Step 3: Student and Faculty Meet to Discuss Issues
The instructor and student meet to discuss the specific accommodation needs. We encourage students to approach you either before classes begin or within the first few days of the semester with their accommodation form. The accommodations listed on the form have been approved as necessary to achieve equal access as required by law. Scheduling an appointment to discuss accommodations during your office hours or at some mutually convenient time eliminates the feeling of being rushed or caught by surprise, and the possibility of being surrounded by other students wanting your attention before or after class. It also ensures privacy and less distraction, as well as a more comfortable working rapport. We strongly emphasize the need for your commitment to confidentiality regarding any information students disclose to you personally, information gained through your contacts with DSP&S, or any other information about a student's disability you might have.
In your discussions with students, feel free to ask for more information than you see in the DSP&S accommodation form. You should feel comfortable asking questions related to the need for accommodations requested. Also, when a student discloses the type of disability, you may want to ask for more information about the specific disability (e.g., "Can you explain to me what exactly a learning disability is since I don't have much experience in this area?"). However, some students choose not to disclose the type of disability, and that is their right unless there is a real need to know. Though the information would ideally come from the student, if you would like more information than the student provides, consider contacting DSP&S. Most students give us permission to discuss their disabilities and accommodations with you.
If the student has not given you enough information to respond to his or her requests, encourage the student to meet with you again. Then probe, ask questions, and try to make the student comfortable enough to provide as much helpful information as possible. Again, if these efforts are not successful, you or the student should contact DSP&S. For many students, well-executed accommodations mean the difference between success and failure. Help us teach the student simply by being inquisitive and by communicating that it is okay to ask for an accommodation. When we all work together to solve problems, a solution is not far away.
Finally, work out any logistical arrangements (e.g., where and when the tests will be taken, who monitors the extended time and how to secure a low distraction room and computer if needed). Consider using a written record of your meeting. You can use the accommodation form, adding your own notes about logistics and giving a copy to the student.
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