Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities or health conditions, including mental health and chronic health.

Students jumping

Tips for Advising

Disability is an important aspect of diversity and can change through people’s lives, settings, cultures, and roles. According to 2015-2016 data from the National Center for Educational Statistics, approximately 19.4% of undergraduates and 11.9% of graduates nationwide identified with a disability. Disability is an essential aspect of diversity; and yet students with disabilities may encounter inequitable educational access. Advisors can support disabled students by assisting in navigating barriers, connecting them to resources, and creating more inclusive environments and experiences at the University.

What Advisors Need to Know:

  • Disabilities may or may not be immediately apparent; students may have multiple disabilities or health conditions.
  • Students use a range of language to name and describe their disabilities, and some do not identify as disabled. Use the same language the student uses to describe themselves — for example, a disabled person or person with a disability.
  • Disability is only one aspect of a student’s identity; disability often intersects with other aspects of a student’s identities. All students’ experiences are different.
  • Be aware that disability-related barriers and impacts can change over time and vary depending on the academic program or environment.
  • Health and disability may affect students’ courses in several ways including, but not limited to:
    • The time of day in which a student can take courses
    • The credit load that a student can sustain while maintaining their health. Students may benefit from taking a reduced credit load for a range of reasons, including for health or disability. Not all students who work with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) have a 13-credit exemption. 
    • A student may need to plan their schedule in advance for numerous reasons. For example the student may need to plan for:
      • Breaks between classes
      • Time to attend to health-related needs
      • Additional travel time
      • Avoiding classes at certain times of day
      • Time to coordinate additional accommodation services, such as document conversion or Access Assistants
  • Students with accommodations through the Disability Resource Center (DRC) are responsible for sharing their accommodation letter or communicating accommodation needs related to coursework. They may not always share their accommodation letter with their advisor, but advisors can ask if a student is comfortable sharing their letter as a means to better understand the kinds of barriers that affect their coursework.
  • Accommodations are just one aspect of support that may benefit a student. Another aspect of support is skills building. Important on-campus skill-building referrals include Boynton Mental Health, Student Counseling Services, Student Academic Success Services (SASS), and Student Writing Support.
  • Current information about the DRC and the accommodation process can be found on the DRC website and this PDF resource on information for students and student serving offices.

Making Referrals 

The Disability Resource Center facilitates access and accommodations for students who experience barriers in university environments related to health or disability. The DRC looks at the intersection of the barriers in the environment and the student’s experiences to explore accommodations, strategies, and supports to enhance equitable access. 

Advisors may share DRC contact information with students or make referrals through APLUS.

Contact information: