Working with Students with Disabilities
An accommodation letter is a letter written by staff from Student Disability Resources, SDR. The accommodation letter is given to students who are registered with SDR, considered to be an individual who is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990, ADA, and are eligible for reasonable classroom accommodations at Penn State University. Every student seeking classroom accommodations is required to obtain a new accommodation letter at the beginning of each semester. The letter contains suggested classroom accommodations for the student based on his/her disability.
It is the student's responsibility to present their accommodation letter to their instructor as early in the semester as possible so that accommodation procedures and policies are clear to both the instructor and the student. Instructors may be approached by a student asking to meet with them during their office hours to discuss accommodations and how they will be carried out throughout the semester. Students are asked not to present the accommodation letters in front of other students prior to or at the end of class. If a student approaches an instructor with their accommodation letter in this manner, it is best to ask the student to come to the instructor's office or to schedule a meeting at a more convenient time. This approach protects the student's confidentiality regarding their disability and promotes a more healthy exchange between the student and the instructor.
In addition to the accommodation letter, instructors will receive a second form called Responsibilities for Requesting and Providing Classroom Accommodations at Penn State University. This form outlines the responsibilities concerning providing classroom accommodations.
Sample Responsibilities for Accommodations Letter
Instructors are encouraged to contact the SDR staff member that has signed the accommodation letter if there are any questions regarding the suggested accommodations listed on the letter. Also, instructors are encouraged to contact SDR with any concerns or difficulties associated with the student. SDR will offer suggestions or advice in regard to working with the student in the classroom. SDR will not disclose the nature of the disability or any other information regarding the student without written permission from the student. Even if the student has signed an information release form to discuss their disability related information, the only information that will be disclosed will be related to the accommodation(s) in the classroom and not specific information regarding the student's disability.