5 Common Disability Accommodations on College Campuses
- Physical Disabilities
- Learning Disabilities
- Hearing and Vision Impairment
- Mental Health
- Gender: The Man-Made Disability
College is where people go to start new lives. College is where people express free thinking and apply it towards better futures. College is where people go to to break out of constraints. For some, this growth and freedom is inhibited by lack of awareness and sensitivity to certain disabilities. Campus administrators are working to address the concern over disability accommodations at college.
1. Physical Disabilities
Many students with physical disabilities face obstacles daily. "Accessible" does not always mean "equal," so even after ramps and lifts were installed, students with disabilities had to plan their class schedules and meals around buildings they could access. They had to allow extra time, because many accessible paths took them far out of their way. Some campuses are taking a proactive rather than reactive approach. Each building is designed or redesigned with physical disabilities in mind. Professors and club leaders are mindful of holding office hours and meetings in locations accessible to all.
2. Learning Disabilities
As College Admissions Consultant Peter R. Right explains in Quantum Prep, high school seniors with learning disabilities struggle over how to speak about their learning disabilities on admissions applications, and whether they will be provided with necessary accommodations to succeed. Admissions professionals, academic counselors, and professors are now realizing that learning disabilities are not indicators of intelligence, but rather different ways of applying it. Campus academic success centers are providing tutoring and counseling services to support for learning disabilities. Professors are broadening curriculum and assessment to be accessible to all types of learners.
3. Hearing and Vision Impairment
Students with vision impairment cannot read textbooks or PowerPoint Slides, or appreciate visuals. Students with hearing impairment cannot hear lectures, films, or audio teaching aids. To remedy this situations, campuses are purchasing state of the art screen readers and Braille materials. Professors are designing curriculum to include both visual and audio material, ensuring that all videos have closed captioning, and ensuring that all online reading materials are accessible to screen readers.
4. Mental Health
Of the students who do not enter college with a mental health challenge, many of them develop one due to the stressors of being in college itself. Struggles with mental health become disabilities both academically and socially. Symptoms of depression and anxiety decrease focus and prohibit students from attending class, work, and networking functions. Few can afford private mental health care, and free mental health care options are limited. Many colleges are implementing complimentary on-campus mental health resources centers and training staff and faculty to recognize the students who need them.
5. Gender: The Man-Made Disability
While gender should not be a disability, it feels like one to many students whose gender does not align with their biological sex. They do not know where to safely use the restroom. They do not know who to talk to without fear of discrimination. This daily fear often results in mental health problems, further increasing their struggle. Most campuses are now implementing gender-neutral restrooms, increasing the number and visibility of safe spaces, and embracing LGBT culture through campus organizations and celebratory events.
These five issues have robbed many college students of equal chances at success. Fortunately, many campuses have become concerned with addressing these obstacles. Every day brings new disability accommodations at college to create equity for students from all walks of life.
Source: Quantum Prep