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Seven Habits of Equitable Accommodations

  1. Maintain all academic standards throughout the course.
    • Section 504 is anti-discrimination, civil rights statute that requires the needs of students with disabilities to be met.
  2. Inform students privately of your willingness to discuss possible adjustments, preferably within the first few weeks of class. DO NOT ask students to reveal their disability, require them to justify their accommodations, or request for medical proofs. If students disclose their disability without a Letter of Accommodation (LOA), suggest that they contact Disability Services. It is not the role of the faculty member to determine eligibility.
    • This determination has already been verified by the appropriate professionals and BYUH Disability Services.
    • Students have been informed to initiate contact, but they often delay in asking for help. For procedural safeguard purposes, find a private time to inform students that you have received their Letter of Accommodations.
  3. Communicate the agreed upon adjustments clearly via email or Canvas. Document each contact date on the LOA. HELPFUL discussions, "Is there any information you might like to share so I can better assist you in completing this course?" "What is your understanding about this assignment?" "How do you plan to complete this assignment given the adjusted deadline?"
    • Don't assume students can explain their limitations or predict which adjustments they need. Help them understand what it would take to complete the assignment/course (e.g., managing time, working with peers, visiting tutorial labs, participating in class, check in with you monthly, etc.). Requiring students to ask questions or inviting them to talk to you if they need help is often too generic and ineffective.
  4. Accommodation is NOT modification. Accommodation does not alter the standards. Modification may alter course expectations. Ask yourself: Would waiving deadlines, allowing calculators, or extending exam time give this student an added advantage? If so, you are modifying, not accommodating.
  5. Check with the Section 504 coordinator if any course materials, printed or electronic, may be accessible in alternative formats (audio book/large print), or if any assistive devices, items or software may be employed to enhance the functional capability of the student.
  6. Keep all information confidential. Avoid sharing disability concerns even within the program. A student must request a new letter each semester, for each course, for each faculty, regardless of whether this was a past student or a repeated course.
  7. Students may not always know which accommodations best meet their needs.ª The purpose of accommodations is to create EQUAL ACCESS, not compensate for the lack of abilities. Accommodations are not a guarantee of passing a course.
    • Students with attention issues may request for extended time when in fact, breaking down an assignment into two parts or taking an exam at two separate times may be more helpful.

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June 8, 2019