Guide to Accommodations

NOTE: Accommodations for students with disabilities are determined on a case-by-case basis with input from the student, instructor, and Disability Resource Center (DRC) staff. Your input in this process is important; accommodations should in no way compromise the essential elements or objectives of your course.

TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS:

  • TESTING LOCATION: Whenever possible, it is best for students to take exams within the department. If extended time is the only accommodation required we suggest that students either come before or stay after the scheduled exam. If that is not possible, you can arrange to have the exam proctored by you or your TA in an office or separate room. We ask that you please be mindful of the confidentiality of students when making arrangements.

o   Please note that if the student takes the exam in a separate location, the area should not be unusually loud or crowded. If it is difficult for the student to concentrate with, they will not be able to demonstrate their course knowledge on the exam.

o   If you or your department cannot provide extended testing accommodations for the student, students are welcome to take their exam at the DRC.

o   If students prefer to take their exam at the DRC, they have the right to a separate, distraction-reduced room within our facility.

  • MEMORY AID: A memory aid is a tool used to trigger information that a student has studied but may have difficulty recalling due to processing deficits with memory.  Memory aids can contain acronyms, short phrases, pictures, schematic diagrams or mind maps, names, definitions, tables, charts or key terms, and certain formulae.  Memory Aids are cues to a larger body of information and would NOT be useful to a student unless s/he knows and understands how to use the information the aid contains.  If the student does not know the course material being assessed, the memory aid would NOT be beneficial.  Generally speaking, students create the memory aid and have it approved by the instructor in advance. Alternatively, the student could schedule a meeting before each exam to create the memory aid together. Students taking exams at the DRC are only allowed to use memory aids that have been approved by their professor.
  • READER/SCRIBE: Whenever possible, instructors should secure a graduate student, upperclassman, or someone within the department to serve as a scribe or a reader for a student. If the student takes their exams in the DRC, our office should be notified who will be working with the student on the day of the exam. Scribes and readers should not assist the student with course content and are only used to either write what the student says, or read the exam questions aloud. If you are having trouble finding someone to scribe or read for the exam, please let our office know as soon as possible. The DRC can offer the reader/scribe a financial incentive in the form of a gift card to the UIC bookstore.

ATTENDANCE ACCOMMODATIONS:

  • Flexible attendance is considered an appropriate accommodation for students with disabilities that impact their ability to attend class. This accommodation does not mean the student is afforded unlimited absences; instead, it is designed to be a process that is designed to meet the disability needs of the individual while maintaining the curriculum of the class. Professors and students must discuss the possibility of the student missing class, including how many absences would be reasonable given the nature of the course, how the student will notify the instructor in case of absence, and how missed work will be made up. The threshold of reasonable absences will differ depending on the course, especially if in-class participation and active learning with classmates are fundamental to the curriculum. Generally, the maximum number of absences for a student with this accommodation should be higher than the maximum number stated in the syllabus. Contact the student's Disability Services Specialist if you need any assistance navigating this accommodation.
  • If a student exceeds a reasonable number of absences and these absences have not been discussed with you, please contact our office so we are aware of the situation and can assist you in how to proceed. If the student does not complete the coursework or does not meet the course expectations after accommodations have been put into place, they should be graded accordingly.

OCCASIONAL EXTENSION ACCOMMODATION:

  • Occasional extensions for class assignments is also considered to be a reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities that impact their ability to attend class and turn in their assignments and/or may become ill due to their disability during a period in which an assignment is due. Professors and students must discuss the possibility of the need for an extension on assignments and how and when the assignment will be turned in. The timing of the extension and the number of extensions is at the discretion of the professor and should not in any way impact the essential components of the class. The DRC recommends that any extensions that have been agreed upon be put into writing as an amendment to the student’s Letter of Accommodation.
  • If a student exceeds a reasonable number of extensions and these extensions have not been discussed with you, please contact our office so we are aware of the situation and can assist you in how to proceed. If the student does not complete the coursework or does not meet the course expectations after accommodations have been put into place, they should be graded accordingly.

ALTERNATE PRINT FORMATS:

  • Students and faculty who need their course materials converted by the DRC to alternate formats (Braille, large print, electronic, and others) should complete the Request Alternate Text Form at least two weeks in advance of when the material is needed. We ask for instructors’ cooperation in ensuring that students are able to meet this deadline.

NOTE-TAKING ASSISTANCE:

  • Students may need assistance with note-taking. While not an exclusive list, there are three common accommodations used by students for assistance with note-taking.

o   Scribe (Peer Note-Taker). Students approved for this accommodation may seek the DRC assistance in identifying a peer note taker by completing the Request for Peer Note Taker form. The DRC will contact the roster of the class soliciting a volunteer and create an anonymous Box folder for the DRC student and the peer note taker to upload and access notes. If a peer note taker is not identified after two attempts via email, the DRC will be in contact with the instructor to arrange for an alternative.

o   Recording of Lectures. Students should be awarded the opportunity to record lectures using either digital recorders, Sonocent software or Livescribe smart pen provided by the DRC, or their own electronic device. Recording the lecture should be used solely for the purpose of note-taking. The DRC enforces the confidentiality of the material presented in lectures.

o   Acquiring Professor’s Notes. Students with disabilities are eligible to receive copies of their professors’ notes prior to lecture pending the professor has created notes. Therefore, if a professor has created a PowerPoint presentation, but does not intend to share with the class, a student with this accommodation should be given the presentation prior to class to aid with his/her note-taking. If the professor does NOT have any type of written outline, notes, and/or formal presentation, he or she does NOT need to create one for the student.

For more information on accommodating students in higher education, consult the following resources:

  • AHEAD (Association of Higher Education and Disability):

http://ahead.org/

  • DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology):

http://www.washington.edu/doit/