Defining "Reasonable Accommodations"

The term "reasonable accommodation" can be defined as a change made to allow an individual with a disability to use equipment and services and to fully participate in education and community. Unlike accommodations and modifications provided in the PreK-12 environment via Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), accommodations in higher education must be requested and may be provided. Reasonable accommodations are intended to provide equal access to services, education and activities - not to ensure success. 

According to the US Department of Education, (n.d., http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/qa-disability.html) "colleges and universities are required to provide students with appropriate academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services that are necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in the school's program. Examples of auxiliary aids that may be required are taped texts, note-takers, interpreters, readers and specialized computer equipment. Colleges and universities are not required to supply students with attendants, individually-prescribed devices such as hearing aids and wheelchairs, readers for personal use or study, or other devices or services of a personal nature."

An accommodation is considered unreasonable if it fundamentally alters the nature of the course, program, service or facility or if it would result in an undue burden for the College. In addition, the College is obligated to make a reasonable accommodation only to the known limitations of an otherwise qualified student with a disability. To determine reasonable accommodations, Disability Support Services may seek information from appropriate College personnel regarding essential standards and requirements for courses, programs, services or facilities. The Assistant Director of Disability Support Services makes final determination of reasonable accommodations.

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