Do not be surprised if disabled participants do not require any accommodations. Many people with disabilities own the equipment they need for everyday life and will only need minimal assistance from others. Remember that each individual participant will have a unique approach to his or her own disability.
Recognize that finding reasonable adaptations is a process of negotiation between exchange coordinators and the participant; the goal of both is to ensure that participant has an accessible, and hopefully successful, international experience.
- The reasonable accommodation process begins at that point of disclosure, even if it happens once on the international exchange program. Most accommodations do not require much advance preparation, and are relatively simple to organize, even if the program is already in progress.
Focus on the barriers the participant with the disability is experiencing and in collaboration with disability providers determine the reasonableness of the participant’s requested accommodations.
The right to an accommodation under both Section 504 and the ADA is not unbounded; you can consider whether a requested accommodation will constitute a fundamental alteration in the program that is offered or be an undue financial or administrative burden, depending on what is being requested.
You are not required to provide retroactive accommodations to participants with disabilities. For example, a participant with a learning disability who is failing a class can request additional time to take tests on all future tests, but they cannot have previous test scores deleted from how they affect the total course grade.
Search our Resources for tips on accommodating people with specific disabilities and other advising guidelines and tools.