Graduate School and Disabilities
Did you know that nearly 20 percent of undergraduate students (19.4%) report having a disability, and 8 percent of masters students and 7 percent of doctoral students report having a disability? The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) defines “disability” in legal terms, not medical terms, and defines a person with a disability as “a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” This can include blindness or vision impairment, deafness or hearing impairment, autism, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, and more.
While a disability may (or may not) present you with challenges, under the ADA, schools are not allowed to ask about your disabilities. It is up to the student to disclose in order to receive appropriate accommodations. This needs to be accompanied by documentation of the disability that the student provides to the office of disability services. You might be hesitant to disclose a disability, but without doing so, you could be losing out on valuable services and aid that could make all the difference.
How Accommodations Can Help
Once you provide documentation of your disability, you can get various accommodations that can help you with your studies. Accommodations can include, but aren’t limited to:
- Exam accommodations like extra time or a different room
- Classroom accommodations like special seating, an ASL interpreter, or a note-taker
- Braille materials, large-print texts, etc.
- Accessible parking or housing
- Assistive communication device use, screen readers or magnifiers, etc.
Different schools may offer different accommodations, and this might be something to look into before solidifying your choice of program. Even with accommodations, depending on your situation, you might still run into unforeseen challenges. Make sure you have a contact person at the school to whom you can reach out with any questions or concerns. You might find that your needs change by semester, depending on your class schedule, professors, or personal health.
There are lots of resources out there that can also provide a wealth of information, including the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS), the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN).
Here at Dissertation Editor, we know graduate school can be challenging for anyone, let alone those with disabilities. We’re here to help. If you need assistance in understanding the feedback on your papers, help mapping out a research plan, assistance with data analysis, or an extra set of eyes on your writing or revisions, we are here for you – for all of this and much more. Contact us today to see how we can help you reach your goals.