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A department within Student Affairs


Requesting an Accommodation

>> If you have a documented disability and receive support through DRS, you may be eligible to a reasonable accommodation.  Request the accommodation using a statement.  For example, say, "A note taker has helped me in the past, is that okay?"  Rather than saying, "Can I use a note taker?"  Make the instructor aware of accommodations used in other courses, state available resources from DRS or say, "I have a letter from DRS." And, finally, describe what you will do to help arrange for the accommodation and ask for agreement.
>> I like to work out with my professors some of the accommodations that I have to make me be better poised to succeed in this class.
>> Okay.
>> Past accommodations that I have used are with the test taking, I have used a DRS here at Temple University.  If you send the test over prior to class I can complete it there in a secluded area with no distractions.
>> I have another option that you might want to consider.  Could I offer having you start the exam in the office next door and then finishing up the exam in the classroom so that you are with the other students?  Would that work for you? 
>> That would actually work a lot better for me because I like to stay with my peers when I take tests.  So thank you for that option.
>> Yeah, that will work.
>> And then, of course, the note taker, this is where I actually need your help.
>> Okay.  So what can I do to help you with that? 
>> Well, I need help finding a note taker, and this would just be a buddy that I could compare notes with to make sure that I got all of the essential points of your lecture.
>> Okay.  So if I ask in class for volunteers?
>> Whatever feels more comfortable for you, if you want to ask in class for volunteers or if you want to take a week or two and find a student that you think would be a good fit for me and want to pair us.
>> Ok, that makes sense.  Yeah, let's go with that option.  I'll look for somebody that is taking notes and seem to be attentive in class.
>> Great, thanks again.
>> If the student has a documented disability, they will typically make arrangements with the Department of Disability Resources and Services for that office to sort of serve as a liaison between the student and the professor.
>> I work with them to decide what to do.  They said e-mail the professor, let them know if they have any problems and then you could contact the DRS staff.  So I e-mailed the professor and explained that I'm deaf, I will be having two interpreters and they e-mailed me back and said that's fine.
>> It is important to state that this is the accommodations that you need rather than ask for them, because if you ask for them it almost seems like you are asking for special privileges or special treatment.  If you say, "Oh, well, is it okay if I have extra test time."
>> Well, one of the things that has been helpful when the student is actually requesting the accommodation is if they mention to the professor what accommodations have worked in the past.  He or she can say, "Well, I have had a note taker in the past and it's helped in this way."  And that way the professor can understand how the current accommodations or future accommodations can actually help the student.
>> So what it is, is that, particularly in the longer classes, like the three-hour lectures, I sometimes lose focus a little bit.  So I leave for a few minutes and come back in just so I can clear my head and pay attention to the lecture better when I come back in.
>> Okay.
>> I had a stress ball that I squeeze in class sometimes when I'm totally overwhelmed or anxious.
>> That's a good idea, the stress ball.  And I won't be offended in you leave my class for a few minutes.
>> Okay.
>> And really the main thing is that I have arranged with the Department for Disability Resources and Services that I have extended test time.  And I take my exams at their office, just because without the time limit on the exams, it's a lot less anxiety for me in taking my tests.
>> Okay.
>> So I think those accommodations will help a lot with this class here, do these accommodations seem reasonable to you? 
>> Yeah, yeah.
>> Something that would work?
>> Yeah, they seem reasonable to me.  I mean, you know, it looks like you have gone through DRS already, so I'm sure if they deem it reasonable, it's reasonable for me.
>> Accommodations simply allows you to gain access to that learning, to that environment, to be in the classroom and succeeding at the rate of everybody else around you.
>> I try to provide a lot of ways that students can access notes or access information or ask questions without any kind of guilt or feeling of inferiority.
>> Chances are, if a professor is accommodating students with disabilities who are fully warranted in receiving these, they are probably going to be making learning opportunities available to a greater degree to all students.