Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) Classroom Scenarios
The scenarios presented below are situations with students related to a disability that may arise in the classroom.
A student requests an “accommodation” but you have not received formal notification of an accommodation plan from the OAS office either directly or by means of an official letter presented by the student.
Response: Explain to the student that you do not have the authority to grant an accommodation. Refer the student to the OAS office for guidance.
Explanation: Students are not required to register their disability status with the ADSR office but only those who are registered are granted accommodations. Each individually tailored plan is designed by staff in the OAS office to address functional limitations based on the documentation that is presented.
A student presents the accommodation plan to you after an assignment or test has been completed and requests you take the disability into consideration in grading or counting a grade.
Response: Accommodations are granted from the time the information is shared with the instructor, not retroactively.
Explanation: It is the responsibility of the student to provide the OAS office with documentation that supports the need for an accommodation. Accommodations are granted once the need has been verified and an appropriate plan for delivering the accommodation put in place and the instructor has been notified.
A student registered with the OAS offices misses many classes and contacts you directly to make arrangements for make-up work.
Response: Refer the student to the OAS office.
Explanation: There are many students registered with the OAS office who do not have documentation that supports “disability-related absences” as an accommodation. The absence may be due to a different situation or an escalation in a documented disability that requires reconsideration of the extent of need.
In some classes that have a performance component, extended absences make the option of a withdrawal from the class necessary. In other classes, catching up is possible. This is a situation that requires close coordination between the Office for Undergraduate Education that processes withdrawals and the OAS office. Instructors work with these offices to ensure that the learning objectives of the course are not compromised as the outcome is determined.
A student reports that he needs an additional accommodation other than the ones already in place.
Response: Only the OAS office can determine if an additional accommodation is needed. Avoid making a “temporary” accommodation on your own.
Explanation: If a student reports that his or her needs are not being met based on a disability, the OAS office can review the documentation that has been presented and determine if there is justification for the request and authorize it. Alternatively, they may, based on the information available to them, allow a temporary accommodation for a short time pending new information from a health provider. This is most common for conditions that vary, such as health issues. Medication may lose effect. Chronic health issues may flare up. Sometimes it takes time to get information from health providers so the office may work with you on a temporary basis.
The behavior in class of a student with a disability is unusual, socially inappropriate or disruptive.
Response: The rules you establish at the start of class (both verbally and on your syllabus) apply equally to all students. Student behavior must adhere to the Student Code of Conduct.
Explanation: How you respond to a student with a disability who exhibits unusual or disruptive behaviors may be somewhat different since the OAS office can partner with you to solve problems in ways that take into consideration the specific disability. As always, make sure students understand your rules: respectful communication and shared responsibility for a positive classroom environment. If a problem arises, deal with it immediately by involving OAS, the Office for Undergraduate Education and other resources.
You have not been able to identify a notetaker in your class for a student.
Response: Although student notetakers may not be forthcoming immediately, it is your responsibility as the instructor to identify one, check to make sure the notes are of good qualify and refer the student to OAS to understand the obligation of taking on this role.
Explanation: The instructor is responsible for making sure that the classroom accommodations are delivered. Once you receive notification of the accommodation of need for a notetaker, do the following:
- make an announcement in the class that a notetaker is needed
- look over the notes of the volunteer for accuracy and legibility
- refer the student notetaker to the OAS office to learn about the responsibility and processes
- periodically check to make sure that the student is receiving notes
Keep in mind that the identity of the student receiving notes is confidential. At no time, discuss an accommodation with any student, faculty or staff member other than those in the ADSR office or associated personnel.
A student does not perform well in the class despite the accommodations provided and requests extra credit or reconsideration of grades.
Response: The grading for all students is established through the syllabus. Be clear about your grading practices. Avoid making exceptions and providing ways to improve grades that are not consistent with opportunities granted to all students.
Explanation: The purpose of accommodations is to grant equal access to individuals with disabilities. These may or may not lead to success in a class. The OAS office makes the role of the student and that of the instructor clear. You will not be asked nor should you volunteer to make exceptions.