Reasonable Accommodation Practices

As part of its mission to serve all Iowans, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach ("ISU Extension and Outreach") will provide reasonable accommodations to its “policies, practices, or procedures” when the accommodations are necessary to provide equal access to programming to participants with a qualifying disability. It will also provide auxiliary aids and services when they are necessary to provide equal access to participation. 

The process has the following five stages:

(1) completion of the Reasonable Accommodation Request and Healthcare Provider Disability Documentation forms

(2) participants and parents/guardians are sent an agenda for the eligibility team meeting; staff should inform the DEI Advisor once the attendees and meeting agenda are set.

(3) the eligibility meeting is conducted

(4) a determination letter is sent to participants and

(5) possible reassessment for future events.

Reasonable Accommodation Forms

To begin the process, participants or their parents/guardians should fill out the Reasonable Accommodation Request (Formulario de Solicitud de Adaptación) and Healthcare Provider Disability Documentation forms. Alternatively, participants or their parent/guardians can fill out the Accommodation Request Webform to make their initial request and a Healthcare Provider Disability Documentation form will be mailed to them.

The Reasonable Accommodation Request form informs ISU Extension and Outreach personnel of the specific accommodation request and the event for which the accommodation is requested. This form is vital for several reasons: (1) it will be used to determine the necessary parties for the eligibility team, (2) it informs those who will be on the team an idea of what is being requested, and (3) it documents the time and date for the request.

The Healthcare Provider Disability Documentation form verifies that the participant is eligible for a reasonable accommodation under the law. This is to be filled out by a healthcare professional who has knowledge of the person's disability and further informs the eligibility team about the circumstances of the request. Under the law, a participant is qualified to receive a reasonable accommodation if they have a physical or mental impairment which substantially impacts at least one day-to-day activity. Since some ISU Extension and Outreach programs can potentially pose risks to participants, the form asks the healthcare professional to assess if there are any dangers posed by engaging in the program and if any measures can be taken to minimize the risk. Finally, the healthcare professional is asked to assess how long the expected duration of the impairment is in order to inform future requests made during this participant's relationship with ISU Extension and Outreach.

Assembling the Eligibility Team

After receiving the Healthcare Provider Disability Documentation, ISU Extension and Outreach staff will assemble an eligibility team comprising only individuals who need to be aware of the request to brainstorm what reasonable accommodation can be made to allow the participant to participate safely and as fully as possible. Members of the team will be determined on a case by case basis, but should almost always involve the participant, if appropriate, the parent/guardian, ISU Extension and Outreach staff, and the corresponding regional director. For instance, for events at the county or Iowa State Fair, judges and the fair board member will likely need to be aware of the requests to help implement a request, so they should be on the team. An agenda will be sent out to the participant and/or their parent/guardian inviting them to the eligibility team meeting.

Eligibility Team Meeting

The eligibility team meeting should begin by giving an overview of the nature of the event. This will give the entire group the ability to assess what areas of the activity could be impacted by the limitations before brainstorming effective accommodations. The goal of the eligibility team meeting is to come to a consensus about how ISU Extension and Outreach will be able to meet the needs of the participant for this particular event. If a consensus is reached, then it will be documented. If a consensus is not reached, then ISU Extension and Outreach staff will determine a reasonable accommodation that meets the needs of the participant for that event.

Determination Letter

After conducting the eligibility meeting, staff will inform the the participant and/or guardian of the proposed accommodations for the event on ISU Extension and Outreach letterhead within five (5) business days of the Eligibility Team meeting. This letter serves to inform the participant and/or guardian of the reasonable accommodation which will be given. It also provides documentation for staff to review for future requests. Staff should also follow up to make sure that the necessary coordination is made to provide the reasonable accommodation outlined in the determination letter.

Reassessment for Future Events

A participant's engagement with ISU Extension and Outreach programming can last several years. The goal of this process is to get a good understanding of the participant's needs and to provide reasonable accommodations for all events throughout the ISU Extension and Outreach system during that period without filling out additional requests. Additional forms may be necessary if the participant is living with a new disability, if the underlying limitations for an existing documented disability have changed or if the event is impacted in a different way by existing limitations.