Carnegie Mellon University

Discussing Your Accommodations

Below are some helpful tips to guide you through each phase of discussing your accomodations with faculty members:

In preparation

  • Share your Summary of Accommodations Memorandum with faculty as early in the semester as possible, or within a week of meeting with the Office of Disability Resources. Providing your Summary Memorandum at the last minute makes it difficult for your professors to accommodate your needs.
  • Schedule time to discuss your accommodations with each faculty member. Faculty are often pressed for time right after class.
  • Become familiar with your accommodations. Be prepared to describe how and when you plan to use each one.
  • If you are unsure about how and when to use your accommodations, the Office of Disability Resources is happy to talk through this with you beforehand.
  • Consider sharing your memorandum with your academic advisor. This allows them to advise you best by having a complete understanding of your unique situation throughout your time at CMU.

During the Meeting

  • Discuss each accommodation listed in your memorandum.
  • If you prefer not to disclose your disability, you may find general phrases helpful while discussing accommodations. These could include: “I have a chronic condition,” or “My ongoing medical situation causes…”
  • If you do opt to disclose specifics about your disability, keep that part of the conversation brief and only release need-to-know information so that they may accommodate you appropriately.
  • Some accommodations, such as flexible assignment completion dates or consideration for flexible attendance, require you to make specific arrangements with each professor. You are encouraged to build as much detail into these arrangements as possible, such as specific deadlines for assignments or how attendance will or will not factor into your grade.
  • Keep in mind that faculty work hard to provide accommodations as indicated on your memorandum. However, there may be certain situations in which making a particular accommodation is not possible. Please utilize the Office of Disability Resources, your academic advisor, and your college liaison as needed to support you in addressing issues if they arise.

After the Meeting

  • If you and your faculty member have worked out specific arrangements related to accommodations in their class, send them a follow-up email summarizing the agreement you reached together. This will keep communication clear and ensure that you have a mutual understanding.
  • Stay in regular contact with the Office of Disability Resources to keep us apprised of how your accommodations are working or if you have any questions.