Familiar with an IEP?
Did you have a 504 Plan in high school??
Ever been diagnosed as neurodiverse???
Let’s dive deeper to see what you’re eligible for.
Because those who are neurodiverse are likely to be triggered by light, sound, and activity that occurs in daily life, they are easily distracted while in dorms and classrooms. Many who are neurodivergent also experience anxiety and/or social challenges. Thus it can be difficult for neurodiverse students to focus and absorb information. To overcome these and other neurodivergent challenges in the classroom, there are reasonable accommodations offered to students - and this is a federal law.
As a diagnosed neurodivergent, you are eligible for reasonable accommodations in education and protected through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). So, regardless of what services may be available, there are some supports that you can still request no matter where you go.
In grade school (Pre K-12), there are services and accommodations available for students who are neurodiverse, or have specific learning differences (see the Individual with Disabilities Education Act). Some of these accommodations may include:
Physical accessibility supports, such as ramps and automatic doors
Audio-visual aids, such as closed captioning and American Sign Language interpreters;
Auxiliary aids, such as Braille displays or text enlargements.
Yet, in higher education or private schools, you may find it difficult to find what campus-based support services are available unless that is a specific programmatic option (some of these options are expensive and rare).
Here’s a detailed list of reasonable accommodations for college students. (Some you may know about; others may be a pleasant surprise to you!):
*Extended time for tests and assignments
*Permission to Record lectures
*Copies of lecture notes before class
*Late penalties waived/extensions
*Closed captioning (even if you aren’t hearing impaired - those with slow processing speeds may find it useful)
*Online options for classes
*Sign language interpretation
*4-function calculators for standardized and school tests
*referral to campus resources
More College Accomodations
*Emotional support animal
*Single room/no roommate (ask early and you can get a doctors note)
*Alternate ways to earn credit for and participate in class - messaging or writing answers/questions down.
*Wearing earphones in class
*Text to speech software.
*Preferential seating in class (in front/on the side/in the back)
*Private study office
Now, when it's time to apply for college or any other post-secondary educational program, be sure to inquire about what services exist to scaffold you and support your journey before you get there.
No matter what, as a neurodiverse student or as a student with learning differences college is doable if you are aware of the resources available and access them proactively.
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