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Advising Students with Disabilities. Dr. Ellen W. Bonaguro , Associate Dean Student Academic Services and Enrollment and Mary Lloyd Moore, Instructor/Clinic Director Department of Communication Disorders and Director of the Suzanne Vitale Clinical Education Complex

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advising students with disabilities

Advising Students with Disabilities

Dr. Ellen W. Bonaguro, Associate Dean

Student Academic Services and Enrollment


Mary Lloyd Moore, Instructor/Clinic Director

Department of Communication Disorders

and Director of the Suzanne Vitale Clinical Education Complex

Campus Advising Network Presentation-April 14, 2010



Services for Students with Disabilities

Advising Information

overview of sds
Overview of SDS

Office of Student Disabilities Services-DUC A 200-745-5004

487 students registered

Intake and Assessment of Needs

Documentation of Disability ( within three years)

Necessary Paperwork to Determine Accommodations (LOAs)

Exceptions and Substitutions

Freshmen (119), Sophomore (96), Juniors (97), Seniors (141)

Academy (3), Graduate (24), Other (7)

*as of 4/5/2010

disabilities reported
Disabilities Reported

Physical Mobility Disabilities, Psychiatric Disabilities, Mental Disabilities, Medical

Disabilities, Hearing Disabilities, Speech/Language Disabilities, Visual Disabilities,

Other (42 specific categories)

Learning Disabilities (146) Health impairments (62)

Attention Deficit Disorder (117) Chronic pain (59)

Difficulty with written language (111) Math difficulty (48)

Reading (89) Anxiety Disorder (44)

Psychological Disability (81) Mobility (33)

Special housing (78) Depression (32)

services for students with disabilities
Services for Students with Disabilities

Types of Accommodations

Types of Accommodations

Special housing (78)

Priority seating (75)

Quiet environment for testing (67)

Oral testing (61)

Interpreting and captioning (12)

(214 tests as of 4/5/2010 for spring)

  • Priority Registration (all)
  • Textbooks to CD (all)
  • Extended test time up to double time (335)
  • Extension of assignment due date (174)
  • Use of a note taker (168)
interpreting and captioning
Interpreting and Captioning

Interpreting for one student-currently

Captioning media for one student

Speech-to-text (real time captioning) for 12

Two full-time captionist and three part-time

23 classes captioned this semester

asperger s syndrome
Asperger’s Syndrome

“developmental disability on the Autism Spectrum that impacts a student’s social, cognitive, and behavioral abilities. The sensory and motor skills are also different than most students.” (Hans Asperger, 1944)

(29 students with Autism are registered with SDS. Most report having been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome)

asperger s syndrome1
Asperger’s Syndrome

6 Diagnostic Criteria

1. Lack of non-verbal expressiveness , associated with idiosyncratic facial expressions, gestures, prosody or posture; an inability to recognize socially important cues; or both

2. Difficulty in behaving according to socially accepted conventions, particularly when these conventions are implicit.

3. Lack of close peer relationships often, but not always, as a result of social advances being rebuffed by peers.

4. Unusual “special” interests which are narrow and private. The special interest may be idiosyncratic or pursued obsessively, or both. Special interests often involve collecting objects or memorizing facts.

5. Pragmatic abnormalities of speech.

6. Impression of clumsiness.

asperger s syndrome2
Asperger’s Syndrome

Additional Characteristics

Inflexibility and difficulty with change…a preference for a rigid

schedule and much prior planning.

Low self-esteem and self-concept: they are aware of their

difference and blame themselves rather than the disability.

Feelings of stress, loneliness and frustration at being unable

to predict outcomes may be expressed in socially inappropriate ways

advising students with disabilities1
Advising Students with Disabilities

Ask students “Is there is anything I need to know to help you be more successful in college.” (Can add a statement to the Advisor Course Syllabi)

Students may disclose that they are registered with SDS. Others may disclose that they had academic support in high school, but thought they could “figure out” college on their own.

Make appropriate referrals to SDS and other campus resources that will help the student.

Ask the students what their accommodations are if they are registered with SDS. This information can help in selecting courses and preparing a course schedule.

advising students with disabilities2
Advising Students with Disabilities

Emphasize the importance of accountability and communication. Getting Letters of Accommodation signed by course professors and returned to SDS is important to helping them get their needs met.

Talking with SDS staff and their professors to get accommodations met is vital to their success.

Encourage them to develop strong (and appropriate) self-advocacy skills.

Follow up all meetings with an email summarizing your discussion and all points of your meeting.

Avoid discussing the student’s issues anywhere other than in private.

advising considerations
Advising Considerations

Do they want on-campus or virtual class options? (may be

difficult for ADD, mobility issues, other health concerns)

Should they be full-time or part time? (sometimes a

reduced load may count as full time status.)

Scheduling: Do they (realistically) have enough time to get

to the next class? Consider testing process.

Do they have any transportation issues?

advising considerations1
Advising Considerations

Weather extremes may be problematic in getting to class.

Are there any medical issues that should be taken into consideration in scheduling classes? Possible attendance issues? Are 8:00 a.m. classes feasible? May need to schedule later in day (when possible).

Give careful consideration to course selection. Identify courses that they will enjoy. Consider aspects of course instruction and faculty that use Universally Designed Learning (Langford, Zakrajsek, & Rood).

Consider that time management skills may be difficult (Asperger’s Syndrome)

parents list of top best necessary accommodations
Parents list of “top best” necessary accommodations

Receiving extra time on exams.

Taking no more than 12 hours a semester.

Working with a study consultant.

Receiving tutors in necessary courses.

Having Note Takers

Finding a knowledgeable counselor/psychologist

Keeping in frequent touch with child.

Identifying an understanding/caring mentor (could be the advisor).

(Parents want others that will help advocate)

advisors make the difference
Advisors Make the Difference

Help students get services they need

Advise on personal and professional goals

Making recommendations regarding course scheduling (considering the student’s abilities)

Advocating for SWD when necessary

Working with SDS to provide the best service


Academic Support for Students with Disabilities, Suggestions for Faculty: Advising Students with Disabilities. (n.d.) Retrieved December 1, 2009, from

Clark, McClendon, L., Grant D. (n.d.) The Changing Face of College Students with Disabilities [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from New York University

Fort Hays State University: Advising Students with Disabilities[PowerPoint Slides].

Hemphill, Leslie, L. (n.d.) Advising Students with Disabilities, retrieved December 1, 2009 from

Hughes, J. (n.d.) Supporting College Students with Asperger Syndrome: Possible Strategies for Academic Advisors to Use. Retrieved December 1, 2009 from

Langford, Sara, Zakrajsek,T., and Rood, S. (n.d.) Teaching Students with Asperger Syndrome (and other disabilities) in the College Classroom, Creating an Inclusive Classroom. Central Michigan. Retrieved December 1, 2009 from