Understanding Accommodations

As faculty members, you will work with students who have a wide range of different abilities and disabilities. Some of the students in your courses will have conditions that may be visible, but many of the conditions will be invisible. While no two students' experiences will be the same, accommodations often play an important role within the education of many students.

What Are Accommodations?

One of the primary functions of SAS is engaging students in the interactive accommodation process. Nondiscrimination statutes require universities to provide reasonable accommodations. Accommodations are personalized supports that remove specific barriers with the goal of ensuring an individual can meet essential requirements or perform their job duties. Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis through an interactive process. The purpose of accommodations is not to change the standards or alter requirements, but instead provide different means of access to the individual. 

Importantly, accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis and are the result of an individualized assessment. Accommodation requests should be considered as individual requests and investigated as such. The result of this interactive process is student accommodations. Accommodations range in type and implementation depending on the nature and impact of the student’s condition. Most commonly accommodations include:

  • Classroom Accommodations (e.g., notetaking assistance, technology access, personnel support)
  • Exam Accommodations (e.g., additional time, alternative testing spaces, technology access)
  • Course Accessibility Accommodations (e.g., accessible educational materials, captions, accessible spaces)
  • Flexibility Exploration (e.g., attendance agreements, deadline agreements, participation)
  • Policy Alterations (e.g., course substitutions, alternate course of study, ability to use a laptop for notetaking)
  • Other Accommodations (e.g., housing, parking, transportation, dining)

Though there is a great deal of flexibility with the types of accommodations approved, accommodations can vary, but accommodations cannot fundamentally alter an essential requirement . That is not to say that modifications should not be considered, but they need to be considered within the context of essential requirements.

How Are Accommodations Approved?

All accommodations are approved through an interactive process between the student and SAS. The accommodation process is the process used to determine what accommodations are reasonable for an individual student. While approved accommodations will necessarily vary, all students go through the interactive process. This process involves the following steps:

  1. Student registration
  2. Student documentation submission
  3. SAS documentation review
  4. Student and SAS meeting
  5. SAS accommodation approval
  6. Accommodation implementation

These steps are flexible, but all of the steps are done when determining a student’s accommodations. This process allows SAS to explore the nature of the disability, the functional limitations, and the requested accommodations with the student directly.

What is the Instructor Role in the Accommodation Process?

Instructors play a very important role in the accommodation process. Instructors are vital in Step 6: Accommodation Implementation, but they also play a role in helping students know when to engage in the accommodation process. Importantly instructors assist in the process by:

  • Creating accessible and inclusive learning spaces
  • Implementing accommodations
  • Communicating with students
  • Helping students connect with SAS
  • Collaborating with SAS

If you have any questions, please let us know!

Contact Us