As a student who already filed for accommodations in their prospective university, if mid semester one needs to make updates to the accommodations what is the standard procedure to go about doing so in general? For example, would new documentation be needed, or if a accommodation that was present in previous documentation was not present in the beginning of semester LOA how can I modify or present this to office of accessibility, disability or such? This question is based on universities in the United States of America where the American Disabilities Act supports students with disabilities in post secondary education.

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    Instead of asking us, I'd suggest asking your local office to see what they want done and how they want it done. Local policy and procedures are likely, well, local...
    – Jon Custer
    Feb 20 at 19:36

2 Answers 2


At a large university there is likely to be a special office that deals with this and will provide you information. At a smaller place it might just be the Admissions Office or Student Affairs.

Visit the office that you first dealt with on accommodation and ask them what is required in your case. Don't try to interpret all of the ADA regulations yourself. Talk to an expert, preferably one who can actually make the change you need.


As a general rule, your school should have a disability resources office who can definitely answer this question as it relates specifically to you.

With that being said, Generally speaking, if you have proof of approved accommodations within that previous 5 years (I could be off on the years) that will generally be accepted. As for what documentation is required, that will ultimately depend on the nature of the accommodations requested. For me, I simply brought in my therapist notes for my ADHD and my VA Disability paperwork for my formal accommodations.

Regardless, remember that you only need documentation if they demand it. For official university mandated accommodations, you would have to go through the disability office and provide the paperwork. However, most of the time professors are quite reasonable and will make reasonable accommodations simply if you explain the situation and why you need it. Though they still have the right to request proper documentation, but that's usually more work than what is required by the accommodation.

But yeah, to get the exact answer for your specific situation you need to speak to a counselor at your disability rights office on campus.

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    Regarding reasonable "unofficial" accommodations, a good benchmark is "would it be an unfair advantage when given to a random (non-disabled) student?". If you need the problem sheet printed in twice the size, because of bad eyesight, just ask. If you want extra time in the exam, I'll need the university bureaucrats to sign off on this, or I'll get into trouble.
    – mlk
    Feb 20 at 21:05
  • That is actually not correct nor is it the standard in America. While an accommodation that fundamentally disadvantages other students would be denied—I can't think of something off hand that would count—your example isn't about that and is about an unfair advantage. The actual standard is that the accomodation must be practically reasonable and it cannot compromise the integrity of the course. Letting me take an exam home to do early that isn't take-home would compromise the integrity. But giving more time isn't fundamentally different from an extension and is technically discretionary.
    – Sam Levi
    Feb 23 at 3:19
  • With that being said, just because you do have the ability to make that call in the affirmative (you generally have the power to make accommodations that find acceptable). What you don't have the power to do is to make a final decision on rejecting them. Oh also, its not that professor level accommodations aren't every bit as official as the ones from the disability office (if you were accused of disability discrimination, proof of teacher level accommodations would be a valid defense), it's that the ones from the disability office are mandated by virtue of organizational structure and rules.
    – Sam Levi
    Feb 23 at 3:23
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    But, when in doubt, you will always be safe as an instructor by requesting a meeting with the disability officer and the student in order to clarify concerns, duties, and protections for both you and the student. If something goes wrong after that but you followed reasonably plausible advise from the disability office then it's on them (though contact a lawyer if the situation should ever arise that you need actual legal advice, but there's not much room for ambiguity if a higher up makes a call that isn't absurd on its face).
    – Sam Levi
    Feb 23 at 3:27
  • @SamLevi: Having discussed this issue with a relative who is a disability officer, I was informed that her administration forbids teachers from using their own discretion when providing accomodations. The primary issue is that discretionary accomodations tend to be applied inconsistency, resulting in uneven treatment and thus liability. The secondary issue is teachers are not always great at judging what sort of accomodations would compromise the integrity of the course.
    – Brian
    Feb 23 at 22:49

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