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Reasons to discuss accommodations

Reasons why it can be beneficial to discuss your accommodations with your professors

#1: Each course is different
The same accommodation can look very different in two different courses. Talking about the details with each professor can help you be more prepared at the beginning of the quarter.

Example: Your accommodation is testing with minimal distractions. That’s an accommodation that allows you take your test in an environment with very few distractions, but it doesn’t say where that quiet environment will be. One professor may prefer that you take your test here with us at DRS. Another professor may prefer that you take the test in her office. Imagine realizing the night before an exam that you have no idea where you’re going to go!

Some accommodations such as using a SmartPen or Sonocent do not need additional clarification with your professors because they do not involve any classroom or course related modifications. Accommodations that often involve course-specific details include:

  • Testing
  • Seating
  • Absence
  • Group work
  • Completing assignments

It’s helpful to work out those details at the beginning of the quarter when you meet or email with your professors.  Some accommodations require some additional involvement from your DRS coordinator.  This will be discussed in your APM.

#2: Each student is different
Students need accommodations for different reasons, so you may find it helpful to provide some details about your needs. Keep in mind that you do not need to tell your professors your diagnosis in order to provide that information. You can simply explain how you would like to use the accommodation.

Example: You have an accommodation of preferential seating. Your professors will be able to see that you have preferential seating from the letter DRS sends them, but they may not know where you need to sit and you will not know how that seat will be reserved for you without asking. You do not need to tell them your diagnosis. You can simply say, “I need to sit in the front of the class” or “I need to sit near a door because I will need to step out occasionally.” Then you can discuss how this accommodation will be implemented.

#3: You can increase your access to your education
Having input on how accommodations are implemented can increase your access to your education. Because their jobs as professors look very different from your job as a student, professors will think about different things than you will. Sometimes those solutions will be great for you and sometimes they will not work as well for you. It’s often helpful to bring up any concerns and to suggest alternatives. Reach out to your DRS coordinator at any point for assistance in problem-solving.

Example: Your accommodation is extra time on tests. Your professor says that you can come during office hours to take the test in their office. Let’s say that you also have the accommodation of testing with minimal distractions. You may be concerned that other students will show up during office hours to talk to the professor, which you would find distracting. When you attend a meeting with your professor, you have the opportunity to brainstorm solutions to problems you identify.

Nervous about talking to your professors?

Many students are nervous about talking to professors. However, this can be a great opportunity to form a personal relationship with your professors while also demonstrating that you are proactive and responsive.

How you approach your conversations with your professor makes a difference. Check out some great tips on how to approach accommodations meetings with professors.

That said, DRS recognizes that there is a significant power differential between students and professors.  If you are uncomfortable about talking to your professors at any point in the process, we’re here to help!  Reach out to your coordinator if you want help with discussing how accommodations will be implemented before talking to professors or if you run into any difficulties in your conversations with professors.