The Interactive Accommodations Process

Disability accommodations are adjustments made to how the individual engages in a course, program, service, job, activity, or environment to improve access and inclusion. The purpose of accommodations is to provide equitable access and experiences while maintaining essential requirements and learning outcomes. Accommodations may include modifications to courses (for example, exam or assignment accommodations), housing, parking, course load, lab or fieldwork, learning abroad, and more. Accommodations are tailored to the individual student and may change over time.

Interactive Accommodations Process Roles

Determining and arranging academic accommodations is a partnership between the student, the instructor, and the DRC. Each party has a role in this process: 

Student role: 

  • Discuss disability impacts and barriers experienced in the academic environment
  • Provide information/documentation as needed
  • Share what strategies and/or accommodations have worked in the past
  • Consult with assigned access consultant as needed

DRC access consultant role: 

  • Work with the students and their instructors to identify barriers to accessing the course, program, service, or activity
  • Recommend reasonable accommodations that may reduce barriers but do not fundamentally alter the essential functions of the course, program, service, or activity

Instructor role:

  • Share information about the essential elements of the course or program
  • Contact the student’s DRC access consultant if there are questions about how to implement the accommodations or concerns about the effect of the accommodation on essential requirements

Getting Started

  • The interactive accommodations process begins with an initial consultation between the student and a DRC access consultant. The access consultant gathers information by discussing barriers with the student and reviewing health documentation to understand disability impacts and barriers that may arise in academic environments. While documentation from health providers is a valuable source of information, it does not solely determine what accommodations will be reasonable. The access consultant may also consult with instructors or others in the academic program to determine what accommodations will be reasonable. If coursework or other programmatic accommodations are recommended, the access consultant will share an electronic accommodation letter with the student. 
  • Students are responsible for sharing their accommodation letter with the instructors or other contacts within their courses/program for which they would like to use the accommodations. Accommodations are not intended to be retroactive so the student should share the letter with their instructors as early as possible. 
  • The student and instructor should have a conversation about how they will implement the accommodations in the course to ensure a shared understanding. The access consultant who signs the accommodation letter can serve as a contact point for the student and the instructor throughout the semester if there is a need for consultation.
  • Students are responsible for requesting an updated accommodation letter as needed. They can do so by contacting their access consultant directly. Students may also work with their access consultant if they need changes or adjustments regarding accommodations. Students are responsible for sending a new version of their accommodation letter to their instructors.