Students with disabilities attending colleges and universities in the US have a wide array of helpful services available to them, from physical mobility aids to assistance with taking lecture notes. The problem is that many students aren’t aware of just how their college or university can help them, or how to take advantage of such services.
Services for Students with Physical Disabilities in College
US colleges and universities have all kinds of resources and tools to meet the needs of students with a wide range of physical disabilities. Students needing wheelchairs, crutches or other mobility aids can receive priority housing with handicap access and facilities. Some schools with larger campuses will even provide assistance in getting from one class to another, by driving students in campus security carts or cars, for instance.
Other types of physical disabilities can be accommodated as well. Many US schools have student volunteers provide copies of their lecture notes to classmates who may have difficulty taking notes in class (due to being hard of hearing, for instance) and may even offer transcription services. Special computer labs with extra-large screens and special adaptive software – like programs that scan books and read them aloud – can be useful to students with visual impairments.
Services for Students with Non-Physical Disabilities
Many students with disabilities in college may require special services to help with a problem like a learning disability. For example, schools may offer these students help through alternative and/or extended exams, which are a common tool used for students with ADD/ADHD. Some schools may also provide specialized tutoring for students with learning disabilities. An expert tutor knowledgeable about disorders like ADD and dyslexia can be far more effective than a general scholastic tutor.
Student disability services can also help in less-conventional cases, such as students who suffer from severe depression to the extent that it hinders their school work. By teaming up with student mental health services, a school’s disability office can help students find ways to foster good mental health while keeping up in school.
Making Use of Your School’s Services for Students with Disabilities
Services for students with disabilities can obviously be a big help to all types of US college students – but just how do you go about receiving this aid? The easiest way to take advantage of your school’s disability services is to contact your school’s designated office for students with disabilities. If your school doesn’t have a separate office serving students with disabilities, talk to your school’s administration to find out which office you should contact.
Most schools will require students with disabilities in college to register as such. In some cases, official documentation of a disability – notably non-physical disabilities like ADHD – needs to be provided. This information is totally confidential and is just a way of letting the school know more about you and your health and safety needs, so they can make sure those needs are met. Generally the school is not obligated to help students who do not declare their disabilities or can’t verify them.
Although US schools and colleges may be required to provide appropriate services to students with disabilities, it’s up to you to take advantage of these services!