Accessibility Statements and Further Resources

Faculty can use extended syllabus statements to reflect on how access and accommodation will be addressed in their specific classes beyond your institution’s official policies. Developing your own extended statement can help make clear your approach to accessibility to students and empower them to determine how they will navigate your class in advance of making accommodation requests (if needed.)

See here for a compilation of different university and faculty syllabus accessibility statements.


Accessibility and Accommodation Statement

Below we have included how an extended Accessibility Statement looks when added to a syllabus. Feel free to use or adapt this statement to your teaching needs.

Sample Statement

In addition to the resources and support of the university accessibility services, students are invited to communicate with the professor if adjustments to this course are needed (e.g. attending class, participating in group work, completing the assignments). While this course incorporates elements of universal design, developing a barrier-free approach to teaching continues to be a work in progress.

Within the constraints of the resources available, I will work with students to develop sustainable accommodations when possible, and in response to the diverse and complex ways that barriers arise and access needs can change. Students are strongly encouraged to speak with me as soon as they become aware of accommodation needs (which may be ongoing or unexpected) and discuss alternative forms of accessibility beyond the services already provided by the university.

Important note on disclosure: Please note that you are not expected to disclose the nature of your circumstances to me. You may simply state the aspect of coursework for which you need accommodation and any specific requests for me to consider as we discuss the terms of the accommodation.

We have also included a downloadable PDF version, available here: Extended Accessibility and Accommodation Statement [PDF]


Beyond the Syllabus

More than just a statement, accessibility and accommodation can be incorporated into the classroom as a collective project rather than simply a service provision. This can help make accessibility a collaborative responsibility laterally across faculty, students, staff, and university services. In the classroom, this can be accomplished by making access and accessibility statements part of course development, inviting students to co-create statements, policies, and practices for the course, or sharing your own teaching philosophy documents on accessibility.

See Appendix: Cultivating a Culture of Accessibility, Accommodation, and Respect for an example of one such document.


Resources

Accessibility and Disability

Access to this chapter’s Zotero

CAST. Universal Design Guidelines.
Centre for Teaching Support and Learning, Teaching Assistants’ Training Program. Access Checks. University of Toronto.
Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. 10 Tips for Creating Accessible Course Content [PDF]. Iowa State University.
Dolmage, Jay. 2017. “Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education.” In Corporealities. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Fritsch, Kelly. 2024. “Desiring Disability in Our Learning Communities: Fostering a Crip Culture of Access.” In Reading the Room: Lessons on Pedagogy and Curriculum from the Gender and Sexuality Studies Classroom, edited by Natalie Kouri-Towe. Montreal: Concordia University Press.
Hamraie, Aimi. 2016. “Beyond Accommodation: Disability, Feminist Philosophy, and the Design of Everyday Academic Life.” philoSOPHIA. 6(2): 259-271.
Hamraie, Aimi. 2020. Critical Access Studies. Harvard Graduate Studies in Design.
Hamraie, Aimi. 2020. Accessible Teaching in the Time of COVID-19. Critical Design Lab.
Jama, Sarah. 2019. “Dismantling Ablism in Ontario.” Filmed August 29, 2019, in Ontario, The Agenda with Steve Paikin and Nan Kiwanuka, TVO, 0:26:39.
Laureano, Bianca I. and Aiesha Turman. Crip Camp Curriculum.
Rello, Luz and Ricardo Baeza-Yates. 2013. Good Fonts for Dyslexia [PDF].
Tshuma, Gift and Shayna Hadley. 2020. The Centre for Gender Advocacy, Revision Recommendations of Concordia University’s Student Accessibility Policy [PDF]. October 7.
Tshuma, Gift and Shayna Hadley. 2020. The Centre for Gender Advocacy: Mapping Project Report. October 7.
UTSC Campus Curriculum Review Resource Hub. Pedagogical Development with Universal Design for Learning. University of Toronto.
Waggoner, Jess, Hailee Yoshizaki-Gibbons, Ashley Mog, Krystal Cleary, and Margaret Price. 2017. “Disability Access as Feminist Praxis at NWSA and Beyond Workshop.” Workshop Presented at the National Women’s Studies Conference, Maryland, USA, November 2017.

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Better Practices in the Classroom by Natalie Kouri-Towe and Myloe Martel-Perry is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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