Rights and Responsibilities of College Students with Learning Disabilities (LD)

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Legal Rights of College Students with LDstudents

Academic accommodations are required by law for eligible college students with LD. Accommodations are changes in the learning and testing environments that give college students with LD an equal opportunity to learn. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its amendments (ADAAA) require that reasonable accommodations be made available to college students who have current documentation of learning disabilities and who request learning and/or testing accommodations.

Student Responsibilities

Student responsibilities include the following:

  • To self-identify as a person with a disability to the disability services office at the college or university.
  • To provide up-to-date documentation of the disability to the disability services office.
  • To request academic accommodations that will insure access to information and testing on an equal level with students who do not have disabilities.
  • To self-identify to faculty as a student with a disability and provide them
    with a copy of the Individual Student Profile developed with the disability services office.
  • To remind faculty in a timely manner of academic accommodations required for tests and assignments.
  • To ultimately accept responsibility for his or her successful education. This includes maintaining satisfactory academic levels, attending classes, completing assignments, behaving appropriately, and communicating regularly with the appropriate office and/or individual regarding specific needs.

Disability Services Office Responsibilities

  • To assess students’ requests for accommodations using the current disability documentation provided by the students.
  • To provide information regarding policies, procedures, rights and responsibilities to students with disabilities in accessible formats upon request.
  • To recommend appropriate learning and testing accommodations.
  • To provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids for students with disabilities who meet the college or university criteria for eligibility.
  • To ensure confidentiality of all information pertaining to students’ disabilities.
  • To assist students in communicating with faculty about their disabilities and required accommodations, if needed.

Faculty Responsibilities

If students request instructional and/or testing accommodations in a class, they must disclose the need for the accommodations to the instructor and give the instructor any documentation provided by the disability services office, typically a letter from that office validating the need for the specified accommodations. Students do not have to disclose their disabilities to their instructor, only the need for accommodations.

The instructors’ responsibilities include the following:

  • To allow students to disclose their disabilities in an appropriate and confidential place.
  • To acknowledge the rights of students with dignity and respect.
  • To maintain the integrity of academic standards.
  • To maintain student confidentiality at all times.
  • To provide reasonable instructional and/or testing accommodations.

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Feel free to leave a comment below regarding this article. If you have a specific question for LDA, please contact us directly.


  1. What kind of training opportunities are available for college professors who want to be more prepared to assist students with learning disabilities? Are their continuing education opportunities? Certification options? Larger numbers of students are attending college with documented and undocumented needs. Academic success/accommodation centers are more common than ever. However, these don’t always prepare faculty and staff. Thanks!

    • LDA of America says:

      That’s great that you want to increase your knowledge base for helping your students who have disabilities! There are a number of national conferences that offer many sessions about learning disabilities that would give you a lot of information, including LDA’s own annual conference (https://ldaamerica.org/). You might also contact your state’s LDA state affiliate (https://ldaamerica.org/support/state-local-affiliates/) to see what resources they can provide. Also, watch for pertinent webinars offered by websites like https://ldaamerica.org/, https://www.understood.org/en, and https://www.ncld.org/. You might also ask your school’s Disability Support Services office to present a seminar for professors to better explain the process and the needs, and give you and your colleagues the opportunity to discuss the problems and successes you’ve had with working with this student population.

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