Explaining Your Disability and Accommodations for College
As young adults with disabilities grow up and head to college, parent roles changes dramatically. These young adults must self -identify, and speak up for themselves when problems arise and be able to identify their accommodations for college. Do your young adults understand their disabilities? Do they know the typical list of accommodations for students with disabilities they may need? Discussing these changes with your child ahead of time will help him or her during that transition to college.
Many students who head off to college decide not to seek accommodations, or they make all the arrangements and then do not use the accommodations as parents expect. Part of their hesitancy is natural; it comes with the freedom of college life. Part of their hesitancy comes from the idea that “I don’t really need the help. I just need to try harder and all will be good.” Another part of their hesitancy is the desire not to be singled out for their disability.
When students understand their disability, they should be able to suggest the accommodations for college that they need.
Extended time for tests is the most common accommodation request, but that will mean that the students take the tests in another location. Many students take an all or nothing approach to extended time, and they don’t realize that they may be able to tailor their accommodation to specific situations. For example, they may need extended time for mid-terms and finals, but not for quizzes. They may need extended time for essay tests, but not for multiple choice tests. Someone with distraction issues may need a private room and extended time for all testing. Understanding the disability and its implications for testing will help your child make informed, intelligent decisions about accommodations.