Disabled Student's Rights In Higher Education
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Now that you have made your decision to go to college, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities as a student with a disability. Pursuant to both Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), individuals with disabilities shall not be (1) excluded from participation in or (2) denied the benefits of participation in any program solely by reason of his or her disability. The institution must provide reasonable accommodations to the student's known disability in order to afford him/her an equal opportunity to participate in the institution's programs, activities and services (including extracurricular activities).
Unlike local school districts that have an obligation to identify students with special needs, Section 504 and the ADA only protect those students who have identified him or herself to the college as a student with a disability and are in need of accommodation(s). Once this occurs, the college must provide accommodations that "level the playing field" between the student with the disability and his or her peers. Some examples of accommodations for college students may include: providing note takers, enlarged print on exams, recording devices, sign language interpreters, extended time, isolated space for testing, and frequent breaks on exams.
While IEPs do not transfer to college, classified students would most likely be protected by Section 504 and the ADA as long as their disability substantially impacts a major life activity. If you have concerns regarding this transition to college or believe that you are being denied the benefits of aspects of your education by reason of your disability, there are due process procedures to ensure that you may raise your concerns fully and fairly, and must provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints.
Contact our office today to learn what accommodations your loved one may be entitled to and how you can ensure eligibility for such services.