There are several academic programs that require students to participate in field experiences (FE) such as an internship, field placement, student teaching, practicum or clinical. The accommodations that students receive for their courses at Cleveland State might not be directly transferrable to their placement site. This is because the requirements of the experience and the environment the work is done in is so different from what students experience in their regular courses.
Academic programs that have requirements for students to complete FE include:
- Graduate programs for Psychology and Counseling
- Law School
- Music Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Social Work
- Speech and Hearing
Please review the following guidelines, so that ODTS may provide the most support possible. Deadlines are set within academic programs and should be followed.
- Students who are requesting accommodations for a FE, should plan on speaking with Disability Services Staff and the placement coordinator for their FE at least 1 semester before the planned experience. For example, if the field experience is planned for Spring of 2024, speak with ODTS and the placement coordinator in early Fall 2023.
- It is advisable for students to start discussing their request well before the placement location process starts for the academic program.
- If students do not place their requests before set deadlines for the academic program, ODTS will make a good faith effort to evaluate the request and provide the necessary accommodation.
- If the accommodation is not able to be provided with short turn around or if a more appropriate placement needs to be found that can provide the accommodation, it may delay a student’s progress in their academic program. We cannot guarantee timely provision of accommodations in the FE if requests are submitted late.
- The process for requesting accommodations in FE involves the student communicating with Disability & Testing Services to make their initial request.
- ODTS usually meets with students to discuss their request. In this discussion, ODTS Staff and the student start to identify what the student’s needs are related to the upcoming FE.
- ODTS then discusses the request with the field coordinator or the field instructor connected to the experience for the academic program. Together, we identify the academic requirements of the FE and other relevant information the program has about the work students will be engaging in.
- Communication by CSU with the placement site will need to occur to understand the requirements of the specific placement and make sure that the placement site is capable of providing the necessary accommodations. This communication with multiple stakeholders is necessary to determine how to best meet the need while not altering the essential requirements of the experience.
- The accommodations that students receive for their courses at Cleveland State University might not be directly transferrable to their placement site. This is because the requirements of the FE and the environment the work is done in is so different from what students experience in their regular courses.
- Most programs that require FE provide experiences that are geared toward preparing students for those experiences. It is important to identify what barriers a student experiences in the practical skill demonstrations for courses that are similar to what they will engage in at the placement site. Those barriers can help students understand what accommodations they may be seeking for their FE.
- Accommodations may be facilitated that do not compromise the essential requirements of the position. Some elements of these FE are required for licensure, while others must conform to the accreditation of the hosting institution.
- Each request will be evaluated within this framework. Accommodations which are requested that would create a fundamental alteration, which means they would prevent a student from demonstrating essential requirements of a program, cannot be approved.
- All programs should have essential requirements and technical standards available in their handbooks for the program or FE.
Information for Academic Programs Related to Field Experiences (FE)
- We advise programs to include information in the handbook and literature about your FE to direct students requesting accommodations related to disability to the Office of Disability & Testing Services (ODTS).
- Other information that is helpful for students to have access to, when they start the academic program, is the timetables for determining placements, essential requirements, and technical standards of the program. It is recommended that this information is available online for students to be able to review when looking into a program.
- With this information, students entering academic programs can make informed decisions about their potential needs and which academic program is best for them.
- It is also helpful for academic advisors in these programs direct students who they know to be connected with Disability & Testing Services to connect with us for having specific discussions about accommodations in field experiences. ODTS tries to inform students of this when they register with our office, but it is very common for students to switch academic programs without notifying ODTS.
We recommend the following statement be added to documents provided to students about field experiences:
Accommodations in Field Experiences for Students with Disabilities
If a student needs to request disability related accommodations for a field experience (can replace with clinical, practicum, student teaching or which term is used by the academic program), that student needs to make their request through the Office of Disability & Testing Services. Like with academic accommodations, we engage in an interactive process with the student and all stakeholders to determine what are reasonable accommodations based on the unique requirements of the experience. As part of our process we may disclose an accommodation and parameters of that requested accommodation, but we do not disclose the diagnosis or health condition related to those accommodations. Universities operate on a social services model instead of medical service model and do not disclose the specific medical diagnosis in these circumstances. For more information please visit our Accommodations in Field Experiences page.
We recommend the following statement be added to information that is provided to clinical instructors, supervisors on site, or other personnel administering the facilities that students will be using for field placement sites to explain our process.
Accommodations in Field Experiences for Students with Disabilities
Cleveland State University provides reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities to our academic programs. This may include experiential learning opportunities that our students engage in as part of their academic program. This process usually takes place well in advance of the start of the student’s field experience. If there are any concerns that the site has or any adjustments that may need to be made involving the requested accommodations, we are always available to help. The office of Disability and Testing Services intends to be a resource to assist both students with disabilities and our partners.
For all accommodation requests we engage in an interactive process with the student and all stakeholders to determine reasonable accommodations based on the unique requirements of the experience. As part of our process we may disclose an accommodation and parameters of that requested accommodation, but we do not disclose the diagnosis or health condition related to those accommodations. Universities operate on a social services model instead of medical service model and do not disclose the specific medical diagnosis in these circumstances. In the delivery of services to our students, staff from Cleveland State may reach out to our partners with inquiries about the requirements and activities of the experience in order to determine what accommodations may be reasonable or possible for this experience. If this occurs, please assist us in this interactive process. At the conclusion of the interactive process, the Office of Disability and Testing Services would then issue the accommodation letter to the program and site with the specific details of the accommodation approved for this experience.
With questions about accommodations in field experiences please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or < href="tel:216-687-2015">216-687-2015 to be routed to the appropriate staff in Disability Services to address your needs.
- Job Accommodation Network – Jan is a federal program that assists employers and employees with disabilities. Many times, accommodations in field experiences are more like accommodations in employment than education. This website may give students and advisors ideas of what accommodations may be reasonable for upcoming experiences.
- Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science Education – The Coalition is for staff, faculty, and other partners committed to inclusion of persons with disabilities in Health Science professions. There are many articles and media like podcasts available through the Coalition that are helpful resources for people to see what accommodations have been provided in Health Science fields.