Step One: Contact ODAI
Upon contacting ODAI, a student will be instructed to complete the access form to provide ODAI some information about their disability and their accommodation needs.
Once the student has provided sufficient documentation and discussed their access needs with the Access Coordinator, the Access Coordinator will approve reasonable accommodations for the student. This may involve discussion with the program regarding the reasonableness of the requested accommodations. If ODAI is not able to approve the accommodation(s) requested by the student, ODAI will attempt to provide alternative accommodations to reduce or eliminate the access barrier identified by the student.
The following statement should be included on your syllabus to let students know how to request disability accommodations:
The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is committed to providing equitable access to our programs for students with disabilities (e.g., psychological, attentional, learning, chronic health, sensory, and physical). To engage in a confidential conversation about the process for requesting reasonable accommodations in the classroom and clinical settings please contact The Office of Disability, Access, & Inclusion at: firstname.lastname@example.org or begin the process via the website. Accommodations are not provided retroactively, therefore, students are encouraged to begin this process early.
A variety of types of accommodations exist. Accommodations can be thought of as didactic, clinical, lab, and testing accommodations.
You may be wondering how you will know whether students in your course have accommodations. The answer depends on your school, college, or program.
The CHA/PA ODAI program liaison will notify course directors about student accommodations at the start of each course.
Students in School of Medicine Programs will notify the appropriate faculty* and the Associate Dean of Student Life of their accommodations at the beginning of each major component of the curriculum.
Students in Skaggs School of Pharmacy will notify their course directors and SOP Instructional Design of their accommodations prior to the start of each course.
Students in all other Schools and programs will notify faculty of their accommodations prior to the start of each course. Students will send their Faculty Notification Memorandum (FNM) to each of their faculty. The FNM lists the student's approved accommodations. A student may request a time to meet with their faculty to discuss the implementation of their accommodations in a particular course.
Accommodation is an adjustment or modification to the academic environment that removes barriers and provides access to a qualified individual with a disability. Accommodations are federally protected legal rights enumerated by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Amendments Act of 2008. All public-facing institutions and services that utilize federal funding must provide an accommodation process that is interactive, least burdensome to the student, and based on the individual, case-by-case nature of each unique request.
Personal services are not considered reasonable accommodations. Institutions are not required to provide students with personal services, per Title II of the ADA .
Common personal services include, but are not limited to childcare, personal care attendants, private tutoring medical devices (mobility devices, hearing aids, eyeglasses, etc.), and personal transportation.
Institutions can refer students to resources that are available to all students, or available within the community such as: academic support services, student health and wellness services, city, or institutional transportation services.
An accommodation request that is difficult to implement, costly, or annoying is not necessarily unreasonable. Institutions must follow a thoughtful and deliberative process conducted by individuals with knowledge and experience of the ADA/Section 504.
Faculty and academic programs alone cannot and should not make determinations that an accommodation is reasonable or unreasonable. They should consult their disability services professional (DSP) on campus if a question regarding the reasonableness of a particular accommodation arises. The DSP can facilitate a process that is in alignment with the compliance requirements of the ADA/Section 504.
The following are not adequate justification to not provide accommodations:
If you have any questions about accommodations, please do not hesitate to contact the ODAI office to discuss with an Access Coordinator.
This resource was adapted from a Handout created by Jennifer Gossett, MS the ADA/504 Compliance Manager for Portland Community College for the 2022 Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science Education Symposium.
Sometimes faculty call us concerned that an accommodation is “unfair” because it gives something to a student with the accommodation that a student without the accommodation would not otherwise receive. For instance, a student with accommodation may receive extended time on an exam or an extension on an assignment deadline. On the surface, the nature of the vocabulary “with accommodation” and “without accommodation” makes it seem like those with disabilities are receiving something that those without disabilities are not – which can seem unfair.
However, what is really the case is that those with accommodation are receiving them because they are without access to an aspect of the educational environment. As the image below depicts, disabled students start out further back on the educational racetrack, not due to lack of competence, credential or knowledge, but simply due to inaccessibility of the race. If we apply fairness or equality to all, then each of the bicycle riders in the image below using the same size and type of bike will have different experiences in the race because of their height and physical ability. Some won’t even be able to ride a bike at all because it doesn’t conform to their body. However, when the bicycle is adapted to the individual's height and ability level, all cyclists can access the race. We do not guarantee they will all pedal at the same speed, reach the finish line, or prevent tumbles; but we do guarantee that they are all accessing the race equitably.
Similarly, those without accommodation do not receive them because they arrive at the educational setting with access to it and do not require any modification or adjustment. With the above analogy in mind, if the bicycle works, why change it? Sure, we could add a motor to the bike to make it go faster for a rider that already has a bike that fits them, and there may be times when that is appropriate given certain situations. But that would be going beyond individual access and providing them with a guarantee that they complete it in record time. This is beyond the scope of accommodation, as accommodation only guarantees equitable access and the opportunity to participate in and benefit from the educational environment.
As this example illustrates, the issue with fairness is that it assumes a sense of uniformity across all people – that what is fair (and thus necessary) for one is fair for all. Sometimes we get into the trap of saying, “If we did this for this accommodated student, we would have to do it for all (non-accommodated) students.” But we know better. We know that individual differences and abilities exist and to include them in our campus means to not only acknowledge this, but to also be willing to adjust our educational environment to meet students where they are.
Therefore, our accommodation process is individualized and interactive. Disabled students whose functional limitations may require them to approach or complete required components of programs differently are not exempt or waived from those requirements but are provided the academic adjustments to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities unencumbered by the access barriers.