By now, you’re probably familiar with the college admissions scandal, where high-profile celebrities bribed others to get their children into elite schools. As a result of this scandal, there’s now a lot of scrutiny over children who claim they need accommodations at school or for standardized testing. While ensuring fairness in higher education is important, this increased scrutiny could make things more complicated for those students who truly have learning disorders and need accommodations to facilitate success. According to lawyer and disability activist Matthew Cortland, “There are already too many hoops and hurdles disabled students must navigate in order to vindicate their civil right to higher education. My fear is that these celebrity fraudsters will incite a crackdown on accommodations. Schools and testing companies will make it even more burdensome for disabled students to get the accommodations that allow them to realize their civil right to access higher education.”
If your children are preparing to either go to college or begin the application process, there are a few steps you can take to ensure they still receive the accommodations they legitimately need:
- Document.Keep physical evidence that demonstrates the differences between your children’s academic performance when they have accommodations versus when they don’t. Keep old tests, essays, and report cards, as they illustrate clear, tangible shifts in your children’s performance.
- Testimonials.Teachers, tutors, and therapists (the three T’s!) have unique insight into your children’s strengths and weaknesses, which make them an excellent resource to write letters on behalf of your children advocating that they receive accommodations in college.
- Professional Testing. Many standardized tests require that children undergo neuropsychological testing that is no older than three years by the time your children take the SAT or ACT, so keep that in mind as you begin saving for your children’s college funds. Getting an updated evaluation gives your children a better chance of using accommodations not only on the exams, but for when they go to college as well.
This college admissions scandal has the possibility of making it more difficult for students to navigate the accommodations process, so it’s important that you and your children remain vigilant about tracking their academic performance and advocating for needed assistance.