How To Apply For Accommodation For Students With Disabilities

If you are a student with a disability, finding accommodation can be challenging.  Accommodation services should be designed to provide you with equal access and opportunity to participate in academic activities and programs. It may also include extra time on exams, note-taking assistance, adaptive technology, sign language interpreters, and more.

In this EDU Blog, we will guide you through the steps of applying for accommodation for students with disabilities.

How should accommodation be for students with disabilities?

Accommodation for students with disabilities is an important issue that affects their academic success and well-being. Different types of accommodation can be provided by universities, private landlords, or the students themselves. But it varies based on their needs and preferences.

As you can see, accommodation for students with disabilities is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each student has different needs and preferences that should be respected and accommodated.

Accommodation for students with disabilities is also a legal obligation and a way to support their learning and development. By exploring the different options and seeking support from relevant sources, students can find the best accommodation and enjoy a positive and rewarding college experience.

What are the examples of accommodations for students with disabilities?

Some of the common accommodation options for students with disabilities are:

University-owned accommodation: This is usually the first choice for many students. By law, universities must modify their housing to meet the requirements of students with disabilities. This could involve different things.

For example, giving furniture that’s easier to use. Or making ramps for wheelchair access. Or setting up a system for people to call before entering. It could also mean giving exams and lectures in different formats. Students should contact the disability services office (DSO) to find out what options are available and how to apply for them.

Private accommodation: This is another option for students who want more independence or flexibility in their living arrangements. Private landlords must follow the law. They cannot treat disabled tenants unfairly. They must help them if they ask for it.

Landlords may have a legal obligation to do certain things to accommodate disabled students. For example, they may need to let students have assistance animals, use special lighting or acoustics, or paint door frames a darker color. Before renting a place, students should learn about their rights and responsibilities. They should also communicate their needs clearly to their landlords.

Living at home: Some students may prefer to live at home during their studies for personal or financial reasons. This may offer more comfort and familiarity for some disabled students and access to family support. Living at home while studying has advantages and disadvantages.

On the one hand, it can save money and offer familiarity and comfort. On the other hand, it can limit social opportunities and independence. Before deciding whether to live at home, students should think about the pros and cons. They should also consider how it could affect their academic and personal goals.

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Identify your disability and documentation needs

You need to do two things first. One, find out what your disability is. Two, get papers that show you have this disability. Different schools and colleges may ask for different papers. So you need to check with your school or college before you apply.

Your papers should have these things:

  • A name for your disability from someone who knows a lot about it (like a doctor, a psychologist, or a therapist).
    An explanation of how your disability makes it hard for you to learn.
    Some ideas of what can help you learn better.

You may also need to give more information or proof depending on your disability and what you need. For example, if you need more time on tests, you may need to show how slow you read or think.

Step 2: Contact the disability services office at your school or college

After finishing the first step, you need to talk to the DSO at your school or college. The DSO helps students with disabilities. They can give you what you need to do well in your classes. You can find their phone number or email on the website of your school or college. Or you can ask someone who helps you with your studies.

You should talk to the DSO soon after you join your school or college. Or you should talk to them when you find out that you have a disability. This way, you will have enough time to fill out the forms and get what you need before your classes start.

When you contact the DSO, you should:

  • Explain that you are a student with a disability and are interested in applying for accommodation services.

  • Ask about the application process and what documents you need to submit.

  • Request an appointment with a disability counselor or coordinator who will review your application and determine your eligibility for accommodation.

Ask about any deadlines or policies that apply to accommodation requests.

Step 3: Submit your application and documentation

The third step is to send your application and papers to the DSO. The DSO will tell you what to do and what to give them. You should do what they say and give them everything they need. You should also make copies of everything you send for yourself.

Different schools or colleges have different ways to send your application and papers. It can be online, by mail, email, or in person. You should ask the DSO what they like best and make sure they got your application.

Step 4: Meet with a disability counselor or coordinator

The fourth step is to talk to a person who helps students with disabilities. They will look at your form and papers and decide if you can get help. You can talk to them in person, on the phone, on a video call, or by email.

When you talk to them, you should:

  • Tell them about your disability and how it makes school hard for you.
    Tell them what kind of help you need and why you need it.
    Answer any questions they may have about your disability or your form.
    Ask them anything you want to know about how to get help or what services they offer.

The person who helps you will check your form and papers to see:

  • If you have a disability that makes it hard for you to do some things (like learning, reading, writing, speaking, etc.

  • Whether the help you need is fair and good for your school work and goals.

  • If the help you need follows the rules and standards of your school or college.

The person who helps you will tell you what they decided and what to do next.

Step 5: Receive your accommodation letter and implement your accommodations

The last thing you need to do is get your letter that says what help you can get. This letter shows that you can make some changes to make things easier for you. You should get this letter soon after you apply and talk to someone who works there. Look at this letter well and make sure it has everything you need.

In general

Getting help may be hard, but it’s in your best interest. These accomodations are necessary to help you to succeed in school. You’re not by yourself – there are many things and people that can support you.

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