Students are sometimes shy about disclosing a disability. It is considered invasive to ask someone what their disability is. Instead, try asking questions such as:
“What are your areas of strength?”
“What are the areas where you’ve experienced difficulties?”
“Have you used helpful support services to assist you with your academics?”
“Is there anything you’d like me to know about areas where you’ve had difficulty so that I can let you know about helpful campus resources?”
If a student discloses a disability, ask how it impacts her/him. Once a student describes areas of difficulty, discuss possible solutions. Refer the student to helpful campus resources.
Keep in mind that most countries do not have civil rights laws to protect people with disabilities. An international student may be especially shy if she comes from a country where having a disability is not respected or supported.
Respect confidentiality. Let students know that their disability information will not appear on their academic transcript.
Students with documented disabilities who struggle with foreign language or math may be eligible for an alternative. To qualify, students must receive approval from the Director of AccessAbility Services and the Dean of Studies.
AccessAbility Services does not provide psycho-educational evaluations to students who suspect they may have a learning disability. We can refer students to agencies and psychologists who provide this testing.
AccessAbility Services has the discretion to offer provisional accommodations and services to students who do not have documentation of a disability or who have a short term injury or illness.
Students who have difficulty with or are unable to engage in physical exercise may request a modification or waiver of the activity requirement by contacting AccessAbility Services.
Withdrawing from courses or the college mid-semester may affect a student’s ability to graduate on time as well as financial aid benefits. Please encourage students to speak with their academic dean, AccessAbility Services counselor, and with someone in Student Financial Services before withdrawing.
Students with disabilities may be eligible to maintain full-time status with a reduced course load. If a student is requesting this option, consider academic and financial implications. Things to consider: Are there prerequisite courses that are only offered alternating semesters? Will taking a reduced course load impact the student’s ability to graduate with her class? Can she take summer courses? If she is on a scholarship, will it cover her tuition if she needs to stay an extra semester? Refer students to AccessAbility Services to request the reduced course load accommodation. Consult with colleagues including the Academic Deans and Director of Student Financial Services to discuss if and how a reduced course load would impact the student.