FAQ

Below are responses to some commonly asked faculty questions:

What does Accessibility Services do?
We are an office that promotes equal access to education for students with disabilities. We do this by offering supports and services so students can compensate for their disability-related limitations and equally participate in their learning. Learn more at Student Accessibility Services 
What are accommodations? 
Accommodations are supports and services that allow students with disabilities to participate in their academic environment by minimizing or removing any identified barriers. Learn more Accommodations Overview and Types of Accommodations
Who determines accommodations and do I have any say in their development?
Accessibility Services works with students to determine appropriate and reasonable accommodations based on their documented needs. If the accommodations interfere or compromise with standards of the course, professors are advised to contact the Accessibility Office immediately. 
What do I do after receiving a Letter of Accommodation (LoA)?
Store them in a secure place where they can be easily referenced. Students from time-to-time may communicate with professors regarding their approved accommodations and a copy easily available can be useful. Some student accommodations may require follow-up with Accessibility Services, professors are advised to confirm the policies and procedures for accommodations.
Should I ask the student to meet with me in-person after receiving their LoA?
Professors can invite the student to meet with them to discuss their accommodations and its implementation. For some accommodations such as those with environmental requirements (assigned seating, the ability to walk around, in/out privileges of the classroom, etc.), it would be beneficial to discuss the least disruptive arrangement with the student. However, please note this is not mandatory and students should not be expected to talk about their disability during the meeting. 
Shouldn't I know the student's disability so I can better support them?
Students are not required to share specific information about their disability or disclose their diagnosis with professors. It ensures that any form of discrimination or bias does not impact the student's learning environment or the professor-student relationship. Accommodations along with other academic services are sufficient supports students need to be successful academically. 
I taught a student in previous semesters with accommodations but this semester I haven't received their LoA, should I still allow their accommodations? 
Students are required to renew their accommodation plan with Accessibility Services each semester. If you have not received a LoA for a student, please advise them that accommodations cannot be used without renewing their plan first.
Will I need to change my course material or the way I teach to accommodate students with disabilities? 
It's advisable that universal instructional design is always built into course and lecture material to ensure that the coursework is accessible for ALL students. But usually, professors will not be required to make major adjustments in their course or teaching to accommodate students. Some students may require minor adjustments such as access to professor's lecture notes for transcribing or alternate format printed material, etc. - any such accommodations will be clearly outlined on the student's LOA. 
Do I have to change grades or course requirements for students with disabilities?
Accessibility Services works with students to develop accommodations that maintain all academic standards and course requirements. Accommodations are not meant to alter the academic rigour but provide students with an equal opportunity to access and demonstrate their learning. Accessibility Services will never ask professors to change or lower grading standards, however, in some cases reasonable alternatives for course requirements may be required. For example, a student with a speech impairment may need to be excluded from an oral presentation or may require an interpreter. 
What if I suspect that a student may have a disability and could benefit from accommodations?
The discussion of disabilities can be a sensitive subject for many students. If feasible you can talk to the student about your concerns and if the student is agreeable, refer the student to Accessibility Services. However, please know that not all students may feel comfortable discussing their needs so this conversation must be handled with care and in strict confidentiality. If academic concerns arise, students can also be referred to the Academic Advisor who will work with the student to determine applicability for accommodations. 
How do I handle potential accommodation abuses?
Abuse of accommodations where it's considered a breach of academic integrity must be reported to the Academic Standards Committee in the same manner as any other academic breach. Academic dishonesty can occur within accommodations as easily as it can in the non-accommodated academic environment. Institution-wide academic integrity standards are maintained by Accessibility Services and apply to all registered students. 

More questions, comments or concerns, Accessibility Services is a resource for you and your students. Contact us