Disclosing accommodation needs: exploring experiences of higher education students with disabilities
International Journal of Inclusive Education
Despite increased access, students with disabilities in higher education face barriers and report greater dissatisfaction than peers without disabilities [Mullins and Preyde 2013; Strnadová, Hájková, and Květoňová 2015]. Many U.S. institutions require students to present faculty with documentation prior to receiving academic accommodations; qualitative research indicates that this process of disclosing and requesting accommodations is uncomfortable. The current study sought to identify specific areas of discomfort associated with the accommodation request process and to identify individual differences related to apparentness of condition. One-hundred and fifty-five students from 2 universities responded to a survey addressing disclosing, requesting and using accommodations. Survey results indicated that participants lacked opportunities to privately disclose to faculty and revealed a significant relationship between lack of private disclosure opportunities and increased discomfort. Participants also reported discomfort and disrespectful treatment when disclosing to peers, echoing previous research and underscoring the need for private disclosure opportunities. Students with mental health related nonapparent disabilities reported significantly higher discomfort when disclosing and more negative peer interactions than students with apparent conditions or nonapparent learning difficulties. Findings highlight barriers present in systems that require students to present accommodation documentation and emphasise the role of peers in fostering inclusive environments.
California State University
Sara A. Smith, Erin Woodhead, and Christina Chin-Newman. "Disclosing accommodation needs: exploring experiences of higher education students with disabilities" International Journal of Inclusive Education (2021): 1358-1374. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2019.1610087