The complete Faculty Guild for Supporting Students With Disabilities (pdf)

Faculty should include the following in course syllabi:

If you are a student with a documented disability who anticipates needing accommodations, please inform Kathy O’Rourke (902-585-1823) in Accessibile Learning Services, Fountain Commons -

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

Announce at the beginning of a course that you are available to discuss instructional methods and appropriate accommodations and supports with students who have disabilities.

Is it appropriate to ask a student who is having obvious difficulties whether he/she has a disability, or to refer the student to Accessible Learning Services?

No.  It is not a good idea to ask directly about a possible disability.  A direct inquiry such as this could be considered intrusive. You may simply tell the student that you notice he or she is having academic difficulty and encourage the student to come and talk with you about gaining assistance.

How do I maintain confidentiality?

Rather than approaching students in class, invite them to talk with you in your office.

What do I do if a student approaches me directly with a request for accommodations and is not registered with Accessibility Learning Services?

If the student has a documented disability, the best approach is to encourage the student to contact Accessible Learning Services so that we can determine whether or not the student is eligible to receive accommodations.

Does providing extra time give some students an unfair advantage?

We are not giving an advantage; rather, we are trying to eliminate a disadvantage and overcome an education-related barrier. Even though a student may have average, above average or very high intelligence, he or she may need extra time to read, write, comprehend or process information. With extended time, the student is given the same conditions to produce answers to the exam questions as any non-disabled student may under “regulation- time” conditions. Therefore, the students with LD are provided with a “level playing field”.

Why should I give a particular student extra time? He/she doesn't need it. He/she got a B in his/her last test.

In the same way that we would not reduce the time for exams for students without disabilities who receive A’s, we do not penalize students with disabilities for getting good grades. Accommodations are based on identified academic needs. The fundamental question is whether it is knowledge of the course material or the speed of completion of the exam that is being assessed.