The following provides answers for some often asked questions about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973:
When working with a student with a disability, we sometimes are concerned about making sure that we are providing accommodations appropriately.
- A student is not considered by the University to be a student with a disability unless they have registered with the Disability Support Services (DSS) office.
- A student who tells you that they need an accommodation should be treated in the same way you would treat any student, unless faculty receives a Letter of Accommodation (LOA).
- Accommodations begin after the student has provided the instructor (including teaching assistants) with an official LOA from the DSS office. The student is responsible for this action.
- The instructor must sign the LOA Receipt Form to acknowledge requirements of the LOA. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain the signature/confirmation and ensure its return to the DSS office.
- Accommodations must not change the educational integrity of the course or the curriculum.
- If you believe an accommodation will interfere with educational integrity of the course, contact the DSS office at 256.824.1997 to speak with the Senior Coordinator.
- All students should be held to the same educational and behavioral standards. For example, if you would allow a make-up exam for a student without accommodations due to illness, then you would also allow a make-up exam for a student with accommodations.
Further, if a student without accommodations is sufficiently disruptive that you would report them to your department chair or judicial affairs, then you would do the same for the student with accommodations.
If you have any questions about implementing any of these guidelines please contact DSS at 256.824.1997 or firstname.lastname@example.org before taking action.
- Identify and establish essential functions, abilities, skills, and knowledge of courses and evaluate students on this basis. Students with disabilities should meet the same essential course functions as their peers.
- Refer students who state they have a disability to the DSS office, if the student does not provide a LOA.
- Use a syllabus statement and class announcements to invite students to register with the DSS office.
- Expect all students to observe academic standards and code of conduct as outlined in the course syllabus and University policies.
- Expect the student to initiate any DSS accommodation requests.
- Students with accommodations of extended time on tests and/or a distraction free testing enviornment can take tests at the Testing Services Center (TSC). Please refer to the Testing Services Center (TSC) website for
- Act immediately upon receiving a student's request for accommodations by providing the service or by contacting the DSS office (if unsure about request).
- Work to ensure that all audio-visual materials used in class are accessible (e.g., that videos shown are captioned for students with hearing impairments, etc.)
- Treat and protect all disability-related information as required by FERPA. For example, keep printed items, LOAs, or emails regarding student disability-related information in a protected location.
Faculty are not legally allowed to ask students if they have a disability. For those students registered with the DSS office, faculty are not legally allowed to ask about the nature of the disability. If students choose to
disclose their disability, this information should be treated confidentially.