Section Two: Using Disability Services and Accommodations

Academic Adjustments and Course Substitution/Waiver

Students with disabilities are expected to meet the same academic standards as all other students. Accommodations and support services available to students with disabilities contribute to their success in completing course requirements and curriculum plans. Occasionally, a student with a disability already receiving accommodations and services may need to request a modification in:

  • A time line,
  • Course assignments, or
  • Program requirements.

Academic Adjustments

Academic adjustments may be needed in spite of having employed all appropriate accommodations and support services. Examples of modifications include:

  • Flexibility in applying the absence policy in a course, or
  • Completing a representative sample of assigned homework problems in homework.

Academic Adjustments are:

  • Made on a case-by-case basis,
  • May not alter the established academic standard for the course,
  • Are made in a consultation process with:
  • The student,
  • Their DSS Counselor or LD Specialist, and
  • The course instructor

Course Substitution / Waiver

In exceptional circumstances, a student may succeed in completing all but one of the courses required for a certificate, degree, or transfer.  After all measures to accommodate have been utilized, if their disability-related educational limitations prevents a student from completing that one requirement, a course substitution may be considered. A student with a disability may submit a petition for course substitution or, as a last resort, course waiver if :

The student has discovered that the first level of accommodations and support services are insufficient to enable him/her to complete the course, or

The student's disability is of such magnitude that any attempt at completing the course would be futile.

The decision to make a course substitution or waiver will be made on a case-by-case basis by:

  • A DSS Counselor or LD Specialist,
  • The instructor who teaches the course to be substituted, and
  • the DSPS Division Dean.

Such a situation is evaluated carefully so the recommendation does not jeopardize the integrity of the individual’s achievement or preparation.

Any such course substitution or waiver would be applicable only to De Anza College requirements and may not be accepted by transfer institutions. 

The policy and process is outlined in the De Anza College Academic Senate Policy on Course Substitution/Waiver (June 13, 1994) or request a copy from a DSS Counselor or LD Specialist.

Maintaining academic standards and assuring equal opportunity are both essential objectives. Each situation is individually evaluated. DSS will work collaboratively with the student and the college to safeguard both student access and curricular integrity.

Degree and Certificate Requirements:

The college requirements for a degree or certificate may be modified in certain circumstances when a student with disability-related educational limitations cannot successfully complete a required course.

It is preferable for the student to use all available accommodations and support services to succeed and meet the stated requirement.  However, when not feasible, course substitution, rather than wavier, is typically the approach.  Any such substitution or waiver applies only to the De Anza College Certificate or Degree.  These may not transfer to other colleges or universities.

Steps to Request an Academic Adjustment or Substitution/Waiver the Student Should:
  1. Meet with their DSS Counselor or LD Specialist in a timely manner so as not to delay the time line to complete their educational goal.
  2. Consult with their DSS Counselor or LD Specialist about possible problem-solving approaches. Their DSS Counselor or LD Specialist can assist the student with the decision and the process to apply.
  3. Provide any necessary evidence or paperwork.
  4. Follow the college procedure, as advised by the DSS Counselor or LD Specialist.

DISH Table of Contents

- (Quick Links)

Section One: Coming to De Anza College

Section Two: Using Disability Services and Accommodations

General / College-Wide Accommodations and Services

Instructional / Classroom Accommodations and Services

General / College-Wide Accommodations and Services

Instructional / Classroom Accommodations and Services:

Alternate Media Services:

Deaf or Hard of Hearing Services:

Legal Aspects

Concerns and Complaints

Section Three: Disability Support Programs & Services Instruction

  • Educational Assistance Course Offerings
  • Repeating Classes

Section Four: Success Strategies

  • Differences Between High School and College
  • Transition to College
  • Talking with Instructors
  • Important Academic Policies
  • Tips From Successful Students
  • Campus Resources

Section Five: Campus and Community Life

  • Emergency Procedures
  • Diversity
  • Online Education
  • Student Clubs and Disabled Students Unlimited
  • Special Events for Students with Disabilities
  • Working with the Department of Rehabilitation
  • Career, Transition and Employment
  • Web Resources


  • CAL Hardware & Software
  • Checklist for Planning Accommodations
  • Foothill/De Anza Standards of Conduct
  • Self-Advocacy Practices
  • Student Grievance Procedures
  • Interpreter/Captioner Services Policy and Student Responsibilities Form


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