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FAQ's and Resources




Will I know if I have a student with a disability in a class?

Once a student has provided the Office of Disability Services with the proper documentation, an email regarding the student and the approved accommodations for the class will be emailed to the professor's WOU email. This information is considered confidential and states so. Please do not share any information from this letter with colleagues, students or anyone other than the student. If you do talk to the student concerning the information received, please do so in a manner that is considerate to the student. The email will detail what approved accommodations will be provided by ODS for the class. The email will not identify the students' disability.


How can I encourage students with disabilities to talk with me about their accommodations?

A note on the Syllabi for the term and a class announcement is a great first step to encouraging open communication between the student and professor concerning accommodations. Below are some examples that could be used:


Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me privately to discuss your specific needs. Please contact the Office of Disability Services at 503-838-8250 to coordinate accommodations. Students needing medical or mental health care can access the Student Health and Counseling Center by calling 503-838-8313, emailing at, or by walking in to schedule an appointment.


If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and the Office of Disability Services, APSC 405, or at 503-838-8250, as early as possible in the term. Students needing medical or mental health care can access the Student Health and Counseling Center by calling 503-838-8313, emailing at, or by walking in to schedule an appointment.


Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact the instructor during office hours to discuss their disability related needs. Use of ODS services, including testing accommodations, requires prior authorization by ODS and compliance with approved procedures. Students needing medical or mental health care can access the Student Health and Counseling Center by calling 503-838-8313, emailing at, or by walking in to schedule an appointment.


It is University policy to provide, on an individualized basis, accommodations to students who have disabilities that may affect their ability to participate in course activities or to meet course requirements. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact their instructor to discuss their individual needs for accommodation. Students needing medical or mental health care can access the Student Health and Counseling Center by calling 503-838-8313, emailing at, or by walking in to schedule an appointment.


Am I required to make changes to the material covered in the class for a student?

Reasonable accommodations are reasonable modifications of the learning environment that eliminate, as much as possible, physical or instructional barriers to learning encountered by a student with a disability. Reasonable accommodations are determined by the Office of Disability Services on a case by case basis in accordance with state and federal laws. Once a reasonable accommodation is determined, faculty are sent an email from the Office of Disability Services when a student is requesting an accommodation. Faculty are not required to lower or substantially modify essential course elements in order to provide an accommodation.


Will I be required to extend deadlines for assignments for a student with a disability?

If a student needs special consideration in completing an assignment or needs an extended deadline for an assignment it is the student's responsibility to communicate that need to faculty prior to the deadline. The student will need to communicate directly with the faculty to make the arrangements and come to an agreement regarding the required coursework. The student understands that he or she will need to work in collaboration with the faculty to determine the new due date and the request for an extension must be prior to the assignment due date. A contract can be used to assist this communication process, please contact the Office of Disability Services with assistance in this process.


Are all students with a disability registered with ODS?

No, not all students with a disability are registered with the Office of Disability Services. Some students have chosen not to register. However, in order for a student to receive accommodations and/or auxiliary aids they must register with the Office of Disability Services.


A student with a disability has requested to take an exam at ODS. How do I know that my exam will be secure and the the student will not receive an unfair advantage?

In relation to keeping the exam secure, providing alternative test arrangements is a collaborative effort including the faculty member, the student requesting the accommodation and the Office of Disability Services. Once the student and faculty member have completed the Testing Contract in the AIM system for ODS, ODS will make arrangements to proctor the exam. ODS makes it a priority to keep the exam secure, have the student take the exam separate from their personal belongings (i.e., their backpacks, phones, etc) and ODS requires a signature upon delivery of the exam back to the faculty member.

In terms of unfair advantage, The Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states: "The results of an examination should accurately reflect an individual's aptitude or achievement level or whatever the test purports to measure, rather than reflecting an individual's impaired sensory, manual or speaking skills". Again, on a case by case basis, reasonable accommodations are determined. Some reasonable accommodations could include: lengthening the standard examination period, provided a limited distraction environment or possibly provide the use of a computer in order to complete the exam.


I have a student in a class that seems to be having a difficult time with the material. I think this student may have a disability. What should I do to help this student?

While working with any student it is important to consider the variety of resources that are available for them to utilize. Such resources include, but are not limited to: The Writing Center, Academic Advising and Learning Center, Health and Counseling Center, Office of Disability Services and the Student Enrichment Program, etc. Although you may suspect that the student has a disability it is important not to assume. Provide all of the resources available on campus and let the student decide which resource(s) fit them best.


I have been asked by a student to record lectures. Do I have to allow this?

Contact the Office of Disability Services. ODS can provide a copyright release form to safeguard materials. You can also request that all taped materials are erased at the end of each quarter or semester.


I have a student who rarely shows up to class, turns in assignments that are not complete or not at all, and is on the verge of failing. The student requested to use accommodations on the midterm, and has requested to use them on the final exam. Do I have the right to fail a student with a disability if they are not meeting the level of competency required for the class?

Yes. It is possible to fail a student with a disability. The laws mandate access to education, not guaranteed academic success. When the faculty member has provided reasonable academic accommodations, all that is required to comply with the law, and the student does not meet the course requirements, then failing a student is proper and lawful.


How can a student that is blind access my lab?

The student will be provided a lab assistant to access labs on campus. This assistant will read the instructions for the lab to the visually impaired student, and the visually impaired student will in turn provide directions for the lab assistant to perform. The lab assistant will explain in detail what is happening as the instructions are performed. The lab assistant is not a partner, but someone that provides details and performs instructions.


What if one of my students has been approved for an accommodation that I believe will alter the fundamental core competency of the course?

The institution is required by federal regulation to establish formal grievance procedures for providing prompt and equitable resolution of disagreements. When a dispute involves the conduct of a course or academic program, those procedures provide for consultation between the faculty member responsible for the course, the student, and a representative from the Office of Disability Services. Contact ODS to learn about the grievance procedures on campus.


How do I grade written essays when syntax and grammatical errors are evident for students who have a hearing loss and use American Sign Language (ASL)?

English is a second language for many people who are deaf, and therefore, presents unique challenges for the student and professor when written language assignments are evaluated. For students who rely on American Sign Language, transferring thoughts to a written form can be difficult because ASL does not have verb tenses. As a student who is deaf explained, "I cannot hear the tenses in phrases such as 'I have been doing,' because American Sign Language uses symbols."

You must provide a reasonable accommodation for a disability, but should not lower your academic standards. Correct the student's grammar and syntax and assist the student in developing his or her English skills. You may wish to refer the student to a tutor or the Writing Center.



Tips for specific disabilities

Please note: the following information is being reproduced with approval from DO-IT. DO-IT publications are freely available in print or online and include newsletters, instructional brochures, proceedings for Capacity Building Institutes, and other useful resources. Topics cover accessible IT, academics, and careers among others. Please feel free to visit the DO-IT website at


More information to come...




Suggested Do's and Don'ts


Treat students with disabilities with the same courtesies you would afford to other students.


Apply the same academic standards and rigor to students with disabilities as you would afford to other students.


Ask questions if you don't understand something or are not sure how to proceed - ODS can be very helpful in this regard.


Hold up your end with regard to accommodations which have been determined to be appropriate. This may include announcing in class for a notetaker or providing copies of exams to the ODS in order for a student to take the exam under alternate circumstances, such as extended time, using a scribe or Braille, etc.


Respect the privacy of students with disabilities.


Communicate clear and concise expectations for performance to all of your students. Distinguish between essential and non-essential components in your course.


Assure your course materials, whether printed or electronic, are accessible and available in alternative format, the Office of Disability Services can assist in this process.


Remember that people with disabilities are impacted in different ways. Two people with the same disability may require very different accommodations.


Keep in mind that people with non-visible disabilities have needs that are just as real as those persons with visible disabilities.


Include a disability statement in your class syllabi. See sample statements in FAQ section.



Treat students with disabilities differently.


Leave a student adrift without accommodations.


Ask specifics about a student's disability.


Make assumptions about a student's ability to work in a particular field. Most often, concerns that students may not be able to "cut it" are based on fears and assumptions, not facts.


Refuse to provide accommodations. If you have questions about an accommodation fundamentally altering a course, please contact ODS at 88250.


Faculty/Staff Accommodation Requests


Provide a written request to their supervisor and/or Human Resources (HR) using the HR form located here: Select 'ADA Accommodations Request' Document located under the heading 'Human Resources Forms.'


Upon approval from HR, contact Office of Disability Services (ODS) with accommodation request(s).




Office of Disability Services (503) 838-8250 VTTY; fax (503) 838-8721 | or e-mail:
Location: APSC room 405