Case Scenarios

General FAQs | Case scenarios | Common accommodations

Here are some examples of circumstances that may arise and cause confusion for faculty and/or students. Please contact us with any questions or to discuss a particular situation.

Registering with OAS

A student has a disability but chooses not to register with OAS

Students with disabilities are not required to seek academic accommodations. Participation is voluntary. Once a referral is made, it is student's responsibility to continue in the course and participate with guidance from the instructor. The faculty member should not provide accommodations without receiving an OAS accommodation notification letter from the student.

A student may wait until later in the semester to contact OAS and request services

A student can register with OAS at any time. It is ideal for the student to register prior to the beginning of classes; however, each student has certain experiences (i.e. stigma, negative attitudes from faculty, feelings of inadequacy, misconceptions regarding accommodations, etc.) that may prevent them from registering with OAS. Students sometimes contact OAS in crisis and seek accommodations as a solution.

If the student chooses to register, the process can take about 3-5 days depending on the time of the semester.

If a student is eligible for OAS and receives accommodations, these provisions are in place for the remainder of the course; accommodations cannot be used retroactively. Since accommodations cannot be used for past due work, faculty have to determine how to grade late work. How many assignments are past due? If only one or two, faculty can apply the same leniency (if any) as for any student who may experience sickness, technical issues, or an emergency. If two or more assignments are past due, contact OAS to discuss some potential options for this student.

Faculty-Student Communications

Students may forget or choose not to inform their instructors that they have an OAS accommodation plan

Students are responsible for contacting OAS each term to submit their accommodation letters.

Since faculty make announcements throughout the semester, the office recommends adding one along these lines during the first or second week of class to remind students of this process:

If you are a student that is currently registered with the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) and have not received a copy of your accommodation notification letter within the first week of class, please notify OAS immediately. Students who have accommodations in place are encouraged to coordinate sometime with your professor, during the first week of the semester, to discuss your specific needs for the course as it relates to your approved accommodations. All discussions with OAS and faculty concerning the nature of your disability remain confidential.

A student may not disclose his or her disability

The student has a right to confidentiality and can decide whether and what he or she wants to disclose. If the disability is not disclosed to the faculty member, any conversation related to accommodations can focus on the academic challenges experienced by that student.

A student may seem to have a disability but no documentation exists

The faculty member should not ask the student if he or she has a disability. Approach the situation as with any other student having difficulty and inquire what might be impacting their performance. If the presence of a disability is disclosed, refer the student to OAS.

A student may disclose a disability and ask the faculty member to provide accommodations, but fail to seek OAS services

Faculty should not provide an accommodation without official notification from OAS. If a student discloses a disability but does not want to register with OAS, faculty can provide the same support as they would for any student experiencing academic challenges.

During the Semester

A student may choose to stop using an accommodation at some point during the semester or may not follow through with arrangements

Students are responsible for notifying faculty when an accommodation is needed.

A student does not have to use the approved accommodations. If a student decides to not follow through with an arranged accommodation, the instructor can grade the student accordingly. For example, if a student receives "flexibility with deadlines" and has arranged a new deadline to submit an assignment with the professor but fails to turn it in, the instructor can grade that assignment accordingly. The student has been provided the accommodation.

A need for additional accommodations may arise

Faculty may refer the student to OAS, which will review the student's documentation to assess whether that student is eligible for additional accommodations.

A student with a disability is causing disturbances in class and shares inappropriate information with the class

The same general expectations of behavior apply to all students, including those with disabilities. Students registered with OAS must adhere to the policies and guidelines stated in the Student Code of Conduct. Profanity, aggression (verbal or physical), threats, inappropriate comments, and failing to adhere to academic integrity policies are considered unacceptable due to the disruption of other students and staff in providing services and academic accommodations.

A notetaker arrangement may not work out for one or both parties, causing difficulties in the student's ability to obtain information in a timely manner

Faculty should contact OAS to resolve any questions or concerns.

A student may claim they have not received their notes or textbooks in alternate format when asking for extensions on assignments or retakes on exams, when in fact they have received these materials

The faculty member may contact OAS with any questions or concerns. If there is a notetaker assigned to the student, the instructor can contact the notetaker to verify notes were submitted and received by the student. OAS maintains records of textbook requests for each student.

A student may ask for accommodations after they have failed an exam or assignment

If the faculty member not have an accommodation letter for this student, refer him or her to OAS. If the instructor does have an accommodation letter for the student, provide a reminder that accommodations cannot be used retroactively.

A student with a disability fails a course

If the student does not meet the course requirements, then failing a student is proper and lawful.

When a faculty member has provided reasonable academic accommodations, all that is required to comply with the law (ADA). Here are some considerations for faculty to ensure compliance:

  • Provide verbal (face-to-face courses) and/or written notice to your students of your willingness to accommodate. For example, provide a syllabus statement referring students to OAS and post an announcement during your first or second week of class.
  • Communicate clear and concise expectations for performance to your students. Distinguish between essential and non-essential components of the course.
  • Respect requests for reasonable accommodations once you receive notification from OAS.
  • Assure that any course materials that you add, whether printed or electronic, are accessible and available in alternative formats (OAS can assist in obtaining these formats).
  • Consult OAS if you have any questions regarding a student's approved accommodations.
  • Keep student disability-related information strictly confidential.

A student registered with OAS has been hospitalized and contacts the instructor regarding his or her status

The faculty member should consult with OAS. If the student states they have documentation, encourage him or her to forward it to OAS. We will verify the documentation and provide any updates to the faculty.

Depending on when the incident occurs or the length of hospitalization, recommendations could include:

  • Using an accommodation if assignment can be completed within the parameters indicated on the accommodation letter (maximum 7 days).
  • Medical withdrawal: If the student cannot complete the course work due to a medically related emergency, the student could apply for an appeal.
  • Incomplete: If the student meets the criteria for an incomplete, the faculty member can provide this and negotiate a new time frame for completion.