Students have the responsibility to initiate their registration with the AEC, provide current and complete documentation of their disability, and to meet with the AEC to discuss educational, accommodation, and medical history, as well as current barriers to access. The direct interaction with the student is very important and is used in combination with provided documentation and other history. Students continue to meet with AEC staff as needed for updates to their situation. Students must communicate with their instructors directly about any accommodations that may be needed during the term. Students are encouraged to do this in the first few weeks of the term. Students will use AEC's online portal, AEC Connect, to request accommodations and schedule exams. AEC staff may assist the student with this communication. If requesting accommodations coordinated by the AEC (such as testing and notetaking accommodations), students must submit appropriate requests by specified deadlines.
Instructors have the responsibility to ensure full access for students with disabilities by responding to a student's need or request for accommodations as outlined below. The University of Oregon has a flexible and individualized approach to accommodations and strives to create an inclusive learning environment for not only students with disabilities, but for all students by incorporating principles of Universal Design for Instruction.
It is useful to examine assumptions that you might have about disabilities, limitations, or perceived challenges, especially in advising or mentoring relationships. Sometimes students are unintentionally discouraged from specific fields of study based on assumptions and comments that are inaccurate and harmful.
If a student presents you with a notification letter from the Accessible Education Center (AEC)
You have the responsibility to cooperate with the AEC in providing accommodations in a reasonable and timely manner. Any concerns or questions that you have should be addressed immediately with the student, or by consulting with an AEC Advisor.
The letter will be emailed to you and may also be provided in hard copy by the student. It describes accommodations that are reasonable based on the student’s specific situation and legal mandates. During office hours or at another convenient time, discuss the letter and the accommodations with the student. This should be a confidential and private conversation.
Refer to Shared Responsibilities for a description of the most typical accommodations. It is also helpful to consider if there are ways to change aspects of the course that would benefit all students. For example, a student who is unable to see the PowerPoint slides requests to have a copy of the information before class. You might decide to post this information for the entire class to allow any student who would benefit from an overview or outline to be able to review this information before class.
If a student does not present you with a notification letter
If a student requests an accommodation based on disability, but does not provide you with a notification letter, or just mentions that they experience a disability, please refer them to the AEC. Depending on the nature of the request, you may wish to provide requested accommodations before receiving a notification letter from AEC. If you are unsure how to proceed, please contact AEC.
If you have a question about the appropriateness of an accommodation
Questions about the appropriateness of accommodations and student requests should be directed to an AEC advisor, or in complicated cases to the Director. Possibilities for a universal design strategy to address the request should also be explored.
If a disability is suspected
If it seems that a student has a disability and is struggling in some way, please share your observations/concerns directly with the student. If for example a student is clearly having difficulty physically writing fast enough on quizzes, it would be appropriate to state, “it looks like you are having difficulty writing fast enough to meet our timing on this quiz.” If the student acknowledges this challenge it would be appropriate to refer them to AEC to explore accommodations, such as more time to write, or use of a computer. Depending on the context, it may be helpful to mention other important campus resources, as well, such as the Teaching and Learning Center or the Counseling Center.
It is the student's decision whether or not to self-identify to the AEC or to use accommodations. This cannot be required. However, to receive AEC coordinated accommodations, disclosure to the AEC with proper documentation is required.
Students requesting specific accommodations are expected to notify you early in the term or well in advance of when the accommodation is needed. You do not have an obligation to offer make up exams, or provide retroactive accommodations to students who have delayed notification to you. It is not possible to anticipate all individual needs, although designing instruction for the broadest range of students helps to eliminate potential barriers to access. It is important to encourage students who encounter barriers in your class to contact you as soon as possible so that you and the student can discuss options. When a student discloses a disability, it is important to ask what you can do to facilitate learning.