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Common Academic Adjustments, Modifications, and Services for Students with Disabilities

The following list is not exhaustive but is intended only to show the general range of disabilities and possible adjustments that can be made for students with those disabilities.

Types of Disabilities

Common Accommodations

Physical Disabilities:


Blindness or visual impairment 


 Audio tapes, Audio CDs, Braille, electronic, & large print texts, syllabi, handouts, & other materials (available same time as print versions); specialized computing equipment (large display, speech output); mobility orientation; accessible web sites.

Deafness or hard of hearing

sign language interpreters, writing notes, captioned video & films, using only accessible web sites, computer software that produces visual cues to replace sounds, reserved seat in front of class, other visual clues to supplement sound (e.g. lights), real-time captioning.

Speech impairment

allow extra time for communication; allow use of computer or typewriter for communication

Impaired sense of touch

warning signs near hot or cold items

Impaired sense of smell or taste

audible natural gas detection equipment in a laboratory

Learning Disabilities (e.g., dyslexia)

extended time for examinations; flexibility for unique organizational methods; alternatives to physically writing for some, reading for others


Reduced strength in fingers, limbs, head or body


power assisted or other adaptive/adapted equipment, assistance moving & retrieving materials, accessible classrooms

Loss of motor function in fingers, limbs, head or body

amanuensis for writing
adaptive software for computer usage, other adaptive/adapted equipment

Reduced endurance

allow rest breaks, e.g. during tests or long lab sessions, careful planning of class excursions.

Psychological/emotional disabilities

varies too much to cite a "typical" accommodation but can include minimizing effects of unpredictable, episodic problems, reframing of information, and/or testing modifications to reduce stress

Severe Allergies (sometimes represented as “Multiple Chemical Sensitivities” or “Environmental Illness”)

work carefully w/Student Accessibility Services; may need venue changes, curtailment of exposure to unnecessary fumes

Assumed disability or history of a disability

avoid suggesting accommodations; wait for person to request them or ask whether or not accommodations are needed

Association with an individual with a known disability

avoid assuming they will need anything different

Last Updated: 4/6/16