Universities’ Support Services

Posted by in Accommodations & Assistive Technology

6844681317_99815c6b25_zMany high school students today are worried about getting the same or similar accommodations in college that they received in high school. While these are very legitimate concerns, students can relax thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act of 2006, which states that all universities must provide accommodations to their students. However, they  may not be exactly the kind you are used to.

All public universities have some sort of disability support. At my school, East Carolina University, we have an office called Disability Support Services (DSS). DSS is a branch of the university that provides students with learning differences or other disability accommodations to help them in their classes. DSS aims to even the playing field for students that may otherwise have a disadvantage. To do this, specific accommodations will be given to suit a student’s needs.

These services have the means and resources to help students. But rather than providing a set list of accommodations for all their students, they simply ask each person what is needed in order to be successful in the classroom. The support services would then do everything they can, within reason, to meet those needs.

Some examples of common accommodations for students with learning differences might be extended time on tests, testing in a low distraction environment, note takers, and textbooks in audio or electronic form. Before you get involved with these kinds of programs, it would be a good idea to become familiar with your needs and to know what kind of accommodations would be helpful. However, the program’s staff will be familiar with most types of learning differences and will be able to help determine what could be beneficial for you in college classes.

If you want to get set up with your future school’s disability support program, you will need to have documentation showing that you have a learning difference. The program’s office may have a form for you to give your doctor or psychologist to fill out, or they may need other types of documentation. It all just depends on what they require for you to be accepted in their particular program. They do this so they have certified verification of your learning difference and know what sort of accommodations you would need to succeed in college. Most of these programs have a very strict privacy policy, so there is no need to worry about unwanted information getting out. If you feel that this is something you would be interested in, the first step is contacting the support services office of your college by phone or email. You should be able to find these support programs on your university’s website.