For Faculty

Learn about what types of accommodations can be made for students.

Also, download the Faculty Receipt Form if you who would like an electronic copy of the form that some of your students may be completing with you.

Common Accommodations

Any media that will be part of your lectures/assignments must be accessible when they are captioned. If a video is not captioned or a podcast does not have a transcript, instructors are responsible to arrange for an accessible version to be produced.

The Accessibility and Disability Services Office may be able to provide guidance and assistance in some circumstances. Therefore, professors should plan ahead by allowing anywhere from one week to three months for media files to be transcribed and or captioned; thus requests are encouraged to be sent to ADS in a timely manner if assistance is required.

Please scroll down to learn of some helpful tips on captioning that you may find helpful:

In General

Two to three lines per caption frame is average. But if you need four lines because of the context, do it.


When two people are talking at the same time on the screen, you need to be able to distinguish them. Place captioned lines on the screen as character is saying them, so it is obvious to viewers who is talking. If it is not obvious who is talking on the screen, it is recommended that each person’s dialog is labeled with the name/description of the person talking.


Tom: I can’t see you!

John: Take your head out of the fridge then!


A description (in brackets) should be used for instrumental/background music when it's essential to the understanding of the video/scene. Off-screen background music description should be italicized. If possible, the description should include the performer/composer and the title.


[Louis Armstrong plays"Hello Dolly"]

[pianist playing]

Nonessential background music should be captioned by placing a music icon (♪) and should never be captioned at the expense of dialogue. (There is no need to caption background music with a duration under 5 seconds).

If music contains lyrics, caption the lyrics verbatim. The lyrics should be introduced with the name of the artist and the title in brackets, if the presentation rate permits.


[Dinah Washington singing “Mad about the Boy”]

♪The boys are back in town ♪♪

Sounds Effects

Sound effects are sounds other than music, narration, or dialogue. They are captioned if it is necessary for the understanding and/or enjoyment of the media. A description of sound effects, in brackets, should include the source of the sound. However, the source may be omitted if it can be clearly seen onscreen. And never use the past tense when describing sounds. Captions should be synchronized with the sound and are therefore in the present tense.


[audience cheers])

Off-screen sound effects should be italicized, if italics are available.


[dogs barking])

Use punctuation to indicate speed or pace of sound.

Example for slow sounds:

[clock chiming]


Example of fast/rapid sounds:

[gun firing]

Bang, bang, bang

Most people believe that only students in wheelchairs are the only ones who require adaptable furniture, but most students who require adaptive furniture do not use wheelchairs. Due to many health reasons, students often require cushioned seats, chairs with lower lumbar support, etc. But most importantly, adaptive classrooms ensure safety, help improve fine motor skill development, facilitate longer periods of concentration, and promote socialization - allowing students with physical challenges to overcome barriers and feel less isolated.

Please contact ADS if you believe that any of your students requires adaptive furniture. We will do what we can to help students feel physically comfortable in your classroom, so they can focus on learning better.

Students who require extended time are students who:

  • Often have physical trouble with writing and typing. This could be due to an illness, injury, or visual challenges that make it difficult to read and write in a timely manner.
  • Some students have medical/health issues such as anxiety, migraines, ADD/ADHD, or are undergoing medical treatment that affect their ability to complete tasks in a timely manner.
  • Other students have processing deficits that require more time to comprehend and complete work.

Tips to provide extended time in the classroom:

We advise professors to discuss with students who require this accommodation to come up with a routine that will help students not get behind in their work as the semester progresses. Here are a few routines that are popular:

  • Classwork will be provided to students in advance so that students have the extra time BEFORE the classwork is assigned.
  • Any classwork that is not completed during class should be emailed to the professor within 24 hours or it is considered late.

Tips for extended time on exams:

How extended time is provided is determined between professors and students. Most people think that the extended time must occur on the same day, but that is not true. Here are a few ways that professors provide extra time:

  • Students may begin the exam in their office before the class begins and then finish the exam with the rest of the class later.
  • If a student does not finish during class time, they may finish the exam in another class that the professor teaches.
  • Professors can give students part of the test on one day and the next part on another day.

Extended time on projects and long assignments:

This accommodation is not common, but is usually granted to students who are undergoing medical treatment or have major physical/processing challenges that require them to begin preparing for their projects or long papers way in advance so that they do not fall behind the curriculum.

We recognize that not all professors have their prompts ready before it is assigned to the class; however; if you know what the gist of the assignment will be, you can give students tasks they they will need to do anyway for their papers or projects. For example:

  • Begin researching and collecting evidence from at least 5 sources
  • Begin outlining topics they will be able to do on their own

Duration and frequency of breaks need to be determined between professor and students. Therefore it is very important to have a detailed conversation of how the class activities and lectures can be impacted by breaks. with your students who require this accommodation.

It is also important to note that when professors see the word "breaks", they automatically assume it means that the student needs to leave the classroom for a short time period. This is not always the case, so please make sure to discuss the details of this accommodations with your students.

Breaks During Class Time

Depending on the structure of the class, professors can make recommendations to the students. Here are a few examples of how breaks can be applied in the classroom:

  • Some professors request breaks be taken after the first 30 minutes due to important lecture material
  • Many professors would like students to give them some kind of cue (e.g. hand signal) to let them know they are going on a break and another gesture if they will not be coming back (usually due to health related issues)
  • Other professors request a break that is no more than three to five minutes at a time and no more than two breaks per class.
  • Also professors may make sure that there is room in the back of the room if the student needs to take a standing break in the room during lecture time.

Breaks During Exams

Many professors worry that students may cheat during their breaks. Therefore, we recommend that you give them either a page at a time or sections at a time, and when the student has completed those pages, they will be allowed to have a break. And when they return, the next section/pages can then be given to them. This can give the professor peace of mind that students are not looking for answers to the questions that they viewed before their breaks.

Please also keep in mind that students who are given breaks as an accommodation also have extended time, so please do not count the time during their break toward the amount of time they are allowed to finish the exam. We call this "Stop the Clock".

And just like breaks in the classroom, please provide students the option to take their breaks in the exam room. Most of the time, they just need to stand and stretch.

Distractions vary from individual to individual. So please sit down with your students who share their accommodation letters with you to explain what distracts them. Things that distract students can include:

  • Smells/odors
  • Lightening in the room
  • Temperature in the room
  • Noise distraction
  • Visual distractions

Just making minor alterations can make all of the difference. Here are some examples:

  • Students who get visually distracted can sit at a desk facing the wall
  • Students who need cooler temperature can sit next to the fan or vent
  • Students who get distracted by noise in the room, can wear headsets or ear plugs