Syllabus Statement

Please COPY AND PASTE the following statement into your syllabus:

Students who need accommodations because of a disability may contact the UVU Office of Accessibility Services (OAS), located on the Orem Campus in LC 312. To schedule an appointment or to speak with a counselor, call the OAS office at 801-863-8747. Deaf/Hard of Hearing individuals, email or text 385-208-2677.

Canvas Tutorial

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Employee ADA Coordinator

For employees who require ADA accommodations, please contact:

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Accessibility Info

Are My Materials Accessible?


Providing accessible instructional materials for your classes is for the benefit of all of your students as accessibility removes the barriers students may face from obtaining the information you provide as a professor. Making your instructional materials accessible allows assistive technology—such as screen-reading software—to read aloud the content for users who cannot see the content. Screen-reading software is commonly used by people with visual impairments and sometimes those with learning disabilities.

Addressing accessibility in documents you are using as instructional material can be accomplished with features and tools in Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat Professional. Though the actual implementation may differ between software applications, a number of concepts are similar, and it is therefore important to understand the technical foundation of accessibility.

Accessibility for Instructional Materials

Faculty training on creating accessible documents can be found by clicking on: Learner Library

Accessible Document Tool

Document Structure

Structure in a document refers to creating and maintaining a logical reading order for your documents. Sighted users have the benefit of being able to scan a document for certain information and automatically bypass information not pertinent to what they are looking for. Non-sighted users rely on assistive technology such as screen-reading software to have the contents read to them. A properly structured document involves the consistent use of heading and paragraph tags, which provide a logical reading order for the document.

Alternate Text\Captions for Images

Images in documents are effective for conveying visual data. In order for the information to still be useful to someone who cannot see the image, it is necessary to explain the image as completely as possible. This can be done using alternate text or captions to provide a title for the image or a brief description of what the image depicts.

Document Navigation Assistance

Providing a table of contents or bookmarks will assist users in navigating your documents better. Table of contents and bookmarks work together with document structure to allow users to find the information they need quickly.

Color Choices

When choosing colors for your documents, remember that some users may have trouble seeing certain colors or distinguishing between contrasting colors. Therefore, choose foreground and background color combinations that provide sufficient contrast to allow low vision or color blind users to distinguish between color differences. You can click here for an accessible color checker. Another suggestion is to consider how the document would appear when viewed on a black and white screen.

Web Links

If you are providing links to outside resources on the web, ensure that you create meaningful labels to adequately describe the link you have included. Avoid using phrases such as Click here and instead use phrases such as Click here for more information on Universal Design for Learning.

Universal Design

While planning course curriculum, instructors can implement a number of strategies to make their course more accessible to all students.

  • Include a syllabus statement instructing students with disabilities on how to access needed accommodations with contact information for the Office of Accessibility Services.
  • Point out campus resources such as tutoring centers, skills labs, counseling centers, computer labs, etc.
  • Clearly define course requirements at the beginning, announce exam dates and due dates, avoid last-minute changes to the syllabus or course requirements, give advance notice when changes must be made.
  • Provide printed material early to allow students sufficient time to read and comprehend material. Students with disabilities may need these materials in alternative formats and this process can take time.
  • Use multi-modal teaching methods to include all learning styles and strengths (auditory, kinesthetic, visual) and provide important information in both written and oral formats.
  • State learning objectives and the start of a lesson, review previous lessons and summarize periodically.
  • Demonstrate information in more than one way.
  • Read anything you write on the board or present on overhead out loud.
  • Keep instructions brief and uncomplicated; repeat them word for word.
  • Allow time for clarification of instructions and information.
  • Use captioned videos and know how to turn the captioning feature on. While captions are typically used for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, they are also helpful to students with learning disabilities and English language learners. Allow students to view videos more than once by making them available online or in the library.
  • Provide study guides or review sheets.
  • Use multiple methods of assessment: exams, papers, presentations, and other projects/assignments.
  • Stress organization and ideas rather mechanics when grading in-class writing assignments and assessments.
  • Design distance learning courses with accessibility in mind. Avoid real-time chat sessions, as some students cannot type/respond fast enough to fully participate.

10 Things to Keep in Mind When Interacting with People with Mobility Impairments

People use wheelchairs for different reasons. Some people whom use wheelchairs can and do walk or stand - often with the use of a cane, braces, crutches or a walker.  Using a wheelchair some of the time may be a means of conserving energy or getting about more quickly.

When interacting with people with a mobility impairment, keep these things in mind:

10 Things List

1- Never patronize people in wheelchairs by patting them on the head or shoulder. Speak to them in a normal tone of voice.

2- If you want to offer help, do so in a respectful way. Say, "Is there something I can do to be helpful?" rather than, "I better help you with that. You'll never be able to do it yourself."

3- After you have asked the person who uses the wheelchair if he/she wants some help, wait for the answer. Do not assume your assistance is wanted or needed. For example: Ask a wheelchair user if he/she wants to be pushed BEFORE doing so. If the person declines your offer, understand that some people prefer to do things independently.

4- Never move mobility devices like canes, crutches, walkers or wheelchairs unless specifically asked to do so. Three-wheeled scooters are considered wheelchairs. If a person transfers out of a wheelchair and asks you to move it, do not move it out of the person’s reach.

5- Sit, squat or kneel when you are talking with a person who uses a wheelchair, otherwise, the wheelchair user may not be able to see you. If you cannot sit down, remember the taller you are the further away you should stand.

6- Do not lean against or hang on someone's wheelchair. Keep in mind that people who use wheelchairs treat their chair as an extension of their bodies.

7- You should speak directly to persons using the mobility devices and not to their friends or companions, but feel free to include any companions in the conversation.

8- When giving directions, consider distance, weather conditions and surfaces such as stairs, curbs or inclines that may pose challenges.

9- If the service counter at your place of business is too high for a wheelchair user to see over, step around it to provide service

10- If you offer a seat to a person with a mobility limitation , keep in mind that chairs with arms are easier for some people to use.

Working with College Students with Learning Disabilities

The number of college students with learning disabilities is increasing on campuses everywhere. Because a learning disability is not readily visible, these students are often overlooked or misunderstood. However, as these numbers increase, it is important for faculty and staff to understand the implications of learning disabilities and to learn to teach and accommodate these students.

Types of Learning Disabilities

There are many types of learning disabilities. They may impact students in one or more of the following areas:

  • Spoken language – listening and speaking
  • Written language – reading, writing, and spelling
  • Arithmetic – calculation and mathematical concepts
  • Reasoning – organization and integration of ideas or thoughts

As a result of these learning disabilities, students may require accommodations related to their specific functional limitations. The Office of Accessibility Services may have approved specific accommodations for some of these students; others may not have requested services yet. 

Functional Limitations

  • Auditory Perception/Processing: difficulty processing information communicated in class through lectures or discussions; may have difficulty distinguishing between subtle differences in sound or knowing which sounds to attend to.
  • Visual Perception/Processing: difficulty distinguishing subtle differences in shape (b or d), determining which image to focus on when multiple images are displayed, tracking words or sections of text when reading, judging depth or distance, processing information on overhead projector or video, reading charts and graphs, processing information online or in emails.
  • Information processing speed: may process visual or auditory information more slowly than the average person; may read more slowly due to additional time required to decode and comprehend written material, may need to clarify auditory information more often.
  • Abstract reasoning: difficulty understanding content that requires high level reasoning skills such as philosophy or logic.
  • Memory (long-term or short-term): difficulty with storing or recalling information.
  • Spoken and written language: difficulty with spelling or speaking.
  • Mathematical calculation: difficulty manipulating numbers, converting word problems to mathematical expressions; may invert numbers or not see certain numbers at all.
  • Executive functioning: difficulty organizing, managing time, breaking large projects into smaller tasks, creating and following time lines, and meeting deadlines.
  • Reading comprehension: difficulty understanding written language or unfamiliar words/phrases.

Students Who are Blind, Legally Blind, or Have a Visual Impairment


Vision impairments can result from a variety of causes. A person is considered visually impaired when corrected vision is no better than 20/70.

Eighty to ninety percent of legally blind people have some measurable vision or light perception. They may be able to see large objects but have great difficulty reading or threading a needle. The term “blindness” should be reserved for people with complete loss of sight. “Visually impaired” is the better term used to refer to people with various gradients of vision.

Blind Students

Most students who are blind use a wide variety of accommodations such as readers, digitally scanned books, enlarging devices, and sometimes Braille materials. Students may also use raised-line drawings that are usually produced in our Assistive Technology Center.

Some blind students will need early access to your presentation material and/or access to electronic copies of notes from class.  They can listen to these or convert them into a Braille format later.

When a visually impaired student is present in the classroom, it is helpful for the instructor to verbalize as much as possible and to provide tactile experiences when possible.  Phrases such as “This way means it is a positive and this way means it is a negative” and “This is always where this number goes” and “This country is located here and looks like this” are meaningless statements to a student who cannot see the examples. If the instructor can verbalize what they are referring to, this can help all students, especially the student who is blind or visually impaired. This provides equal access for all students and provides students who are blind or visually impaired with the same information as the sighted students.

Students who are blind or visually impaired will likely need testing accommodations.  The test can be sent to the Proctor Exam Center (PEC) via Chi Tester (The PEC can provide a person to read the test and/or give them longer time), or the test may need to be sent to the Assistive Technology Center (ATC) - Chelsea Peahl at, 801-863-8868. The ATC may enlarge the test or reformat the test into Braille. When a test needs to be converted into an alternate format, please allow extra time for this to occur.  These arrangements should be listed on an accommodation letter and sent to you by the student's OAS counselor. If you have any questions, feel free to talk privately with the student, or call the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) at 801-863-8747.

Service Dog

Some students who are blind use service dogs that are specifically trained and well disciplined. If a service dog is being disruptive by displaying bad behavior in class, you may request that the student remove the dog.  Please seek advice first if you feel that the dog should be removed from class.  Please do not pet a service dog. It is important to remember that the dog is “working” and is responsible for its owner and should not be distracted from this duty while in their harness.

Possible Accommodations

  • Discuss classroom and testing accommodations with the student as early as possible in the semester.
  • Contact the Office of Accessibility Services office to verify a student’s vision impairment and request accommodation letters if there is question about eligibility.
  • Alternate format textbooks are available, but sometimes they may take a few weeks to process.
  • Student may record lectures.
  • Student may use a digital enlarging device to access written information given in class.
  • Provide appropriate written and verbal descriptions to accompany any visual aids, diagrams, films, or videos that you might use in class.
  • Verbalize what you are writing or demonstrating. An electronic copy of your class material may need to be sent before class.
  • Use high contrast in your presentations and handouts.
  • Access seating at the front of the classroom.
  • The use of readers, scribes, adaptive computer software, and magnifying equipment may be needed for tests. The Proctor Exam Center PEC, can fulfill most of these accommodations.
  • Tests may need to be in large print or in Braille format. The Assistive Technology Center (ATC), will be available to help implement this accommodation.  Please send the test in a Word format – without extra formatting! Contact the ATC in advance if this is needed, 801-863-8868.
  • Allow extra time for taking tests and/or testing in a distraction reduced setting.
  • Wait to see what accommodations are needed. Don’t assume! Talk with the student, they are the expert! Be confidential and discreet.
  • Contact the Office of Accessibility Services if you have any questions 801-863-8747.

Psychiatric Disabilities


Things to Consider

Utah Valley University is required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide reasonable accommodations to students with a documented physical or mental impairment which rises to the level of a disability (substantial limitation of one or more major life activities).

If a student provides you with a letter from the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) stating that the student has a disability, it is important that you not announce to the class that the student has a disability. If the student chooses to disclose his/her disability, that is the student’s decision to make.

If a student comes to you and asks for accommodations based upon a psychiatric disability, ask the student to provide you with a letter from OAS. Please do not grant accommodations based upon a disability without a letter from OAS. It is OAS’s role to review psychometric evaluations and determine what, if any, accommodations are appropriate for students with psychiatric disabilities. Please implement only those accommodations that are listed on the Letter of Accommodation from OAS and refrain from adding additional accommodations for the student.

Tips for Positive Communication

  • Stress the importance of good study habits and effective time management.
  • Give timely feedback to the student; errors need to be corrected as soon as possible.
  • Give praise when merited; it builds confidence.
  • Expect behavior that is consistent with the Student Code of Conduct.
  • Provide clear direction regarding behavioral expectations and be consistent with all students.
  • Be willing to clarify class information expectations as needed.
  • Express acceptance and reassurance.
  • Don’t attempt a therapeutic relationship, and don’t share personal stories.
  • Keep all information confidential.
  • Focus on the accommodations, not the disability.