Ask Questions During College Visits about Assistive Technology Services

Amanda Morin, writing for  Understood,  prepared a helpful checklist discussing assistive technology (AT). Morin says that high school students who used  AT during high school, should  ask questions  during college visits about what AT services are available on campus.  Morin’s list of questions is reproduced below.

Assistive Technology Policies

  • What’s the name of the office of disability support services at this college?
  • Is a specific person responsible for dealing with AT for students with issues like mine?
  • What’s required to be eligible for AT accommodations at this college?
  • What documentation do you need and when? Who should get it?
  • Will I need to describe how AT devices have aided me in the past?
  • Will you need me to provide an explanation of how AT will help me complete required coursework at college?
  • Does approval to use AT resources require reauthorization? How often?
  • Who on campus can help me figure out what AT tools I qualify to use? How quickly can I expect to get them?
  • Does this college allow use of AT tools for exams?
  • If so, do students need to take exams in an AT lab or other setting, or can the exams be taken in the classroom?
  • Would I need to make special proctoring arrangements for exams that are taken with AT assistance?
  • Will the office of disability services make or help make those arrangements for me?
  • Will the college make print materials available to me in electronic format, audio tape, or large print?
  • If I use screen-reading software, is the college web content compatible with my software? (For example, course registration software, library databases, class discussion boards and notes.)
  • How do I let my professors know about my AT accommodations?
  • Who should my professors talk to if they have questions?
  • Who coordinates AT accommodations (during lectures, while doing assignments, and taking tests) between the professor and the disability office?

Access to Assistive Technology

  • Are there accessible computer stations and AT devices in areas on campus other than the AT labs (such as in dorms or libraries)?
  • Will I be able to borrow equipment from an AT lab on campus?
  • How many AT labs are there?
  • Are AT tools available 24 hours a day and on weekends?
  • Do students need to sign up for time slots in advance?
  • What specific resources do AT labs on campus provide? (Make sure to ask specifically about what you need and software that is compatible with your devices.)
  • What type of training is provided for certain AT tools?
  • Are manuals or online tutorials available?
  • If I want to ask questions of other students who are using AT tools, will somebody be able to put me in touch?
  • Does the school maintain, update and repair its AT equipment regularly?
  • If something goes wrong, how quickly is it fixed?
  • Will the college order and pay for AT devices that I need that are not already available?
  • Who can help me if I have a problem accessing school-related information and materials?

Amanda Morin is a  former teacher and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education. The original of this post may be found at Checklist: What to Ask Colleges About Assistive Technology

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About WINAHEAD

WINAHEAD is made up of representatives from twenty-nine institutions. Our members are professionals employed by two- and four-year colleges and universities who work directly with students with disabilities to ensure equal access to higher education. WIN indicates the geographic area we represent: Western Iowa and Nebraska. AHEAD is our national parent organization, the Association on Higher Education and Disability.
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