General Guidance

ODS has developed guidance and FAQs for instructors, to help address some common questions and concerns.  Please review the links on the side of this page for information pertaining to specific types of accommodations.


ODS recommends including the following statement on all course syllabi:

The University of Alabama is committed to ensuring the full participation of all students in its programs. If you have a documented disability (or think you may have a disability) and need reasonable accommodation(s) to participate in this class, contact the Office of Disability Services (or ODS; 205-348-4285,, Houser Hall 1000, as soon as possible. If you have been approved to receive accommodations through ODS, please meet with me during office hours or by appointment to submit your accommodation letter and discuss how accommodations can be implemented in this course.

Accommodations Specialists are available to discuss any questions or concerns that instructors may have about requested accommodations. Each accommodated student has an assigned Accommodations Specialist whose name appears on the accommodation letter. Feel free to contact or (205) 348-4285 with the student’s name and the course information, and an Accommodations Specialist will be happy to answer your questions.

Please remind the student that you must receive an accommodation notice first, and refer the student to ODS to obtain their accommodation notice.

ODS it the only office on campus designated to review students’ disability documentation and determine eligibility for accommodations. ODS reviews documentation and meets with students to determine whether a disability is present, to evaluate the functional impact of the disability in an academic setting, and to determine reasonable accommodations that will allow the student to have equal access to the learning environment.

Not usually. Most students do not need any change in teaching style; however, some students need adjustments or modifications in order to access a course. For example, instructors may be asked to verbalize when writing on the board to accommodate a student with a visual impairment.

No. Standards should be the same for all students. However, some students with disabilities may exhibit knowledge, production, and other course expectations differently than their peers. For example, a student with a learning disability in writing may produce an essay exam by using a computer or scribe rather than writing out an answer by hand. The quality of the work should be the same.

Accommodation notices are specific to the student, but not to the course. If a student declines an accommodation, or if the instructor and the student mutually agree that an accommodation does not apply due to the nature of the course, instructors may note the declined accommodation on the accommodation notice receipt, or contact for additional guidance.

ODS negotiates to have course sections moved to accessible locations for students with mobility impairments who are registered with the office.

Yes. There could be numerous reasons why a student makes a late request. Please keep in mind that students are permitted to register with ODS and to present instructors with an accommodation notice at any point during the semester, meaning there is no deadline for students to request accommodations. However, arrangements to receive accommodations must be made within a reasonable time frame, preferably a minimum of 7 days before the accommodation is needed. Certain accommodations require additional advance notice to ODS.

Also, accommodations are not retroactive, so instructors are not required to retroactively apply accommodations to assessments or assignments that take place prior to the date on which they received the accommodation notice.

Service animals are not considered to be an accommodation. Therefore, a student’s use of a service animal is not something that appears on an ODS accommodation notice. Students who use a service animal in UA facilities are not required, but are strongly encouraged, to contact ODS so we can assist in making recommendations on how the student can respond to inquiries regarding their service animal.

Instructors are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability. In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, instructors may ask only two specific questions:

1. Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?

2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

For additional guidance relating to service animals, please contact Judy Thorpe, Director of Special Accommodations, at (205) 348-3739 or

Please contact the Office of Disability Services at (205) 348-4285 if you have any questions or concerns about providing accommodations. The student’s assigned Accommodations Specialist can provide assistance.