Going to College with Hidden Disabilities

We posted recently on going to college with disabilities in general; this post is about going to school with hidden disabilities.

As we said in our blog post last month, your best resource on campus will be the office which provides services to students with disabilities.  This word “disabilities” covers all kinds of disabilities — some more visible than others.  All US institutions of higher education (public and private) are required to provide accommodations to students with disabilities of any and all kinds.  If your particular circumstances are such that some conditions aren’t visible, a school may ask for documentation.  So, whatever documentation you have on hand (from high school or other institutional experiences), take it with you to college!  See here for a list of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) FAQs and their answers.

You may be on Autism Spectrum or have been diagnosed with ADHD; there are resources for you.  Be sure to find and talk to the people in the office on campus that is a support/resource for students with disabilities.  You may need more time to transition between classes, to take exams, or to study in general.  Be sure to access the academic advising resources including counseling, tutoring, and workshops that teach students time saving skills like speed reading.  Be ready to talk to professors in their office hours about needing extra time to do in class assignments or exams; but also be ready to produce documentation should someone ask.

Finally, be sure to consider what it will mean to live independently, if you are going “away” to college.  Consider the time it takes to eat nutritiously, do your own laundry, and keep your living space tidy.  All students must consider this, but this is the time for you to be very in tune with your own needs.  Begin to practice self awareness of routine before you go to college; this will make the transition to college easier, as you will be able to plan for potential changes.

You can read here about one college student’s own experience about being in school and being on the autism spectrum.

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