What are Accommodations?

A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment that enables a qualified individual determined to have a disability the equal opportunity to enjoy the same benefits and privileges that are available to individuals without a disability.

The purpose of an accommodation is to offer a level playing field, all while maintaining the same academic requirements of a course, a test, or activity.

Reasonable Accommodation

A university is not required or expected to change the fundamental nature or essential components of its program in order to accommodate the needs of students with disabilities; however, it is tasked with providing reasonable accommodations.

The reasonable accommodation analysis rests on an individualized review of what accommodations are reasonable within the parameters of that program. The University need not lower standards or fundamentally alter the program. A case-by-case review of the relationship between a requested accommodation and the fundamental program requirements should occur; essential academic requirements need not be adjusted. However, where specific physical, motor, cognitive or sensory tasks relate to a program in only a peripheral manner, a university is clearly required to make adaptations to accommodate the need of the students with disabilities.

That being said, adjustments that do not affect the academic integrity of a program are considered reasonable.

There is a laundry list of accommodations that are considered reasonable in the majority of circumstances:

Instruction or Classroom Modification:
  • Interpreter
  • Note taker
  • Reader
  • Recorded lectures
  • Braille textbooks
  • Enlarged copies of notes, handouts and exam questions
  • Preferential seating in classroom

Test-Taking Modifications:
  • Readers
  • Recorders
  • Extended time on exams
  • Separate room with quiet, distraction-free environment
  • Use of aids during exam (i.e. calculator)
  • Taped or oral versions of the exams
  • Alternative testing methods (i.e. mastery of course objectives using research paper instead)

There are also "Auxiliary Aids and Services" spelled out in the ADA:
  • Interpreters
  • Aurally delivered materials to aid individuals with hearing impairments
  • Qualified readers
  • Taped texts
  • Visually delivered materials available to individuals with visual impairment

If you would like more information about Section 504, the ADA, or faculty responsibilities, feel free to

contact the Office of Educational Accessibility

(223 Lawrence Center, 610-436-2564) or access the OEA website.

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