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Getting accommodations

What do you think?

Before you get started, think about how you would answer the following questions.

  1. What accommodations do you use now?
  2. How will you get accommodations when you are in college?
  3. Who on campus will know if you have a disability?
  4. What kinds of accommodations can you get in college?

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What are accommodations?

Accommodations are supports and services provided on college campuses so qualified students with disabilities have equal access and opportunity to benefit from classes, programs and activities. Academic accommodations must be authorized by a specific office on campus — generally known as the disability support services office — and are determined on an individual basis. Here’s a partial list of common accommodations at the college level:

  • Priority registration
  • Exam modifications (i.e., extended time on tests, readers, scribes, proctors)
  • Testing in a room with limited distractions
  • Interpreters
  • Textbooks in an alternate format
  • Course substitutions

Steps to take

Review the attached diagram that highlights the roles and responsibilities of students, faculty and the disability support services office in the accommodation process. To get accommodations, you must go through the accommodation process as specified by the college you are attending. Although each college may have a different process, here are some general steps in getting your accommodations:

  1. Student: The first thing you must do is contact the person in charge of accommodations on campus and register as a student with a disability.
    • Usually this person is called the coordinator of disability support services (DSS) or student support services.
  2. Student: When you meet with the person in charge of accommodations, you must provide them with current documentation of your disability. IEP forms are usually not considered documentation.
    • Check the college’s Web site for the handbook for students with disabilities. Often you can find out what the documentation requirements are.
  3. Student: Discuss accommodation needs with the DSS coordinator.
    • Discuss the accommodations you used in the past, what has worked and what you think you will need while in college.
  4. DSS coordinator: The person in charge of accommodations will review your documentation and determine if you are eligible for services.
  5. DSS coordinator: If it is determined that you are eligible for services, the person in charge of accommodations will determine what accommodations the college or university will provide and will give you a letter of accommodations informing your professors of authorized accommodations.
  6. Student: Give accommodation letter to professors and be prepared to talk with the professor about how to receive your accommodations.
    • It is highly recommended that you give your letter to your professors in the beginning of the semester, but you can do this at any point during the semester. Keep in mind that accommodations are not retroactive and begin at the point in time when you give your letter to your professor.
  7. Professors: Professors must provide the accommodations that are specified in the letter.
    • Professors must keep this information confidential.
    • If the professor has questions about the letter that you do not feel comfortable answering, direct them to the DSS coordinator.
  8. Student: Monitor accommodations.
    • Are the accommodations working? Do you need additional accommodations? If so, contact the person in charge of accommodations.