Students with Disabilities


Details to consider before selecting a college for  students with Learning Disabilities

Learning disability:

  • Does the school have experience working with students having similar disabilities, and if so, how many?
  • What are the usual accommodations given to these students, including software tools or processes used?
  • What is the retention rate of LD students?
  • How long does it take LD students to complete their required courses?
  • How involved is the LD resource staff in helping each student?
  • What is the ratio of students with disabilities to LD specialists?
  • What types of support does the institution offer faculty in terms of training in accommodating students with special needs?
  • Is support in the program offered by interns, graduate students, peer tutors, or trained professionals?
  • Ask for the learning disabilities specialist’s phone, email, and mailing address.

Physical Challenges:

  • If they have worked with several students with similar disabilities before, they are likely already facile at helping to acquire any necessary accommodations.
  • How many students use your services?
  • Will I have both an advisor in the Disabilities Services Office and a regular academic advisor? If both, how will the two advisors work with each other?
  • What Assistive Technology (AT) services do you offer? Do you have an AT expert on staff?
  • How many Disabilities Support counselors do you have on your staff? Do they act as liaisons?
  • What accommodations do you offer? What are the procedures and timelines to receive them?
  • Does the school have Kurzweil devices to scan books that can be listened to on a laptop?
  • Will you connect me to students with disabilities to get their perspectives?

Emotional Disability:

The main focus is to find out how responsive a college is to mental health issues. Most colleges have a separate counseling center called “CAPS,” Counseling and psychological services.

  • Are walk-ins available, or are there waiting times for scheduling an initial evaluation? 
  • How soon can a student set up an individual therapy session?
  • What are the center’s opening hours? (If it closes at 5 p.m. every day, what happens after hours?)
  • Who provides the counseling sessions? A staff psychologist with a Ph.D. or a grad student intern?
  • Once a student has reached the max number of on-campus sessions, what next?
  • Are there any extra fees for therapy sessions?
  • How is the CAPS center staffed? Does a psychiatrist head it? How many therapists are on staff? What are their credentials?
  • If the CAPS center lacks a psychiatrist (and many do), must a student find a mental health provider off-campus to manage medications?
  • Does the school have a 24-hour response line, a local hospital, or mental health center connection?

Some students need a break from school to recover and get back on track.

  • Ask about the policy on medical leave at the disability resource center or the dean of students’ office. 
  • Are there peer counseling organizations or active chapters of mental health advocacy and support groups like Active Minds and NAMI on campus?
  • Are programs provided on alcohol abuse, stress management, and healthy relationships?

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