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Section 4.05.07: Field Placements and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The university is responsible for providing accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. When academic programs require an internship for matriculation, the fieldwork site generally assumes responsibility for providing accommodations at their site. The university has resources to provide guidance to the school or college and the fieldwork site to insure that our students with disabilities have the same opportunities as other students.

Does the fieldwork site need to provide an accommodation for the interview?
YES. Fieldwork sites are required to provide "reasonable accommodation" to enable the student to be considered for the placement. A fieldwork site cannot refuse to interview a student because the student might require a reasonable accommodation to participate in the placement.

The student has an observable disability. Can the fieldwork site ask medical questions during an interview?
NO. Interviewers cannot ask questions about a student's disability either because it is visible, or because the student has voluntarily disclosed a hidden disability. However, it is appropriate to ask a student how they would perform a specific function, task or activity that is required for their field placement.

When does a student have to tell a fieldwork site that they need an accommodation to participate in the placement?
We recommend that the student let the fieldwork site know as soon as the student realizes they will need a reasonable accommodation for some aspect of the field placement experience. A fieldwork site needs advance notice to provide many accommodations. Students with disabilities from the University of Michigan should already be working with the U-M Office of Services for Students with Disabilities regarding the accommodations they may need to participate in the academic and field placement aspects of their program.
Determining the best time to tell a prospective fieldwork site about the need for reasonable accommodation is a personal decision. Sometimes, students are not aware they may need a reasonable accommodation until they have more information about the placement, its requirements, and the work environment.

May a fieldwork site ask students during an interview whether they will need reasonable accommodation to participate in the field placement?
 NO. A fieldwork site cannot ask students the general question as to whether they would need reasonable accommodation because the answer to this question is likely to reveal whether a student has a disability.

What questions can a fieldwork site ask a student during an interview?
· Are you able to perform these tasks?
· Is there anything else you want to ask?
· Is there anything more you would like to tell me?
· Is there any reason you may not be able to perform these tasks as I have described them?
If a disability is observable and the interviewer has questions as to how the student will be able to perform an essential requirement of the placement experience, the student may be asked to describe how they would perform this function.

Can a fieldwork site refuse to offer a student a placement because s/he believes that the disability makes it unsafe for the person to perform the essential requirements of the position?
A fieldwork site can refuse to accept a student ONLY if the disability poses a significant risk of substantial harm to themselves or others. A fieldwork site cannot refuse to accept a student based on a slightly increased risk, speculation about future risk, or generalizations about the disability.

The University of Michigan encourages field instructors to communicate with their
field faculty member in the Office of Field Education at the School of Social Work regarding these issue and any questions they may have ( Additional resources for students and field instructors are listed here:

Services for Students with Disabilities
505 S. State St, G-664 Haven Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1045
Phone: (734) 763-3000
TTY: (734) 615-6921
Office of Institutional Equity
ADA Coordinator
1009 Greene St, 2072 Administrative Services
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1432
Phone: (734) 763-0235
TTY: (734) 647-1388

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