Field Placement

Guidelines for Field Placement Accommodations

George Mason University supports students with disabilities and encourages their full participation in all academic programs, including field placements of all kinds. “Field placements” for the purpose of this document includes practicums, field experiences, internships, student teaching, clinical or other work experiences required as part of the student’s academic program.

If a student requires disability related accommodations during their field placement, it is the student’s responsibility to request them as soon as possible. Field placement accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis. Advance notice is required so Disability Services can work with the instructor, field placement coordinator, and field site personnel to develop an appropriate accommodation plan.

Site Selection/Placement

The selection/placement of a field placement is a key factor in providing an optimal environment for academic and professional development. It is important to choose a field site with an environment that maximizes the strengths of each student with or without a disability and can provide reasonable accommodation(s). Students, in collaboration with Disability Services, are responsible for identifying the most critical factor(s) in determining an optimal placement. A reasonable accommodation may include placement, mobility, transportation, time of day, etc.

Application/Interview Process (if applicable)

If an application or interview is required prior to acceptance into a field placement, and the student needs an accommodation to participate, the student needs to contact Disability Services to register and/or meet with their assigned specialist to discuss the accommodation request(s).

Request for Accommodation in Field Placements

Students with disabilities are not required to declare, nor may an institution inquire about the presence of a disability unless they are seeking reasonable accommodations at any time before, during, or after the site selection process. However, students with disabilities who will be requesting accommodations in field placements must be registered with Disability Services. Disability Services will manage an interactive process between the student, the academic department, and the field placement (e.g., field placement coordinator, department faculty, or supervisors) on implementing reasonable accommodations.

The student may not fully realize the need for accommodation(s) and/or they may not have a sense of what the internship setting will specifically demand. Disability Services recommends that the student initiate a meeting as early as possible with their field placement coordinator or academic department to discuss field placement expectations.

Student Responsibilities

To seek accommodations for field placement, follow the steps below. Any existing academic accommodations do not automatically transfer to the field placement.

– Step 1: Meet with the instructor or the coordinator of the field placement program as early as possible to obtain more information about the expectations for the specific field placement.

– Step 2: As soon as an accommodation need becomes apparent, register with Disability Services (or meet with a Disability Services specialist, if already registered) to engage in the interactive process regarding field placement accommodations.

Note: The student will be accommodated from the point in time that accommodations are established. Accommodations are not retroactive.

Field Placement Coordinator/Instructor Responsibilities

If a student wishes to seek accommodations for a field placement, faculty will need to refer the student to Disability Services and will need to collaborate with Disability Services to ensure access. Disability Services will manage the interactive process.

– Include a Disability Services Syllabus Statement within the syllabus.

– Provide clear written competencies and expectations for activities and behavior while at a field placement site.

– Collaborate with Disability Services in considering the specific needs of the student, and help identify reasonable accommodations that can be made while meeting the essential components and/or eligibility requirements of the placement.

– Respect the confidentiality rights of the student with a disability.  Provide the details of reasonable accommodations only to those who need to know, including those at the field placement, in order to provide requested accommodations. This does not mean to provide specific information regarding the student’s disability.

– Discuss accommodations with the on-site field placement supervisor.  If a supervisor expresses concerns regarding approved accommodations, contact Disability Services.

– For more information regarding the Non-Discrimination and Reasonable Accommodation on the Basis Disability, visit the University Policies website.

Disability Services Responsibilities

Disability Services will manage the interactive process, and is available for consultation throughout the field placement.

– Meet with the student to discuss if there is a need for an accommodation and if needed, identify possible accommodations.

– Manage the interactive process between the student and the University, including those instructors from George Mason who are directly involved in facilitating the field placement. Below is clarification of individuals who may be involved in the process:

– George Mason: field placement coordinator/academic department, department, instructor, on-site personnel

– Field placement personnel: persons at the field placement, on-site field placement supervisor

– Collaborate with the student and George Mason field placement coordinator to define field components and accommodation needs. Consultation can also be provided directly to the field placement personnel in partnership with the George Mason field placement coordinator/academic department.

Contact Disability Services with any questions or concerns.