Explanation of Accommodations

Reasonable accommodations are academic modifications, adjustments, and auxiliary aids that are designed to mitigate the impact of a disability and create a level playing field for a student with disabilities. Accommodations are not intended to weaken the learning outcomes or fundamentally alter the essential functions of a program. Thus, if you and your department are of the opinion that one of the listed accommodations would fundamentally alter the essential functions, please contact the Director of the OSD so we can discuss the concern.

If you have any questions regarding how to allow or administer these accommodations, please contact the OSD advisor working with your student (name and phone extension provided on the Accommodation Letter). You may also want to visit the OSD Faculty Resources website.

Testing Accommodations

Extended testing time (time and a half or double time) – Students are allotted additional time on exams, quizzes and any timed assignment designed to be taken in one class meeting. The extended time is based on the time students without disabilities are provided. For example, if the rest of the class has one hour to take the exam, a student with time and a half would be entitled to 90 minutes. Note: This accommodation is not satisfied by adjusting the time for the whole class based on the time approved for a student with disabilities. For example, if you provide the entire class with time and a half, the student with disabilities must be provided additional time on top of this adjusted time.

Tests in alternate format – Students are allowed to take exams in a format different than what the faculty member designed. This may include utilizing an electronic version of the exam for the student to use with a screen reader or access to an enlarged version of the exam. Additional information about alternate format materials is below.

Distraction-reduced testing (in OSD room in Testing Center) – Students are allowed to take the exam in a private (separate) room in the testing center. Students are responsible for reserving the exam room in advance. Rooms are reserved on a first-come, first serve basis. Students are encouraged to reserve their rooms as soon as they are aware of the exam date.

Testing in Campus Testing Center – Students are approved to take their exams in the on-campus testing center. Students with disabilities cannot be required to take tests in a manner that is discriminatory. If all students take the test on campus, the student with disabilities can be required to take the test (with reasonable, approved accommodations) on campus in the Testing Center. If, however, all students take the test on line, students with disabilities must be permitted to do this as well, with reasonable accommodations. Canvas tests can be adjusted to allow the extended time.

If testing accommodations are listed on the Accommodation Letter please coordinate with your student and/or the Testing Center regarding necessary arrangements.

If the course is online and/or quizzes and exams are given online, please contact Canvas support to adjust testing times.


Calculator Usage

The College’s Mathematics Departments and the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) consider use of a four-function calculator a reasonable accommodation for students with documented disabilities in the area of mathematics. For clarification, please contact the OSD.


Auxiliary Aids

Auxiliary Aids may include but are not limited to:

Captionist and/or Sign Language Interpreter – Qualifying students are provided with a service provider who provides one of two services: Sign Language Interpretation or Caption services. Sign Language interpreters interpret spoken language (i.e. live/ zoom lectures) into Sign Language. Captionists provide real-time captioning of lectures/ zoom meetings. Interpreter and captioning services are both provided by the OSD (to qualified students). OSD staff pre-arrange interpreters/ captionists for regularly scheduled classes. Qualified students may request supplemental interpreter services here .


Notetaker – Qualified students are provided with notetaking services for live/ video materials. The OSD has shifted to utilizing Notetaking Express for notetaking services. Through Notetaking Express, students can upload recordings of class lectures/ videos and professional notetakers will create notes for students within 48 hours. For more information on Notetaking Express, please visit their website www.ntehub.com


Reader and/or scribe – Qualified students are provided with a live assistant who reads material out loud (reader) or scribes information verbalized by a student who cannot write the information themselves, due to a disability. This service is primarily provided for exams. Readers and scribes are provided by the OSD.


Service Animal – Qualified students may bring their service animal to campus. Services animals are defined as an animal (a dog or miniature horse) that is trained or is in training to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability. Service animals are allowed (with their handler) in all public areas of the College with the exemptions of the areas listed in the College’s official  policy on Animals on Campus found here


Alternate Format Materials

Alternate format can take the form of digital files that are formatted to be read by screen readers or viewed with screen magnification, large print, tactile materials, or downloadable audio books such as that from Learning Ally, formerly the Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D). If the student is eligible and requests alternate format materials, we will procure or produce the alternate format that is an effective accommodation for that particular student. Please note that as alternate format production is a complex, time-consuming process, we have a 20-30 business day turnaround time. If the student does not have his/her materials by the start of classes, it is most often because the request was not made with enough lead time. In that case, we will do our best to provide the materials as quickly as possible and may have to provide installments according to dates listed on your syllabus. Documents needing conversion to alternate formats may include (but are not limited to):


Copies of lecture materials and classroom handouts and syllabi - Alternate format production is a time-consuming process. Therefore, documents needing conversion should be submitted to the OSD as early as possible (a minimum of 5 business days).


Visual elements - Tactile graphics are raised graphics that can be accessed through the tactile sense. At Valencia, we use Adobe Illustrator and PIAF (Pictures in a Flash) to generate tactile graphics. We create the graphic using Illustrator and then print the graphic onto PIAF heat sensitive capsule paper. We then feed the PIAF paper through the PIAF machine, a heat and light source that raise the graphics. If the student requests it, we will generate tactile versions of graphics in the materials you assign.


Textbooks - Students are responsible for requesting books in alternate format as early as possible to avoid a delay at the beginning of the semester. Qualified students can request alternate format textbooks here


Assistive Equipment

Assistive equipment is used to provide additional access to the classroom environment. Assistive equipment may include but is not limited to:

  • Assistive Listening Device (amplification to assist with hearing or auditory processing)
  • Brailler
  • CCTV (device that enlarges documents placed on its tray)
  • Tape recorder
  • Trackball and/or accessible keyboard
  • Wheelchair desk and/or accessible chair


Students may have their own assistive equipment or may borrow items from the OSD. The OSD tries to work with students, faculty and campus services to ensure that equipment is in the classroom as early as possible to avoid disruption. If you believe that you have a student who requires assistive equipment, please contact your campus OSD office.



Assistive Technology Software

Assistive Technology software helps students gain access to digital material. Students who use alternate format materials regularly use assistive technology software to read their course text. Assistive Technology Software may include but is not limited to:


Jaws is typically used by students who are blind with little or no functional vision. JAWS offers the user many preferences but since its users are blind it does not incorporate magnification or color preferences. The college has a network JAWS license. The student may also bring his/her own laptop with JAWS installed. All members of the Valencia community are eligible for an annual license to use JAWS. You can access your JAWS liscense here


MAGic - MAGic is typically used by students who are legally blind with limited functional vision (low vision). Although MAGic is primarily screen magnification software, it incorporates a speech engine that, if enabled, reads what is displayed on the computer screen. The college has a network MAGic license.


Kurzweil 3000 is typically used by students with learning disabilities but is also frequently requested by students who have low vision. Because Kurzweil 3000 is designed for individuals with Learning Disabilities, it incorporates language learning and study skills tools such as highlighting, bookmarks, dictionary, pronunciation, spell-check, etc.. Kurzweil 3000 is accepted in many states as a testing accommodation. Many of its features can be disabled and password-protected for secure testing.


ClaroRead, like JAWS, MAGic, and Kurzweil can read electronic text out loud. In addition, it can magnify information on the user’s screen. The college provides all students who qualify for alternate format materials with a copy of ClaroRead to access electronic text materials.


If you have questions about alternate format materials, assistive equipment, or assistive technology software, please contact Steven Costa, the College’s Assistive Technology Specialist, at scosta3@valenciacollege.edu, or Rachel Schwitters at rschwitters@valenciacollege.edu.