Foreign Language Petition for Accommodation for Students with Disabilities

The Gies College of Business Committee on Accommodations can approve a substitution to the foreign language requirement for students with disabilities that make it impossible to learn a foreign language. Specific documentation is required from students, faculty, learning disability/rehabilitation specialists, and psychologists/psychiatrists.

Petition Instructions

All students petitioning for this accommodation must also be registered with Disability Resources and Educational Services.  Students registered with DRES that are uncertain if they qualify for this accommodation should start with their DRES Access Specialist, as well as the Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Affairs in Gies or the Gies Director of Undergraduate Affairs.

Please work with your DRES Access Specialist to submit the following information to the Campus Committee on Accommodations:

I. Letter of Request Providing:

  • Background Information: Academic history of languages attempted and grades earned, along with number of enrollments attempted in college, high school, and elementary school; describe your study techniques, aspects of the language you find especially difficult and any use of special support services – tutoring, Language Learning Laboratory, etc. Also describe any learning problems or special education services received in high school and elementary school and any medical history of other disabilities – head injury, hearing loss, sight loss, cerebral palsy, vocal deficits, etc. If a history of disability diagnosis and special education services exists, please include appropriate letters documenting the diagnosis and educational accommodations made by those schools.
  • Personal Statement: What experiences support the request for course substitution? What are the pros and cons of striving to meet the traditional requirements versus making a non-traditional curricular request?
  • Conclude with your reasons for requesting a substitution.

II. Disability Documentation:

You must be registered with the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) as a student with a disability and obtain a statement of recommendation from them.  In addition, you must provide the committee with documentation of your disability, including diagnostic testing which substantiates your difficulties in learning a language other than English.  Most typical testing includes the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-IV and the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability-III and Test of Achievement-III.  Additional testing to assess cognitive, reading, concentration, and memory abilities could be submitted for a complete battery of learning disability diagnostic testing and recommended educational accommodations.

III. Language Instructional Assessments and Recommendations:

For complete consideration, the committee recommends a sustained effort in a foreign language course.  If you have not yet attempted a course at the college level, it is suggested that you enroll in one so that the committee can asses instructor information for serious classroom effort.  Forms are provided for the instructional faculty to indicate:

  • Your probable achievement in learning a foreign language,
  • Instructional accommodations attempted to assist second language acquisition, and
  • Specific recommendations for your college foreign language requirement.

IV. Psychological Assessment Interview Conducted by a Licensed Psychologist (for students who do not exhibit profound learning disabilities):

This assessment is to rule out learning strategy/study skill problems, barriers of emotional/anxiety problems, and to provide a detailed personal/educational history. Referrals are provided.

Petition Deadlines:

Fall Semester:  October 1st (for consideration for Spring Semester)
Spring Semester: March 1st (for consideration for Fall Semester)

If approved, the substitution to the language requirement includes courses in the study of one cultural region related to the language attempted by the student.  Courses used to meet the substitution must be approved by the Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Affairs in the Gies College of Business.  These courses cannot fulfill any other college requirement except the total credits needed to graduate.