Common Accommodations

Here we outline many of the most widely used types of classroom and testing accommodations for students with disabilities.

Please also see:

  • Student services: Overview of general types of accommodations


Ability to take unscheduled breaks in traditional face-to-face classes

For some students with disabilities, sitting for long periods of time and/or remaining in the same position for the duration of a class period can exacerbate symptoms of the disability. Similarly, some students may need to leave class for brief periods to attend to medications or other medical needs.

OAS encourages these students to move around or leave the class in the least disruptive manner possible. Students should discuss seating arrangements and the timing of breaks with their instructors.

Additional verbal direction and interaction with the instructor may be necessary

This student may experience difficulties with class participation, group projects, and clarification of written instructions. The student may request verbal direction to support their understanding. We encourage the student to contact the instructor as needed in order to support their completion of all course requirements as specified in the syllabus.

American Sign Language Interpreter in face-to-face classes

The student will need an ASL Interpreter in live classes to have access to verbal information. The instructor is asked to face the student when speaking. Please ensure that the ASL Interpreter is able to sit or stand in the front of the class so the student will be able to clearly see the Interpreter.

ASL Interpreting/Transcribing

An interpreter/transcriber is simply one who bridges the gap between the hearing and deaf.

When the teacher or a classmate speaks, the interpreter/transcriber translates the spoken words into the language preferred by the deaf or hard-of-hearing student. The student likewise participates in the classroom by signing or typing the information, which the interpreter voices for the class.

The interpreter is not meant to be a participant in the classroom, but a communication facilitator, making sure that communication is easily accessible for the deaf and hearing populations equally.

Flexibility with deadlines on assignments and/or projects

The extension of work should not be submitted beyond the last day of the course. The student is responsible for requesting an extension on specific assignments, if needed, due to their disability, and is expected to adhere to the new negotiated due dates. Please have any new deadlines which are agreed upon put in writing and available to reference by the student and instructor throughout the semester. Extensions may not be granted, when doing so would fundamentally alter the class, compromise class requirements or reduce class standards. Generally, a seven day maximum extension is considered reasonable for specific assignments and/or projects.

This accommodation is applied to individually based course work. Group assignments would not be included. If a student has any concerns with completing group based assignments, please refer to OAS. We will initiate contact with the instructor to discuss possible alternatives if warranted.

A request for an extension needs to be made in advance. Instructors may want to establish a protocol to be notified when a request is needed. The student needs to be aware of your preference (i.e. office hours, before or after class, email communication, or phone call).

Notetaker in face-to-face classes

The student will need a notetaker to ensure that all verbal information is available.

At times some students have difficulty taking notes due to their disability. Some students would benefit from copies of course notes from another student in the class. With the student's consent, the professor, instructor or teaching assistant can make a general announcement that there are students in the class who have disabilities which preclude them from taking comprehensive notes and that it would be appreciated if other students could give the student with disability copies of their notes. If a student agrees to be a notetaker, please have them email OAS. We request that you conduct this process in the most confidential manner. We do not want other class members to be made aware of which student is requesting the service.

All notetakers are paid $25 per credit hour at the end of the semester. The instructor can provide OAS with a list of potential notetakers in which OAS will coordinate services. If there is difficulty in securing a notetaker or concern regarding the adequacy of notes, please contact OAS immediately.

Preferential seating

If the class does not allow the student to find a seat in the first row, we ask that the instructor reserve a seat for him/her.

While reasons for accessible seating vary widely, common disability-related requests include seating near the front of the room, seating near the board, seating near an interpreter, seating near or away from windows, seating near the door and seating on the entry level of a multilevel classroom. OAS can assist with any modifications to classroom furniture, that are necessary due to an accessible seating request.

Recorded lectures

The student is permitted to use an audio recording device to record class lecture for notetaking purposes only.

Some students may need to be able to record their lectures due to the nature of their disability. Recording class materials in audio format is allowed when the student provides notification of the accommodation to the instructor. The student must provide his/her own recording device and may discuss with the instructor the best placement of the recording device. OAS can serve as a resource for questions regarding the recording accommodation.

Use of a laptop for notetaking

The student is permitted to use a laptop in class for notetaking purposes only.

Students who, because of a disability, have difficulty taking notes by hand may use a laptop in class. Laptops allow for greater speed in taking notes and thus may allow a student to maintain pace with their peers.


Extended time on quizzes and examinations

The student is permitted extended time on all quizzes and examinations. For face-to-face classes, if arrangements cannot be made within the classroom, student is welcome to take exams in OAS testing center, proctored by OAS staff. The student is responsible for making these arrangements in advance.

Students do have the option to take their tests in the classroom or at a designated Emory testing center. Please include testing instructions and contact information in the event that the student has questions.

Testing in a distraction-reduced setting

OAS encourages all students who require testing accommodations to try as best they can to make those arrangements directly with their instructors. However, if this is not possible, students may elect to take their tests at an Emory-designated testing center. The student is responsible for making these arrangements in advance.

Types of distraction free settings include a conference room, unused classroom, or an instructor's office. This accommodation is not a guarantee of a distraction-free testing space, but rather a quieter space where students have fewer distractions from fellow test-takers and are thus better able to maintain focus.

Use of calculator

This student should be allowed to use a calculator during proctored exams which have numerical calculations. Calculators can be used as long as the calculator is unable to perform the functions that are being tested.

This accommodation typically allows for the use of a four-function calculator so that students who understand the concepts will not be penalized for errors in basic calculations. Instructors will approve the calculator to be used by the student.

Use of computer for proctored exams

This student has difficulty with writing and is permitted use of a computer to complete essay exams. The student also has the option to use a scribe if necessary. If a scribe is used the student should read and make any necessary spelling, grammatical and punctuation corrections to the paper as needed. Arrangements for a scribe must be made in advance.

Using a computer allows students the opportunity to avoid physical fatigue and/or provide legible, better-organized answers to essays. Students making such a request may use a computer at a designated Emory testing center.

Computers in the testing centers allow for word processing and assistive technology without online access.


Alternative textbook format (audio/electronic)

OAS will work with student in providing document conversions as resources allow. For reasonable turnaround, student is responsible for contacting office at least four weeks prior to the needing of all materials.

Students may require course materials in alternate formats. Common alternate formats include electronic texts, enlarged texts, and/or recorded texts. Because alternative text production is sometimes a time consuming process, an OAS staff member may ask the program director or instructor for information about course materials several weeks (or months) in advance.

Captioning and/or transcription available for all movies and videos

The student is hearing impaired, to have equal access to all information the student will require that a transcription and/or captioning be provided for all audio materials. Please contact the office for any questions or concerns regarding accessibility.

Video and media can be valuable course content, but it is important to make sure these teaching tools will be accessible by all students. Captioning involves synchronizing text with audio content of a video presentation.