I recently graduated from college and as a wheelchair user I have learned a few things along the way that might help out those who are wheelchair bound and heading to college in the near future. I learned some things the hard way and should have listened more, but eventually I got it and learned many lessons along the way. I hope you find them useful too, especially if you have a disability like I do.
College is exciting, so much to experience, people from all walks of life, but you also get a chance to learn academically and practically. Both aspects of learning are important and both should be pursued equally. If you just dive into your book studies, you will miss a great opportunity to learn that you will probably never get again. I got the opportunity to interact with people from all over the world, from Ghana, to Russia to Korea. Seeing our society through their eyes and learning about their culture was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had and probably won’t get again.
There is no Special Ed. in college
If you have a disability or not, everyone goes to the same classes, no exceptions. You could be in a large lecture hall with hundreds of students in one class and in a small room with just a few students in another class. You have to plan according to make your schedule work. Get to class early if you need to be at the front.
Talk to the Administration Office about your needs
The classroom itself might level the playing field, but you should be aware that the college has to follow rules to ensure that you have a college life that is fully accessible. They cannot ask about your disability on the entrance forms, however you can freely discuss it in the About Me section. Disclosing your disability should not affect your acceptance, most emphasis will be placed on your academic record. The college has to make certain accommodations available to you at no cost to you.
Talk to your Disability Support Services (DSS) office
Your go to place for anything you require is the DSS office. Note the DSS office might have different names of different campuses like the Office of Accessibility, Disabled Student Services, Access Services etc. Be sure to familiarize yourself with this office as it is a great resource.