Students with ADA Accommodations
In addition to the normal questions and concerns of students, students with disabilities have added challenges. First, is the process to gain accommodations. Whereas students may have relied on parental involvement in elementary and high school to navigate the necessary paperwork and meetings, in college, the student, who may not be comfortable advocating for him or herself, will need to take more control.
While you may encounter advisees with physical disabilities requiring accommodations, at DSU, it is more likely you will advise a student with a learning disability. A learning disability is a disorder that affects the way that students with normal or above average intelligence take in, retain, and express information. It is commonly recognized as a significant deficit in one or more of the following areas: oral expression, basic reading skills, reading comprehension, mathematical calculation or problem solving. Individuals with learning disabilities also may have difficulty with sustained attention, time management, or social skills.
Understanding the Law
Many college students with learning disabilities are intelligent, talented, and capable. Typically, they have developed a variety of strategies for compensating for their learning disabilities. However, the degree of severity of the disability varies from individual to individual. It is important to remember that regardless of the documented disability, federal regulations require reasonable accommodations.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states:
No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States...shall solely by reason of his handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
According to federal regulations, students with documented disabilities have the same legal entitlements as all other students at DSU. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability.
Taking Appropriate Action
On the basis of the special issues confronting students with disabilities, the following actions are suggested:
- Be aware of DSU policies and procedures regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- In order to qualify for accommodations at DSU, a student must provide appropriate documentation. This documentation is then reviewed by DSU's ADA Academic Coordinator (Keith Bundy) and accommodations are made based on that review. Both advisors and professors are notified of approved accommodations.
- Remind advisees of their rights, and ask them if they have discussed accommodations with their professors.
- Inform students of services available to them and encourage them to seek necessary help.
For more information about DSU's ADA services or if specific questions arise regarding an advisee's accommodations, be sure to contact the ADA Coordinator at http://www.dsu.edu/student-life/disability-services/.