Requesting Reasonable Disability Accommodations

Accommodations are modifications to the ways in which things are usually done. The purpose of accommodations is to provide students with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate and benefit from college.

An individual with a disability is any person who has a physical, mental or emotional impairment, which substantially or materially limits one or more of their major life activities, and has a record of such impairment or is regarded as having impairment.

To receive a reasonable accommodation, student and veterans must first request the accommodation and provide documentation of the disability. The disability services office will generally require documentation of the disability by the appropriate licensed professional in order to evaluate a request for a reasonable accommodation. Documentation should reflect the nature of the disability and how it affects you in an academic setting. The law allows the college or university to request recent documentation. If the disability has changed or fluctuates in intensity, then an up-to-date evaluation of the condition may be requested to determine reasonable accommodations. Accommodations are arranged each term and students need to communicate with the campus disability services coordinator prior to, or at the beginning of, each term to arrange for academic accommodations.

Reasonable accommodations can be provided in various ways. The following are brief descriptions and examples of the most common categories of accommodations that permit a qualified student with a disability to effectively participate in the educational process.

  • Changes to a classroom environment or task; examples might include: extended time for an exam, the use of a dictionary or spell checker, materials in alternative formats such as large print, audio tape or computer disk.
  • Removal of architectural barriers; examples might include:
    adapting a classroom to meet the needs of a student who uses a wheelchair.
  • Exceptions to policies, practices or procedures; examples might include: priority registration or accessing assignments early.
  • Provision of auxiliary aids and services; examples might include: providing a sign language interpreter, or providing a note taker or scribe.

In accordance with the law, there are some modifications that the college or university does not provide as a reasonable accommodation. Examples include:

  • Personal devices such as wheelchairs, or glasses.
  • Personal services, such as private tutoring or personal attendants (Note. Tutoring services may be available elsewhere at the campus).
  • Modifications that lower or change course standards or program standards.
  • Modifications that would change the essence of a program, such as allowing a student in an auto mechanics program to take a written test on repairing an engine instead of actually repairing an engine or allowing a student in a public speaking class to substitute a written paper for an oral presentation.
  • Services that are unduly burdensome, administratively or financially.