Last month I enjoyed the opportunity to serve as a panelist for Parent to Parent of Georgia’s (P2PGA) webinar “Finding Your Way: Transitioning from High School to College.” The cyber event featured current college students or young alumni with disabilities giving advice to college bound high school students with disabilities. If you read P2PGA’s early December Handicap This guest post “Common Mistake for College Students with Disabilities to Avoid,” the webinar will sound familiar.
Parent to Parent of Georgia asked each panelist to share, based off his or her experiences, a few dos and don’ts. Today I wish to further expand on the input I contributed.
To illustrate my first tip I explained how I required my own dorm room to ensure I retained the privacy and space needed to do my physical therapy exercises. My parents and I inquired
about this accommodation on visits to different colleges. Such early planning provided two benefits.
First, the college’s response helps indicate the attitude the institution holds towards students with disabilities. Brash replies could help you eliminate schools from your search. After all, you don’t need to attend a school where obtaining accommodations becomes a burden or hassle.
Secondly the earlier you obtain information, the less chance you end up in a last minute jam. Departments to inquire about accommodations vary depending on the issue. Admissions and/or Office of Student Disability Services represent solid starting points, most likely to guide you to the right staff member or administrator.
Do Self-Evaluate Honestly:
Transitioning from high school to college stands a fun and exciting time in life. During the P2PGA webinar I also acknowledged “Part of college is growing up and becoming a sensible adult.” Special needs can lead to self-consciousness with how you relate to your new peers. A desire to blend in could lead you turning down services available to you.
Since my hands cramp when handwriting a lot, in college I could take written tests in another room so I could
use a computer to type my answers. Well I chose not to use the aforementioned accommodation, at least until after the EN482 Shakespeare Histories and Tragedies midterm. The midterm ended up testing how much I could handwrite in a certain time period and not how much I knew about Shakespeare’s plays.
An honest self-evaluation led me deciding to utilize the previously ignored accommodation on future tests. I ended up graduating college with a 3.449 GPA, .06 points away from honors. Perhaps I achieve honors if I accepted my accommodation sooner.
The above corresponded to my two webinar don’ts too. Don’t wait for your professors to ask you about your accommodations. Instead, take initiative. Additionally, don’t feel ashamed to utilize the Office of Student Disability Services. Rather recognize everyone possess strengths and weaknesses.
Yours in writing-