What is a Functional Limitation?
The presence of a disability does not necessarily mean the student will be eligible to use
accommodations. It is the functional limitations of a disability that justify the provision
of an accommodation.
A functional limitation is how the disability interferes with the person's physical, mental
or cognitive ability. For example, a learning disability in reading can cause the student to
skip lines so they have to spend extra time rereading several times in order to comprehend
the text. Or, the student reads some of the words incorrectly or skips words, so the meaning
is distorted. The results or functional limitations in these cases are slow reading rate and
incomplete comprehension. These functional limitations could interfere significantly with
a student's ability to demonstrate what she/he knows on a timed test.
DSS identifies the functional limitations by talking with the student and reviewing the disability
documentation. There must be a logical connection between the functional limitation and the
reasonable accommodation identified.