Requesting Accommodations

You are encouraged to speak directly with faculty members regarding any accommodations you need. Approaching faculty members on your own is an excellent way to increase your self-confidence and ability to discuss your needs.  This is good preparation for life beyond college, where there may not be as many support services in place to help you arrange accommodations. Discussing your needs with faculty members help them better understand your situation and that allows them to get to know you personally.

To request accommodations from your instructors, you must show your current Notification of Authorized Services (NAS) from Disability Services. Your current NAS verifies that documentation of your disability is on file with our office and that you are eligible for special considerations.

Please follow these steps to request accommodations:

1.  Meet with a Disability Services counselor for academic advising and to develop a current semester NAS.

2.  Once you have your current semester NAS, be sure to discuss it with your instructors. It is best to make an appointment with your instructors first so you will have an opportunity to introduce yourself, explain your needs and discuss these accommodations. Simply showing the current NAS to an instructor prior to the beginning of class or at the end of class is not appropriate. Personal appointments will make the best impression on your instructors and ensure your privacy.

3.  Discuss accommodation requests with your instructors at the beginning of each semester, when you present your current NAS. For extended time and/or distraction reduced setting for testing, remind your instructor of the need for the above accommodation before the test, and ask how they would like you to arrange for the time/room, and how the test is to be delivered to the room.

4.  It is the student’s responsibility to arrange classroom accommodations with his/her instructor. Tests and exams must be taken at the same time as scheduled for the class unless otherwise approved by the instructor. Requests for extended time and/or quiet room may be accommodated in several ways:

  •    take the test in the department conference room or other quiet area.
  •    find an empty room near the course classroom.
  •    make arrangements with Disability Services. If this choice is acceptable, the student needs to fill out a Test Request Card. Test Request Cards are available at Journalism 160 on East Campus and at Yosemite Hall, Room 115 on West Campus. To take a test at Disability Services, you must come in to either location at least five (5) business days prior to the test date to schedule a testing room. For Final Exam week, scheduling a test at Disability Services must be done at least ten (10) business days in advance. The instructor must inform Disability Services of any materials allowed for the test; otherwise, Disability Services will prohibit anything being taken into the testing room. If a student insists that certain materials can be used, Disability Services will comply and notify the instructor upon completion of the test.

Discussing the nature of your disability (not the disability itself) with your instructors is imperative to helping them understand your needs. This can seem challenging, especially for beginning students who have not had much experience discussing the impact of their disabilities or accommodations. The ability to clearly request accommodations and explain your needs is a skill that will help you in all aspects of life. The following are some suggestions that can make your discussions with faculty members more successful.

1.  Plan Ahead - Think about what you will say before you meet with an instructor. You may wish to write out a script and practice ahead of time. Some instructors may not be familiar with your specific academic adjustments or accommodations, so you should be prepared to give them a brief explanation of how your disability affects you academically.

2.  Make an appointment - Making an appointment with your instructor will ensure that he or she has set aside time to listen to you without distractions. It is inappropriate to approach an instructor just prior to the start or at the end of a class session to ask about an appointment or show him/her your card, as you will not have the instructor's undivided attention. You will also not have the privacy a discussion of your disability deserves. During the appointment, clarify with the instructor how accommodations will be arranged.

3.  Be firm yet pleasant - Accommodations are your legal right, yet they can mean extra work for the instructor. Approaching the discussion in a cooperative, rather than demanding, manner is usually the most effective way to secure your accommodations. Remember, because this discussion will go beyond accommodations, you are actually establishing a relationship with a faculty member with whom you will be working for an entire semester. You can keep the mood of the meeting positive by going into it with a friendly attitude. For example, if extended time and a quiet room for exams are two of your accommodations, ask where the instructor would like you to take exam (the instructor's office, an extra classroom, at Disability Services, etc.). It is your responsibility, not the instructor's, to reserve a seat at Disability Services for testing.

4.  Remind instructors about agreed upon accommodations - It is helpful to remind instructors about exam accommodations a few days before the exam to avoid any problems the day of the test. Determine in your initial meeting with the instructor how best to contact her or her. For example, would the instructor like a reminder email note from you, a phone call, or a verbal reminder at the class session just prior to the scheduled test? This is especially important for the classes that only meet one day per week.

Outlined below are the topics covered in a typical student/instructor meeting. Examples are listed in italics.

1. Introductions. Introduce yourself and tell the instructor in which class you are enrolled. This is also a good time for small talk or a comment about class.

2. Reason for Meeting. Explain that you have a disability and that you need certain accommodations. You can show the instructor your card at this time. You may need to provide a rationale for the accommodations if the instructor does not have previous experience in this area.

3. Arrange Accommodations. Describe the appropriate accommodations for your disability. Try to arrange these accommodations with your instructors during the meeting. For example, if extended time and a quiet room are two of your accommodations, please ask your instructors whether they would feel comfortable having you take the test at Disability Services Accommodating Testing Office or if they have a quiet room you would be able to take the test in. It is your responsibility to contact Disability Services to reserve a seat at the Disability Services testing office. Please be prepared to fill out a Test Request Card. You must reserve a seat if you choose to take any test at Disability Services. No “walk-ins” will be honored.

4. Thank your instructors for their cooperation. Instructors are required by law to provide you with accommodations, but thanking them is a courtesy that can help you build a better relationship.

Please Note: You will find that most instructors are willing to cooperate with your requests for accommodations. If you encounter any difficulty in arranging accommodations with instructors, contact Disability Services for assistance.

Student/Faculty Liaison
Disability Services Center staff may, on occasion, act as a student/faculty liaison. It is recommended that students personally try to resolve issues with an instructor first. Disability Services Center Staff will provide guidance as to how to approach an issue with an instructor. If a student is not satisfied with the results and would like the Program Specialist to act as liaison, an appointment should be made to discuss the matter.