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Special Needs and Reasonable Accommodation

NPS is committed to assisting every student in his or her effort to achieve academic success.

NPS students with disabilities can receive a variety of services to adjust or enhance traditional teaching and testing. By law, NPS and individual instructors are not required to fundamentally alter the nature of a class or curriculum to meet the needs of students with disabilities. However, many accommodations are still possible.

NPS Program Officers coordinate services between faculty, staff, and students in an effort to offset circumstances that may negatively impact a student’s academic performance. At all points in the process, your private information is restricted solely to staff or faculty on a need-to-know basis.

Disabilities can be visible or invisible, temporary or chronic. Physical disabilities are often combined with invisible impairments; an injury could accompany chronic pain or post-traumatic stress (PTS). Yet it’s important to know that “disability” does not necessarily mean one is fully "disabled." People who experience such challenges often find alternate ways to perform tasks and live full and active lives.

Visible Challenges

Visible disabilities may include mobility and movement challenges, loss, or damage that affects limbs, eyes, and other parts of the body. A person with a visible disability may require assistive ramps or automatic doors; he or she may, or may not, use a prosthetic device, wheelchair, cane, or service animal.

Invisible Challenges

Invisible disabilities include traumatic brain injury, memory loss, balance issues, cognitive challenges (such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder or dyslexia), chronic health conditions (such as cancer or diabetes), mental disorders, chronic pain, PTS, sensory impairments (such as hearing or vision loss), and range-of-motion issues.

What are Reasonable Accommodations?

A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment, alteration, or change to the environment that provides a student with equal opportunity to learn and allows the individual to participate in class activities. Reasonable accommodations “level the playing field.” They do not lower the school’s expectations of a student to meet the requirements of any class, and they do not significantly modify course curriculum.

The American Psychological Association describes reasonable accommodations in a higher education settings, including a list of "examples of accommodations by disability type" and examples of "accommodations for specific academic activities."

It is up to the student to confidentially discuss his or her challenges and explore possible accommodations with NPS personnel. Determining appropriate accommodation is a collaborative process involving the student and several key contacts on campus. NPS is committed to making the process simple, fast, and discreet. Contact your Program Officer to get started.