Abreu, M., Hiller, A., Frye, A., & Goldstein, J. (2016). Student experiences utilizing disability support service in a university setting . College Student Journal , 50 (3), 323–328. https://www.projectinnovation.com/college-student-journal.html

Journal Article

Abreu, M., Hiller, A., Frye, A., & Goldstein, J. (2016). Student experiences utilizing disability support service in a university setting. College Student Journal, 50(3), 323–328. https://www.projectinnovation.com/college-student-journal.html


Accommodation/s not specified; Attention problem; Autism; Emotional/Behavioral disability; Learning disabilities; Physical disability; Postsecondary; U.S. context





Accommodations were not specified in advance of this inquiry; the experiences that postsecondary students with disabilities had with academic accommodations overall and their perceived usefulness were explored. Specific accommodations were mentioned in the Findings section.


A total of 93 postsecondary students with disabilities who registered with the disability services office at their university in Massachusetts (U.S.) responded to a student survey. Demographic information such as ages (18–30) and gender (57% male, 43% female students) was reported. Students' cumulative grade point averages (GPA) averaged 2.96. On average, respondents had attended their university for 2.87 years. Participants' disabilities included attention problems (ADHD; 36%), learning disabilities/dyslexia (34%), physical impairments (11%), autism or nonverbal learning disabilities (9%), and mental health conditions including anxiety (9%).

Dependent Variable

In addition to information on their demographic and other characteristics, the student survey collected respondents' perceptions of the usefulness of their academic accommodations, how often they visited disability services offices and reasons for these visits, ways that disability services had supported their academic career, and respondents' recommendations for the disability services office. The relationship between the number of times students visited disability services offices and their cumulative grade point averages (GPAs) was analyzed.


Participants identified extended time, reduced distraction environments, and taping lectures as the most helpful accommodations they received. The average number of visits to SDS was 4.7 times each semester. The primary reason for these visits was to secure accommodations, access support for time management, get advice, ask questions, and ask for support with faculty or department intervention. A statistically significant positive relationship was found between disability services office visit frequency per semester and grade point average (GPA). Participants identified the benefits of visiting the disability services office: securing accommodations each semester, academic support, and social/emotional support. No apparent relationship was found between perceived usefulness of accommodations and the number of visits to their disability services office, and no apparent patterns were identified in perceived usefulness scores and self-reported disability types.