Information on Specific Accommodations


Students must follow Disability Services' procedures for obtaining accommodations (academic adjustments, auxiliary aids and services). Documentation must be provided to establish the existence of a disability and the need for accommodation. Students must also fill out a Reasonable Accommodation Request Form. The request forms are available at Disability Services in 5-104 and from this site.

Students must request accommodations so that Disability Services is afforded a reasonable amount of time to review and evaluate the request and provide the necessary accommodations. Following is an outline of academic accommodations that may be obtained by students with disabilities once it has been determined by Disability Services that they are eligible for such services. Please note that the accommodations named herein are not an exhaustive listing. Disability Services staff members are available to discuss any specific accommodations that are not on the list.

Alternative Exams

  • Extended Time: The standard practice in the field of post-secondary education regarding extended exam time is the allocation of time-and-one-half as the extended period. It may be appropriate to increase the allotted amount of exam time in certain situations, such as in cases which the student's accommodation requires the use of technology aids, scribes or readers; or when the student's documentation clearly supports the need for an extraordinary amount of extended time. In courses and/or programs in which student performance within a prescribed time period is considered to be an essential academic requirement, the Institute has established that, as a general rule, students do not have the right to un timed exams or to an unlimited amount of time for exams.
  • Exams on Tape: The student is responsible for filling out the Exam Accommodation Form at least two weeks prior to the exam to request an exam recorded on tape so that the Disability Services staff, faculty member/instructor, or the academic department, has a reasonable amount of time to provide the necessary accommodation(s).
  • Readers: The student is responsible for completing the Exam Accommodation Form at least two weeks prior to the exam to request a reader, so that the Disability Services staff, faculty member or the academic department has a reasonable amount of time to provide the necessary accommodation(s). Readers will be identified by the faculty and/or Disability Services. Readers will be instructed to read only the material on the exam. No additional information may be provided by the reader unless the reader is instructed to do so by the faculty member. A reader must protect the integrity of the exam by not prompting the student or giving any indication of what the answer might be. Readers for exams will only be provided when the student's documentation clearly demonstrates such a need.
  • Scribes: The student is responsible for completing the Exam Accommodation Form at least two weeks prior to the exam to request a scribe, so that the Disability Services staff, faculty member or the academic department has a reasonable amount of time to provide the necessary accommodation(s). A scribe will be instructed to write verbatim as dictated to by the student with the disability. Scribes must protect the integrity of the exam: they must not use their own words, interpret, prompt, or suggest answers to the student.
  • Distraction Reduced Setting: The student is responsible for filling out the Exam Accommodation Form at least two weeks prior to the exam, so that the faculty member/instructor, or the academic department, has a reasonable amount of time to provide the necessary location. Disability Services is available to assist with logistical difficulties which faculty or the department may encounter.
  • Clarification of Exam Question: When the student's documentation calls for the clarification of exam questions as an accommodation, and Disability Services' determination is that such an accommodation will not affect the academic integrity of the exam, then the restating of exam questions by the faculty member (or designee) will require that the following conditions be met:
    • a) The faculty member, or the person to whom this responsibility has been delegated, will be responsible for rephrasing exam questions in consultation with Disability Services, and
    • b) The scheduling of the exam will be based on the exam time for the class and the availability of the faculty member or her/his representative. Due to the added time required for this accommodation, the student will be allowed extra time to complete the examination. The exam may be taped if it is judged to be an acceptable alternative by the academic department and Disability Services.

Materials in Alternative Format

  • Textbooks on Tape: Disability Services works in conjunction with Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFBD) in Princeton, New Jersey, to provide the accommodation of text read onto a cassette tape. The student with a disability is responsible for applying to receive RFBD services, following RFBD procedures, and ordering course textbooks in a timely manner. If textbook material cannot be provided by RFBD within a sufficient time period, Disability Services will employ student readers to record the materials on tape. In either case, the tapes must be returned to Disability Services upon completion of the course.
  • Early Notification for Textbooks on Tape: Since textbooks on tape are a time sensitive accommodation, it is important to pre-register as early as possible and inform Disability Services if any of the selected courses are subject to lottery or bidding systems. Disability Services staff members are also available to assist the student in obtaining required textbook information from faculty. The following information from the student is needed as early as possible to provide this accommodation:
    • course name/number/section
    • faculty/instructor name/phone number/e-mail address.
  • Readers: If textbooks cannot be provided in a timely manner by RFBD, or if there are other course materials that need to be read, Disability Services will hire and train readers. Readers may read materials in person or record them onto tape. It is especially important for students with disabilities to take responsibility for their readers. To assist students with disabilities in effective management and interaction with readers, a guideline entitled, "Helpful Hints for Working With Readers" is available at Disability Services in 5-104.
  • Enlarged Course Materials: When the student requires course materials in an enlarged format, it is his or her responsibility to acquire the materials which need enlargement. A recommendation must be obtained from Disability Services regarding the source for enlargement.
  • Brailed Course Materials: The student will be assisted by a student employee in translating course materials assigned by instructors. Disability Services is responsible for the hiring of the assistant, and the ATIC (Adaptive Technology for Information and Computing) Lab on campus will provide the equipment and training. The student with the disability will be responsible for delegating assignments to the student employee.

Instructional Aides and Services Note Takers

MIT Disability Services employs a peer note taking system. Disability Services' accommodation letter, delivered by the student, through written notification, will inform the instructor that a student may need assistance in selecting a note taker.

The student with a disability will attempt to find someone in the class to take notes for him or her. If s/he does not succeed, the student may ask the faculty member to announce in class that there is a need for a note taker. Faculty members should protect the student's right to privacy by not offering her/his name to the class.

Faculty may direct interested student note takers to contact our staff (x3-1674 or sds-all@mit.edu), SDS will provide a list of potential note takers to the student with a disability, who then may contact these individuals and assume responsibility for engaging one as a note taker. Students choosing to become note takers are paid by SDS at an hourly rate.

Student Disability Services can assist the student by providing tips on selecting an appropriate note taker. However, it is the student’s responsibility to monitor note takers for accuracy and timely delivery of notes. Any discrepancies should be reported to SDS immediately. If a student needs assistance with this process, s/he should feel free to contact SDS staff (x3-1674 or sds-all@mit.edu).

Student note takers are paid by SDS for their services. Once a note taker is obtained, s/he should email SDS (sds-all@mit.edu) for payment procedures.

It is mandatory that students using note takers attend class. Note takers are not a substitution for the student's attendance. If a student is unable to attend class for an extended period of time, the note taker as well as Disability Services must be notified. Failure to do so may result in losing note taking privileges as a person with a disability who can't attend classes (even occasionally) may not be otherwise qualified to take the class.