Skip to main content

Mentoring, Student Disabilities, and Accommodations

The Accessibility Services Office is prepared to help your student succeed in the classroom.

Providing Reasonable Accommodations

Finals Week

When creating accommodations for students with disabilities, remember that disability law states that accommodations must be within reason, which means the accommodations must:

  • Not lower standards of the course
  • Not create an unfair advantage
  • Not alter a fundamental component of the curriculum

If you feel that a student is asking for an accommodation that is either lowering the standards of the course, creating an unfair advantage or altering a fundamental component of the curriculum, the accommodation does not have to be made. For specific questions, please contact the Accessibility Services Office.

Common Accommodations

Providing More Time On Tests And Assignments
Studies have shown that when students who have learning disabilities such as ADD and ADHD are allowed extra time to complete an exam, their average test scores increase. Allowing students with disabilities to have more time to complete exams and assignments does not create an unfair advantage, but it levels the playing field for all students.
Providing ADA Compliant Materials
Ensuring that webpages, handouts, PowerPoints, and I-Learn materials are properly set up for screen readers is a necessary accommodation for those who have vision disabilities. All materials must be accessible to everyone in the class. Students who are deaf and blind have resources at the Tutoring Center to help them study, and there are employees at the Testing Center who are prepared to help give them exams. If you need help with creating materials or understanding what specific students need, contact the Accessibility Services Office.
Suspecting Disabilities In Students
Although it can be difficult to talk to students about disabilities, there are easy ways to implement these conversations. Ask questions that allow students to open up about their struggles in a safe environment.

Possible questions to ask students with suspected disabilities:

“I see you’re struggling with the reading in my class, could you please come to my office so we could talk about what I can do to help you?”

"I have noticed that you do not finish the I-Learn quizzes in the allowed time, is there anything I can help you with?"

”I see that there are some barriers to your learning. What is it that is hard for you?”

Often, students will open up about learning disabilities or current life struggles. From there, you can assess possible accommodation options.

Fall colors on the Northwest corner of the Manwaring Center.
Because faculty are the experts of their course material and have specific expectations for their classroom, they determine what accommodations they will provide.

Possible follow up questions:

“What accommodations could help you to better understand this course material?”

“Do you feel like our arrangement is helping you learn?”

“How are you feeling about the class since the last time we met?”

Only in extreme situations should mentors consider asking students if they have ever been tested for learning disabilities. Because this is an extremely sensitive question to ask, prayerfully consider how to approach these situations. If a student is diagnosed with a disability, faculty, and employees will have more freedom to make accommodations, which can help them overcome learning obstacles.

Grading Students with Disabilities

If you are having trouble deciding how to grade students with disabilities, download the Grading Students with Disabilities document. For any other questions, contact the Accessibility Services Office directly.

Medical Challenges

Temporary disabilities and temporary absences (broken bones, illnesses, surgeries, etc.) are handled through the Dean of Student’s Office.