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Dr. Brown's Advice About Accommodations

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A comment for the Mom whose son who is having difficulty with the math requirement at his university.

Although I am at a public university and this may have a bearing on procedures, I think the LD student has to contact the disability support office of the university. I am sure that most universities have this office, not just public universities. Although universities are not too eager to waive requirements, they can be persuaded to do so.

Here students can enhance their chances of getting a waiver of requirements if they have had a history of meeting the LD requirements in secondary school, had an accommodation plan in high school, and bring with them the documentation of this. The disability support office can recommend to the academic dean that an appropriate substitution be made. It is more difficult to get a substitution for those majors that have math as an integral part of the curriculum--like physics or chemistry. But for non-mathematical majors, the substitution should be only moderately difficult.

They should also look at whether there are other options – for instance, a logic course may be an acceptable substitute for liberal arts degrees.

Many universities are just now getting the message about section 504 plans. The student needs to be persistent. Parents may need to get involved. Encourage them to talk to disability support first, then talk to the dean and later the president's office.

Good luck!

Mike Brown
Assistant Professor of School Psychology
East Carolina University

NOTE FROM WRIGHTSLAW: We added a new book on this subject to the Legal Section of the Advocate’s Bookstore.

Accommodations in Higher Education Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
by Michael GORDON (Editor), Shelby KEISER (Editor), and Alta LAPOINT.

"This practical manual offers guidance for anyone involved with ADA issues in higher education settings. Fundamental principles and actual clinical and administrative procedures are outlined for evaluating, documenting, and accommodating a wide range of mental and physical impairments.”

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