Accommodations and Services-Human Resources - Carnegie Mellon University

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Accommodations and Services

Accessing Accommodations

Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis. To access accommodations, individuals must first refer themselves to Disability Resources and provide adequate documentation of the disability. This documentation must come from an outside source. Please note that Disability Resources will not initiate accommodations without a specific written request from an individual with a disability. 

A student may choose to identify himself/herself as disabled at any time. However, the student must submit a Voluntary Disclosure of a Disability Form [pdf] before requesting accommodations. 

Every semester, students must schedule a meeting with Disability Resources. The actual meeting can be in person or by phone or electronic medium. (First semester freshmen must meet in person.) During this meeting accommodations will be reviewed to confirm that the accommodations are still applicable or to determine if additional accommodations are needed. The new accommodation memorandum will be signed off by the student and initialed by Disability Resources.

Requesting Accommodations 

For classroom accommodations such as extended-time testing or a distraction-reduced environment, requests for exam accommodations must be submitted to Disability Resources sufficiently early so that appropriate arrangements can be made. These arrangements often involve finding rooms, arranging proctors, etc. and cannot be done at the last minute. Therefore, students making requests for special accommodations for exams (e.g., extra time, quiet room) should do so in the following time frames:

  • one week prior to the date an in-semester examination is given
  • prior to the last day to drop a course for a request involving a final examination

Accommodations not requested within the above time frames may not be provided.
For alternative text format, interpreters, etc., a month's notice is appropriate.

Accommodation Memorandum

Students request classroom accommodations via an Accommodation Memorandum [pdf]. It is the student's responsibility to share this document with each of his/her instructors.  Every semester, the student must schedule a meeting with Disability Resources to update his/her memorandum.

Individualized Accommodation Plan

Many students also have an Individualized Accommodation Plan [pdf]. This plan details specific physical and learning issues. The purpose of the plan is to provide a starting point for discussion of a disability as it relates to accommodations; generally a copy is given to the individual to share with the campus community as the individual sees fit.  Disability Resources may also share the plan with members of the campus community on a need-to-know basis.

Temporary Accommodations

An individual who suspects that he/she may have a disability may be eligible for temporary accommodations. Individuals must discuss their concerns with Disability Resources and complete a learning history questionnaire. If there are grounds for a suspected disability, the individual will be given a list of providers who, for a fee, will complete an evaluation to determine if a disability exists, the degree of disability and possible plans for remediation and/or accommodations. If a “good faith effort” is made on the part of the individual to secure documentation, temporary “prudent man” accommodations will be put in place for the semester. At the end of this time, if the individual does not produce documentation that justifies accommodations, the accommodation(s) may be void.

Short-Term Disabilities

Individuals with short-term conditions that substantially limit their ability to complete day-to-day work at the university may be considered for assistance via Disability Resources. If you believe you are in need of services due to a short-term condition, please submit a Temporary Disability Verification Form [pdf] or contact Disability Resources.

Proctored Exams

Requests for Proctored Exams should be submitted a minimum of one week in advance to be assured of this service (or prior to the last day to drop a course for a request involving a final examination).

The first step in requesting a proctored exam is to complete and submit a Proctored Exam Request Form. As soon as Disability Resources receives the form, we will contact you to discuss the details of your request. Be sure to review the Guidelines for Proctored Exams.

Books in Alternate Formats

Eligible students may wish to order their textbooks on tape from a national reading service, such as Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFBD), or to have their textbooks provided to them in e-text format.  To facilitate this service, please complete the Alternative Format Request Form [pdf] or contact Disability Resources.

Interpreter Requests  

To be provided interpreter services, you must submit an Interpreter Request Form [pdf]. Interpreter Requests should be submitted a minimum of thirty working days in advance to be assured of this service. We will contact you upon receipt to discuss the details of your request.  Please also be sure to complete an Interpreter Service Evaluation [pdf].

Emergency Waiting Areas

If you have a disability that prevents you from evacuating a building in an emergency, you must inform Disability Resources.  We will work with Environmental Health and Safety, Campus Police, and Health Services to place you on the Emergency Waiting Area list and to put in place a plan to assist you in the event of an emergency. 

Service Animal Guidelines

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are permitted in university facilities. Service animals are defined as dogs or miniature horses that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. 

Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a service animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability.  Service animals must be properly harnessed, leashed, tethered, or otherwise controlled at all times.  The university may require the removal of a service animal that is out of control or disruptive.  Service animals that are not house-broken may also be removed.

For more information on Service Animals, visit