What adaptive technology is typically provided to students with disabilities on postsecondary campuses?

A wide variety of hardware and software is available to students with disabilities on postsecondary campuses. Some schools provide it in an adaptive technology lab operated by the disabled student services office or the central computing organization. Often this area is integrated within a general access computing lab that is available to all students.

For an example of products provided in such a facility, consult Access Technology Center.

Universally Designed Web Pages: A Case Study on Access Issues for a Student with a Learning Disability


John has a severe learning disability that affects his ability to read. He uses a text-to-speech system to read computer screen text to him. He is attending his first semester at a small, private college. Each student at the school is given an email account for academic use. The directions for establishing and using the email account are available in printed format and on the computing services website.

Access Issue

John was having difficulty accessing the electronic information at the computing services website with his screen reading software.

Reduced Course Loads: A Case Study on Financial Aid Eligibility


Sam is a sophomore with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). He is having difficulty managing a full-time preengineering course load. He does not have enough time to keep up with all of his courses.

Access Issue

Sam wants to take a reduced course load but needs to remain eligible for financial assistance and campus housing. He was told by student services staff that he would be ineligible for financial aid and campus housing if he was not registered as a full-time student.

In Case of Emergency: A Case Study on Evacuation Procedures for a Student with a Mobility Impairment


Dan is a sophomore living on the fourth floor of Johnson Hall. He has paraplegia and uses a wheelchair.

Access Issue

Dan had a concern about a recent fire drill that occurred in his residence hall. On the night of the drill, he was not notified. He saw the flashing signs and heard the alarm and assumed it was an actual fire. He was distressed because during the entire drill, no one came to assist him. When he reported his concerns to dorm staff, they showed little interest.

If a student with a disability qualifies for accommodations in high school, will they receive the same accommodations in college?

High schools are entities covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. When they attend college, students with disabilities will not necessarily continue to receive the same accommodations that they received in high school.

How can universal design be applied in postsecondary education?

Universal design is an approach that strives to make products and environments welcoming, accessible, and usable for everyone. Universal design principles were developed at the Center for Universal Design. They can be tailored to specific applications such as curriculum, instruction, career service offices, multimedia, tutoring and learning centers, museums, computer labs, and web pages.

How can students with disabilities get accommodations for the GRE, MCAT, LSAT, and other standardized graduate or professional entrance exams?

All national testing services are required by law to provide reasonable accommodations to test takers with disabilities, and most have detailed information on their websites about how to document a disability and request accommodations. However, students must be self-advocates and get all documentation prepared well in advance. For most tests, the testing services request that all documentation be mailed at least six weeks prior to the registration deadline to be reviewed for approval of accommodations.

Equal Opportunities: A Case Study on Campus Transportation for Students with Mobility Impairments


Henry is a sophomore with a disability that affects his health and mobility. He is taking evening classes at a community college.

Access Issue

Without a ride between buildings, Henry cannot arrive on time to classes and without pain, because of his health and mobility status. Without transportation, Henry cannot access classes that are not offered during daytime hours. The campus typically provides transportation only during office hours of disabled student services.