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Accessibility is Everyone’s Responsibility!

Plan in advance for all learners who may be enrolling in your course and be proactive! Don’t wait until a student enrolls and encounters an access barrier in your course due to a disability. Be an ally and supporter for all our learners here at ACC! Consider adapting your curriculum and designing your course in a way that eliminates barriers to learning for students.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) guidelines allow you to optimize teaching and learning for all people. UDL offers a set of concrete suggestions that can be applied to any discipline or domain to ensure that all learners can access and participate in meaningful and challenging learning opportunities.

We recommend integrating these guidelines throughout your curriculum to eliminate as many barriers as possible and to create an accessible learning experience. TLED’s Instructional designers are available to discuss teaching strategies and ideas. Please submit the Instructional Design Support Request Form to get the process started. Visit the Teaching Consultations & Support page for additional assistance options.

It is best to prepare your course materials before the beginning of the semester to ensure they are accessible to as many students as possible. For example, use built-in accessibility checkers (Blackboard Ally, GrackleDocs, review tools in MS Word and PowerPoint) to test the accessibility of your documents. Add alt text to all images being presented through Blackboard, MS Word, Google Suite, PowerPoint, etc. If you are creating instructional materials such as videos, websites, or documents and would like assistance, please visit the Teaching Consultations and Support page to view options.

You may have a student in your course who may be connected with Student Accessibility Services (SAS) who requires academic accommodations to participate in your current course, or for an upcoming semester.  Please review the information available here about semester preparation and faculty responsibilities when working with students with disabilities.

You also may have students who disclose a disability or health-related condition to you that impacts them in your class. If a student discloses that they have a disability or requests accommodations without official SAS notification, please complete this referral form and SAS staff will contact them.

Only 5% of learners at ACC identify and seek disability-related accommodations, but national and state data show that approximately 20-30% of college students actually have a disability but do not seek support.


The Austin Community College (ACC) Teaching and Learning Excellence Division (TLED) works with ACC Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to help all faculty keep updated on processes, resources, and services available to make their courses accessible for all students.

Accessibility isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the law. Accessibility is at the forefront of all of the technology decisions made by TLED. Features such as closed-captioning and accessible web design will improve the technology experience for all users, while assistive technology such as screen readers allows individuals with disabilities to experience content that would otherwise be difficult or impossible.

TLED strives to create content that is both aesthetically pleasing and accessible. For example, through the use of responsive web design, TLED ensures that all new websites are properly displayed whether you are using a PC, tablet, or mobile phone. TLED supports faculty and staff in making instructional materials accessible to students with disabilities.

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) staff are always available to answer questions and serve as a resource for faculty seeking assistance in providing accommodations to students. Contact us by emailing

Getting Started with Accessibility

Learn the basics of accessibility at ACC. Hear what your faculty peers are doing to make their courses more universally designed. Questions are fielded by a panel of ACC experts about providing accommodations to ACC students.

Ginger Bennett, Director, Interpreter Services
Lauren Matthys, Advocate, Student Accessibility Services
Dr. Lauren Sebel, Director, Student Accessibility Services

Courtney Grams, Director, Faculty Communications

The Top 10 Things SAS Wants You to Know


  1. The SAS information available on TLED’s Accessibility page is the best starting point for information on your responsibility when working with students with disabilities.
  2. Accommodating students is a shared responsibility between the student, faculty, and SAS. Based upon the fundamental principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, SAS approves specific accommodations based on the documentation submitted by the student, the student’s prior record of accommodations; the student’s expressed needs, and the professional judgment of SAS staff.
  3. Faculty Notification Letter (FNL). You will receive a faculty notification letter (FNL or accommodation letter) through the Assessible Information Management (AIM) portal once a student has requested their accommodations. The FNL is a legal document and accommodations must be met so the college stays in compliance with the law. If you have any questions about the letter, or accommodations, please contact the SAS staff member who signed the letter, or email
  4. Academic adjustments versus approved accommodations: Students with disabilities may ask you for additional accommodations that have not been approved by SAS.  When this occurs, please refer the student to SAS or complete our SAS Referral. You can choose, however, to provide additional academic adjustments. If you do, you must offer the same adjustment to all students in your class.
  5. SAS is not the “enforcer.” SAS is here to ensure students have access to courses, course materials, and programs. We will advocate for the student when necessary. We will also advocate for you, when necessary.
  6. SAS does not make academic or instructional decisions. While we are happy to consult with you regarding a student with a disability in your class, we cannot make any decisions related to academics or instruction.
  7. SAS cannot assist you in managing your classroom or resolve academic challenges for students with disabilities. Students with disabilities, with or without accommodations, are expected to meet or exceed academic and technical standards. Students must still meet the essential requirements of a class or program and are required to follow the conduct standards of the college as all other students do.  That said, we are happy to work with you regarding strategies to help students with disabilities in your classroom.
  8. Not everything that happens with a SAS student is a disability or accommodation issue. Students with disabilities are students first and have the same responsibility as any other student in your class. Failing tests, not turning in homework, not participating in class, not attending class, being inappropriate in class, on message boards, or in a remote class, bears no relation between a student having a disability and *everything* being disability-related.
  9. It’s OK to say “no.” As hard as it may be, sometimes “no” is the right answer to give to a student. If you wouldn’t say “yes” to any other students, you shouldn’t say yes to a student with a disability.
  10. Testing with accommodations: You are responsible for ensuring that approved testing accommodations are administered. Students who require a test to be made accessible through SAS are required to make an appointment at least five days in advance. will contact you for information related to the administration of your test. Please respond to these requests in a timely manner. Please see the following for additional information: SAS Proctored Exam Guide for Faculty, How to Extend Time in Blackboard, Online Testing Accessibility Information