Will the DSS staff have expertise in every student's disability?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

Will the DSS staff have expertise in every student's disability?

Jane McClure
Partner McClure, Mailory & Baron Educational Counseling

Will the DSS staff have expertise in every student's disability?

Here is my video response to the question.

Christina Reynolds
Guidance Counselor

DSS expertise

More than likely the DSS staff will not be experts on all the possible student disabilities. The best way to know if the office is knowledgeable about a specific disability is to ask. If the office is not familiar with the disability they have the resources available to find out information about it. They may also ask you to submit information about it to make them more familiar.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

Expertise

DSS staff will not necessarily understand every disability. It depends entirely on the college and what services they do offer. Make sure that there is staff in the DSS office that understands YOUR difference.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

Will the DSS staff have expertise in every student's disability?

Given that disability support is mandated by law there should certainly be a basic familiarity with the full range of disabilities that students might bring to the school. Obviously some will be more common than others, but if it is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, then the school must respond. At the same time, given the range there always will be variations and students should be sure to familiarize themselves with a school’s approach and procedures before committing to attend. It is too important to not be fully aware of how the process operates before you commit to attending.

Donovan Blake
Lead Consultant Griffin Blake Educational Consulting

Will the DSS staff have expertise in every student's disability?

They will be well versed in most of the common learning disabilities. If you have an uncommon physical disability, you may have to education the DSS staff so that they can better serve you. I had a client who had an orthopedic impairment and we made a video to show the DSS staff who to accommodate her. In the end she chose to attend Bucknell and she is doing very well.

Pamela Hampton-Garland
Owner Scholar Bound

Will the DSS staff have expertise in every student's disability?

DAS (Disability Access Supervisor) is experienced in what ADA requires for students who attend their institutions with disabilities, thus they will be able to provide quality guidance.

Allen Regar

Will the DSS staff have expertise in every student's disability?

Absolutely not, nor is it the DSS staff's responsibility to do so. Granted, there are more frequent disabilities that the DSS staff sees, such as AD/HD, autism spectrum disorders, reading disorders such as dyslexia, and emotional disorders such as anxiety or depression. They will certainly have more knowledge of these disabilities. However, there are hundreds if not thousands of disabilities that can have an effect on a student's academic functioning, and the DSS staff does not have to be an expert on them to work with the student in a constructive manner. Once a student with a disability has been accepted to college (and possibly before), it is imperative that he or she be a strong self-advocate about what is needed to achieve academic success. Meeting with the DSS staff members to discuss your disability (to educate them) is essential, as well as spending time working out what interventions or accommodations will be necessary during your college experience. Remember that students in college are responsible for speaking up for their needs, regardless of what they are. Open communication with the Disability Support Services staff is a great way to lay the groundwork for a enjoyable, positive educational experience.

Mary Mariani

Will the DSS staff have expertise in every student's disability?

Not necessarily, but the staff should have resources available to assist its members to help the incoming students. But again, it is important for the student to know what he/she needs. Students with disabilities need to be pro-active. He/she needs to know what is needed for him/her to be successful. By the time college education is the issue, the student and parents should have a good idea as to the type of accommodations that need to be provided.

Eileen Ed.D.
Associate Director Educational Directions, Inc.

Will the DSS staff have expertise in every student's disability?

Staff at a college are no different from other teachers. Some have their areas of expertise even though they have a broad overview of other areas. That is why it is essential to know what you are looking for in a college, and what you need! Most staff have specific roles, so find out what is offered at the colleges you like, and how many people are available for those particular services. The number of students each staff member is attending is also important, so make sure the staff at the colleges in which you are interested are not carrying caseloads in excess of 100 students. If you need individual care, you want to make sure that caseloads for your particular learning needs are manageable, so that your needs can be met.

Karen Ekman-Baur
Director of College Counseling Leysin American School

Will the DSS staff have expertise in every student's disability?

While the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990, guarantees that all U.S. colleges/universities provide some level of services/accommodations for students with disabilities, some institutions have taken this requirement further, offering comprehensive programs supporting learning and/or physically disabled students. Because of the range of disabilities which can exist, not every Disabled Student Services staff can be expected to have expertise in every disability. When researching colleges, one of the very first things a student with a disability should do is investigate the type and level of services offered at the schools in which he/she is interested. Make contact with the disabilities services departments of those schools to gain more insight into the expertise of their staffs and their offerings in the area of your disability.