Students Speak Out about Their Disabilities
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Students Speak Out about Their Disabilities

The following is a special needs program update from College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future. You may also click here to read the original article on the program’s website.

By Caitlyn Johnson, Academic Coordinator

The first few weeks of school have concluded and students are beginning to settle in. During the beginning of the semester, students begin to make decisions about disclosing their disabilities and advocating for themselves. In this article, the students at CLE Monterey offer advice for those moving forward in school, a job, or socially when it comes to self-advocacy.

How do you describe your disability to others?

Studying at CLE MontereyI don’t hide my disability but I am not forthcoming about it either. If something obvious happens then I explain it. If it does come up, I might say I have Asperger’s. For me, this means that I get more distracted, more energetic, social situations are not easier for me, and writing is not my strong suit. Once I tell someone this, they are more understanding and are better able to work with me.
– Andrew

I say I have ADHD. I have trouble focusing, I am hyper at times, and I get thrown off track easily. I also find areas where I can focus more on them than others people. I take tests outside the room, I try to work independently, and I use drawings or physical actions to solve problems.
­- Kierstin

Should you disclose to others that you have a disability?

I do it (disclose disability) to make sure the teachers are prepared to sign my request for accommodations form, and work with me to make sure I get whatever accommodations they can provide in the classroom. Sometimes they can provide additional accommodations depending on the subject. Most of the time it has paid off to share the information with the teachers as they are usually willing to work with me.
– David

When is the right time to tell someone about your disability?

Once you trust someone that is a good time to tell them about your disability, but if I feel someone won’t respect my privacy, I won’t disclose my disability. I would then tell them I have a learning disability called Asperger’s syndrome. I would want a professor to know that I might have a hard time communicating with other students in a group setting. Once I tell a professor about my disability, they become more understanding.
– Nick

Who would you recommend disclosing your disability to and why?

Self-advocating disabilitiesI would recommend disclosing your disability to an instructor if accommodations are needed. I’ve taken the accommodation forms to my instructor and said I have Asperger’s and I have an auditory processing disability. This means it’s difficult for me to listen and write at the same time. I can’t do both. A note-taker helps me with this process.
– Stephanie

I would recommend disclosing your disability to your teachers, to employers, friends that you trust. I would recommend not disclosing to people you don’t know very well.
– Andrew

I would recommend disclosing your disability to teachers, close family members, and some friends. I want them to understand that what I’m doing is completely normal to me even though it might not be to them. When I disclosed my disability to these people, they gave me support. I would recommend not disclosing your disability to classmates because sometimes they can’t understand a person with a disability.
– Meaghan

CLE Monterey students are looking forward to having a great semester filled with self-advocacy, great relationships with their professors, and a lot of fun along the way.

CLE has locations in:

  • Austin, Texas
  • Costa Mesa, California
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Monterey, California
  • Washington, D.C.

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