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Class Participation Access

Class participation accommodations can be adjustments to time, environment or the way tasks are accomplished.

table with laptops and three people gathered around

Class participation varies widely between disciplines. As a result, determining ways to allow for flexibility in how students participate in class takes many forms. The best options will be determined through an interactive meeting between the student and their access team advisor. Flexibility may also support a wide variety of disability types such as physical, sensory, cognitive, medical, and so on. The accommodation categories below are in no way exhaustive. 


Students with medical, physical, and learning disabilities frequently benefit from break accommodations. Breaks are generally considered to be one 15-minute break for each hour of class time. 

Continuous Access to Food, Water, Medicine

Students with chronic health and emergent disabilities typically need continuous access to food, water and medication to manage their symptoms. Exceptions may apply in sterile environments.  

Lecture Recording

Lecture recording is intended to help students who need to be able to relisten to a lecture for any disability related reason. It could be providing support for cognitive or medical disabilities. This accommodation is not intended to replace class attendance. If an instructor needs technology support to implement this accommodation we recommend connecting with us and Technology-enhanced learning and Online Strategies

Preferential Seating

While many classes allow students to pick their own seat, there are occasions when a student may be assigned a seat. For students with sensory or physical disabilities, being able to choose an accessible seat is necessary. Preferential seating may include sitting in the front of the room, in an ADA accessible seat or another seat that supports the student’s access needs.

Presentation/Participation Alternatives

Speaking aloud in front of others poses many barriers for a variety of disability types. For some, speaking aloud in class discussions presents as many barriers as giving a formal presentation. Depending on a student’s disability many alternatives may allow a student to be assessed on their oral skills without the barriers common to traditional presentation methods. A few non-exhaustive examples are:

  • allowing the student to present to a small group
  • allowing the student to present one-on-one to an instructor
  • allowing the student to pre-record some or all of a presentation
  • allowing the student to present from a preferred location in the room
  • redistributing class participation points to another assessment area

The implementation of such an accommodation should be agreed upon by both the instructor and the student with support from the student’s access team advisor. 

Restroom Access

Many chronic health and medical disabilities impact a student’s need to use the restroom frequently. Students should not be denied access to the restroom and ideally the classroom should be in close proximity to a restroom.

Course Substitution

Students with appropriate documentation may request to substitute a course as an accommodation after they have established a record of not being able to meet the requirements of the course. Typically, the course substitutions are limited to the areas of foreign language and math. The academic dean, in consultation with SSD, will review such requests and determine if the substitution is appropriate. Substitutions cannot fundamentally change the integrity of the academic program.