Angela and Academic Advising: A Case Study on Accessing Standard Campus Services

Date Updated


My name is Angela and I am a sophomore at a small suburban college. I use a wheelchair for mobility. I am planning on changing majors and need to work with an academic counselor to help plan my courses for spring quarter.

Access Issue

I went to a new academic counselor in the business department. I told him that I was seeking advice for my courses and future academic planning, but he said he was unable help me. He immediately referred me to the disabled student services (DSS) office.


I contacted the DSS office. A DSS counselor called the academic counselor in the business department and explained that as long as I was not requesting accommodations for the meeting or for my academic program, there was no need for a DSS referral. The DSS staff member encouraged the counselor to attend an online disability training course for faculty and staff offered by the college. The academic counselor and I agreed to another meeting, where we focused on my academic program and course selection. The academic counselor signed up for the online disability training course offered by the college.


This case study illustrates the following:

  1. Students who have disabilities do not always require accommodations.
  2. Campus service providers should expect to provide services for all students and should use the disabled student services office for support and consultation only when disability-related assistance is needed or when it is requested by a student.
  3. The student is responsible for requesting accommodations, if needed, from personnel of student services and/or disability-related support services.
  4. Faculty and staff throughout the institution should be aware of disability-related issues and campus policies and procedures for designing accessible services and addressing requests for accommodations.