Faculty Top 10 Strategies for Supporting Students with Accommodations
Provide all accommodations listed in the student’s Letter of Accommodation from Student Access. The University thoroughly reviews all requests for accommodations through an interactive process and confirms the eligibility for accommodations. Instructors are required by federal law to assist in providing all the accommodations that students are entitled to receive. Any student with a Student Access Letter of Accommodation has a diagnosed medical condition warranting the approved accommodations. Failure to provide all the accommodations listed is a violation of the student’s federal rights.
Work with Student Access if you believe an accommodation needs to be modified. If you believe providing a listed accommodation would fundamentally alter an essential requirement of the course, contact Student Access to arrange approval for an alteration before changing the accommodation in any way. This must be documented in writing for federal compliance.
Keep the student’s needs for accommodations confidential. To discuss the student’s needs, meet with them privately during office hours or after class. Be very vigilant not to disclose any information to the class or otherwise “out” the student (e.g., publicly dismissing them to go to Student Access, asking about their disability experience, making them sit somewhere specific). Be especially cautious about inadvertent off-hand comments that disclose the student uses accommodations.
Write syllabus policies that allow some exceptions for diverse learners. Accommodations can apply to both tasks and participation/attendance, so write syllabus policies to allow room for students with chronic illness or temporary injuries like concussions where participation may be different for some. Review/revise technology syllabus policies to support that some students have accommodations to use certain technology.
Allow the student to self-disclose disability information to you voluntarily. It is appropriate to recognize that they have accommodations if they provide a letter from Student Access to you, and offer to help them, but don’t ask to disclose the disability itself. A good question is, “How can I best support you?” Be careful not to ask invasive questions about the nature of their disability.
Use disability etiquette. Using disability etiquette demonstrates inclusion and sensitivity. Avoid making judgments about the student’s ability or need for accommodations. Accommodations are provided to level the playing field for the student and do not give an advantage over others. Many disabilities are invisible and can be unpredictable, and it is not possible to see a flare-up of the student’s condition. Avoid questioning whether someone really has a disability.
Use sensitivity if you are worried a student may need accommodations. If you are concerned that a student may have a disability, tell the student privately that you are concerned about their success in the course and provide possible resources, such as Student Success, Tutoring, etc. Feel free to ask Student Access to reach out to talk to the student about a general success plan.
Include the ADA Statement on your Syllabus.
Students who have or believe they may have a disability and would like to set up accommodations should contact Student Access within Student Success to self-identify their needs and facilitate their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and related laws. Student Access provides private consultations to any student. Contact Student Access staff by email at email@example.com or by phone at 918-631-2315. The application for accommodations may be obtained online. Student Access staff will assist students in the implementation of approved accommodations. Students who qualify for accommodations should meet with the instructor privately (during office hours or by appointment) as soon as possible to arrange for their needs and obtain support for the class.
Familiarize yourself with Universal Design and use these elements to benefit all students. Try using the Top 10 Strategies for Inclusive Design in your class. Offering this will make your course material accessible to all diverse learners.
Contact Student Access any time you have questions or concerns—let us help! We are here to help you. If you are not sure about something, please contact us. It is far better to be proactive about an issue than to do something incorrectly and receive a student complaint. Review more detailed information, tips, and resources for instructors about accessibility online.