Disclosing a Disability/Requesting Accommodations
High school and postsecondary education are very different in terms of disability law and expectations for students and institutions. For a discussion of these differences, see the Transition Wheel spoke on Postsecondary Access at
In summary, for postsecondary education:
- If and when to disclose a disability are important, personal choices, sometimes involving complex factors, for which students should be adequately prepared.
- Students must advocate for themselves by requesting accommodations through the Disability Support Services office, if there is one, or through the student services office of the institution.
- Students who disclose must provide the necessary documentation, if requested.
- Postsecondary institutions and employers must provide reasonable accommodations, so some accommodation requests may be denied or alternative accommodations may be proposed.
- Modifications that change or reduce the content or other characteristics of the curriculum are generally not allowed.
- Students may need to educate professors and instructors about their accommodations.
For more information, see Disability Disclosure (http://project10.info/DetailPage.php?MainPageID=136) and Reasonable Accommodations (http://project10.info/DetailPage.php?MainPageID=155) in the A-Z Library.
Dear Colleague Letter/Office for Civil Rights
This letter from the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, briefly describes the legal rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities before and after they are admitted to institutions of postsecondary education.
ThinkCollege! Summary of High School/College Differences
This chart summarizes 12 important differences between disability services in high school and postsecondary settings, beginning with "The most important thing to know is that in college you are expected to speak for yourself."
Self-Determination for Postsecondary Students
Explores how self-determination—the combined skills of self-awareness, self-advocacy, self-efficacy, decision-making, independent performance, self-evaluation, and adjustment—can contribute to an individual’s ability to establish and achieve his or her own goals during and after higher education.
The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities
Helps youth make informed decisions on whether and how to disclose a disability including advantages and disadvantages, rights and responsibilities under the law, accommodations, and disclosing in postsecondary, employment, community, and social settings.
Cyber Disclosure for Youth with Disabilities
This supplement to The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities provides suggestions for making informed decisions about disclosing a disability on-line and managing disclosure on-line.
The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Families, Educators, Youth Service Professionals, and Adult Allies Who Care About Youth with Disabilities
This workbook from the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth helps caring adults make informed decisions about 1) teaching a young person about his or her rights and responsibilities in disclosing a disability and 2) supporting a young person in becoming more independent and self-sufficient.
Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities
Explains the rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities who are preparing to attend postsecondary schools. It also explains the obligations of a postsecondary school to provide academic adjustments, including auxiliary aids and services, to ensure the school does not discriminate on the basis of disability. From the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U. S. Department of Education.
Transition of Students with Disabilities to Postsecondary Education: A Guide for High School Educators
Provides information on the civil rights of students with disabilities regarding the admissions process, disability documentation, and disability support services. Also identifies eight keys to success such as understanding your disability, accepting responsibility for your success, learning time management and computer skills, and getting involved on campus.
| The development of this website was funded by the University of South Florida St. Petersburg
through a grant by the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services,
Florida Department of Education (2010 - 2011, 291-2621A-1C008).