be tailored to individual needs. If you are registered with disability services, please make an appointment with Ms. Herndon or. Ms. Suggs as soon as possible to discuss any course accommodations that may be necessary. Students who may need course adaptations because of a disability are encouraged to make an appointment to see Ms. Herndon or Ms. Suggs during the pre-registration period.
It is the student’s responsibility to deliver accommodation letters to each instructor in whose course the student is requesting accommodations (both in class or online, if taking an online course), and to discuss with those instructors methods for providing the requested academic adjustments. Letters are not be placed in an instructor’s mailbox, under a door, or given to someone else to deliver. Instructors are not obligated to provide accommodations until they have received accommodation letters. If an accommodation letter is not presented, faculty members are not expected to provide accommodations. If a student delivers an accommodation letter to his/her instructor only within a few days of an assignment or exam, the instructor may not be able to arrange an optimal adjustment. Instructors are required to contact the disability counselor if there are concerns regarding requested accommodations.
Providing Reasonable Accommodations
An academic accommodation is essentially a problem-solving process. The task is to determine the necessary adjustments that will enable students with disabilities to have access to the same programs and services available to students without disabilities and to have their academic performance evaluated without the limiting effects of their disability. The objective of such adjustments is to accommodate the functional limitations of the student’s disability while maintaining the integrity of college courses and programs.
Providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities is a collaborative process between the student and his/her instructor. For example, extended time for exams should be arranged to match both the student’s and the instructor’s schedules. A student might start a test before the rest of the class, finish a test after the rest of the class, or take a test in two halves at two different times. The accommodation strategy should be appropriate and efficient for both the student and the instructor. Federal law requires that students with disabilities receive services in the most integrated setting possible, unless separated services are the only method of providing appropriate accommodations. The Student Assessment Center is available by appointment and the disability counselor will provide testing assistance under special circumstances.
Federal disability laws also call for provision of reasonable accommodations or academic adjustments as necessary to ensure that academic requirements do not discriminate or have the effect of discriminating on the basic of disability against a qualified applicant or student. Accommodations are provided based on the specific request and disability documentation provided to disability services. Accommodations will not be provided retroactively. A request may be deemed “unreasonable” if it:
1. Creates a direct threat to the health or safety of others
2. Causes a substantial change in an essential element or a substantial alteration in the manner in which the college provides a program or service
3. Causes undue financial or administrative burden