Services for Students with Disabilities

All colleges must provide accommodations to students with documented disabilities. This includes learning disabilities. Colleges comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to ensure that no student, employee, visitor, or another beneficiary of the ADA encounter discrimination on the basis of his/her disability. All college facilities, services, and programs must be accessible to students, employees, and visitors with disabilities unless doing so would be an undue burden to the college.

Students requesting accommodations must submit documentation of the disability to the ADA coordinator or designated disability support service provider. Students do not need to reveal a disability, but without documentation on file, no exceptions to standard procedures can be given. Therefore, it is in the student’s best interest to submit documentation even if there is no immediate need for support. Documentation is kept confidential in compliance with the ADA.

To receive disability services students must:

  • Disclose the existence of the disability to the service provider.
  • Provide documentation verifying the disability.
  • Sign a release of information.
  • Request accommodations in meeting with the service provider.
  • Allow sufficient lead-time for the accommodations to be put in place.

College responsibilities:

  • Request documentation.
  • Maintain confidentiality.
  • Arrange accommodations.
  • Refer students to resources whenever possible.
  • Monitor the effectiveness of accommodations.

Student Responsibilities and Rights

Students are responsible for the management of services, and for reading and following other college procedures. Reasonable accommodations can be provided for successful entrance into, and completion of, courses, but students should note that the college is not required to, nor should it, compromise on program admissions or essential course requirements. All students are expected to comply with the student code of conduct/discipline procedures of the college and should be aware that BD (behavioral disorders) documentation is not a protected disability under the ADA or 504.

Type of Documentation

The type of documentation that is appropriate is the IEP, the most current psychological, and current standardized testing results. Colleges can request other types of documentation, if necessary. After the documentation is received and reviewed, the student may be contacted to arrange a meeting with the ADA coordinator.

Types of Accommodation

Reasonable accommodations are designed to support the documented disability. They are determined on an individual basis; therefore, not all accommodations are appropriate for every student. Some types of accommodations used for learning disabilities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Advocacy
  • Adaptive computer hardware/software
  • Evaluation and interpretation of documentation, special education records, and testing
  • Extended test time/quiet testing area/computer availability
  • Notetakers
  • Personally designed study skills strategies
  • Special seating accommodations
  • Taped texts
  • Test readers/transcribers
  • Tutoring

College Strategy Tips For Students With Learning Disabilities

First things:

  • Take a study skills course.
  • Join a club that supports your career interests.

General class techniques:

  • Never miss class! Be on time.
  • Sit near the front or in the least distracting seat possible.
  • Preview your text and review your notes before going to class each day.
  • Keep a calendar with assignments, exam dates, and appointments.
  • Work backward from the due date on long-term projects and schedule in each step in the project.
  • Review notes as soon after class as possible and often!
  • Use a computer for all written assignments and use spell-check and grammar-check aids.
  • Know and wisely use the college’s drop/add, pass/fail, and audit policies.
  • Find out your best learning style and study in this mode to enhance memory.
  • Review, review, review! Reading is not studying! Doing homework is not studying!
  • For notes:
    • use colored paper and pens
    • enlarge notes on the copier
    • underline important words
    • highlight
    • recite notes out loud
    • use flashcards
    • draw
    • trace over words
    • rewrite
    • explain it aloud to someone, or something else, like the dog or even an inanimate object
    • tape record notes (and lecture, with permission of instructor)
  • For texts:
    • highlight
    • underline
    • write in margin
    • read out loud
    • walk and read
    • tape record and replay
    • draw pictures
  • Use these memory aids:
    • make lists
    • categorize
    • visualize
    • alphabetize
    • use mnemonics
    • make associations
  • Test techniques:
    • Determine the type of tests that are easiest for you to do successfully (objective, essay, oral) and try to enroll in a class where the instructor tests in that fashion.
    • If the test is an essay, practice writing answers to make up test questions.
    • Eat and sleep before a test!
    • Make notes for yourself before starting the test, if you have to remember formulas, etc. This will keep you from forgetting due to test anxiety.
    • Read the directions!!!
    • Start anywhere.
    • Pace yourself, but don’t be a clockwatcher.
    • If you don’t understand a question, ask the instructor this question: “Does this mean...?”
    • If you don’t do well, get help before the next test. Don’t tell yourself you’ll do poorly next time because you did poorly this time, but do get help.

Emotional support:

  • Talk to a counselor if you are having difficulty.
  • Set realistic career goals. Go into your area of strength, not weakness.
  • Allow yourself extra time to study, do assignments, and complete your degree.
  • Focus on positive accomplishments, not just negative ones.
  • Everyone makes mistakes. Learn from them and be gentle with yourself.
  • Get tutoring in your weak academic areas.

Social skills:

  • Practice good hygiene and dress appropriately.
  • Be friendly, but pick friends carefully.
  • Be thoughtful and respectful when someone helps you.
  • Never “visit with” staff personnel for more than 5 minutes. They need to be working, not visiting.
  • Give everyone a chance to answer in class. If you are impulsive and you talk or ask questions more than 5 times in an hour class, ask your instructor if you talk too much in class.
  • Never fall asleep in class.
  • Be sure food and drink are allowed in your classroom before bringing snacks with you to class.

Most important thing:

  • Believe in yourself! You have a right to be here!

External Advocacy Agencies

Regional Civil Rights Director, Office for Civil Rights, US Department of Education, 111 North Canal Street, 10th Floor, Chicago, IL 60606.