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How to Request Disability Supports in College

Updated: Apr 27, 2021

Now is a great time to start planning your prospective college visits for the winter and spring months. If your son or daughter has a disability such as a learning disability, physical disability or mental health issue, there are some key questions to keep in mind when touring a college campus. Most admissions officers and tour guides will provide brief overviews of support services that are available to all students, but you may want to be prepared with a few important questions that are specific to your child regarding disability supports and resources on campus. Often the Disability Support Office or Accessibility Office is mentioned but not included on a campus (or virtual) tour. Don't be shy about asking to see this office either during the tour or make a stop there after your tour is finished.

I recommend asking the Accessibility office these important questions:

  1. How many staff (full-time, part-time, peer mentors) are in the Disability Office?

  2. Are there deadlines or important dates that students need to know in order to request accommodations (for classroom or testing purposes)?

  3. Does the Disability Office offer extra fee-based systems of tiered supports such as academic coaching (for students with ADD), executive functioning support, autism social supports, etc.?

  4. What is the college’s process for requesting accommodations? Can students complete the process online or do students need to visit the Disability Office in person? How are faculty notified of student accommodations: online or in- person?

  5. What methods does the Disability Office use to communicate with students? Email, text, college online learning management system (such as Blackboard, Moodle rooms, Starfish, etc.)?

  6. Does the Disability Office have a FERPA release form that allows parents to communicate with Disability Office staff regarding their student?

Here is a link to a printable worksheet of the questions above.

For more information about the accommodation request process in college, read my article on the Collegiate Parent website.

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