Instructors can help normalize the accommodation process. They can make an announcement at the first class meeting or can voluntarily include a statement on the syllabus inviting students with disabilities to meet with them to discuss accommodation needs.
What should a syllabus statement contain?
The wording of the statement should include the following three pieces of information:
- An invitation for the student to meet confidentially to discuss their need for academic adjustments and to work out the logistics of the accommodations. This discussion should lead to an understanding about how the academic adjustments will fit into the curriculum. A plan should be developed to provide the accommodations.
- Notification that students must present requests for accommodation in a timely manner. Instructors can require students to make accommodation requests at the beginning of the semester, but need to be flexible in certain cases. Some students may be diagnosed with a disabling condition in the middle of a semester, or administrative delays may impede the processing of necessary paperwork.
- A statement encouraging students to register with Student Disability Services, if they haven't done so previously, for disability verification and to determine reasonable accommodations.
Below are some sample syllabus statements.
Sample Statement #1
Cornell University is committed to ensuring access to learning opportunities for all students. Student Disability Services (SDS) is the campus office that collaborates with students who have disabilities to provide and/or arrange reasonable accommodations.
If you are registered with SDS and have a faculty notification letter for this semester, please contact me [Head TA, Course Coordinator] early in the semester to review how the accommodations will be applied in the course. If you have an immediate access need, please see me after class.
- If you have, or think you may have, a disability, please contact the SDS office to arrange a confidential discussion regarding equitable access and reasonable accommodations.
- Students with short-term disabilities, such as a broken arm, can often work with instructors to minimize classroom barriers. In situations where additional assistance is needed, students should contact the SDS as noted above.
- If you are registered with SDS and have questions or concerns about your accommodations, please contact your SDS Counselor.
Student Disability Services is located at Cornell Health Level 5, 110 Ho Plaza, 607-254-4545, sds.cornell.edu.
Sample Statement #2
Students with Disabilities: Your access in this course is important. Please give me [the TA, the Course Coordinator] your Student Disability Services (SDS) accommodation letter early in the semester so that we have adequate time to arrange your approved academic accommodations. If you need an immediate accommodation, please speak with me after class or send an email message to me and/or SDS at firstname.lastname@example.org. If the need arises for additional accommodations during the semester, please contact SDS.
SDS is located on level 5 of Cornell Health, 110 Ho Plaza, 607-254-4545, sds.cornell.edu.