Advising Information

Advisor Information

In-class accommodations are not the only way to assist students with disabilities at College of Charleston. We recognize that many of our students rely on their academic and faculty advisors for guidance during their studies. Below are some useful advising tips for working with students with disabilities.

General Awareness

  • Students are not required to disclose disability information to their advisor; depending on their needs/comfort level they may or may not disclose information to you about their disability.
  • Expect students with disabilities to meet the same standards of performance; they are here because of their abilities.
  • Two people with the same disability can be impacted by it very differently.
  • Students with temporary injuries may also be eligible to receive temporary accommodations through the Center for Disability Services (CDS)/SNAP.

Best Practices

Questions to ask students experiencing academic issues:

“What specifically seems to be causing you the most difficulty (e.g., studying, exams, focusing in class, etc.)?”

Listen for specific behaviors that pose the greatest challenge for the student that are uncommon for most students. Sometimes students begin to recognize specific academic struggles as their norm and may go undiagnosed for years.

While the following statements are not definitive indicators of a disability, they could be a sign that something else is going on for this student:

  • It always takes me so much longer to finish my homework than my friends.
  • I have to read things several times and still don’t know what I’ve read.
  • I can’t take more than 9 credits and be successful.
  • I’ve always struggled in school.
  • I study for hours and know the information and then can’t show what I know on the test.
  • I never have enough time to finish my exam.
  • “Have you struggled with this in the past?”

    If no, ask follow-up questions to determine what has changed recently that may be impacting the student academically.
    If yes, ask about strategies they used in the past, and how they helped. Some students with disabilities learn strategies that help them overcome obstacles in the K-12 system, but they no longer produce the same results in college.
  • “Are you using any student support services/resources? What services/resources have you used?”

    If you are uncertain whether a student has a disability, mention CDS/SNAP along with the other campus resources like the Center for Student Learning, Center for Academic Performance and Persistence, and Counseling Center.

Students Using CDS/SNAP

If students list CDS/SNAP as one of the resources they use, or disclose that they have a disability, some useful questions are:

  • “Have you registered with CDS/SNAP for accommodations?”
  • “If you have been approved for specific classroom and/or testing accommodations, as identified on your Professor Notification Letter (PNL), are you using them in your classes this semester?”

Students are responsible for providing their PNL to their professor(s) each semester accommodations are needed. This should involve the student meeting with their professor as soon as possible during the semester to discuss their accommodation needs for that class.  

Students have the option of selecting what classes they would like to use eligible/approved accommodations in; they are not required to use approved accommodations.

Things to consider when developing a schedule

  • If the student’s disability impacts mobility: It may be difficult for students to have courses scheduled back-to-back because their disability may impact the ability to travel across campus quickly.
  • If the student’s disability impacts alertness or requires a student to take medication: If a medication affects a student’s ability to be alert during certain times in the day (e.g., in the morning) it may be helpful to take this into consideration during course scheduling.
  • If a student has a learning disability and/or AD/HD: The impacts of the disability may be lessened by the type of teaching style, course type, structure, and organization. If there are several different instructors teaching a course, it may be worth asking students if they have found a learning style that works best for them? Also, assisting students find balance in a course schedule can help make the semester more manageable. For example, a student with a reading disability may want to avoid taking several classes that require extensive reading and writing at the same time.

How do students register for accommodations with CDS/SNAP?

  • Students must submit an application for services along with their disability-related documentation.
  • CDS/SNAP Administrators review the application and disability-related documentation, and begins to determine appropriate accommodations.
  • When students are approved for services, they are sent an approval letter via their CofC email account. This letter entails what the student should do to receive classroom and testing accommodations established. Students are encouraged to meet with a CDS/SNAP Administrator to discuss potential classroom and testing accommodations. This meeting can also focus on potential assistive technology options, as well as identifying other campus resources.
  • Students are provided with their PNL. They are also provided with documents outlining the various services we provide (e.g. Alternative Testing Site). Unless the PNL is identified as temporary, students should provide this letter to their professor(s) each semester accommodations are needed.

Adapted from:  Oregon State University, Disability Access Services