Types of Accommodations

Alternative Formats
  • Electronic text (Word, PDF, straight text)
  • Audio recordings
  • Braille version
  • Tactile drawings

Requesting Alternative Format Course Materials

Give the DRC materials to be adapted at least six weeks before they are needed. Copyright issues and conversion can take weeks. Many publishers' response time is six to 10 weeks.

Requests are processed in the order received. The DRC will make every reasonable effort to ensure you get accessible materials in a timely manner. If this isn't possible, you, DRC staff and the course instructor will discuss alternative reasonable accommodations.

The alternative format is copyrighted and may not be reproduced or distributed.

Returning Alternative Format Course Materials

Some publishers require students to return alternative format course materials at the end of the semester. In most of these cases the DRC will have an agreement from the publisher that you will sign. If you do not return the materials, an encumbrance is placed on your NIU account which will suspend the release of grades, registration of classes, release of transcripts or receipt of diploma upon graduation.

Alternative format request

Producing Your Own Alternative Format Course Materials

Use the assistive technology available in the NIU library to produce alternative formats.

Closed Captions

It takes time to create captions. If closed captions on video media is one of your accommodations, notify your professor before the beginning of the semester by emailing your Letter of Accommodation or setting up a meeting to discuss captions. If your professor has questions, the DRC or the Interpreter/CART coordinator can help.

Exam Accommodations

Exam accommodations can minimize the impact of disability by giving you an equal opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and ability.

  • Large print
  • Braille version
  • Low distraction room
  • Extended time
  • Use of a computer

As soon as you know your exam date and time, have your instructor complete and sign the Exam Accommodation Form (EAF), which specifies your accommodations. A separate EAF must be completed for each exam.

If you are a student in the College of Law, use the Exam Accommodation Form for the College of Law.

Bring your completed exam accommodation form in person to the DRC office at least three full business days before you want to start the exam.

  • Exam on Monday - EAF due Wednesday
  • Exam on Tuesday - EAF due Thursday
  • Exam on Wednesday - EAF due Friday
  • Exam on Thursday - EAF due Monday
  • Exam on Friday - EAF due Tuesday

Accommodated exams are scheduled at the same time as the rest of the class. Exceptions will be made only with instructor approval. If the class schedule will not allow exams to be taken at the same time as the class (e.g., back-to-back classes do not allow for extended time), the student and the instructor must indicate the agreed-upon alternative on the exam accommodation form.

Exams are scheduled between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (fall and spring) and 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (summer).

Equipment Needs

When scheduling and/or turning in each exam accommodation form, please make both written and verbal requests for any equipment needs (e.g., software, computers, CCTVs, VCRs). You must know how to use the software or equipment before taking exams. No instruction will be provided during the exam.

During the Exam

If you have questions or concerns while at the DRC taking an exam, we will make every effort to contact your instructor. Since instructors are not always be readily available, you may request that your instructor contact the DRC office at some time during administration of your exam to see if you have questions or problems.

Be on Time!

If you arrive more than 15 minutes late, you will not be allowed to take the exam with the DRC. If a change in exam arrangements is necessary, notify the DRC as soon as possible. If you cancel an exam and/or need to reschedule, the DRC office must have written or verbal approval from the instructor.

Extended Time on Assignments

If you have a problem finishing an assignment on time due to the nature of your disability, you may be eligible for extended time on assignments. When this accommodation is needed, discuss how to make these requests with your instructor.

Should you ask for an extension when the assignment is given or before the assignment is due? Should you ask for extensions on all assignments? By collaborating with your instructor early in the semester, a process can be developed and expectations can be discussed.

Flexible Attendance

You are responsible for following each instructor’s requirements regarding attendance and make-up policies. Most professors include this information in their course syllabus. If you're not sure about a professor’s policies, request clarification.

For episodic conditions (i.e., chronic conditions that may unpredictably debilitate), the DRC may include a statement on your accommodation letter noting that periodic disability-related absences may occur. This statement verifies the legitimacy of periodic absences and can initiate discussions of attendance and make-up policies and procedures with professors.

Discuss this accommodation with your instructor at the beginning of the semester. Each time you're absent, email your professor to say you were absent for a disability-related reason and will follow up.

Getting Class Materials in Advance

Getting class materials in advance allows more time to process information before class.

Talk about how to get materials in advance during the initial meeting with your professor. For example, will the professor place materials on Blackboard or email them to you?

Interpreter/CART Services

NIU interpreters are expected to follow the Code of Ethics established by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and the policies and procedures of NIU Interpreter Services.

If you requested interpreting services for classes, email the Interpreter/CART coordinator as soon as you have registered each semester. Immediately notify the coordinator if there are any changes in your schedule. Late notification of changes in a student’s schedule or late registration may result in delayed provision of interpreter services.

Interpreter/CART Request Form

To request an interpreter for anything other than regularly scheduled class time, complete the Interpreter/CART Request Form or call 815-753-6257 if you have questions. At least two business days notice is recommended to allow time to find Interpreters/CART providers. Off-campus interpreter requests should be turned in at least five business days in advance.

These additional requests are covered on a first come/first served basis. If your request cannot be filled, we will notify you ahead of time.

If You Will Miss a Class

If you will miss a class or assignment, email or text the Interpreter/CART coordinator with at least 24-hour advance notice. In case of an emergency, notify the coordinator as soon as possible.

If you miss a class without advance notice, services can be suspended. Please refer to the student guidelines you were given at the beginning of the semester for the no-show policy.

If You Will be Late

The interpreter will wait for ten minutes. If you know you may be late, contact your interpreter or the coordinator to let them know when you will arrive.

Lab and Non-lecture Settings Assistant

In a lab or non-lecture settings, an assistant may read, write/scribe or manipulate tools and materials for you. Clear boundaries are absolutely necessary. In all cases, you are responsible for directing the actions of the lab assistant, not vice versa.

If you qualify for this type of assistance, contact the DRC at least four weeks in advance. In addition to the date and time, include information about dress requirements for the assistant.


If you have a note-taking accommodation, get a Note-taker Accommodation Form at the DRC. It includes information about note-takers.

Options for finding a note-taker for each class:

  • Ask a student in the class to volunteer and give him/her the Note-taker Accommodation Form.
  • Ask your instructor to read the note-taking information to the class to find a note-taker.
  • If you can't find a note-taker through the above two options, contact the DRC.

Ask the volunteer to bring the Note-taker Accommodation Form to the DRC.

The note-taking accommodation does not mean you are exempt from taking notes or attending class.

  • You are still required to take notes in class unless disability precludes it. Using a note-taker lets you fill in missing information.
  • You must attend class to receive note-taking services. Exceptions are made when absences are due to an emergency.
  • Note-takers are not required to take notes for students choosing to be absent from class. If you are absent more than twice in a semester, the note-taker will bring his/her notes to the DRC. To retrieve notes from unexcused absences, schedule an appointment. Your access consultant will discuss attendance and reserves the right to suspend the note-taking accommodation.

Contact the DRC if you know you will be absent for a significant amount of time. This allows the DRC to notify the note-taker about the absences and approve continued note-taking services.

Pre-professional Placements

Disability-related accommodations for an internship, practicum, student teaching, clinical experience, or any other pre-professional placement:

Students must contact the Disability Resource Center to make an appointment for an intake.

Once the intake is completed and the student has participated in the interactive process, eligibility will be determined and accommodations developed as appropriate. Current and relevant documentation of disability from the student’s medical provider must be received by the Disability Resource Center before or at the time of the intake.

When determining eligibility and establishing accommodations for these placements, the Disability Resource Center staff, the student, and the student’s program coordinator (at a minimum) are required to:

  • Meet in person or in a virtual format to ensure the proposed accommodations are applicable to the experience and are not in direct conflict with policies at the site or within the program.
  • Once accommodations have been identified and established, the student will receive a Letter of Accommodation addressed to the program coordinator.
  • It is incumbent upon the student to pursue these requirements and follow these steps well in advance of the placement. Accommodations, if applicable, will not be afforded before the above process is completed.

If a student is already registered with the Disability Resource Center for classroom and exam accommodations (or housing, dining, transportation, etc., or other accommodations), but are going to be participating in an internship, practicum, student teaching, clinical experience, or any other pre-professional placement, they must meet with their access consultant to begin the process anew as outlined above to be eligible for non-academic (or housing, dining, transportation, etc., or other accommodations). It is incumbent upon the student to pursue these requirements and follow these steps well in advance of the placement. Accommodations, if applicable, will not be afforded before the above process is completed.

Contact Us

Disability Resource Center
Peters Campus Life Building, Suite 180
8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
815-753-9570 (fax)
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