Best Resources for College Students with Disabilities

It might be tempting to think that disability and college don’t mix, but the truth is, as of 2012, around 10% of all graduating college students reported having some kind of disability. The truth is that all these students with different struggles found ways to overcome them and be just as successful as anyone else. The truth is that you too can be successful at college with any disability that might be holding you back. But it is good to know what resources are available to help you reach your educational goals. There are so many different kinds of resources that were made specifically to help you with your disability, and more are being created every day. So you might as well take advantage of them!

The resources below are organized by disability or disorder. Make sure you look through all of them because there are some resources that could be helpful for a wide range of disabilities. While these resources are sure to help you be successful and more independent at college, don’t forget that most schools will have advisors, counselors, and tutors that will also be helpful in giving advice or direction.

 

Hearing Impairment

Websites

  • Pepnet 2 has a multitude of resources for both students and business professionals alike who are either deaf or hard of hearing. Online resources include “quick classes,” training modules, webinars, Fast Facts, and even research briefs. There is have access to a network of successful people that can provide professional coaching and mentorship.

 

Software

  • Hangout Captions is a service provided by Google hangouts that transcribes what is said in real time during video chats. Communication with groups will be quicker and easier than ever.

 

Technology

  • 4AlarmClocks are perfect for the hearing impaired because these alarms vibrate and gently shake people awake. They can be bought in the form of a traditional alarm clock or a wristband. Early classes are no longer a problem.

 

Apps

  • With Z5 Mobile, there is no limit to who students can call. It allows for a video chat with friends and family, and also use video relay services to communicate with people and businesses using devices that don’t have video chat capabilities. **Available only to iOS users.
  • Skype is a free way to video chat anyone anywhere in the world. It is easy to download and use, so anyone can keep in touch with friends and family no matter which school they are attending.
  • AudioNote has an automatic audio amp that allows students to record lectures and play them back clearly for transcription or studying. This app is great for taking notes via stylus or keypad, and even taking pictures.

 

Visual Impairment

Websites

  • National Federation of the Blind provides resources for work, learning, and recreation to the visually impaired. They also award scholarships every year in order to recognize blind scholars and encourage those interested in higher education.

 

Software

  • SpeakIt! will read text on any webpage. All you have to do is highlight it.

 

Technology

  • The Smart Beetle allows students to connect remotely to up to 5 devices at a time using either a 14-cell Braille display, a QWERTY keyboard, or a variety of screen readers, including SuperNova, System Access, VoiceOver for Mac and iOS, Mobile Speak, and BrailleBack for Android.
  • The Eye-Pal is a lightweight scanner that can quickly convert printed material into speech, text files, or refreshable Braille. It can scan and download up to 20 pages a minute using a single keystroke.

 

Apps

  • Big Launcher makes everything on a phone larger and easier to see. It also simplifies the interface to make text more readable.

 

Physical Disabilities

Websites

  • The National Center on Accessible Educational Materials makes sure that those with physical disabilities are not only connected to helpful resources, but also educated about them. They provide information regarding a student’s rights in and outside of school.
  • PageFlip.com offers both mechanical and bluetooth page turners so students don’t need to use their hands to turn electronic and even print pages. Two easy-to-reach pedals (usually foot pedals) connect to the devices to make the make page turning simple.

 

Technology

  • This Gooseneck Mounting Kit allows students to mount a tablet or smartphone to either a table or wheelchair allowing anyone to take and use their devices all over campus.

 

Apps

  • Dexteria helps students practice and develop a variety of fine motor skills. **Available only to iOS users.
  • FrogPad turns a touchpad keyboard into a one-handed keyboard. With almost no practice, students can type quickly and accurately.

**Available only to iOS users.

 

Autism

Websites

  • AHEADD is a college support program dedicated to coaching and mentoring students with autism, dyslexia, and a variety of other disabilities. It connects students to one another, to professors, and to any and all campus resources that might be helpful in college.
  • Google Calendars is a great free tool that allows students to schedule each part of their day, then sync it calendar to a smartphone. There are alerts that can be turned on to remind students of scheduled classes, meeting, and assignments.

 

Software

  • Job Interview Training is a tool that simulates real job interviews using a real person and real interview questions. It will gives students feedback on their answers, and the difficulty can be increased to help students continue to improve.
  • With Dragon Dictation, students can speak to their devices and it writes out what is said in an instant. Dragon Dictation has a purchasable version that comes as software for a computer, or you download it as a free app for your phone.

 

Apps

  • Visual Steps is meant to help any student with ASD be independent. Using this app, students can create step-by-step video instructions that make processes and tasks more manageable.
  • AutiPlan gives students a schedule that uses pictograms as well as words that can be visualized at a glance. This will maximize both structure and predictability.

 

ADD/ADHD

Websites

  • Audible.com has hundreds of thousands of audiobooks and other digital reading materials for those that prefer to listen to, rather than read, the books assigned.
  • ADD Association College Resources provides students with a community that are empowering. Here students can find virtual peer groups and workshops, student success stories, and tools for success.

 

Software

  • Co:Writer Universal provides speech recognition technology, vocabulary support, and data collection so that students can write papers faster and easier.
  • Stay Focused is a Chrome add-on that helps students manage time by limiting access to distracting sites and encouraging timed breaks. Stay Focused is highly customizable with features that can be turned on and off.

 

Apps

  • Focus Gps’s “What’s Up?” feature helps students organize schedules and prioritize what needs to be done first. Schedules can be easily sent to a preselected mentor if life gets too complex or overwhelming.
  • Epic Win transforms organization into an RPG, complete with leveling capabilities and epic equipment. With this app, scheduling just might become fun—and even a bit addicting.

 

Dyslexia and Other Learning Disabilities

Websites

  • Loyal Books offers over 7,000 free audio books. These are all older books, so if students are assigned one of the classics, Loyal Books is almost sure to have it.
  • howjsay.com is a free talking dictionary of English pronunciation. Just type in a word and hover over it to hear how it is pronounced.

 

Software

  • ClaroRead is a text to speech software supported by the International Dyslexia Association. This reading and writing support tool also includes word prediction, spell check, and other functions to make writing easier.
  • My Study Life is free scheduling software that was created specifically for students. Schedule anything from classes and lectures, to exams and study groups, then sync the schedule to any device.

 

Apps

  • With MyScript Calculator, problems can be hand-written instead of typed. MyScript Calculator can calculate complex algebra and trigonometry, and if you mess up, it’s easy to edit.
  • Flashcards Deluxe is the ultimate flashcard app. Customize flashcards with any variety of words, numbers, and pictures that will be most helpful for different learning types.

**Available only to iOS users.

 

Depression/Anxiety

Websites

  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America is an excellent resource for general information about anxiety disorders and depression. It provides brochures, videos, links, and personal stories. Since college is a particularly stressful environment, they have several pages dedicated to helping college students take control of their lives.
  • Beyond OCD is a college student’s guide to OCD. Between its lengthy Q&A section and a plethora of resource links, it gives hope and understanding to any student that struggles with OCD.
  • LearnPsychology.org gives in-depth explanations of the different types of stress, and how they could be affecting overall health. By understanding stress, students can more easily find relief from anxiety and make plans to eliminate it from their lives.

 

Apps

**Only available to Mac users

  • Optimism is a mood chart app that allows students to manage depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. This app is helpful for understanding “triggers” to be able to better deal with them in the future.

**Only available to Mac users

  • BetterHelp – Counseling Online assesses a student’s needs and then matches them to one of their 350 therapists, who all have at least a master’s degree, accreditation, and hands-on experience. It might take some time to find the therapist that’s right for you, but once you do, you can communicate with them whenever you need them for as long as you need them.

**Only available to Android users

  • TalkLife makes sure that students don’t have to go through life’s struggles alone. Whether it is a struggle with depression, anxiety, thoughts of suicide, eating disorders, self-harm, or just school life, students can find people who can relate and give encouragement, advice, and support. There is no bullying or judgment allowed, and anonymous posting is available.

**Only available to Android users