Arranging for Accommodations
Below are the guidelines for setting up accommodations as a student with a documented disability.
Before Accommodations Are Implemented
Students with disabilities meet with Accessibility Resource Center staff confidentially as a first step in arranging accommodations. The staff verifies the disability and determines how the disability affects academic work. This is accomplished through discussion with the student and a review of documentation.
If you suspect that you may have a disability and need accommodations for your academics at UNM, below are some important details for getting your disability evaluated.
Students with Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Traumatic/Acquired Brain Injury
A copy of the comprehensive psycho educational report must be provided to Accessibility Resource Center at UNM in order for the student to be eligible for accommodations and/or modifications. Documentation should include testing scores and a verifying statement from a school psychologist, clinical psychologist, neuropsychologist, or other qualified professional. This group of students comprises the largest population of students served by Accessibility Resource Center. Learning disabilities affect the manner in which individuals acquire, integrate, and/or express knowledge. Learning disabilities may affect a student’s performance in reading, writing, spoken language, mathematics, or orientation to space and time.
Students with Visual, Hearing, Physical, and Chronic Medical Condition Disabilities
Accessibility Resource Center requires medical records for students with visual and/or hearing disabilities and, in particular instances, may accept verification of disabilities from the Department of Human Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DHS/DVR). Documentation must include narrative explanation for clarification and may include an audiogram and/or optometric results. Documentation must include specific restrictions due to a physical disability and potential accommodations required.
Visual disabilities may vary from total blindness to low vision. Students with visual disabilities may experience eyestrain, light sensitivity, and an inability to read printed material or to distinguish certain colors. Students who have been blind from birth have no visual memories. Their concepts of objects, space, and distance may be different from those persons who develop visual disabilities later in life. Mobility and orientation skills also vary due to numerous factors. Students with low vision may not have an apparent “visible” disability. Students may experience difficulty in performing in class readings, unannounced quizzes, open book tests, locating lecture information, completing scantron answer sheets, or viewing lecture notes.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing
The age of onset of a hearing disability will have a great impact upon the student’s English ability, both spoken and written. Generally, English is considered a second language for deaf and hard of hearing students when signed language is the dominant mode of communication. Appropriate requests include use of a Signed Language interpreter, real-time captioning, note taking, providing all directions in writing, and closed captioned videos.
Physical access is one of the major concerns for students with physical disabilities. Students may encounter unavoidable delays during inclement weather, heavy foot traffic times, and periods of construction. If a classroom is inaccessible, Accessibility Resource Center will work with the department to relocate the class to an accessible location. In order to fully participate in classroom activities some students may require educational assistants as an approved accommodation. When a course requires travel to alternative locations, those locations and transportation must be accessible.
Chronic Health Conditions
There are a number of chronic health conditions that may interfere with a student’s academic work, concentration, and attendance. Some students may be in pain, or taking medication with varying side effects such as drowsiness. Students with seizure disorders may be affected at any time without warning. Some medication can lessen or control seizures, but produce side effects such as slowed response and impaired coordination. Such medication makes it unlikely a seizure will occur in class. Faculty should contact emergency personnel when seizures occur.
Students with Psychological Disabilities
Accessibility Resource Center requires a letter from a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, or DHS/DVR. Documentation may include diagnostic treatment information, and potential medication side effects. Psychological disabilities include, but are not limited to, depression, bipolar disorder (or manic depressive disorder), anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia. Determination of eligibility for services is based on severity, duration, and onset of the disorder. On rare occasions, classroom behavior may become an issue. All students are expected to maintain appropriate behavior. If problems occur, consulting the Student Code of Conduct and handling the behavior issues according to departmental policies is appropriate. Accessibility Resource Center is available for consultation when necessary. Some students undergoing treatment take prescription medication to help control symptoms. This medication may have side effects such as drowsiness or disorientation.
Students are required to provide documentation of a disability as the first step in the initiation of services. Those students with no documentation and suspecting they may have a disability may seek an evaluation from community diagnosticians or health care providers. ARC maintains a contact list of community diagnosticians and clinic psychologists. Please contact the department to request a copy of the list. The cost of the evaluation is the responsibility of the student so please check with your health insurance to see if any of the cost is covered through your health insurance policy.
After the disability and its functional limitations are verified, the student is provided information about the various reasonable accommodations that address the student's disability. The student then chooses the reasonable accommodations that best apply in a given course or semester.
1. Students indicate the need for accommodation letters through submission of course schedule each semester to the department.
2. Accommodation letters are sent through e-mail to each requested faculty member appearing on the student semester schedule.
3. Faculty are informed of the presence of a signed language interpreter or special accommodations in the classroom prior to the start of the semester.
4. When faculty/staff have been notified, additional clarification and discussion may occur.
Sample Faculty Letter
If you are interested in seeing what our accommodation letters to faculty look like, you can download a sample letter here.