Accommodations for Students with Disabilities in Higher Education

How do I communicate with my professors about my disability?

Sharing information about your disability is a personal matter. Disability support services on campus, will not contact your professors to inform them of your disability even if you register with them. The best times to talk to your professors are at the end of class, going in during office hours, or emailing them to set up a meeting. During this meeting, you will give your accommodation the letter to your teacher. This letter does not detail the specifics of your disability, as it is completely up to you as to how much you’d like to share with your professors. Be prepared to answer questions, inform, and educate, as they might not have a complete understanding of your needs without further explanation. It can be helpful to focus on concrete things your professors can do, rather than focusing on the particulars of your disability.

 

How do I know if the campus is accessible for me?

While most campuses have some sort of accommodations for students with d
isabilities, many programs are not modified to fit individual student needs. The best campuses for students
with disabilities take a holistic approach and are willing to individualize the program based on need. Al
l buildings constructed or modified after June 3rd, 1977 must provide access for students with disabilities to attend classes. For classes that are in inaccessible buildings, the school
must relocate the desired class in an accessible building for you.

Will my college have an accessible dorm room available for me?

Yes, your college or university must have a handicap-accessible dorm room available and it should be of equal price to other comparable dorms. There should be multiple options available, as there are for students without disabilities.

Are there testing accommodations available for me?

Professors are required to provide students with tests that determine the student’s mastery of the subject to a degree equivalent to that of the class as a whole. Your test may be formatted differently, however, or you may be given a time extension. This solely affects how your take your test, not the complexity of the taught material. If a teacher does not comply with your informal requests for accommodations, the Office for Students with Disabilities can advocate for you and ensure that you get the accommodations you need. If you can’t resolve the action on your own and the Office of Student Disability has not assisted to your satisfaction, you can file a formal complaint if the issue is not resolved.

What are some examples of accommodations that colleges offer?

At the University of Michigan, Paratransit offers curb-to-curb service for students and staff to anywhere on campus and for a 0.75 mile radius outside of campus. After being pre-approved by the Office of Service for Students with Disabilities, you are provided with free transportation on weekdays from 7:40am to 10:30pm, but not on the weekends. Rides can be set up by calling (734) 936-0472 or emailing paratransit@umich.edu. The University also has accessible parking for students and faculty who have a U of M paid permit and a state accessible permit. For additional instructions on how to gain access to accessible parking, visit the following webpage on parking options for students with disabilities.  

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