Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month: Education

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, and we at Able South Carolina are celebrating! Many of our EQUIP leaders have developmental disabilities and you will be hearing about my personal experiences.

Today I am going to focus on my experience with higher education as someone with multiple developmental disabilities.

Grace sitting behind a desk in her wheelchair and focusing on a test while stimming with a string of beads. She is wearing a plaid button-down shirt, jeans, sunglasses, and noise cancelling headphones.

People with developmental disabilities can attend college just like everyone else! I have found college to be a very enriching experience. It was overwhelming at first, but I have adjusted well. I recently got an A on my first exam!

The accommodations process is a bit different from what it was like in high school. Instead of having an IEP or 504, I have a letter of accommodation.

The student with a disability must ask their doctor for a letter describing the accommodations that they will need, and once the letter is approved, the student’s professors are given a copy of the letter. It is not necessary to for a student to disclose their specific diagnosis to anyone, including teachers.

I like this process because I have complete control over which accommodations I receive, which is great news for a self-advocate! It was a smooth and easy process, so don’t worry if you’re intimidated. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need in order to succeed.

There are also many social opportunities on a college campus; there are many lectures, clubs, and events that students can attend for free. There are many libraries where students can read or use the computer, and there are tutors available to help students write a paper or study for a test. Counseling services are available to help students cope with the stress and anxiety of college life. I am helping start a club for students with disabilities, and I can’t wait to see what we will achieve in the coming months!

Do you have any experience with higher education as a person with a developmental disability? Tell us about it in the comments section!

Written by Grace Trumpower, EQUIP Leader

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