Requesting Accommodation Letters from D&A
Discussing Accommodation Letters with Instructors
“If you need it, please use it. Don’t make yourself suffer needlessly! All the faculty at UT want to see you succeed.” ~ Senior, College of Liberal Arts
“Do it ASAP. Get what you need. Talk to professors early in the semester even if you are 1000% sure you won’t “need” your accommodations that semester. ~ Senior, Moody College of Communication
After students are approved for accommodations by D&A, there are two parts to the accommodation process that must be repeated each semester: Requesting Accommodation Letters and Discussing Accommodations with Instructors. Failure to follow through on each step of the process may delay or prevent students from receiving their accommodations. Students must have an Active file with D&A in order to use accommodations (See How to Register for information about how to get set up with accommodations.)
Requesting Accommodation Letters
It is the student’s responsibility to follow the steps below to request and discuss Accommodation Letters every semester that accommodations are needed.
Deaf/HH students: This is NOT a submission of requests for interpreting or captioning services for your classes. You must submit an email directly to the Deaf & HH Services Team at: firstname.lastname@example.org with your request for services for your class(es).
**New for Summer 2023*
While the previous system required D&A staff to process Accommodation Letter requests manually, the new automated system allows students to send the Accommodation Letter notification to instructors themselves directly through the D&A Student Portal.
- Request Accommodation Letters: Students must request accommodation letters through the D&A Student Portal. Students will see the courses they are enrolled in listed in the Student Portal and will choose which classes/instructors they want to be notified about their Accommodation Letters. If the course data is complete and accurate, Accommodation Letters email notifications will immediately be sent to the student and instructor(s) and Accommodation letters will then be available to view and download in the student or instructor portal.
- Discuss Accommodations with Instructors: After students have requested their accommodation letters via the D&A Student Portal, students should follow up with their instructors (in person or via email) to discuss the accommodations necessary for each class. Even if an instructor uses the Instructor Portal to view a student’s Accommodation Letter, students still need to discuss how each accommodation will be provided with their instructor. It is highly recommended for this conversation to take place early in the semester. Keep reading for more suggestions about how to communicate with your instructor about your accommodations.
Coordinators are available to support students through each of these steps. Students who have questions or concerns about their accommodations or interactions with their instructors can contact their Coordinator via email or phone or during Office Hours.
- Instructors are under no obligation to provide accommodations for a student who does not provide an Accommodation Letter from D&A
- If a student needs to request a modification of accommodations, the student should contact their Coordinator to discuss the change.
- Accommodations go into effect once the Accommodation Letter has been delivered and discussed with instructors; accommodations are not retroactive.
Discussing Your Accommodation Letters with your Instructors
Instructors play an important role in the accommodation process, which starts when they are notified via email of a student’s Accommodation Letter. Providing accommodations is part of their job, just like teaching class and grading assignments. Most instructors are committed to supporting students in being successful in their course so they want to discuss accommodations early in the semester. Discussing your Accommodation Letter allows instructors to understand how to make their course accessible for you and helps you understand how each accommodation will be provided within each specific course.
Once you request your Accommodation Letter, it is important to follow up with your instructors so you can discuss the logistics of how your accommodations will be provided in their class. Before contacting your instructors about your accommodations, here are some things to consider:
- What does the syllabus say about how the course is structured and what will be expected of you as a student?
- Be sure to read through what the syllabus says about accommodations, assignments, attendance, exams, etc. Based on this information, you may realize that some accommodations are not necessary or applicable to the course, or you may learn that you need to include the TA on communication about your accommodations.
- In addition to the primary instructor, who else may need to be notified about your accommodations?
- In some cases TAs may help instructors coordinate the provision of accommodations, or there may be a second instructor who needs to be included in the conversation about accommodations.
- Which accommodations do you need to use in this class?
- Accommodations are not individualized for each class so you need to decide which accommodations you will need to use. For example, if the instructor posts slides for the entire class, you may not need to use the accommodation of “Access to materials shown in class”. Or if the class does not use Scantrons, then an accommodation for “No Scantron Use” will not be relevant. If your class is online, the accommodations you need may also be different. For more information on using accommodations in online classes, visit Accommodations in Online Classes.
- How do you prefer to discuss your accommodations?
- In some cases, accommodations can be discussed/coordinated via email. However, some accommodations, such as flexibility with attendance or deadlines, may require more of a real time conversation, either in person or via Zoom or phone. You can let the instructor know your preference but understand they may also have a preference for how they communicate with you to discuss accommodations. The important thing, regardless of the method of communication, is that you proactively communication with your instructor about your accommodations and how they will be provided.
- What should I do if I do not receive a response from my instructor?
- You have a right to use your accommodations. If you do not receive a response from your instructor within five business days (one week) or if you are having difficulty communicating with your instructor or using your accommodations, contact your D&A Coordinator right away via phone or email or during Office Hours. We can help you follow up to make sure you get your accommodations.
Need additional support?
- Use our new D&A Email-Template as a guide to help you draft an email to your instructors about your accommodations
- Watch a Video Example of a student and instructor discussing the Accommodation Letter
- Review the Self Advocacy for Students (pdf) created just for D&A students!
Learning how to ask for what you need is an important skill. Practicing and developing this skill while attending UT Austin can prepare students to be advocates for themselves in other areas of life. D&A’s Coordinators are available to provide support for students during this learning process.
For more information on assessing and increasing your self-advocacy skills, check out our Advocacy Resources including Colorado State University’s interactive module.
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