If a student identifies him/herself as having a disability and presents a letter of accommodation from the Disability Services office, generally it is the instructor's responsibility to ensure that the learning environment is accessible. Due to the very personal and private nature of some disabilities, it is important that instructors create an atmosphere in which students feel comfortable about coming forward to discuss any accommodation requests they may have. This is where the ADA statement in your syllabi is helpful. It is also imperative that instructors safeguard the confidentiality of students who disclose having a disability and/or request reasonable accommodation for a disability.
Reasonable accommodations refers to steps that can be taken without significant difficulty or expense to allow otherwise qualified students to fulfill course requirements by limiting as much as possible the effects of their disabilities on their performance. If reasonable accommodations are not obvious, effort must be made to look for possible effective accommodations.
Disability Services is responsible for assessing a student's eligibility for reasonable accommodation and recommending specific accommodation techniques based on information provided by the student's health care provider. The following are examples of accommodations that may be necessary to ensure equal access to education:
- Coordination of special arrangements to meet individual test taking needs
- Volunteer peer notetakers
- Permission to use a voice recorder in lecture classes
- Sign language interpretation
- Real Time Captioning services
- Alternative tables and chairs in the classroom
- Facilitation of obtaining books in alternate formats