What to do AFTER you are accepted to a college:
Congratulations! You are about to embark on a very exciting time in your life. Reference this IDA Fact Sheet for important details on transition steps for college.
After College Acceptance:
Contact the College Disability Office:
- It is a good idea to contact the Office of Disability Supports at her colleges of interest (the names of the offices may differ somewhat). A counselor in this office will work with your child to help determine the individual accommodation that might be appropriate and also help advocate with their professors. This office may also have some suggestions for someone to do the evaluation and documentation. Section 504 does not entitle you to services like IDEA did in high school!
- The first step to receiving disability support services in college is to disclose your disability to the Disability Support Coordinator, 504 Coordinator, or ADA Coordinator. This should be done before a course begins. If you wait until the middle of a course when you are already having difficulties, it may be too late. You should take the initiative to immediately seek out help when you get on a college campus.
At the college level, you will have to prove that you have a disability that requires academic accommodations. Merely saying that you have a disability is not adequate; instead, you will have to show documentation as proof. Every school has its own requirements for documentation. A high school IEP or Section 504 plan may help to identify educational accommodations that may be beneficial to you, but they are generally not enough documentation to prove you have a disability that needs supported. The U.S. Department of Education provides examples of some documentation that may be necessary from a medical doctor, psychologist, or other qualified diagnostician. They include (U.S. Department of Education, 2007):
- A diagnosis of your current disability
- The date of the diagnosis
- How the diagnosis was reached
- The credentials of the professional
- How your disability affects a major life activity (as in Section 504’s definition of disability)
- How the disability affects your academic performance
In some cases, a postsecondary school may inform you that you need more documentation in order to prove that you have a disability. In that event, it is your responsibility to schedule and pay for a new evaluation. This is not the responsibility of your high school or college.
Accommodations, Accommodations, Accommodations
After your college has determined that you meet the criteria for having a disability under Section 504, you are eligible to receive academic accommodations. Section 504 mandates the provision of reasonable accommodations, which means that a school does not have to experience undue hardship to accommodate you. The accommodations that you receive in college under Section 504 may be different than those you received in high school under IDEA. Remember, postsecondary schools will not change or modify the standards of learning for you. You are expected to demonstrate the same standards of learning as your peers without disabilities in college. In addition, accommodations at the postsecondary level will not be personal in nature. This means that your college is not responsible for providing you with a tutor, personal attendant, or personal computer software or hardware. To see examples of possible accommodations at the postsecondary level, visit the following website: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/auxaids.html (also included in the subsequent list of online materials and resources). Your Disability Support Coordinator or 504 Coordinator will work with you to make sure you receive beneficial accommodations. Your accommodations should be documented in a plan, but this is typically less formal in nature than IEPs and Section 504 plans in high school.
In the event that you feel that your accommodations are not helping you, it is your responsibility to voice this concern. This should be done immediately rather than waiting until the end of a course. You should talk to your Disability Support Coordinator or 504 Coordinator to make changes to your accommodations.