Disability Services for Students

302 Memorial Union Univeristy of Rhode Island Kingston, RI 02881


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Frequently Asked Questions

Will providing a student with accommodations give him or her an advantage over other students?

No. Providing accommodations simply levels the playing field so that the student with the disability has an opportunity that is equal to the other students’ to learn and demonstrate mastery of course material.

Do I have the right to deny a student an accommodation if I feel that it is not necessary in my course?

It would be more appropriate to discuss (with the student and Disability Services) how the requested accommodation could be adjusted to the format/goals of your course. While accommodations should never change course standards or the essential function of the course, denying an accommodation might be interpreted as excluding the student.   When a letter from the Disability Services office is presented to a professor, the accommodations that are being requested are based on a thorough review of the student’s documentation of disability and are necessary for the students equal participation in the course

Will providing accommodations mean that I will have to restructure my course and lessen the requirements of the course?

Again, accommodations should never change course standards or the essential functions of the course.    All students, including students with disabilities, must meet the requirements of a course – with or without accommodations.  Accommodations are adjustments that help ensure that students are not excluded from the course because of a disability.

Do I need to provide accommodations to any student that indicates a need for accommodations?

No. Only those students who have provided professors with accommodation request letters (or forms) from the Disability Services Office should receive accommodations. The accommodation request letter or form is the professor’s assurance that there is a legitimate need for accommodation and that the student has followed the appropriate channels. When students request accommodations without a letter they should be referred to the Disability Services office.

I have a student with a disability who is failing my course. Is there something that I should be doing differently to help this student succeed?

All students, including those who have disabilities, can fail courses. However, as you would with any student in trouble, it is appropriate to address the issue with the student and/or the Disability Services office. It is possible that different accommodations or different preparation strategies will help the student succeed.

Isn’t it true that students can simply pay a psychologist to write a recommendation to get them waived out of foreign language courses?

No. All determinations of foreign language substitutions are based on complete Psychological Education assessments.  These assessments must clearly substantiate a learning or hearing disability and/or must demonstrate that a student cannot reasonably participate in 2nd language learning, even with accommodations. Staff members at Disability Services carefully evaluate the documentation provided and recommend a foreign language substitution to the degree granting college. Those students who receive this substitution are required to take alternative courses that fulfill the Foreign Culture requirement.

I received an accommodation letter requesting that a student in my class be given extended time on exams. There are classes taught in the same classroom before and after my class, so how can this student get extended time if they can’t begin early or stay after class?

In this instance, the professor is asked to find an alternative time and place for the student to take the exam so that the student is assured the necessary extended time in which to take the exam. A possible alternative is to have the student take the exam during office hours in the professor’s office or another private space in the department. Another alternative is to call the scheduling office and schedule an available room on campus in which the student can take the exam during a time when the professor or designee is available.   Professors may also ask for assistance from Department Chairs or Dean.



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