Transitioning to College for Students with Disabilities

Everyone knows that the thought of becoming a college freshman sends chills down any prospective student’s spine. Add a disability to the mix and it becomes the makings of a true horror story. College life as a student with a disability is daunting at first, but there are resources for these students.

How do I know what it’s like to be a student with a disability?

Well, I AM one.

I was diagnosed with a retinal degenerative disease called Stargardt disease when I was 12. This disease took my central vision, the portion that helps see details such as faces and words on chalkboards and computer screens. I struggled through middle school and high school as best I could with no extra help from anyone. When I started college I didn’t know where to go for help, and I dropped out after my first year. When I decided to take another shot at college, someone told me about UNF’s Disability Resource Center, a valuable resource for any student with disabilities.

The Disability Resource Center assists students with, but not limited to, the following conditions:

  • Learning Disabilities (for example: reading, writing, math, memory, or processing disabilities)
  • ADHD and ADD
  • Physical Disabilities
  • Medical Disabilities
  • Traumatic Head Injury
  • Blind or Low Vision
  • Deaf or Hard of Hearing
  • Speech Disabilities
  • Psychological or Emotional Disabilities
  • Other Diagnosed Disabilities
  • (List courtesy of the Disability Resource Center homepage)

If you are a student with a disability, you can ask for accommodations you might need. Accommodations provided include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Note Taker
  • Extended Time for Exams
  • Magnifiers
  • Interpreters
  • Assistive Technology
  • Assistive Listening Devices
  • Tape Recorder
  • Reader
  • Flexible Attendance

The Disability Resource Center will hold a FREE seminar called “Making Your Transition to College” Friday, June 22, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. This seminar will cover applying for colleges, providing documentation to college disability offices, requesting services and accommodations, and much more. This will be a great opportunity for students with disabilities to learn more about making the transition to college. The seminar will be held at the University of North Florida, College of Education and Human Services, Building 57 Room 1100B. Register for the seminar online by June 18 at https://survey.unf.edu/survey/se.ashx?s=5A1E27D20DEA32F7.

The Disability Resource Center relocated to a new wing of the College of Education and Human Services building in August 2011. This new location provides the Disability Resource Center with more room to accommodate more students.

If you wish to register with the Disability Resource Center at UNF, visit http://www.unf.edu/drc/Register_with_the_DRC.aspx for a short 5-step list of instructions.

For any questions about the Disability Resource Center, call (904) 620-2769, email drcexams@unf.edu, or visit their website at http://www.unf.edu/drc/.

By Adriann Keve
Photos by Adriann Keve

Photo by Adriann Keve
Photo by Adriann Keve

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