Attendance requirements vary widely from course to course: lab, activity and hands-on courses usually involve a lot of in-class learning that cannot be easily made up outside of class, while lecture classes may provide more flexibility. Likewise, each instructor may have a different policy for student attendance depending on how the class is taught.
If you believe you will miss class often due to your disability, talk with an Access Consultant as early in the semester as possible about your previous experiences and what you expect for the current semester. During that conversation, the Access Consultant will explain that determining whether an attendance accommodation is reasonable must be done on a case-by-case basis because of class differences. You will be asked to attend each class to see how attendance is described in each syllabus. If the policy has a lot of built in flexibility, you may find that an accommodation is not necessary. For example, some instructors don't take attendance and just expect that students will make-up missed work. On the other hand, if the attendance policy strictly limits the number of times you can miss class, get in touch with an Access Consultant to explore accommodation in that particular class.
In determining whether an accommodation to a course attendance policy is reasonable, the Access Consultant will talk with your instructor to understand:
- The reasons for the attendance policy
- How much interaction there is in class between the instructor and students
- How much of your learning is based on your in-class participation
- How much other students' learning is impacted if you, or any other student, miss class a lot
- When flexibility in the attendance policy is available for other reasons, such as athletic travel
If an attendance accommodation is determined to be reasonable, you and the Access Consultant will work with the instructor to define the parameters of the accommodation. For example, you should talk about:
- how you will make-up missed work
- how and when you will tell the instructor if you have to miss class
- whether there there is a limit to the number of classes you can miss and what that limit is
You should remember that even with a course attendance accommodation:
- you do not have license to miss class whenever you'd like
- you are responsible for all class work and will need to plan for how you will make-up missed work
- extensions for assignments and arrangements for making-up missed tests may need to be worked out individually
If absences become excessive unexpectedly, talk an Access Consultant about whether a medical withdrawal, late drop or 'incomplete' may be explored as a reasonable accommodation.