Frequently Asked Questions (Students)
Will I have the same accommodations I had in high school?
Not necessarily. The goal of accommodations in higher education is to promote equal access and opportunity. Thus, accommodation decisions are made on a case-by-case basis with reference to specific functional limitations. As an example, not all students with learning disabilities will receive extra time on tests. Similarly, students who used extended time in high school, but whose scores do not support a clear need for this currently, will likely not be granted this accommodation at the University. Conversely, other accommodations that were not used in the secondary school environment (e.g., note taking) may be appropriate in college.
I have a learning disability and was last tested when I was a freshman in high school. Do I need to get tested again?
Most likely. Accommodation decisions are based on one's current functioning, which means that documentation must reflect the current nature of one's difficulties. While it is recognized that most students do not outgrow their disabilities, their needs may change over time. Thus, a current assessment using adult-normed tests is essential.
What do I do if I am absent due to my disability?
Attendance during scheduled class times is a necessary part of the learning process. Accessibility Resource Center staff may recommend flexibility in attendance requirements for some students. Generally, this accommodation is requested when the nature of the disability results in varying functioning levels, i.e., “good and bad days.” Flexibility is negotiable, contingent upon the student and circumstance. Variables such as the course, the material and the necessity of interaction in the classroom are all factors considered.
(EXAMPLE: Discourse between an instructor and a student is a critical aspect of learning in a literature course. Thus, it would not be possible simply to read the assigned texts and copy another student’s notes before an exam. Similarly, a science lab course requires students to work, often together, to observe phenomena in experiments and record findings. In these examples, minimal leniency is appropriate.)
In other courses, such as large lecture courses, there may be more flexibility in attendance than in the previous two examples. Discussion between the student and instructor is essential. Accessibility Services staff is also willing to participate in such discussions. Students should understand there is no substitution for attendance and participation. Exam grades may reflect this and would not be altered as a result of missed material due to absence leniency.
What do I do if my classroom in not accessible?
Classrooms may be moved if the room is inaccessible to a student registered in the course. Whenever possible, the least intrusive intervention is taken. For instance, a student may be moved to another section of the same course at the same time if that section is scheduled in an accessible location. Faculty should be advised that not all students with severe mobility disabilities, who may require room changes, have visible disabilities. Instructors will be notified by Accessibility Services before classroom changes are finalized.
Can I receive accommodations for field trips, internships, or student teaching?
Many courses at The University of New Mexico occur outside the traditional classroom or laboratory, and many programs require the completion of such courses as part of the standard curriculum. Accessibility Services adheres to its over-arching policies regarding program access, reasonable accommodations and prohibition against discrimination with respect to these educational experiences.
Examples of such courses are:
- Field trips
- Field experiences
- Student teaching
- Professional internships
- Study abroad
When a student asks us to do so, Accessibility Resource Center provides reasonable accommodations such as readers, scribes, signed language interpreters, and assistive technology. Accessibility Resource Center covers the cost of some of these accommodations, and arranges cost sharing with DHS/DVR for others when the student is eligible for that program. Many accommodations are at no cost and can be provided on site. For example, desks can be raised by blocks of wood to permit use with a wheelchair, workstation lighting can be modified, and other no-cost accommodations can be provided upon request. At no time does a student pay fees for reasonable accommodations. However, personal services such as personal care attendants, drivers, etc. are the responsibility of the student.
The student arranges a practicum, internship, field trip or field experience, or overseas study program through their instructor, advisor, professional school or other appropriate division of the University. If accommodations are likely to be required, the student must make the request. For example, use of an aid in student teaching would be requested by the student in advance. The purpose, activities, and time necessary for the accommodations would be discussed by Accessibility Resource Center and the student, along with the practicum supervisor. Staff at the practicum site may need to be included as well. In other cases, the student makes the requests directly to the practicum site personnel, and comes to Accessibility Resource Center only for services that would involve some cost, such as readers or scribes. Accessibility Resource Center and the student agree on which accommodations are necessary and reasonable, and the authorization to implement them (such as hiring a reader or being assigned a signed language interpreter) is granted to the student. Supervising faculty should discuss the potential need for accommodations with students when appropriate.
I need a Signed Language Interpreter. Where do I request interpreter services?
Deaf and hard of hearing students who register with Accessibility Services may be eligible for interpreter services. Contact Accessibility Resource Center at 277-6605 to make an appointment or request an interpreter. If you would like to request an interpreter for a University-sponsored event, class or meeting please contact the department sponsoring the event to request the interpreter. You may refer the department to Accessibility Services for further information.
I am nervous about talking to my professors. How should I approach them about my need for accommodations?
Accessibility Resource Center strongly encourages students to meet with professors during office hours and/or to arrange an alternate meeting time so that there is sufficient time to discuss the accommodation letter and how your accommodation needs should be met in his/her class. Most faculty are familiar with the accommodation process and should be encouraged to call Accessibility Services if they have questions. Meeting with faculty face-to-face is essential in order to work out logistical details related to specific requests (e.g., where you will be taking your exams if you need a reduced distraction environment). Meeting during office hours versus immediately before, during, or after class allows for more privacy and opportunity to discuss details.
I spoke with my professor during the first week of class about my accommodations and then reminded him five days before the exam. However, during the test, he said I could not have the extended time for which I was approved. What do I do?
While it is not anticipated that this type of difficulty will occur, if you do have problems with a professor providing appropriate and agreed upon accommodations, you should contact Accessibility Services. We will attempt to resolve the issue by making contact with the faculty member and/or other relevant parties as necessary.