Guide

     Each of this handbook's sections on a specific disability is structured as follows: (1) some of the disability's technical details, (2) what does having this disability mean for students, (3) what accommodations can help (see tables). While this seems straightforward, the term "accommodations" must be correctly understood to avoid misinterpretation.

     In general, "accommodations" refer to all adjustments made, which differ from how things are usually done to make a situation accessible to all parties. This handbook suggests two types of accommodations: informal and formal. Formal accommodations refer to adjustments that usually require students to make an official request. Those modifications usually regard changes in the evaluation structure and grade assessment, a course load reduction, or an exemption from the one’s university’s academic standards and procedures. In contrast, informal accommodations are all adjustments mutually agreed upon by the student and a lecturer that do not impact official procedures but require change compared to the usual way of things. The panel of informal accommodations is very diverse and can range from the use of a separate room for group works to merely agreeing on the best position for the student in the classroom. However simple some informal accommodations may seem, they can be of great help. In addition to making the studying and teaching process much more accessible, they may allow for smoother interactions between students and their lecturer, and the rest of the class. Note that for a specific disability, all accommodations suggested in this handbook are not necessarily required. In addition, they are not one's only possibilities. The same disability can be experienced very differently, and it is up to those concerned to figure out what works best for them.

Note: In this handbook, I present accommodations in tables introducing challenging situations, why they are challenging, and the suggested accommodations. Below is an explanation of a table’s structure.

Situation
What is happening when the issue arises?

Issue
Why is the situation challenging?

Possible accommodation
How can the situation be made more accessible?

This column focuses on the context in which one’s difficulties arise. It can be a general situation (i.e., week with many deadlines, long classes) but also a specific behavior from lecturers and other students.

This column explains the difficulties that a student with a disability is confronted with and the general reasons for it. Some reasons are very obvious while others are very specific.

The accommodations explained here are very diverse and the result of the compilation from students’ answers to a questionnaire as well as some creativity.

The accommodations here are suggestions. One may need to elaborate on them to find what works for oneself.

In class
Challenging situations that arise in the class setting. This can relate to the behavior or language of a lecturer or other students, or the use of some material.

Deadlines & Assignments
Challenging situations that arise from a course timeline, or an assignment’s grading criteria or format.

Examinations
Challenging situations in an examination’s setting, usually because of the format or the restrictions in place.

Miscellaneous
Diverse situations that do not fit in the categories stated above but should be known by the lecturer to make such situations accessible.