College Programs for Academic and Accessibility Support

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    All colleges are required to provide “reasonable accommodations” under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). Accommodations can be both academic as well as physical. While accommodations such as extra time, preferential seating, or a note-taker are relatively common, the way in which the accommodation is administered can vary greatly from college to college. Every college has a Disability Support Office (DSO), or an administrator who is tasked with overseeing the accommodation request process and facilitating accommodations.

    When a student is exploring colleges they should get in touch with the DSO to discuss their needs and ask questions. Students should also look at the information that the DSO has on their website to review the office’s mission statement, the process for requesting accommodations, and to look for information that may be relevant to their needs, such as information on housing, transportation, and dining accommodations.

    Academic Support

    Most colleges offer some educational support to all students, such as a writing center and tutoring services for specific subject areas. Some colleges also offer academic support services where students can meet with a professional or attend workshops to discuss things like time management, study skills, college reading strategies and test preparation.

    Some colleges also offer services to support students with learning disabilities (LD), ADD, and other disabilities. Students with hydrocephalus, who also have specific learning disabilities, may benefit from these programs that usually offer academic support and coaching, more frequent check-in’s with students, and sometimes, independent living and social skills support.

    Moderate Support Programs

    These types of programs are usually application-based, pay-for-service programs. They typically offer academic support, coaching, and mentoring. Here are some examples of programs:


    Comprehensive Support Programs

    These types of programs are usually application-based, pay-for-service programs. These programs provide more extensive support and touch points for students to work on their academic and interpersonal skills. Here are some examples of programs:

    Programs for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

    There are several colleges that have programs that are aimed at supporting the needs of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. These programs often include a social skills component. Here are some examples:

    Colleges that are More Physically Accessible

    While all colleges are required by law to be physically accessible, some are more accessible than others. It’s always important for the student to go and experience the campus for themselves to see if the campus is accessible for them, and meets their unique needs. You may want to consider weather, terrain, and physical conditions (example: brick and/or cobblestone streets on campus or hills).

    In 2021, New Mobility Magazine published “A Guide to Wheelchair-Friendly Higher Education.” This guide offers a list of the 20 most accessible college campuses. It also provides first-hand accounts from students about their experiences on these campuses. If you need more support to determine whether the colleges that you are interested in can meet your accessibility needs, you can also use this guide, “Navigating and Transitioning to College with Paralysis” written for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.



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