by Kate Fitch

Sometimes psychiatric disability gets in the way in college. Your anxiety is so high during class that you need to excuse yourself sometimes, you hear voices during your exam that distract you from the task at hand, or you need to visit crisis stabilization services and take a few days away from school. These things entitle you to disability services and accommodations through your college, and you should take advantage of them if you need them! Here’s some information about what you can receive and how to get it.

What accommodations could I receive? This may vary by institution, but ones that I have heard of include:

  1. Designated note-taker if you are unable to maintain attention on the lecture due to your disability.
  2. Allowance of food and water where they are normally not permitted due to medication side effects.
  3. Leniency with attendance requirements due to hospitalization, crisis stabilization, or unavoidable appointments related to your disability.
  4. Extra time on exams.
  5. Private rooms for exams.
  6. Free tutoring or homework help.

How do I access these services and accommodations?

  1. Find the disability services office/webpage at your school. It may also be called the accessibility center.
  2. Find out their requirements for proof of disability. This may include a letter from a medical professional describing your disability and the accommodations you may need.
  3. Get the proof of disability and submit to the disability services department.
  4. Meet with a counselor/employee of the disability services department to discuss the accommodations you may need, and ask how to go about approaching professors about these accommodations.
  5. You may be entitled to having a third party approach professors with you. If you aren’t comfortable approaching professors alone, ask if this is an option.
  6. Stay in touch with the department throughout the school year. They love to know that you’re doing well!
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Kate Fitch

I've been with the Network since 2015, when I started as a volunteer. I've been on staff as the Communications Specialist since January 2017. I'm currently in college and pursuing a dual BA in Public Health and Public Administration. I'm most passionate about making sure that people with mental health conditions are fairly represented in the media, at policy tables, and in treatment system planning. In my spare time, I like to crochet, knit, and be the best cat mom ever.

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