DeLee, B. (2015). Academic support services for college students with disabilities . Journal of Applied Learning Technology , 5 (3), 39–48.

Journal Article
DeLee, B. (2015). Academic support services for college students with disabilities. Journal of Applied Learning Technology, 5(3), 39–48.


no doi reported


Postsecondary; U.S. context




This expository literature review provides an overview of issues about accommodations and other support services for postsecondary students with disabilities; this summary emphasizes information relevant to providing accommodations during course examinations. Research reviewed addressed the accommodations request and selection process, and faculty members' perceptions about accommodations and disability issues.


This is a literature review of several studies, with at least ten bearing on the researcher's recommendations to U.S. postsecondary institutions about academic accommodations. These ten studies were published between 2009 and 2013. Participants included postsecondary students, faculty, and staff members.

Dependent Variable

This is a review of a variety of literature about the context and issues at the postsecondary level pertaining to academic supports for students with various disabilities. The review follows a qualitative and expository descriptive structure. As such, the primary relevance is to report on accommodations implementation practices for this population of students with disabilities.


The researcher introduced the concern about various approaches, including institution-specific guidelines, being followed for documenting disabilities and eligibility for accommodations, underlining that, rather than a singular standard document, various documents, including high school IEPs, have been used to substantiate disabilities and accommodation needs. Another point was noted about the hesitation of some postsecondary students with disabilities to self-disclose their disabilities and possible need for accommodations; many of these hesitant students were described in some research as being high-achievers at the secondary level, yet a substantial proportion of them were shown not to persist to completing their postsecondary programs. Additional research was described indicating that students' college success was associated with their proactively seeking supportive services, including those available at or through academic libraries, including online technologies. The researcher reviewed research emphasizing the importance of evaluating accommodations' benefits, noting that postsecondary institutions have shifted toward student-centered perspectives valuing "assistive reading and listening technologies" (p. 45) and exam accommodations, decreasing reported needs for such resources as recorded lectures. The researcher noted findings pertaining to the changing approaches to communicating with students needing accommodations. Reviewing faculty perspectives research, the author pointed out that knowledge of issues and available resources continue to lag for postsecondary educators, and pointed toward research detailing institutional structures countering these limitations. The author also advocated for the potential for institutional resources to be well-directed to assistive technologies, such as text-to-speech software, beneficial to students with various disabilities and needs, whether cognitive, physical, or sensory in nature. Research findings on the value of universal design for learning (UDL), including the proactive development of course materials in various formats for a variety of students, were also elucidated.