Common Disabilities and Accommodations - Disabled Students Programs and Services

Acquired or Traumatic Brain Injury

A brain injury involves medical and/or traumatic damage to the brain. An acquired brain injury results in loss of some previously learned skills or knowledge, and creates difficulties with new learning. There can be physical, sensory, cognitive, language, behavioral and/or emotional changes as a result of the injury. Car accidents, falls, strokes, brain tumors, concussions or lack of oxygen are some of the many situations that can injure the brain.

Educational Limitations

Injuries to the brain can result in a wide variety of types and severities of limitations including but not limited to the following:

  • Reduced attention skills, including increased distractibility, which may interfere with learning and producing evidence of learning
  • .Reduced memory skills, especially for new material
  • Slower I retrieval of learned information
  • Slowed or reduced ability to form abstract concepts, or to express those concepts in words
  • Cognitive deficits may cause or rapid fatigues than expected in tests
  • Sensory difficulties may interfere with hearing and/or visual perception
  • Physical difficulties may interfere with ability to move about the campus or to use campus facilities
  • Students may have difficulties accepting and/or adjusting to loss of skills

Other education limitations may be noted unique to the type/extent of injury, and/or the individual’s medical history.

Accommodations are determined by an individual’s educational limitations and may vary depending on the educational requirement of the class and measureable course objectives and student learning outcome as documented in the curriculum.

Potential Accommodations:

  • Materials in an alternate format (e.g., books on e-text, Braille, audio format, enlarged print, etc.)
  • Reader and/or scribe for exams, quizzes or in-class assignments
  • Audio taping of lectures
  • Preferential seating
  • Assistive Technology
  • Priority registration
  • Extended time for exams and quizzes
  • Reduced course load
  • Other accommodations based upon the students individual educational limitations

Chronic Health Conditions and Other Health

This category includes all other verifiable disabilities and health-related limitations that affect the student’s educational performance but do not fall into any of the other defined categories. Examples of these include: Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, Muscular Dystrophy, Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, Kidney Disease, advanced stages of Cancer, HIV and Aids, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Migraines, Tourette’s syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, among many others.

Educational Limitations:

Depending on the condition and its severity:

  • Fatigue and/or cognitive deficits may be of short or long duration
  • Difficulty writing
  • Attendance struggles
  • Difficulty walking
  • Reduced attention and focus
  • Classroom accessibility
  • Cognitive limitations
  • Decreased memory for new information due to distractions
  • Difficulty participating in groups or responding under pressure
  • Limited stress and frustration tolerance
  • Increased symptoms under stress, anxiety, or fatigue
  • Under medication or not, there may be medical emergencies or appointments on short notice.

Accommodations are determined by an individual’s educational limitations and may vary depending on the educational requirement of the class and measureable course objectives and student learning outcome as documented in the curriculum.

Potential Accommodations:

  • Extended time for exams and quizzes
  •  Enlarged print materials
  • Reader  and/or scribe for exams and quizzes
  • Assistive technology
  • Audio taping of record lectures
  • Shared class notes
  • Adaptive furniture
  • Frequent breaks
  • Priority registration
  • Distraction reduced exam and quiz area
  • Front of the line pass
  • Absences from class may be more frequent than other students
  • Other accommodations based upon the students individual educational limitations

Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Hearing loss may range from complete deafness to a slight hearing loss in a few frequencies. The earlier the occurrence in life, the greater effect it may have in the development of speech as well as reading and writing skills.

Educational Limitations:

Students who have are deaf and/or hard of hearing may have educational limitations including but not limited to the following:

  • Difficulty hearing lectures, group discussions, or student questions in a classroom setting
  • Difficulty taking notes while trying to listen, lipread, and or watch an interpreter
  • Difficulty hearing media presentations that involve sound
  • Problems communicating in one-on-one situations with an instructor or other students
  • May struggle with English grammar due to not hearing proper English regularly
  • May misunderstand auditory information without realizing the error
  • May not speak clearly or at all

Accommodations are determined by an individual’s educational limitations and may vary depending on the educational requirement of the class and measureable course objectives and student learning outcome as documented in the curriculum.

Potential Accommodations:

  • Preferred seating
  • Notetaker for class lectures
  • Sign Language Interpreter
  • Assistive Listening Device
  • Real-Time Captioning
  • Other accommodations based upon the students educational limitations

Intellectual Disability

Intellectual disability is characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical skills. This disability originates before age 18.

Educational Limitation:

  • Difficulties maintaining pace with lecture material
  • Limited analytical reasoning and critical thinking skills
  • Below average ability to understand complex reading material
  • Tend to have difficulty using campus resources effectively
  • Difficulty understanding disability related limitations
  • Difficulty initiating communication with professors about learning
  • May exhibit immature social behavior and judgment

Accommodations are determined by an individual’s educational limitations and may vary depending on the educational requirement of the class and measureable course objectives and student learning outcome as documented in the curriculum.

Potential Accommodations:

  • Extended time on exams and quizzes
  • Copy of peers notes
  • Front row seating

Learning Disability

The student with a learning disability has average to above average intelligence, and demonstrates a discrepancy between innate ability and academic performance due to a processing deficit.

Educational Limitations:

Students who are learning disabled may exhibit limitations. These limitations may include, but not limited to the following:

  • Difficulty in reading, reversal of letters, numbers, skipping of words and transposing of alphabets and problems with reading comprehension
  • Difficulty in spelling words and expressing thoughts with written language
  • Slow in processing written information
  • Difficulty expressing ideas orally which the student seems to understand
  • Slow or reduced ability to understand new concepts
  • Difficulty in understanding mathematical concepts
  • Difficulty memorizing basic facts and sequences for solving equations
  • Difficulty with long and short term memory
  • Reduced memory of recently learned information
  • Slow or reduced ability to understand abstract concepts and written language

Accommodations are determined by an individual’s educational limitations and may vary depending on the educational requirement of the class and measureable course objectives and student learning outcome as documented in the curriculum.

Potential Accommodations:

  • Priority registration
  • Notetaker
  • Audio taping of lectures
  • Books in electronic format to be read to them
  • Assistive technology
  • Spell checking devices
  • Calculator
  • Extended time on exams and quizzes
  • Distraction reduced exam and quiz area
  • Other accommodations based upon the students individual educational limitations

Mental Health Disabilities

A persistent psychiatric disorder, emotional or mental illness that affects the student’s educational performance.

Educational Limitations:

Students who have psychological disabilities may have educational limitations including, but not limited to the following:

  • Difficulties processing lectures and taking notes simultaneously in the classroom
  • Difficulty taking tests and quizzes in standard conditions
  • Difficulty concentrating and staying focused
  • Difficulty comprehending and retaining new information
  • Problems initiating work and completing assignments
  • Impaired organization
  • Difficulty expressing thoughts orally and/or in written format
  • Low tolerance for stressful situations
  • Difficulty managing emotions in anxiety-producing or novel situations
  • Reduced ability to advocate for ones needs in an educational setting

Accommodations are determined by an individual’s educational limitations and may vary depending on the educational requirement of the class and measureable course objectives and student learning outcome as documented in the curriculum.

Potential Accommodations:

  • Priority registration
  • Extended time on exams and quizzes
  • Extended time on exams and quizzes
  • Distraction reduced exam and quiz area
  • Notetaker
  • Audio recording of lectures
  • Disability management
  • Reduced course load
  • Other accommodations based upon the students individual educational limitations

Mobility Disabilities

Any orthopedic or physical condition that causes a serious limitation in walking, standing, sitting, as well as other motor functions

Educational Limitations:

Students who have mobility disabilities may have educational limitations including, but not limited to the following:

  • Difficulty or inability to walk distances, on uneven surfaces, or in inclines/declines
  • Inability to stand for reasonable periods of time
  • Difficulty using or accessing standard classroom furniture
  • Difficulty writing or typing in standard formats
  • Slowness or increased pain when writing or typing
  • Difficulty manipulating educational equipment or materials
Problems completing exams and quizzes in standard format

Accommodations are determined by an individual’s educational limitations and may vary depending on the educational requirement of the class and measureable course objectives and student learning outcome as documented in the curriculum.

Potential Accommodations:

  • Priority registration
  • Preferential seating
  • Adaptive furniture
  • Assistive technology (e.g., keyboard modification, voice activated word processing, specialized computer software, etc.)
  • Notetaker
  • Extended time on exams and quizzes
  • Scribe or exams, quizzes and/or in-class assignments
  • Front of the line pass
  • Other accommodations based upon the students individual educational limitations

Speech and Language Disorders

A speech and language disorder may affect voice, articulation, rhythm, and/or the receptive and expressive processes of language. It may limit the quality, accuracy and intelligibility or fluency of sounds and words comprising spoken language.

Educational Limitations:

Students who have speech and language disorders may exhibit educational limitations. These limitations may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Slow or reduced ability to process information
  • Difficulty expressing ideas verbally or in writing which the student seems to understand
  • Reduced ability to produce speech which is understandable to others
  • Reduced ability to interact with others in a socially or pragmatically acceptable manner

Accommodations are determined by an individual’s educational limitations and may vary depending on the educational requirement of the class and measureable course objectives and student learning outcome as documented in the curriculum.

Potential Accommodations:

  • Priority registration
  • Modification of oral assignments, such as one-to-one presentations or use of computers with voice synthesizers
  • Shared notes
  • Notetaker
  • Audio taping of lectures
  • Books in electronic formats or screen readers
  • Spell check devices
  • Extended time for exams and quizzes
  • Other
  • Other accommodations based upon the students individual educational limitations