58th Annual international conference / february 18-21, 2021 / we are going virtual!

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Can we visit the disabled student office on our college tour?

More than likely the office would love to have you visit and learn about their services, processes, and personnel. However, if your visit is occurring during an academic term, they may be very busy and if it occurs during the summer or between terms, they may not be in the office. Either way, it is imperative to make an appointment in advance so someone can be available to answer your questions.

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Can I take legal action if my college does not offer me the approved accommodations such as a quiet testing center and extra time on tests?

If you have met with the Student Support Services (ADA) office and provided them with their required proof of current disability documentation, the college is legally required to provide reasonable accommodations as needed according to your disability documentation.  If those accommodations have already been approved by the college, but you are not given those accommodations as agreed, you generally have the right to take legal action to ensure that the college is in compliance with the federal laws that protect students with disabilities.

For information about rights and responsibilities for both you and the college, see https://ldaamerica.org/rights-and-responsibilities-of-college-students-with-learning-disabilities-ld/.

What is the main difference between an accommodation and a modification?

An accommodation is a change to the environment; e.g., a private room for testing, a change in testing format, the use of assistive technology, etc.  A modification is a change to the content of the curriculum or the testing, or a change to what the student is expected to learn; e.g., fewer questions on a test, shorter assignments, or how test results are interpreted.

Handwriting is very difficult for me and now that I am a graduate student I need to do a lot of writing. What type of accommodation would you recommend to help me?

Access to a keyboard and/or a speech-to-text program like Dragon Naturally Speaking may be effective solutions, but using speech-to-text may not be possible for note-taking during class.  It should be very helpful for writing papers, though.  You can find out more about Dragon at http://www.nuance.com/dragon/index.htm. You can also check your computer’s list of accessible programs; most have a speech-to-text program already installed on your computer that you don’t have to pay for.

For note-taking in class, you may want to check out the “Live Scribe” pen, which allows you to take notes, draw pictures, and digitally record what the teacher is saying – all at the same time.  It also instantly syncs with your laptop so you have a digital version of what you’ve written.   For more information, go to https://www.livescribe.com/en-us/.

There’s also an app called “AudioNote” that does much the same thing and is much cheaper.  See http://luminantsoftware.com/iphone/audionote.html.

One last idea is to use a graphic organizer approach to writing reports, papers, etc.  For more information about various types of graphic organizers and resources, see https://ldaamerica.org/graphic-organizers/

I am in a professional program and suffer from ADHD. I did not initially report my condition to my school. I am now subject to academic dismissal on the grounds that I didn’t take earlier steps to prevent academic problems. I have the documentation. Is there legal action that I can take so that I am not dismissed?

No, there is no legal action you can take at this point. Schools are required to provide “reasonable” accommodations upon request.  If you didn’t request any accommodations, they’re not responsible for the academic problems you had when you chose not to request any assistance.  So, they can’t undo the work and/or tests you’ve completed in the past that have made you subject to dismissal.

That said, you can take your current documentation to the Student Support Services (or ADA office) office at your school and see what steps you may be able to take to request and receive accommodations at the school in the event that you are allowed to re-do assignments and/or tests to improve your enrollment status.

Do I have a right to be reinstated to my nursing program after failing if it is discovered that I have a learning disability?

You do not have the right to be automatically reinstated to any program if you were ineligible due to test scores, etc. that were impacted by an undiagnosed learning disability.  What you can do, however, is meet with a counselor at the program to review your learning disability evaluation and determine whether or not you may be able to enroll again, this time with instructional and testing accommodations.  You will most likely have to re-take any classes and tests that you previously did not pass.  Different schools have different policies regarding reinstatement, so this is something you’ll have to work out with the specific program in which you were enrolled.