AES Faculty Handbook

Working with students with qualifying medical conditions

As an Indiana University Bloomington faculty member, you play an important part in making an IU education accessible to all students, including those with qualifying medical conditions, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Accessible Educational Services (AES) is here to help you understand your rights and responsibilities as an instructor and learn how to create a welcoming, inclusive, and accessible educational environment.

This handbook is designed to help you better understand your role in this process, and to provide instructions on the delivery of accessibility measures (accommodations) in your classroom.

If you have questions or concerns about working with or providing accessibility measures for students with qualifying medical conditions, please contact us.

Creating Accessible Courses

Providing academic accessibility measures (accommodations)

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), IU is required to provide necessary accessibility measures (accommodations) to students with documented qualifying medical conditions so that they have equal access to course instruction, materials, and evaluation. The accessibility measures must be reasonable and cannot alter the essential requirements of a course or program—they simply provide an alternative way to meet the course or program requirements.

If you are an instructor at IU Bloomington, you are responsible for providing accessibility measures to students with documented qualifying medical conditions in your courses. AES coordinates the process of arranging accessibility measures, working closely with students and instructors to ensure that barriers related to qualifying medical conditions are reduced or eliminated without compromising the fundamental nature of the course.

Students who receive memos are expected to meet with their instructors at the beginning of the term to discuss the accessibility measures and determine how they will be implemented.

Note: AES works with students year-round to determine reasonable accessibility measures. Students may share their Accessibility Memorandum (‘Memo’) with instructors throughout a semester. Approved accessibility measures are forward moving. Instructors need to be given reasonable notification to put accessibility measures in place, typically 10 calendar days.  Last-minute requests may be denied, but if able, please put the accessibility measures in place as quickly as possible.

Typical accessibility measures and methods for delivering them to students in the classroom

For general questions about the accessibility measures process, contact the AES office.

For questions about a specific student’s accessibility measures (accommodations), contact the AES access coordinator listed on the student’s Memo.

All information about a student’s qualifying medical condition, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, is confidential. Instructors are prohibited from asking about the nature of a student’s qualifying medical condition or requesting to see documentation.

How do students arrange accessibility measures (accommodations)?

Students must request accessibility measures through Accessible Educational Services (AES). Each student works with an AES access coordinator to document their qualifying medical condition and identify what accessibility measures are needed. The access coordinator creates an Accessibility Memorandum (Memo) that outlines the student’s specific accessibility measures and informs the student’s instructors how to arrange those accessibility measures.

Learn about this process 

More information

It is the student’s responsibility to initiate their accessibility measures (accommodations) by scheduling a private meeting with each instructor during their office hours or an agreed-upon time to discuss how the approved accessibility measures will be delivered in each course. Students are told that instructors must be given reasonable advance notice to make arrangements. The general time frame is typically 10 days for accessibility measures to be put in place.  Accessibility measures such as extra time for exams may be arranged within a week; however, accessibility measures such as sign-language interpreting, Braille, video description, closed captioning, tactile graphics, and other assistive technologies may take up to a month or more to put into place. AES encourages students to meet with their instructors as soon as possible. Accessibility measures become valid and are forward moving when the student meets with their instructor. Accessibility measures are not retroactive.

It is the responsibility of the instructor/faculty member to share detailed course expectations with their student and thoroughly explain how their accessibility measures will be delivered during the course. We recommend developing a semester plan for testing accessibility measures with your students. The plan should outline when and where testing will occur and address any potential scheduling conflicts. You should typically implement the testing accessibility measures within 10 days. Some accessibility measures can be implemented right after meeting with the student.

Due to limited space in the AES office, we ask all instructors to arrange testing accessibility measures in their departments when possible. When providing testing accessibility measures within your department, please keep the following items in mind:

  • Extended test time cannot interfere with another regularly scheduled class or other exams.
  • For quizzes, your testing plan must allow the student to complete the quiz with their accessibility measures without missing the non-assessment portions of your class.

If you have difficulty making arrangements for delivering exams within your department, see the section on how to submit an exam request form.

If your student has the “Classroom—Flexible Absence” accessibility measure, you should allow extra time during the Memo meeting to complete the flexible absence agreement with your student.