Autism and accommodations in college

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deagle
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13 Oct 2015, 2:47 pm

Does anyone know if colleges are obligated to offer alternative classes or assignments for required classes to those with a relevant disorder?

For example, I can work one-on-one with another person. However, if you put me in a group of 3 or more people, I shut down. It's impossible for me to communicate and work with a group. I might have great ideas or have accomplished something, but I can't express myself. Because of this, the group thinks I'm not contributing and thus they probably give me low peer review scores. But I'm not just going to tell my group about my social phobia and autism diagnosis; it's none of their business.

For my senior year in college, I have to take 2 classes that revolve around the same group project. This group project also includes 3 class presentations, which are also extremely difficult given my anxiety.

The classes in question aren't even relevant to my degree program. I'm having to do the senior project class for another degree program because mine doesn't have anything specific for it. So, I'm hoping they could just give me alternative classes that are actually relevant to my field of study and still give me a similar experience, without the group work.

I'm just trying to build up a case to present to the ASD department at my college when my suspension ends, because they might fight having to initiate a complicated process of finding me alternative classes that meet program requirements, or having the department chair find alternative (individual) assignments for me to do in the class.

Colleges offer alternative assignments for students who have religious bias (like, doing the assignment contradicts their religious views), so I'd hope they have the same attitude towards a student being unable to do assignments because of their disorder. It's not like the student can help it.



DVCal
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13 Oct 2015, 5:52 pm

No one is obligated to give you anything. Be greatful for whatever special treatment you get.



deagle
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13 Oct 2015, 6:19 pm

Colleges in the US are obligated to give accommodations to students with various disabilities/disorders. Is ASD not one of those?



DVCal
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13 Oct 2015, 7:29 pm

deagle wrote:
Colleges in the US are obligated to give accommodations to students with various disabilities/disorders. Is ASD not one of those?


Are they legally required to provide you with special treatment yes, but it isn't good to demand such treatment.



deagle
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13 Oct 2015, 7:40 pm

I'm only trying to request stuff if they're legally obligated to give it. I'm not trying to beg for special privileges that aren't covered by ADA law.



DVCal
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20 Oct 2015, 10:18 am

deagle wrote:
I'm only trying to request stuff if they're legally obligated to give it. I'm not trying to beg for special privileges that aren't covered by ADA law.


So called accommodations covered by the ADA are special privileges. Extra time, a separate room to take test, and whatnot are all special privileges.



Adamantium
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20 Oct 2015, 10:23 am

DVCal wrote:
Are they legally required to provide you with special treatment yes, but it isn't good to demand such treatment.


Why is it not good to ask for reasonable accommodation? (Or "special treatment" if you prefer?)

What harm would it do to ask?

What harm would it do if they devise some special procedures to compensate for specific disabilities?



Ashariel
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20 Oct 2015, 2:46 pm

I wasn't diagnosed when I was in college, but struggled with certain issues (participating in class discussion, etc.) My teachers were really understanding about it, and always did their best to accommodate special needs, even without being officially ordered to by administration. So you might try just speaking with your teachers privately?



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22 Oct 2015, 12:17 pm

I've had many classes with aspies and I have to get accommodations myself for my neuro disease.

I'm pretty sure you could request not to be required to speak in class. You can definitely get permission to bring your laptop and to use a voice recorder if you have trouble keeping up because of sensory distractions. You can ask for extra time completing assignments and to do them in a quiet place.

I'm not sure if you can be excused from group projects. I think some professors will allow that and some won't. But again, you can probably request to be a "silent member" where you participate via email and don't show up in person. It is much easier for the neurotypical members of the group if you say these are my limitations (no will care why) and this is what I can do. If you try to hide your shortcomings you risk being given something you're terrible at.

The ONLY way you can get accommodations is if you get a written note from a doctor that says you are autistic. If you have anything else, like ADHD or physical limitations, those are good to put in as well. You can choose not to use your accommodations and have them there if you need them. That's what I do most of the time.



escargot
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20 Nov 2015, 7:02 am

Hi, I just wanted to have a few opinions. Because of my anxiety condition, my psychologist has prescribed me with accommodations such as having a person to go to when I'm feeling confused or stressed, and having a quiet place to go to for calming down. The college was willing to provide these things but through the term, they decided I needed to be "treated exactly the same as other students" and gradually removed all of these supports, even banned me from my safe seat.

I got really stressed out and my condition worsened because of this and so was suspended for "inappropriate behaviour" triggered by anxiety. I had to see psychologists and doctors and then I was put on medication (never had to). They say they don't need to look after my needs outside of my course but I think these things are affecting my course quite seriously...

I don't know if they are unwilling to spend the money or are just not accepting of students with disability. I'm just wondering if they are obliged to provide these supports by law or do I just have to find another college?



Butterfly88
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21 Nov 2015, 3:04 pm

Where do you live? If you are in the USA there is something called the Americans with Disabilities Act that should require your college to give accommodations. Have you tried talking to or e-mailing the teacher?



escargot
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22 Nov 2015, 3:45 am

I'm in Australia and I think there are also laws about this, but my college is not helpful.

They keep on making strange assumptions about my autistic behaviour such as needing to talk to a safe person to be stalking, and meltdowns are "tantrums throw for attention" etc. The staff also continuously changed my environment and plans and blamed me for having a meltdown out of distress :(

Any ideas on what I can do? My psychologist tried to explain things to them already but they don't listen...