Reasonable Accommodation

A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a course, program, service, activity or facility that enables a qualified student with a disability to have an equal opportunity to attain the same level of performance or enjoy equal benefits and privileges as are available to similarly situated students without disabilities.

Such modifications may include changes in the length of time permitted for completion of degree programs, substitution of specific required courses, adaptation in the manner courses are conducted, and examination modifications.

Reasonable accommodations are generally determined by examining:

  • The barriers resulting from the interaction between the documented disability and the campus environment.
  • The possible accommodations that might remove these barriers.
  • Whether or not the student has access to the course, program, service, activity or facility without an accommodation.
  • Whether or not the essential elements of the course, program, service, activity or facility are compromised by the accommodation.
  • Relevant laws and university policies.

Other related factors

When an OSWD counselor reviews an accommodation request, the following analysis is generally used:

  • Does the student have a disability as described by the federal definition of a person with a disability?
  • Is the student “otherwise qualified?”
  • Was the accommodation requested in a manner consistent with established university policies and procedures?
  • Is the accommodation reasonable and/or readily achievable?
  • Is the nature of the program or activity fundamentally altered by the provision of the accommodation?
  • Does the provision of the accommodation present an undue financial or administrative burden on the university?

Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Examples of accommodations for which students registered with OSWD may be approved include, but are not limited to, the following:

Extended Test-Taking Time

By far the most common accommodation used by OSWD students is extended time for testing, with tests taken and proctored in OSWD’s facilities. “Extended-time” testing means twice the amount of time that would be usual in the classroom.

Testing in a Distraction-Reduced Environment

The Disability Services Test Center affords the opportunity for students who are approved for this accommodation to test in an individual, quiet room.

Note Takers

Note takers are provided for students who require assistance with note taking in class.


Recording of lecture material is considered a reasonable accommodation for students whose disabilities dictate assistance in this venue. Students using this accommodation sign a contract during the student accommodation plan meeting agreeing not to share the material.

Readers and Scribes

Readers and scribes are provided to assist with exams for students eligible for such accommodations.

Alternative Testing Methods

Students with disabilities have the right to be evaluated based solely on their abilities. If an evaluation method has a negative impact due to a student’s disability, the university will seek reasonable alternatives. These may include oral testing, alternative assessment, extended test times, and/or testing in a distraction-reduced environment.

Alternate Textbook Materials

Alternatives to the traditional textbook may be provided for those students who demonstrate need.

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology is generally computer-related equipment and software that assists the student in some fashion, such as making on-screen text more readable, or reading on-line text to the student audibly. Kurzweil 3000 is an example.

Physical Access, Mobility Training and Orientation

Arrangements are made to ensure that classrooms are in accessible locations, and students new to campus are familiarized with campus locations.

Priority Registration

All OSWD students are given early registration.

Contact Us

Office for Students with Disabilities

JSAC 1225

(202) 250 - 2059

(202) 448 - 7259


9:00 am - 5:00 pm
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

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