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Free Webinar Replay: What You Should Know About College Accommodations for Students with ADHD and LD

In this hour-long webinar-on-demand, learn about accommodations in college with Elizabeth C. Hamblet.

4 Comments: Free Webinar Replay: What You Should Know About College Accommodations for Students with ADHD and LD

  1. 1. Some college courses are using online tests through a commercial Internet third party website which a student would have to create a login account and pay a subscription fee. Tests could be in the form of timed quizzes and exams. How to find if there are any accommodations and what is possible to ask for?

    2. Some college courses are for taking computer certification exams through a commercial third party company. Example, CompTia computer certification. In the past, I have contacted a testing center disability department to ask about what their accommodation requirements are and what documentation they need. They would not give any clues and no information for their requirements. They wanted me to tell them what I have. Then they would simply respond with a “No”. Do you have any suggestions how to find out what accommodations a testing center allows and what information that I need to provide.

    Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi, Hiker. Let me start by saying that nothing I say should be viewed as legal or medical advice, and you should contact the proper professional for help.
      I’m afraid what you’re discussing is beyond my experience, and I’m not sure I completely understand what you’re asking, but let me see if I can offer any helpful information.

      My understanding is that if you are enrolled at a college, that college is responsible for making sure you have accommodations for their online course, even if they have contracted with a third party to deliver that course. You should contact the disability services office at the college where you’re enrolled to register for disability accommodations. While you do that, you can ask what accommodations might be available. You college would decide what accommodations might be available, not the third party course provider. Keep in mind that every person’s requests are considered individually, meaning that – for instance – not everyone who has ADHD gets the same accommodations automatically. Disability services offices look at each student’s strengths and weaknesses and decide what accommodations would be appropriate.

      With regard to your question about computer certification exams through a third party, I’m not sure I’m clear what you mean, but I think you’re talking about a typical certification exam situation where a board or organization administers the exam, as for cosmetology. In this case, it would be the certifying board that determines what would be appropriate. Certain accommodations may not be available on certification exams, if there are certain skills that these exams are designed to test. For instance, if you were getting certified in a field where correct spelling of terms was an important part of the job, you might not be allowed to use a spellchecker on the exam. But you should definitely ask. In case it is helpful to you, here is a link to the Department of Justice’s 2015 revised regulations addressing accommodations on certification and other kinds of exams: https://www.ada.gov/regs2014/testing_accommodations.html

      I’m concerned to hear that the representative you spoke to was not helpful when you tried to inquire about accommodations. I have found the page where you can learn about accommodations for Comptia’s exam (their testing is done by another company – Pearson). The information is at: http://www.pearsonvue.com/accommodations/pv_review.asp?clientName=CompTIA

      On that page, I see that they provide links to information about what documentation you’ll need to provide and a link to the page to make your request. There’s even a link you can use to appeal their decision if you’re not happy with their initial decision about your requests. I hope that this is helpful. Good luck!

      Sorry I can’t be of more help! And remember – I’m not a lawyer, so what I’ve said here represents my understanding of things but shouldn’t be taken as legal advice. Consult a lawyer if you think you need legal assistance.

  2. Can you please address how one goes about navigating NCAA recruiting process when the student who is being recruited might need accommodations in addition to or within whatever academic services are offered to freshmen athletes on academic scholarship. How does a parent inquire about how this networking done between the athletic department and the University learning resource center to determine the quality of the program. How to vet college academic-athletic support services within universities that may or may not have strong LD programs. Most Universities do not publish the athletic-academic support services available so it is hard to inquire without self-identifying as an LD student. I realize that this may be a complex question but maybe you know someone in the University system that has information about the best ways to navigate.

    1. Hi, Melanie.

      That’s a really interesting question. I have never been involved in the NCAA recruiting process or worked with the athletics department at any college where I worked in the disability services (DS) office, so your question is really outside of my experience, but I’m hoping I can offer you a few ideas.

      I would think you’d speak to the coach recruiting your student about the academic services the academics department apartment offers. These may include things like mandatory study halls, tutoring sessions, and others. To learn more about the connections between athletics and DS, you might wish to talk to both of these entities about their relationship (if, indeed, they have a special connection – they might not). Athletes may have access to better/more-frequent tutoring than their peers who aren’t athletes, but this would be through the athletics department, and I have no idea what the chances are that the department would hire someone with a special education background or experience in working with students with disabilities. Disability accommodations are unlikely to be affected by whether or not a student is an athlete, as I’m sure you expect (meaning that athletes aren’t entitled to more accommodations simply because, for instance, they have to be away for games or matches). And not all college DS offices provide what I would refer to as “services” (such as offering students a weekly appointment with a learning disabilities specialist like myself or an ADHD coach).

      I see that you’re uncomfortable about talking to an athletics representative about this. I don’t know how to advise you on this.

      However, I would like to encourage you and your student (and any families reading this who want to know about disability services at the colleges the student is considering) to contact the DS office and ask them every question you want answered. I feel confident in assuring you that you won’t have to provide the student’s or your name simply in order to ask about what accommodations and services might be available. And if the person you reach at DS asks for a name (perhaps just to be able to be polite and address you by name in conversation), you can ask s/he wants it. I can’t imagine someone from DS doing anything with a prospective student’s name, except maybe to ask someone else to help with your inquiries, if the person you reach can’t do so, or to provide you with information about a difference college office.

      I have had parents ask me whether DS passes the names of inquiring students over to the admissions office – it’s something that concerns them. I haven’t spoken to many prospective students in my 20 years in the field because of position in which I work in DS offices, but I can’t imagine my colleagues doing this except at the request of the student himself or herself as a way of getting more information from the admissions office. Know that you are certainly free to refuse to give a name, or to give a false one if it makes you feel more secure, even though I don’t think you need to worry.

      Remember that it’s not DS’s job to recruit any kinds of students (athletes or non-athletes). We want to make sure that students have the information they need to make sure that the college they choose is a good fit, so I would like to say that my colleagues in the field will be very honest in telling you what accommodations their office does and doesn’t provide, and what other kinds of support might be available on campus (such as a writing center, counseling center, etc.). They may not be ready to tell you what accommodations your student might receive until s/he is accepted (that requires reading your student’s documentation in order to decide what accommodations are appropriate), but they can at least give you a general idea of what they do. (Remember that accommodations are made on an individual basis for each student, not by “category” like ADHD.) If you haven’t already, view my webinar for a sense of some commonly-approved accommodations.

      One more thing, Melanie. I’m hoping that when you say that you’re making these inquiries, you’re also including your student in these efforts. I realize that some students are shy or anxious, but it’s a really good idea to involve your student in this process since s/he should use the information you gather about services and supports to help him/her make a decision about what college to attend. And much has been written about developing students’ self-advocacy skills. I strongly recommend Theresa Maitland’s ADDitude webinars for where she discusses the parenting side of preparing students for college – they’re excellent!

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