Resources for Disabled Students

Reasonable Accommodation Questions

WHAT IS A REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION?

A reasonable accommodation modifies the environment (including policies and/or procedures) or a task in order to provide access to a program or activity in the most equitable and feasible manner available. In Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, these accommodations are also referred to as auxiliary aids and academic adjustments.

An accommodation is designed to minimize the effects of a disability so a qualified student can benefit or participate in an activity to the fullest extent possible. Accommodations are determined individually for each student and are to be appropriate to the specific limitation manifested by a disability.

A reasonable accommodations is not required if such accommodation would significantly alter the essential or fundamental objective of an academic program or class. Students are responsible for requesting accommodations in a timely manner and must first be recognized as eligible for the accommodation through Resources for Disabled Students (RDS).

HOW DO I KNOW THE REQUEST FOR AN ACCOMMODATION IS A LEGITIMATE ONE?

A student must be verified to be eligible for an accommodation prior to providing one.  RDS is given the authority to make that verification.  The process of determining if a student is eligible for an accommodation is based on substantiating whether or not a student has a disability.  An accommodation is determined based on whether or not it is appropriate for a particular limitation presented by the disability.  When RDS verifies that an accommodation is recommended for a student, lwetters are generated for each instructor who may be asked for the accommodation.  The student is to present this letter and discuss with the instructor how best to ensure the provision of the accommodation. 

Instructors are advised to provide the accommodation (providing it is reasonable and appropriate for that particular disability) to ensure compliance with the university's federal obligations.  If a student has not identified him/herself with the office, please refer the student to the office so that the RDS staff can help in the process of determining the most appropriate and reasonable accommodation concerning your class.

Even though you may be able to provide a specific accommodation independently from the assistance of RDS, please discuss the accommodation with RDS staff if the accommodation is because the student has a disability.  A student may explain that a specific accommodation has been provided by other instructors in the department.  However, faculty are not given the authority to determine what accommodations should be provided.  Not all requests for accommodations by a student may be appropriate or necessary for a given situation.  RDS is available to assist both the student and faculty member in negotiating what may be most effective as an accommodation.

WHAT IF I HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT A REQUEST?

You may feel the need for an accommodation is valid but the accommodation does not appear reasonable or workable for the requirements of your class. It may seem that the accommodation would substantially alter the fundamental nature of your course. If so, please call RDS for consultation. Often other accommodations can be determined that will not alter the fundamental nature of your course without affecting the mandates against discrimination based on disability.

If a student requests an accommodation you feel is unreasonable, or for other reasons question its validity, please contact RDS (491-6385).

Most students who identify as having a disability will have had contact with this office and their needs  verified by RDS staff.  If a student does not present a verifying accommodation letter to an instructor as part of the request for accommodation, the instructor is not obligated to provide the accommodation.  If a verifying letter does not have the correct name of the instructor, the accommodation request may be refused.  However, not providing an accommodation in a timely manner for a student once he/she had made the need known may be in violation of the law. Therefore, please call RDS for 1) verification to determine if the student is recognized as a student with a disability and 2) advice on what to do next.

  

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