Accommodations are adjustments, resources, or equipment providing equal access to people with disabilities.
Accommodations meet the unique needs of each person's diverse abilities.

Individuals who need accommodations should contact the Disability Resources Center.
To learn more about accommodations, see Rice Policy 402.


Disabilities are wide-ranging and can present in complex ways.
It may be useful to describe disabilities using several categories.
Any individual can have any one, or combination of, the following disabilities:

  • Visual - includes color blind, low-vision, and blind.
  • Auditory - includes hard of hearing and deaf.
  • Motor - includes missing or damaged limbs/digits, paralysis, and cerebral palsy.
  • Cognitive - includes dyslexia, ADHD, autism, TBI, and general learning disabilities.
  • Psychological - includes PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
  • Seizure - includes epilepsy.
  • Age-related - includes loss of functions and sensory acuity, dexterity, and stamina

People experience disability in different ways.
This depends on a wide variety of medical, personal, cultural, and social factors.

Medical Vs. Social Model

Medical Model of Disability

According to this model, disability is a condition within the individual requiring correction.
To take part in school, employment, and other social events, individuals must seek help.
Rice Learning Environments does not promote this model.

Social Model of Disability

In this model, disability is a failure of conditions outside of individuals.
These external designs fail to include the full range of human capabilities.
We are all responsible for designing systems for everyone, including diverse ability levels.
This includes digital information and communications at Rice.

Accommodation & Accessibility

 3 people stand on wooden boxes to see over the barrier of a wooden fence.


Accommodations provide individuals with specific resources to work around existing barriers. Accommodations meet the unique needs of individuals' diverse abilities.

Students with hearing loss need accurate captions during video meetings in online classes. Students with ADHD or dyslexia might need more time on an exam. Accommodations provide equal access for people with diverse abilities when barriers are present. Sometimes, accommodation is the only or best option. We can use the best practices of accessible design to reduce the need for accommodations.

See also:
Rice Policy 402, Access & Accommodations
Rice Disability Resource Center

3 people of different heights watch a soccer game through a chain link fence.


Accessible design is about identifying, avoiding, and removing barriers. Accessible design reduces the need for accommodations in the first place. Greater accessibility often leads to better usability and inclusion for everyone. Especially people with diverse abilities.

We should include accurate, synchronized closed captions for all pre-recorded videos. People who are hard of hearing or deaf need captions. Captions benefit everyone, including people working in noisy environments or in open offices. We can also provide greater choice by practicing Universal Design. Include alternative formats like a text transcript with your closed captioned videos. You can also provide MP3 versions of a long text articles.

See also:
Rice Policy 851, Digital Information Accessibility
Accessible Design Guides