Student Accommodations

Reasonable accommodations refer to modifications necessary to ensure that College requirements do not discriminate against students with disabilities or have the effect of excluding students on the basis of disability. A reasonable accommodation helps to minimize, as much as possible, the limitations resulting from the disability and provides the individual with an equal opportunity to participate in College programs and activities. The College is not required to make a modification that it can demonstrate would substantially alter an essential element of a College requirement, standard or program.

The Student Disability Service coordinates accommodations for students with learning disabilities, visual and hearing impairments, chronic medical conditions, traumatic brain injury (TBI), Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADHD), psychological disabilities and orthopedic/mobility disorders. Accommodations may include extended time on timed tests, alternative formats for print materials, captioning, ASL interpreters, notetakers, scribes, lecture notes, permission to audio record lectures, short-term extensions, assistive software and elimination of physical barriers. We will always consult with faculty members in advance if there is any question about whether an accommodation will alter a fundamental course or program requirement.

Accommodation Letters

Once a student has registered with the Student Disability Service, Director Leslie Hempling will draft a formal Accommodations Letter. Students are give copies of the letter to bring to each of their professors. We encourage students to arrange individual meetings with faculty members as soon as they receive the letter, so that there is an opportunity to meet privately to discuss needs. We will also email you a copy of students' accommodation letters. Please be aware that disability status and accommodations are highly confidential. Please do not share students' information with others unless the student has given you explicit permission. Please know that at times, even after receiving a letter from our office, some students may elect not to pursue an accommodation.

The Student Disability Service is not able to provide retroactive accommodations. Students must register with the Student Disability Service first and submit appropriate clinical documentation of a disability. Accommodations begin once the student has a formal accommodations letter.

We will aim to contact you well in advance of a course if we discover that a students' needs require additional preparation time (e.g., arranging scribes, lab assistants, electronic course materials, captioning, etc). Some course materials (e.g., electronic texts, recordings, Braille or tactile diagrams) can take weeks to arrange. At times, students may develop disability concerns during the course of the semester. We will do our best to give you as much notice as possible.

Confidentiality Note for Faculty and Staff​

Swarthmore College respects the privacy of its students.  The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act governs all student record information.  All information concerning student disabilities and accommodation is kept separately from student academic files.  This information is confidential and will not be released to third parties without the written permission of the student, except in circumstances involving matters of health, safety, and law.  Information regarding student disabilities and requests for accommodation is available to College faculty and staff on a need-to-know basis.

Please avoid discussing accommodations for students in public.  We encourage you and the student to meet individually to discuss your course and any accommodations arrangements.

Please do not hesitate to contact Leslie Hempling in the Student Disability Service at lhempli1@swarthmore.edu or 610-690-5014 if you have any questions or concerns.