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Working with Individuals with Disabilities

Basic Tips

Below are some basic tips to help instructors and supervisors navigate processes as they pertain to Disability Resources. Please contact Disability Resources with additional questions at 215.895.1401 or

The Accommodations Verification Letter (AVL) is a legal document, and once an instructor or supervisor receives a completed AVL, all accommodations listed on the document must be provided.
If, as the instructor or supervisor, you feel one or more of the accommodations may be inappropriate, please continue to provide the accommodation and contact Disability Resources immediately to discuss your concerns.
The individual should never be asked to disclose their specific disability or give any personal information relating to their disability. Simply treat the individual the same as their non-disabled peers with the only exception being the accommodations indicated on their AVL.
Respect the autonomy of the individual and resist the urge to take on a larger role or infantilize. This may be particularly salient when working with students. In college, unlike primary and secondary education, students are required to advocate for themselves when disclosing their disability and requesting accommodations.
Individuals with disabilities should be held to the same standards as every other student or employee at the university. While they may receive accommodations to "level the playing field" and provide equal opportunity for success, they are still expected to maintain the same standards and abide by the same policies and expectations.
The WIRED Guide provides on- and off-campus resources and best practices for understanding and respecting differences to create a welcoming, inclusive, respectful, engaging and diverse community. It includes an informative section about Disability.
For instructors seeking to provide accommodations to students, testing policies and procedures are a common area of concern. Below are some tips pertaining to testing accommodations. For information about other specific student accommodations, review the Tips for Providing Specific Student Accommodations.
Instructors can independently provide students with testing accommodations. If using the Disability Resources test proctoring center is preferred, the instructor logs in to ClockWork to submit this request. This request must be submitted to Disability Resources at least five (5) business days in advance. Submitting this request does not guarantee a testing space during the same time as the regularly scheduled test. If space is not available at the time requested, Disability Resources will offer the student the next time available (subject to instructor approval) and send an email confirmation to the instructor and student.
Be sure to provide students with their grades in a timely fashion; a special accommodation provision should not delay grade delivery.
Remember to provide testing accommodations for pop quizzes. For example, offer the quiz at the beginning or end of class so that the student can be informed (on the day of the quiz) to come early or stay late, or to take the quiz in a designated testing location before or after class.
Instructors should deliver exams and any testing materials (Scantron, BlueBook, etc.) to the testing location indicated on the front of the proctoring form. Sending exams by fax or by email to the testing site is not permitted. Moreover, proctors will not retrieve exams and students are not allowed to bring their own exams in hand. When the student has finished testing, the exam (along with any scratch paper used) will be available for pick-up. Until that time, Disability Resources professional staff will keep the exam and its contents secure.
During exams in the alternative testing location, if students are unclear about the exam instructions or conditions, they are asked to stop the exam and seek assistance from the proctor. The proctor will attempt to contact the instructor if necessary.
If a student arrives up to 30 minutes late to scheduled testing, the student will be allowed to test but will not be given any additional time. If the student is 15 to 30 minutes late, the instructor will receive a notification of the tardiness. If a student is more than 30 minutes late, it is considered a "no-show" and the student will be responsible for communicating with the instructor regarding any options to reschedule the exam.