According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 4 American adults are currently living with a disability, so it makes sense that Appalachian State University would have an entire office dedicated to helping students with disabilities navigate the college experience. The Office of Disability Resources (ODR) can assist students in advocating for themselves with professors as well as providing students with university-official documentation which allows for students to have things like extra time when taking an exam or more time to navigate campus between class without being marked as tardy. During my time at Appalachian, ODR has helped me in multiple instances like assigning me to a more accessible dorm room and providing documentation to my professors for special classroom considerations.
In order to have accommodations, there are a series of steps that you must take in order to receive them from the university. First, you must submit a Disability Disclosure Form to the Office of Disability Resources. This is a straightforward form which can be filled out by the individual needing accommodations. You may also need documentation from a physician or from someone else whom is administering care directly tied to your disability (such as a letter from a psychiatrist, if you are seeing someone for ADHD). Once all of your materials have been submitted, ODR will send you an email receipt verifying that they have everything needed in order to evaluate your needs. Once ODR determines your needs and how the university can help you with them, they will reach out again via email to tell you what they plan on doing. You may then be asked to schedule a meeting with an ODR staff member so that you may discuss next steps in-person. Finally, you will be asked to share your accommodation plan with your professors. Sometimes ODR may find that there isn’t anything they can do for you in a specific instance. However, in my experience, just letting your professors know that you have contacted ODR carries some weight and give legitimacy to your needs.
Did you know that if you are visiting Appalachian for a campus tour, you are able to request accommodations such as a sign language interpreter? If you look under the “Visitor Procedure” section on this page, you can look more in-depth on how to go about doing this.
I have always found the staff at ODR to be extremely helpful, knowledgeable, and fast to respond to my emails. There are currently five full-time staff members at ODR in addition to two graduate assistants. The Office of Disability Resources is located on the ground floor of Anne Belk Hall in suite 112 and their email is firstname.lastname@example.org.