What Are Accommodation Letters?
Accommodation Letters are our way of communicating your accommodation needs to faculty members. These letters contain very basic information about your disability and explain the accommodations you are eligible to receive. In higher education settings, we use accommodation letters rather than IEPs or Section 504 plans with which you may be familiar from your earlier school years. You may not receive accommodation letters until you have completed the registration process with our office.
Student eligibility for accommodations is determined by SARC staff through the process of gathering and considering information received during our meetings with you, contained in documentation that you have submitted and by considering your past history related to usage of accommodations. Each Accommodation Letter packet contains the information noted above, a link to test proctoring procedures and an Academic Accommodation Contract form that you and your professor will sign. After the contract is signed by both of you, you must bring it back to the SARC- the notification process with your instructor is not complete until this is done.
Providing Accommodation Letters to Professors
Students with disabilities need to be able to self-advocate. This means that you must be able to explain how your condition may affect you academically and what accommodations you need. The SARC does not deliver your Accommodation Letters to your instructors/professors. You are responsible for communicating directly with your instructor about your accommodation needs which assists with developing self-advocacy skills and establishing a good working relationship with your instructors.
Students have the right to be accommodated, but making the request to be accommodated should be done with courtesy toward faculty members and with reasonable notice (at least one week before accommodations are needed). Never just drop the Accommodation Letter on a professor’s desk and ask him/her to sign it. Instead, go to your instructor’s office hours or request a time to meet if her/his office hours do not match your schedule, and explain that you need to discuss your accommodations. Show up on time for your appointment. Review your Accommodation Letter with your instructor and participate in a discussion on how your accommodations will work in that course.
If an instructor asks you questions that make you uncomfortable or that you don’t know the answers to, please let him/her know that instructors may contact the SARC at any time to discuss concerns or questions they may have.
When you finish discussing accommodations, ask your instructor to sign the last page of the packet. It’s the Academic Accommodation Contract, and is printed on green paper. Students need to return this signed form to the SARC. Instructors cannot be expected to provide accommodations of which they have not been informed (reasonable notification). Accommodations may not be provided until this step has been completed.
It is rare for a student to have problems with professors in this process, but problems can arise and sometimes for good reasons. Should this happen to you, please make an appointment immediately to discuss the problems with the Director or other Disability Service Provider.
Renewing Accommodation Letters
You must request updated accommodation letters each semester from the SARC. Accommodation letters should be renewed during the first two weeks of Fall and Spring semesters. For summer courses, your accommodation letters should be renewed within the first week. You will need a letter for each class in which you would like to receive accommodations. To renew your accommodation letters, you must follow the procedure outlined for you by your Disability Service Provider.
Deciding Where You Are Accommodated for Testing
A critical part of setting up accommodations is the determination of where testing accommodations will take place if you are approved for testing accommodations. Professors may be able to accommodate you, or they may need to send you to the SARC to have your exams proctored. While you may state your preference, the final decision is up to the professor.
Last updated: 10/12/2018