Do I have to inform the College that I have a disability?
No. But if you want the school to provide an academic adjustment, you must self-disclose your disability and specifically request accommodations through the Disability Support Services (DSS) office.
Is there a separate application to the college for students with disabilities?
No. Students with disabilities should apply to the college as any other student would. If a student would like to disclose a disability in the admissions process, they may do so voluntarily. While a student may not officially register with DSS until they have been accepted to the college, any prospective student is welcome to call or visit DSS to become informed of our services. All documentation of disability should be directed to the DSS office, rather than given to the Admissions office.
Do I need to prove that I have a disability in order to obtain an academic adjustment or accommodation?
Generally, yes. The DSS staff will probably require you to provide documentation showing that you have a current disability and need an academic accommodation.
If I don't have documentation to provide for my disability, what do I do?
You should contact the DSS office to schedule an appointment at (815) 921-2356. A staff member will discuss with you what struggles you are having, and provide you with resources on services you may be eligible for. If it is deemed that documentation is necessary, the staff member can provide resources on where you may obtain such information. Go here for more information on tips for undocumented students.
Will I get the same supports in college that I got on my IEP or 504 Plan in high school?
Probably not. Unlike your high school, postsecondary schools are not required to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Rather, postsecondary schools are required to provide appropriate academic adjustments as necessary to ensure that it does not discriminate on the basis of disability. The DSS staff will develop, with you, an individualized plan that is appropriate to your particular needs and circumstances. In many cases, services are similar to what was received in high school, although some accommodations and modifications may not be appropriate at the college level.
Can a parent request accommodations?
No. All requests for accommodations must be made by the student. However, parents are welcome at the initial appointment with the student's consent.
Once I have registered with Disability Services, how do my professors learn of my accommodations?
Each semester, the student must request accommodations and communicate his/her needs with their instructors. Accommodations are student-driven and as such, students determine when and how they share information with instructors. It is important to note, however, that instructors are only required to accommodate a known disability.
What are some of the commonly provided accommodations and services?
The following include some of the more commonly requested accommodations:
Appropriate accommodations are always determined on an individual, case-by-case basis between the DSS staff and the student.
What services are not provided by DSS?
Services that lower or substantially modify essential course or program requirements are not provided. In addition, postsecondary schools are not required to make adjustments that would fundamentally alter the nature of a service, program, or activity, or that would result in an undue financial or administrative burden. Finally, postsecondary schools do not have to provide personal attendants, individually prescribed devices, or other devices or services of a personal nature. If students need any of these services, they are responsible for providing and paying for these services.