Navigating college with a disability can pose additional challenges for many students. Whether you’re a first-year, transfer or seasoned Buff, here are four tips to help you have a successful experience at CU Boulder.
The Disability Services office provides support and accommodations for students with disabilities. However, you must register with their office and meet with a designated Access Coordinator in order to receive accommodations.
Accommodations are available to those with psychological and psychiatric disabilities, , attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities, physical or systemic disabilities, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and temporary medical conditions, among others.
If you’re unsure if you qualify for accommodations, contact Disability Services to explore your options.
One of the primary differences between high school and college accommodations is the need for students to advocate for themselves. That’s why it’s important to think through any potential needs you may have or barriers you may face during the school year.
Here are a few things to consider:
These types of questions can help you plan for the future and find ways to adjust to various circumstances. For instance, you may need to adapt your approach to studying or preparing for exams in advance of your peers. Take some time to think through these various factors, where you can go for support and who you can reach out to if something goes wrong.
If you’re receiving accommodations for a disability, it’s important to talk with your professors early on in the semester. Remember, students are in charge of managing their accommodation requests with faculty and staff, so you will need to communicate what your accommodations are and when you would like them to be implemented (e.g., in class, exams, etc.).
Here are a few tips to help you start the conversation:
Pick a time to meet
Let your professors know who you are and why you’d like to meet with them. You can say something like, “Hi professor [name]. I’m [name], and I would like to set a time to speak with you about some accommodations I have this semester.” All faculty offer designated office hours that provide a time for students to meet with them. If you’re not able to attend office hours, approach your professor or send them an email requesting to meet with them another time.
Explain why you’re meeting
Students meet with faculty members for a variety of reasons. Make sure that you let them know that you are there to discuss your disability accommodations for the semester and how they will be implemented. You can say something like, “I’d like to talk with you about the accommodations I’ve received from Disability Services.”
Prepare for your meeting with professors in advance by having a clear outline of what your accommodations are and how they will need to be implemented. For instance, if you have 1.5 extended time on tests in a distraction-reduced environment, it’s important to discuss how you can make this work in a given class.
Different professors have different teaching styles and expectations. Review your syllabi and clarify any questions you may have for each course. This can help you learn more about what your classes will look like and how you can best prepare. For instance, you may ask if they offer printable PowerPoint slides for lectures or if there are important assignments that may take you more time to complete, so you can plan ahead.
Depending on what accommodations you have, you may need to remind your professors throughout the year about implementing them. For instance, if you have an accommodation to use the Student Testing Center, it can be helpful to set reminders for yourself to talk with your professor before any tests, so you have time to schedule an exam room.
Campus support goes beyond accommodations. Be sure to connect with additional support resources that you may need to make the most of your academics, social connections and overall well-being.