Accommodations for Students with Episodic Conditions

Students who have a disability or condition that is episodic in nature may experience unpredictable flare-ups that affect their attendance and/or ability to submit assignments on time. These students are unable to predict when or how many times they will not be able to attend class due to the episodic nature of their disability or condition. These students are also unable to predict when it may be difficult to complete assignments on time because of the symptoms related to their disability or condition. As a result, there are a few accommodations that students with an episodic disability or condition would be able to receive. 

Accommodation Descriptions

Attendance may be impacted due to flare-ups in the student’s condition. The student is expected to communicate with you directly should this be needed. Please reach out to us if you feel that the number of absences becomes unreasonable and may compromise the fundamental nature of the course requirements.

Timely submission of assignments may be impacted due to flare-ups in the student’s condition and they may require reasonable extensions. The student is expected to communicate with you directly should this be needed. Please reach out to us if you feel that the number of extensions becomes unreasonable and may compromise the fundamental nature of the course requirements.

Attendance and timely submission of assignments may be impacted due to flare-ups in the student’s condition and may require additional absences and reasonable extensions. The student is expected to communicate with you directly should this be needed. Please reach out to us if you feel that the number of absences or extensions becomes unreasonable and may compromise the fundamental nature of the course requirements.

Guidelines for this Accommodation

Learning Support Services staff members thoroughly review the student’s documentation and have a discussion with the student about their experience with the disability or condition before determining that these accommodations are appropriate for the student. This is determined on a case-by-case basis. We emphasize to the student that these accommodations do not give them free rein to miss class or to delay the submission of assignments.

We understand that there are reasonable limits to these accommodations based on the fundamental nature and requirements of a course and that if a student is unable to meet certain expectations for the course it may be necessary for the student to withdraw from the course or take a medical leave of absence.

In order to support students who receive the above accommodation, we recommend that students and professors have a conversation about how this accommodation will be implemented. We understand that this accommodation may look very different for each student and may vary based on the fundamental nature and essential requirements for the course. We hope that this initial conversation will serve as a guiding measure that will enable the student to receive the support they need while still ensuring that there are no fundamental changes to the nature of the course.

Guided Conversation Between the Professor and Student

First, it is important for the professor to define the fundamental nature of the course and specify all of the essential requirements for successfully completing the course. Professors can use the following guiding questions to help them determine the fundamental nature of the course.

Essential Requirements Discussion Guide

  • What is the fundamental nature of the course (e.g. lecture, lab, independent study)?
    • What are the learning objectives and activities (individual/group projects, field trips, presentations) of the course?
    • How are student achievement and mastery of the course objectives demonstrated? How are they measured?
    • What is the method by which the final course grade is calculated? How is the final course grade calculated?
    • What role does attendance play in the design of the course? How does class participation impact a student’s ability to engage with the material?
    • What role do deadlines play in the design of the course? How does the structure of deadlines affect a student’s ability to complete other assignments, to participate in class, or affect the essential requirements for the course?

Please note: The professor should never waive essential academic components of the course.

Next, the student and professor should meet and discuss how to implement these accommodations. This should establish how and when the student will communicate with the professor when they miss class or are unable to submit an assignment due to a flare-up of their disability or condition. Below are some guiding questions for this discussion.

Accommodation Details Discussion Guide

It may be helpful for the professor and student to think through the following questions to ensure that they have a shared understanding of the expectations for how to implement this accommodation.

When the student’s disability affects attendance:

  1. How and when should the student inform the professor that an absence is related to the student’s disability or condition (i.e., via email, in person at the next class, within 24 hours of the absence, before the next class meets)?
  2. How many additional absences or lateness are reasonable to ensure that the fundamental nature of the class is not compromised?
  3. How will the student complete and turn in any missed assignments and/or exams due to a disability-related absence?
  4. Would a withdrawal or grade of incomplete be appropriate if absences become unexpectedly excessive?

Please note: An accommodation in attendance may not be reasonable if regular attendance is essential to the course and/or curriculum or the number of accommodated absences becomes excessive. Students who receive an attendance accommodation are responsible for all course work and do not have blanket permission to miss class.

When the student’s disability affects timely submission of assignments:

  1. How and when will the student notify the professor that the student will need a specific extension (i.e., by email, phone, in person; before the assignment is due, right after the student misses the deadline)?
  2. How much extra time does the student need to complete the assignment? This timeframe may be dependent on the type of assignment (i.e., essay, problem set).

Please note: Extensions on assignments apply to assignment deadlines within one specific semester. The extensions cannot be applied beyond the end of the current semester, unless agreed upon with the professor.

It may be helpful for the professor and student to write up a plan about the agreed upon expectations for how these accommodations will be implemented. This may need to be a flexible agreement that is adjusted throughout the semester.

LSS staff are available by phone, email, or an in-person meeting to answer any questions or to discuss this accommodation process. 

Important Disclaimer

Students who are eligible for this accommodation are still required to meet the standards and expectations for the course, as are outlined by the professor. The number of absences or late submissions of assignments that are allowed will be determined through a conversation with the professor. This will vary from course to course and is established based on an understanding of how attendance and assignment deadlines play a crucial role in the fundamental nature and essential requirements of the course. Students who exceed the agreed upon number of absences and/or extensions on assignments will not be able to complete the course successfully and will have to consider withdrawing from the course or taking an incomplete, if appropriate. 

Contact Information

LSS logo

Office of Learning Support Services:
Villanova University
Learning Commons in Falvey
Suite 212
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
Phone: 610.519.5176
Fax: 610.519.8015
Email: learning.support.services@villanova.edu

Hours of Operation:
Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Meet Our Staff

Directions to campus and Campus Map (PDF)