Discussing your Accommodations with your Professor

Your professor is an integral part of your accommodation plan, since they are in charge of the class. It is expected that the student will initiate a conversation with the professor regarding their needs and accommodations for their classes as soon as possible. Discussing academic concerns or disability related accommodations with professors can be difficult, especially the first time. Here are some suggestions to help you prepare for your conversation.

  • Schedule your meeting as early in the semester as possible.  Find a time during scheduled office hours, or by appointment, to meet privately with your professors.  Arrange the meeting early in the semester.
  • Start in your comfort zone. If it feels overwhelming to talk to all your professors, start by meeting the ones you are most comfortable around. As you gain confidence, schedule the other meetings.
  • Organize your thoughts, or even role play, prior to the meeting. Think about your accommodation requests or any information you may want to discuss. You may want to do some role-playing to plan how you will respond to questions about your accommodations.
  • Let the accommodations be your guide.  Focus the discussion on your accommodations, not your disability. You do not need to disclose your diagnosed disability to receive accommodations.
  • Discuss testing arrangements for your class. This would be a good time to talk about when and where you’ll be taking your exams. Some professors prefer to provide the accommodations in their office area, while others prefer that you receive your accommodations in Access Services. You’ll want to ask for permission before you schedule your exams if your class schedule doesn’t allow you to take your exams at the same time as the class. (i.e. night classes or back-to-back classes)
  • Be open to suggestions or comments from instructors. Accommodations often require a collaborative effort and instructors are frequently able to offer creative suggestions for implementing accommodations.
  • Reconnect with Access Services if necessary. If you find you are unable to schedule an appointment with your professor, or are experiencing barriers of any kind, contact Access Services at access@winona.edu to discuss the situation. Ask your instructor to contact Access Services with any questions you do not feel comfortable answering.