Using Accommodations at UT
Each semester, students who need to use their approved accommodations for classes or exams will need to go through each of the steps outlined below. Failure to follow through on each step may delay or prevent students from receiving their accommodations. Students must have an Active file with SSD in order to use accommodations (See How to Register for information about how to get set up with accommodations.)
Deaf/HH students: This is NOT a submission of requests for interpreting or captioning services for your classes. You must submit an email directly to the Associate Director, Deaf & HH Services Program at: LKinast@austin.utexas.edu with your request for services for your class(es).
- Students must complete an Accommodation Letter Request Form and turn it into SSD. Forms are available in the SSD office, or you can submit your request online. Information needed to complete the form includes:
- Your name and EID
- Course name and number (GOV302L)
- Instructor’s full (first and last) name
- It is the student’s responsibility to pick up the letters at SSD. Students will receive an email to the email address on file with SSD to notify them when their Accommodation Letters are ready to be picked up (typically 3-5 business days after submitting a request). SSD does not mail faculty letters. It is the student’s responsibility to complete the form every semester that accommodations are requested.
- Students should then make appointments to meet with each instructor to deliver the letters and discuss the accommodations that will be necessary in each class. It is important that the student provide accommodation letters to his/her instructors at the beginning of each semester and, if approved for testing accommodations, far in advance of the first exam. When giving the instructor the letter, the student should discuss with the instructor how the accommodations best fit within his/her curriculum and the logistics of how each accommodation will be provided. If necessary, the Disabilities Services Coordinator is available to work with the student and the instructor.
- Testing Accommodations: Students should also discuss arrangements for testing accommodations with their instructor. It is typically the instructor’s responsibility to make arrangements for extended test-taking time and a reduced distraction test location, however, SSD may provide support if arrangements of certain accommodations cannot be made within the academic department (see Adaptive Testing at SSD). Students will need to remind instructors at least five (5) days prior to each exam if they will need testing accommodations.
- Disabilities Services Coordinators are available to support students through each of these steps. Students who have questions or concerns about receiving accommodations after meeting with their instructor should contact SSD as soon as possible.
- Instructors are under no obligation to provide accommodations for a student who does not identify himself/herself as a student with a disability via an Accommodation Letter.
- The student is responsible for requesting new letters at the beginning of each semester.
- SSD will not be able to process forms with incomplete information.
- If a student needs to request a modification of his/her accommodations, the student should meet with his/her Disabilities Services Coordinator to discuss the change.
- Accommodations go into effect once the Accommodation Letter has been delivered; accommodations are not retroactive.
Delivering Your Accommodation Letters
Temple University has created short videos about the different aspects of delivering and discussing your accommodation letter with your professor. Review these videos to learn more about approaching your professors to coordinate your accommodations.
(Please note: it is not necessary for you to disclose your specific diagnosis/disability to your instructor. It may be helpful to talk about the impact of your disability in general terms; I may need to leave class quickly for medical reasons, I may have to miss class because of my disability, etc. but you should never feel obligated to disclose information related to the specifics of your disability.)
Why are students responsible for delivering their own accommodation letters?
SSD will never reveal your confidential information to anyone outside our office without your written permission (see Confidentiality). It is the student’s responsibility to disclose their need for accommodations to the professor. You are not required to disclose the specific details or diagnosis of your disability in order to receive accommodations.
It is important for students to deliver Accommodation Letters in person so you can have a conversation with your professor about how the accommodations will be provided. Some accommodations require discussion and arrangements (how will you get a copy of notes, what flexibility, if any, can be offered with attendance and deadlines, or how testing accommodations will be handled). Students need to take an active role in setting up their accommodations with their professors. SSD is available to help if you run into any resistance or concerns from instructors about your accommodations.
And finally, it is important for students to learn how to advocate for themselves and their need for accommodations. Practicing and developing this skill while attending UT Austin can prepare students to be advocates for themselves in other areas of life. SSD’s Disabilities Services Coordinators are available to provide support for students during this learning process.