Student Self Advocacy
- Bringing proper documentation to the Office of Disability Services for Students to verify the disability as well as background information to help in planning for appropriate support and accommodations.
- Knowing his/her specific needs as they relate to the disability.
- Asking for help at the beginning of the quarter and not after he/she is failing.
- Letting the professor know in advance the kind of accommodations needed to meet academic needs.
- Understanding that he/she is responsible for choosing to learn or not.
- Using an assertive approach to ask for needed help. This means knowing what their needs are, being respectful and polite, and being patient with other people who are trying to understand and help.
- To be aware of the laws that provide for students with disabilities in postsecondary schools.
- To provide reasonable accommodations to students with documented disabilities, as indicated by the DSS office.
- To provide a positive environment where students are encouraged to self-advocate.
Students with disabilities often create a unique challenge for faculty. Part of that challenge comes from a lack of understanding of the student and his/her particular needs. Developing basic knowledge of various disabilities helps dispel some of the mystery about how to facilitate students' learning. This understanding is the first step in increasing the comfort level of working with the student to achieve the accommodations and/or modifications needed to meet academic demands.
An equally valuable component in working with students with disabilities is understanding which responsibilities are the students' and which are the professors'. Often professors feel they are totally responsible for meeting the needs of all students. This is not true. If you are not sure of what your responsibilities are, contact the DSS office.