All About Accommodations

Accommodations are adjustments to an academic course, technical program, policy, procedure, service, activity, or facility that enables a student with a disability to have an equal opportunity to enjoy the benefits, opportunities, and privileges that are available to all students.  Below are general descriptions of some of the most common accommodations used by students and, if approved for a particular student, will appear on their Letter of Accommodation:

Many students enrolled in SAS have difficulty taking notes during class lecture, for a wide variety of disability-related reasons.  One option to accommodate this is to secure someone from the same class to serve as a volunteer notetaker, who will receive priority enrollment for one semester as an incentive.  We appreciate your assistance with locating a volunteer from class to take notes on behalf of the student with a disability.      For more information, please visit our Notetaking Info for Faculty webpage.

In order to provide equal access, some students may require access to any PowerPoints or other presentations/slides you may use via an electronic copy.  Additionally, those who need to have the document converted into an alternate format will need to receive the document with sufficient time to request conversion from the SAS Alternate Media staff prior to the class meeting.

Students with visual processing difficulties, vision loss, and other types of disabilities may need a picture of what’s on the board/screen to fully access, understand, and/or remember the information being presented.  

Students with auditory processing difficulties, hearing loss, and other types of disabilities may need to listen to the lecture more than once to fully access, understand and/or remember the information being presented.  Occasionally, a student will need to video record the class lecture to fully access the information being presented.  Please see the Audio/Video Recording Accommodations page.

This is typically a handheld device that allows a student to enlarge desktop materials on an as needed basis, such as when referencing a particular section of the textbook.

For students who are unable to access the standard classroom furniture, SAS will arrange with Facilities for a separate table and/or chair to be placed in the classroom if one is not currently there.   Accessible furniture should only placed in other classrooms by Facilities to ensure they are correctly placed for the students who need them.

Students may need to take short breaks to use the restroom due to a medical condition, administer medication, stabilize their condition, and/or attend to some other type of disability-related need.

Students with chronic pain and other conditions can find it difficult to sit for long periods of time and may need to alternate sitting and standing and/or stretch their muscles a bit during lecture.  These students will typically request to sit in the back of the classroom so they can stand unobtrusively when needed.

Some students need to take medication as soon as they begin experiencing certain symptoms and/or experience dry-mouth due to side effects of their medications and require access to water at all times.

Students who receive accommodations on their exams will typically take those exams in the SAS Testing Center, unless the course is online or the exam must be conducted in a lab setting.  The most common exam accommodations SAS provides are extended time and distraction-reduced environment; additional accommodations may include having the test read to the student by a reader or screen reading software; having a scribe write the student’s dictated responses or use of dictation software; and use of other equipment, such as a Braille machine, enlarging device, or computer with specialized software.  Some students may also receive adjusted exam dates if a disability-related circumstance precludes them from taking an exam on the scheduled date.  Please refer to the Testing Center webpage for information on what to do if you have a student who will be taking their exams in SAS.

Sign language interpreters translate what is spoken from English into American Sign Language (ASL) for students who are deaf or hard of hearing and rely on ASL to communicate.  The interpreter will also communicate in English what the student is signing in ASL.  Interpreting services may be requested on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services webpage.

Not all individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing use ASL to communicate.  Some, such as those who become deaf later in life and for whom English is their first language, rely upon a typed translation of what is being spoken.  This is done by a captioner with specialized training and equipment that allow this to be done at the same pace (or close to it) as the speaking.  Real-time Captioning services may be requested on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services webpage.

Some students with hearing loss are able to hear speech they would otherwise miss by having it amplified directly into their ear, cochlear implant, or hearing aid.  This accommodation involves having the instructor (or whomever is speaking) wear a small device with a microphone that will transmit to a receiver being used by the student.  ALDs may be requested on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services webpage.

To mitigate the effects of their disability in the classroom, some students may need to sit in a particular location, such as the front row of the classroom, the back row, or close to the door.  We ask that you ensure that students with this accommodation have a seat in the requested location reserved for their use.

An in-class aide is typically a support person hired by SAS to provide assistance to a student who is unable to independently set up their materials/workstation and/or navigate the classroom/lab environment, such as those who are blind or have significant upper mobility limitations.  

A PSA is someone typically hired by an outside agency to support a student who is unable to successfully manage the classroom environment without behavioral support, such as redirecting attention, supporting effective communication, and/or providing general guidance.  Even though this service is provided by an outside agency, it must still be approved as a reasonable accommodation by SAS.  Students who come to class with a PSA that is not authorized on their accommodation letter should make an appointment with their SAS specialist to complete the proper procedures to permit a non-Cerritos College employee to be in the classroom.

Alternate formats typically involve converting printed information, such as a textbook, into a format that is accessible to the student.  For example, students with vision loss typically require their materials to be converted into Braille or electronic text which can be used with specialized screen reading software, such as JAWS.  Students with disabilities that impact processing of visual information may only need their books converted to MP3 files (audio only) or electronic text if they wish to utilize specialized software to enhance comprehension and retention of the information.  SAS recommends faculty provide information on course materials as early as possible so students have time to obtain them in accessible formats by the start of class.  Information on requesting materials in alternate formats can be found on the Alternate Media webpage.

This accommodation is determined on an instance-by-instance basis upon consultation between the instructor and the SAS specialist.  It is provided when a student has a disability which manifests itself in an inconsistent/unpredictable manner, results from a condition which has just emerged, or is the consequence of an accident or illness and renders the student unable to meet a deadline and/or attendance requirements of the class.  In such instances, it is necessary for SAS to engage in an interactive process with the student and professor to determine whether such an accommodation is reasonable given the requirements and stated objectives of the course.  This accommodation will only be found reasonable when it allows the student to participate in the class without fundamentally altering the course requirements.  For more information, please see our individual pages on Adjusted Attendance and Adjusted Assignments.