Accommodations are available for students with disabilities at all levels of education. This page includes some important things you need to know about getting accommodations in college and beyond. You will also find recommendations for programs that specifically cater to students with special needs.
Please be sure to visit my pages on Learning Disabilities and ADHD for adults for additional resources.
- Get documented. In order to receive formal accommodation to support your learning in college or graduate school, you will need an assessment to identify your specific needs. Contact me for more information about completing this type of assessment.
- Seek out services. Unlike in grade school where the services are looking for you, you will have to look for and ask for services in college and beyond. Contact the school’s Disability Support Center or its equivalent.
- Advocate for yourself. Learn how to talk about your disability and your needs with confidence. Speak openly with your professors and collaborate with them to figure out how you can be most successful in their class:
- Write a letter to each professor explaining your strengths, how you learn, and what will be most helpful to you.
- Attend office hours early in the semester to have a face-to-face conversation with the professor. The more personally they know you, the better your outcome in the class.
- Check in along the way to make sure that you are meeting the requirements of the class. IF you are struggling, let the professor know right away so you can figure out a better path.
- Know your rights. Speak to the Disability Office to find out what you can and cannot expect at your school. If a professor does not treat you fairly, let them know immediately.
Types of Accommodations
Different schools may have different types of services available for students with disabilities. Here is a list of common services and supports you may ask for as part of your accommodations plan. Your school will determine if they are appropriate to your disability and reasonable for the school to provide.
- Note taking and smart pens
- Voice recognition and speech-to-text technology
- Computer access for tests and exams
- Calculators for tests and exams
- Reduced course load
- Priority registration
- Study skill and time management support
- Additional time on tests and exams
- Learning specialist support
- Mentoring programs
Programs for Students with Disabilities
Below are links to post-secondary programs that are designed for students with learning disabilities. Additional suggestions are available from Understood.org.
For some students, college may not be the best path. There are many excellent alternatives that lead to successful careers and – most importantly – a happy, fulfilling, independent life. Click on this article for more information.
- Are There IEPs and 504s in College? from Understood.org
- Alternative Career Paths for Students with Disabilities