In this last month of the fall semester, we, at GRASP, are reminded of and have experienced the difficulties Autistic post-secondary students face in new academic settings. The following is a group of strategies that every disabled student has the right to use at a university, college, or trade school in classes and with professors; we have included examples of the reasonable accommodations for each strategy.
These will specifically help students in class by ensuring the same opportunities as their peers to understand the material and demonstrate comprehension. These are rights afforded to disabled students through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you are experiencing a situation in which the professor or school is not honoring these accommodations, please contact GRASP at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can provide you with information and referral for accommodation support.
College Accommodation Strategies:
-Register with disability services on campus:
- Most universities, colleges, and trade schools should have an Office of Disability Services for students. Contact them as early as possible and register for support.
-Request extended time on tests:
- Professors should grant a time extension.
-Ask for a separate quiet space to take a test:
- Professors should grant a separate, quiet space where one can take an exam, test, or quiz.
-Have an appointed note-taker for the course:
- The Office of Disability Services will be able to help coordinate either a note-taker or a peer to provide their notes from lectures.
-Use a computer or similar technology to take notes during a lecture:
- Use appropriate assistive devices during lectures or class time, such as an audio recorder, tablet, or computer.
-Receive textbooks in audio format:
- The Office of Disability Services will be able to help coordinate books being translated into an audio format. Make sure to put in the request before the semester or in the first 2 weeks, or they may not be able to fulfill it in time. Also, search online for the audio version of textbooks.
-Schedule weekly meetings with professors:
- Professors should grant a weekly meeting to check-in about the syllabus, assignments, tests, or any concerns.
-Use an adaptive or assistive device:
- Wear a hat or sunglasses in class to help with sensory issues.
- Use an augmentative or alternative communication device to communicate.
-Move or stim as needed:
- Pace in the back of the classroom. Use small fidget, ear plugs, or other similar ways to self-soothe.
-Take a bathroom or sensory break:
- Use the restroom, take breaks from overwhelming stimuli, or just to take a breath and stretch.