Thursday, June 20, 2024

Accommodations For Students With Disabilities

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Students With Physical Disabilities

Accommodations and Modifications for Students with Disabilities

The phrase physical disability is used to describe a wide range of physical limitations and diagnoses, the most common of which would be someone that uses a wheelchair or other mobility device. Some limitations may be very severe and noticeable, while other are almost hidden or non-apparent. The most common barrier to academic success for a person with a physical disability is access. Access takes many forms, from a class assigned in an inaccessible building to the persons own limitations preventing them from taking class notes. As with all other disabilities and impairments, it is important to treat students with physical disabilities fairly. Students with physical disabilities typically are very knowledgeable of both their limitations and abilities and are accustomed to communicating their needs to others.

Examples of physical disabilities include:

  • Wheelchair users

Some limitations of students with physical disabilities are:

  • Difficulty writing, such as class notes and on exams
  • Sitting in a standard desk
  • Participating in labs where lab tables and equipment are hard to reach
  • Transportation
  • Classrooms or buildings that are not wheelchair accessible

Possible accommodations include:

  • Relocating a class or lab to an accessible building/space
  • Audio recorder or notetaking assistance
  • Accessible seating or table in the classroom
  • Scribe for Scantrons and/or essay exams
  • Additional time for completing exams

Sample Course Accessibility Statement

Faculty may use this sample accessibility statement to help them write a statement for their own syllabus.

This course has been specifically designed to foster a diverse learning environment. Please kindly inform me about any unseen hurdles that may present a barrier to your learning. Feel free to speak to me at any time about concerns or questions you may have about assignments, activities, or assessments.

Any student who feels they may need an accommodation for any type of disability should contact the CEU Disability Services Officer at .

Accommodations And Educational Equity

To be clear, equity of educational opportunity does not guarantee equal outcomes, and even with accommodations, students with disabilities often underperform relative to their nondisabled peers. Accommodations are designed to allow for access to educational opportunities, not necessarily success in a particular educational endeavor. These goals can become conflated because accommodations often do raise the performance of students with disabilities , and thus reduce the gap in outcomes between these students and nondisabled peers. However, the two goals are logically distinct, and have very different implications for equity-based accommodations practices. Pressure for improvement in superficial indicators of performance can lead students to receive inappropriate accommodations. This presents in two forms: more privileged students seeking further performance gains, and less privileged students receiving accommodations instead of needed interventions. Both phenomena work against genuine equity of educational opportunity.

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Accommodations Vs Interventions For Disadvantaged Students

When seeing the unequal rates of accommodations provided across socioeconomic classes, it may be tempting to simply provide more accommodations to less privileged students. Certainly, many students in this population need and fully deserve accommodations to access their educational programs. However, even here, accommodations are often used too readily, and with different but still quite problematic effects on educational equity.

What Is The Difference Between Accommodations And Modifications

Testing Accommodations for Students With Disabilities: Research
  • An accommodation gives the student an alternative or more effective way of learning the material.
  • A modification is a reduction in the amount of material or a change to the material itself.

Here are some more examples:

Accommodation: A student has a learning disability in reading so his teachers read math word problems aloud to him. This allows him to fully focus on the math problem, without any confusion that could emerge from his reading difficulties.

Modification: A student is given 10 math problems for homework, although the rest of the class received 20. This might be the case for a student with a math disability who takes a considerably long time to solve each problem and gets extremely frustrated during homework.

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Submit Necessary Forms To Receive Accommodations

No one was going to submit these forms for me, so it was up to me to turn in these documents on time so that I could receive my accommodations. With some professors, it was somewhat intimidating to approach them — because, well, people are who they are. Nonetheless, I didn’t let my impressions of them stop me from getting them to sign the forms required to receive my accommodations.

How Do I Get School Accommodations

The ADA only requires schools to accommodate a student if they are aware of the need, so parents and students are responsible for disclosing the students disability to the school and requesting an accommodation. Typically, college students can initiate the accommodation process through the universitys disability resource center, whereas elementary and secondary students and their parents can go through the school administrator.

While students and parents are not necessarily required to submit a written request for an accommodation, they are responsible for providing written documentation of the disability. And even though its not required, its always a good idea to put your request in writing for documentation purposes. Should a dispute arise later, it will be helpful to have evidence that you requested a reasonable accommodation.

A typical request letter should identify the students disability and clearly state that you are requesting a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. It should also identify the students specific disability-related needs and suggest accommodations that you believe will meet these needs. You can also ask the school to recommend different accommodations if it believes the suggested accommodations are not reasonable and to give you a response to your request for accommodation within a reasonable time frame. Make sure you include your medical documentation and explain it in your letter if anything is unclear.

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List Of Testing Accommodations For Students With Disabilities

There are many testing accommodation options depending on the nature and the severity of the learner’s disabilities. There are three main groups of accommodations for students with disabilities:

Presentation Accommodations These accommodations allow students to access learning the information without having to read the standard visual print. Examples of presentation accommodations are:

  • Human readers
These involve changing the environment in which the test is given. Examples include:

  • A change of setting to make it easier to use special equipment
  • Getting rid of distractions to the students
Time and Scheduling Accommodations These accommodations increase the time for assessment and make changes to how time is organized. Examples are

  • Allowing the students to take frequent breaks and have rest times
  • Extending the test time
  • Making changes to the schedule of activities

It is worth noting that the student’s accommodations are selected by both the parents and the educators at the IEP meeting.

Students With Mental Health Disabilities

Accommodations and Modifications For Students with Disabilities

Mental Health disabilities may not be apparent, but they can have a dramatic impact on interpersonal and school behavior that affects the learning process. These disabilities cover a wide range of conditions that may be chronic or reoccurring. With appropriate treatment many mental health related disabilities can be effectively controlled or improved. However treatment, which often combines medications and psychotherapy and may effectively stop acute symptoms or halt the downward spiral in some individuals, sometimes causes additional limitations as a result of prescribed medications.

Examples of some mental health disabilities are:

  • Major depression

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Who Is Entitled To Accommodations Or Modifications In The School Setting

Students who are considered to have a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act , or students who have a condition diagnosed by a doctor, that impacts their ability to perform to their fullest potential in school, are generally offered accommodations and/or modifications in the school setting through an Individualized Education Program or 504 Plan .

Accommodations And Support For Students With Disabilities

Students may face disability-related barriers throughout their studies. Central European University provides reasonable academic accommodations to qualified students with disabilities based on individual needs. Reasonable accommodations provide necessary and appropriate modifications to ensure that people with disabilities can enjoy and exercise all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with others .

The purpose of academic accommodations is to provide students with equal access to learning and participation in university life. Some examples of academic accommodations may include

  • Accessible course materials
  • Assistive technology to support student learning needs
  • Assignment extensions
  • Classroom relocation
  • Exam accommodations
  • Other modifications that allow a student full participation in the universitys programs, services, and activities.

Its important to note that accommodations are provided on a case-by-case basis. Two students with similar disabilities may qualify for and be eligible to receive different accommodations. Additionally, its possible for students to have a disability and not require accommodations or to only use accommodations when necessary.

Each student who has a disability is invited to register with the Disability Services Office to receive reasonable accommodations. Best solutions are reached if faculty members, whose role is vital in the process, work closely with the Disability Services Officer .

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How My University Supported Me As A Student With A Disability

College programs and leaders play a vital role in aiding students with disabilities. Read one student’s story about navigating college with a disability.

As someone who has Asperger’s syndrome, I can attest to the difficulty of having a disability while in university. Disabilities hinder us in many ways that no one else can imagine. To succeed in university, I utilized resources to achieve my goal of graduating and doing excellent in my classes.

In elementary and middle school, I used to be a mediocre student. I remember getting C’s in regular classes and hating reading. It seemed like I was going nowhere until I became determined. When I got determined, everything changed.

I earned really good grades in my high school classes and then I earned grades many college students can only dream of earning while in college.

At Florida International University , there were many resources to help students with disabilities succeed in their studies and graduate. Below are some of the resources I utilized at FIU to succeed academically, in addition to some advice on how you can do the same to succeed in your studies.

Queens Student Accessibility Services

How I Accommodate Students During Tests and Quizzes
  • Acts as primary support for students with disabilities seeking academic accommodations
  • Works with students with disabilities who register with QSAS to develop academic accommodation plans based on the required documentation that is provided
  • Communicates and consults with academic and administrative staff, as needed, about accommodation plans, and to ensure that academic accommodations are provided
  • Advises, and seeks advice from, instructors, academic supervisors and other academic personnel on matters related to academic accommodations for students with disabilities
  • Consults with undergraduate and graduate academic units and/or Faculties/Schools on the essential academic requirements and standards of a course or program of study
  • Advises units on non-academic accommodations for students with disabilities
  • Supports students with disabilities in working out any conflicts that arise related to academic accommodations
  • Informs the Executive Director, SWS, and other administrative officers about potential breaches of this policy or any potential risk to the university in relation to the provision or non-provision of academic accommodations for students with disabilities
  • Responds to requests for information regarding students academic accommodations in relation to complaints/inquiries as appropriate.

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Reducing The Reading Level Of Material

Here is an example: Lets say an eighth-grade student is reading on a fourth-grade level and has a reading disability. His science teacher is giving a lesson on astronomy. For this modification, the student would be allowed to read a fourth-grade level book on the subject rather than having to read the eighth-grade level material. A google search for astronomy for kds can also provide some lower-level reading material on the subject.

Several Students In My Course Are Registered With Student Accessibility And Achievement And Are Entitled To Receive Extra Time For Their Online Assessment I Noticed That The Students Have Different Time

No. Providing students with various time-based accommodations with 50% extra time is not consistent with inclusive pedagogical practices as it may constitute an unfair advantage for students who will require only a fraction of the additional duration. Student Accessibility and Achievement, therefore, recommends that the most equitable option is to provide accommodations in a way that is consistent with each students individual accommodation, which has been determined in conversation with an Access Services Advisor.

If you are thinking about adopting inclusive assessment strategies in your course, you can consider doubling the duration of the exam for all the students in your course, and not just to those registered with Student Accessibility and Achievement. This practice takes into account a number of barriers that many students may experience. For more information, we invite you to visit our FAQ section on Inclusive Pedagogy.

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What Are Reasonable Accommodations For Students With Disabilities

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act , educational institutions must provide reasonable accommodations to enable students with disabilities to have an equal opportunity to participate in an academic program, typically by making adjustments or modifications to the academic environment, application process, or educational curriculum.

There are a number of reasonable accommodations that can be made to help students with disabilities succeed in school. These accommodations may include physical accessibility, such as ramps and automatic doors audio-visual aids, such as closed captioning and American Sign Language interpreters or auxiliary aids, such as Braille displays or text enlargements. Some other examples of reasonable accommodations include:

  • Modified classroom seating
  • Extended time for test-taking
  • Lecture recording

In order for accommodations to be considered reasonable, they must not impose an undue hardship on the institution providing them. The determination of whether an accommodation presents an undue hardship takes into account the nature and cost of the accommodation, the resources available to the school, and whether the accommodation would substantially alter an educational program or pose a safety risk.

Different Types Of Supports

How Do Students with Disabilities Get Accommodations at College?

Special Education

By definition, special education is specially designed instruction . And IDEA defines that term as follows:

Specially designed instruction means adapting, as appropriate to the needs of an eligible child under this part, the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction To address the unique needs of the child that result from the childs disability and To ensure access of the child to the general curriculum, so that the child can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the public agency that apply to all children.

Thus, special education involves adapting the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction. In fact, the special education field can take pride in the knowledge base and expertise its developed in the past 30-plus years of individualizing instruction to meet the needs of students with disabilities. Its a pleasure to share some of that knowledge with you now.

Adapting Instruction

Sometimes a student may need to have changes made in class work or routines because of his or her disability. Modifications can be made to:

  • whata child is taught, and/or
  • howa child works at school.

For example:

Jack is an 8th grade student who has learning disabilities in reading and writing. He is in a regular 8th grade class that is team-taught by a general education teacher and a special education teacher. Modifications and accommodations provided for Jacks daily school routine include the following:

Setting. For example,

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Accommodations For Students With Disabilities

ADA | Education Law | Student Disability

On March 22, 2017, in a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal laws regarding the education of students with disabilities require schools to provide these students with programs that allow for more than de minimis progress. This means that programs for students with disabilities will not automatically meet the federal requirement simply because the students show at least some improvement. Instead, schools need to operate within the parameters of federal laws to help students achieve meaningful progress.

The Supreme Court case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, discussed the de minimis requirement in terms of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and its requirement that schools provide children with free appropriate public education. This article will discuss schools obligations under this law, as well as other federal laws related to individuals with disabilities.


The ADA protects students throughout their entire lives and in various situations. This means that students with disabilities are entitled to receive reasonable accommodations even outside of the classroom, in such extracurricular activities as sports teams or youth organizations. Additionally, post-secondary schools and employers cannot discriminate against the individual based on his or her disability, or the fact that he or she may have received an accommodation in primary or secondary school.

Section 504


Instructional Practices Often Confused With Accommodations

Teachers use a number of instructional practices to improve their students learning. It is not unusual for several of thesespecifically, modifications, instructional strategies, and interventionsto be confused with accommodations. In the sections below, well describe each of these practices and explain what makes them different from accommodations.


Modifications are adaptations that change what students learn and are used with students who require more support or adjustments than accommodations can provide. Whereas accommodations level the playing field, modifications change the playing field. Unlike accommodations, modifications:

  • Do change the expectations for learning
  • Do reduce the requirements of the task

The table below lists some modifications that could address the barriers presented by students disabilities. Note that the modifications actually change or modify the expectations or requirements of the task.

Disability category

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