Frequently Asked Questions for Instructors


Image of an instructor and a student.

Who can access services?

Students who are registered at VIU and have provided Disability Access Services with current documentation of a disability.

A student in my class is having difficulty and I suspect it might be disability related. What can I do?

Refer the student to Disability Access Services, discuss teaching and learning alternatives, and what supports you may be able to provide while the student explores registering with DAS.

What information about a student’s disability and their academic accommodation is confidential?

Please be careful not to identify the student as a "student with a disability" to others in the class. If you have received an accommodation letter, the student has provided consent for us to have discussions with instructors about accommodations, but we do not share diagnosis. Please do not ask students to share their diagnosis
See: BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Is there anything I should do at the beginning of term?

Please make an announcement about Disability Access Services during the first week of class. Let students know you are aware and supportive of services. Include a welcome statement in your course syllabus such as:

VIU's Disability Access Services provides services to students with Learning Disabilities (LD), psychiatric/mental health disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), chronic medical conditions, and impairments in mobility, hearing, and vision. If you have a disability requiring academic accommodations in this course but are not yet registered with Disability Access Services, please contact them at or visit them in BLDG 200 (2nd floor). If you are already registered with DAS, please provide me with your accommodation letter, either in person during my office hours, or by email. 

I’ve never been around students with visible disabilities. Are there language or terms I should be aware of?

Attendance as an Accommodation

In some situations, disability-related symptoms can impact a student's ability to attend class. Please see Attendance as an Accommodation for more information.

I have a student with a disability in my class who is receiving accommodations but is doing poorly and at this point, and is not passing the class. Do I have a right to fail a student with a disability?

 Reasonable accommodation (as per Accommodation Letter) must be provided, but all students should be marked on work submitted and meet the learning outcomes. Discuss your concerns about the student’s performance with the student just as you would with anyone else in your class who is experiencing difficulty. Accommodations are not a guaranty of success; a student with a disability has the same opportunity to fail as anyone else.

I have a student with an accommodation letter who is being disruptive in class. What should I do?

 All VIU staff and students have the right to a learning and work environment that is “free of disruptive and intimidating behavior” ( Policy 31.06 Disruption-Free Learning and Working Environment) . VIU’s Student Conduct Code (Policy 32.05) asserts that students are “expected to behave in a responsible manner respectful of the learning environment inside the classroom…”. If instructors are concerned about the behaviour of a student who is registered with Disability Access Services, please consult with the Access Specialist listed on the student’s accommodation letter. It may also be appropriate to reach out to Student Affairs (Student Conduct Support

What do I do if a student requests an accommodation that was not listed on their “Accommodation Letter?”

If you have concerns about the student's request, please contact Disability Access Services. If the request is regarding a circumstance that you would consider for any other student (illness, family situation), then please use your discretion.

I have heard about students who need accessible text. Is there something I can do to help support these students?

Yes.  Some PDF documents are not readable by screen readers. Visit our UDL page for speech to text friendly documents and other tips for accessibility.

Who should I contact if I have further questions about accommodations?

 Email: or 250-740-6446

The department is planning an event, and want to make sure it's accessible. What do we need to consider?

Please download the Accessible Event Planning Checklist. 

VIU staff and/or departments organizing events on Campus (that will be attended by a student requiring American Sign Language [ASL] Interpreting), are encouraged to include ASL interpreting in their budgets. You may contact Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre or by phone at 250-753-0999 to request interpreters. Please also ensure that any videos are captioned.

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