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What is reasonable accomodation?

How do you determine if an accommodation is reasonable? An accommodation is considered reasonable if it does not:
  • affect an essential component of the course of study or the primary purpose of the test
  • constitute a fundamental alteration of the class
  • compromise the integrity of the test
  • cause undue financial or administrative hardship
  • pose a safety or health threat to the student or others
  • Reasonable adjustments must be made unless the faculty determines that granting the accommodation would compromise "essential" elements in the curriculum.

    Thus, in a college or university setting, these laws mandate reasonable accommodations for student with learning disorders such as extended test time and taped texts in the same way that it mandates curb cuts and ramped entrances for students with physical disabilities.

    Remember, standards are not subject to accommodation. Methods of evaluation and delivery are subject to accommodation. What is not acceptable is doing nothing. We must decide how we can accommodate in a way that is not an undue burden, does not affect the integrity of the test or fundamentally alter the course and does not cause a financial hardship.

    Salome M. Heyward, a consultant on disability issues and the author of Access to Education for the Disabled states "There are no absolute responsibilities for institutions. Instead the law is forcing people to strike a new balance among the interests of all involved."

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    Contact CDS Updated 03/11/02