/ Disability Services

Disability Support in College

Self advocacy: Know yourself. Know what you need. Know how to get it. 

There are significant differences between high school and college, including how you access disability-related supports. Understanding these differences will help you determine options and make choices about what is the best fit for you. If you have questions or would like to meet with us to discuss your individual needs, please email us

IN HIGH SCHOOL AT HOPE
Parents are advocates for their children.  YOU will be your best advocate. It will be your responsibility to share your learning and living needs with faculty and staff. We are here to support and assist you. 
The school identifies and evaluates students with disabilities. You will  need to identify yourself as a student needing accommodations for a disability. 
The school automatically incorporates accommodations into the student's daily schedule once a disability is documented.  You will need to register with our office each school year and request needed accommodations. Approved accommodations will be implemented in collaboration with the responsible campus party (faculty, housing, etc.). Each semester you will need to meet with professors to discuss your learning needs and share information regarding approved accommodations. We will be here to help, but ultimately you will be in the driver's seat.
The school modifies the educational programs as appropriate.  The college will make reasonable adjustments in instructional programs. These adjustments will not alter the essential content or requirements of a course or program.
Special classes and placement must be available for the students.  You must meet admission criteria for the college as well as specific classes, majors and programs. 
An IEP meeting is held to determine placement and appropriate services.  You will work with our office to determine what services may be appropriate. 
Confidentiality

We protect your right to privacy and confidentiality. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA, also known as the Buckley Amendment) guarantees your right to confidentiality of your student record and information. Any information collected and stored about a student is considered confidential. 

Confidential information can be released to others under the following circumstances:

  • Confidential information can be disclosed to Hope College faculty and staff who have a legitimate educational interest
  • Confidential information can be disclosed pursuant to a court order or subpoena
  • Confidential information is disclosed to the National Student Clearinghouse (for financial aid purposes only)
  • Confidential information can be disclosed to protect the safety of the student or the safety of others

In other circumstances, confidential information can be released to others only with the written consent of the student.

Documentation

The type of disability documentation and the process for determining reasonable accommodations may look differently for you than it does for another student. The more information we have, the better we can identify supports that may be helpful. Best Practice: Bring with you documentation that establishes history and that describes current (adult-based assessment) skills, abilities and functional limitations.

  • For disabilities that impact learning: Documentation should be dated within three years for students with ADHD and five years for students with learning disabilities, preceding your enrollment at Hope College. If you received accommodations in high school, or have had a professional evaluation done, documentation that is helpful may include copies of MET testing, Summary of Performance with test scores, psychological reports, neuropsychological testing or other psychoeducational testing.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder: If you are working with a licensed professional regarding your diagnosis (for therapy, medications, etc.), we completion of the Medical/Mental Health Verification form is helpful in understanding accommodation needs.
  • Chronic health (this includes allergies) and psychiatric diagnoses: Verification of the diagnosis and resulting functional limitations will be requested from a treating physician.
  • Deaf or hard of hearing: An audiogram is helpful if you are hearing impaired. Completion of the Medical/Mental Health Verification form may also be helpful to understand implications regarding academics, housing and campus accessibility.
  • Visual impairments: Documentation is helpful to verify the condition, severity and functional limitations. This can be accomplished with the completion of the Medical Verification form or provision of equivalent information on official letterhead by a medical professional with appropriate training and credentials (neuro-ophthalmologist, ophthalmologist, low vision specialist, etc.).
Your Role

YOU are the most important element of determining appropriate accommodations and on-campus supports.

  • Know your disability and how it impacts your daily life.
  • Choose to disclose your accommodations needs as a student with a disability.
  • Contact our staff when you have questions, concerns or support needs.
  • Have conversations with faculty and staff about your learning and living needs.
  • Seek guidance and support from appropriate campus resources. We are here to help you identify which supports might be helpful.