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My child has an IEP/504 Plan. Why isn’t that good enough for college?

An IEP or 504 Plan addresses your child’s needs in the K-12 educational program. Postsecondary education is a totally different arena. Almost everything about the postsecondary system is different from what you’ve experienced before. This includes how a college may address your child’s needs for accessing its educational program and the information it needs to accomplish this. While the IEP or 504 Plan may provide the disabled student services office with some of what it will need, additional information may be required.


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.


Does the college have a set up to handle students with food allergies?

If the college offers a meal plan, then it is important to discuss this issue with appropriate college officials well in advance to ensure that your child’s needs can be met under the meal plan. Often, food services on campus are contracted out to private companies and while this does not release the college from its obligations under a meal plan, it may complicate the process of informing appropriate officials of your child’s needs and implementing appropriate accommodations. If the college does not offer a meal plan of any sort and students are on their own to utilize on-campus or off-campus food establishments, then the matter is solely yours to resolve; however, it would still be worthwhile to discuss this issue with the disabled student services office on campus. More than likely, they have experiences and knowledge with this and can assist.


What kinds of housing options are there for my child in college?

Housing is exactly that, an option. Many colleges and universities do not provide any housing; others have outsourced their housing to private organizations or other agencies. Others offer very limited housing and others still will provide a full-scale of choices. If the college offers housing, it must ensure that the housing is accessible to students with disabilities. It is very important to discuss your child’s needs with appropriate college officials well in advance to ensure that any accommodations that might be necessary can be handled in a timely manner.


Which colleges are the best for students with learning disabilities?

It would be impossible for anyone to rank colleges and universities in such a way. First, as you may already have learned years ago, the term learning disability is a catch-all phrase that describes a vast array of major impediments to learning. Under §504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA, each college and university is required to provide academic adjustments (i.e., accommodations) to ensure that students with learning disabilities can have access to their programs. However, there are many colleges and universities that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide a variety of programs and services to better serve students with learning disabilities. If you believe your child would benefit from a more intense program of services, it will be necessary to research the various colleges and universities providing these services to determine which best fits your child’s needs. Two sources for finding this information include: The Princeton Review K&W Guide for Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities or ADD. ISBN 037576495X Peterson’s Colleges with Programs for Students with Learning Disabilities or Attention Deficit Disorders. ISBN 0768912687


If I am unable to get accepted to college due to my learning disabilities what are my options?

Colleges and universities are legally required to provide reasonable accommodations for students with diagnosed learning disabilities.  For information about your rights and the responsibilities of both you and the college, go to https://ldaamerica.org/category/post-secondary-options/ 

Here are some other resources that may help you look at other options:

Are sororities at public universities obligated to exempt girls with documented learning disabilities from the GPA requirements based on the ADA, Fair Housing Act and/or 14th Amendment?

Of those three laws, the ADA would be the most likely to protect an individual with a disability at a sorority.  Although it would seem that sororities at public universities are subject to compliance with Title III of the ADA, there is actually an exemption for that compliance for private clubs, and most sororities do meet the criteria to be considered private clubs.  Physical access to a sorority house may be mandatory if the house is on property owned by the university.

But even without considering the ADA exemption, the ADA applies to “qualified individuals” with disabilities.  To be a “qualified individual” in a sorority, the student must be able to carry out the essential requirements of the program, with or without reasonable accommodation.  The sorority is not required to lower standards nor fundamentally alter its program, so it would not be expected to lower the GPA requirements for a person with a disability.

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.