Letter to the Editor | UI disability services fails to meet students’ needs

The+Disability+Resources+%26+Education+Services+building+on+Friday.

Angel Saldivar

The Disability Resources & Education Services building on Friday.

By Rowyn Kruiswyk

The University of Illinois provides services to students with disabilities through its Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services

DRES can offer many forms of accommodations to students with physical and/or mental disabilities. However, while DRES widely advertises its services, attaining these services seems near impossible for students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. 

The four-month-plus waiting list for a DRES assessment is the first significant barrier to services for all students regardless of disability. This means a student may go almost an entire semester with no accommodations. 

The second barrier to services that directly impacts people with ADHD is a more rigorous pre-assessment process in order to be considered for a DRES assessment. DRES recently updated its website, and the site is currently missing all assessment information related to ADHD and other mental health disorders. The Counseling Center at the University might reduce the assessment barrier, but it currently does not offer ADHD assessments to students.

The third barrier is the documentation required by students with ADHD. DRES requires such extensive documentation, much of which students may not have access to or may have to spend time and money on in order to obtain. This puts all the work on the students to obtain a service that claims to increase accessibility and meet the needs of students.

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If DRES is supposed to meet the needs of students, then why does it put all the work on students who are already in need? Why are we taking away resources from students, especially students of low income who may not have access to such services elsewhere? 

Why are we making it more difficult for students to access the services they need? Why is the University making services and resources less and less accessible? 

DRES is a resource that could be vital for students with ADHD, and the barriers to accessing its services are a failure on the University’s part.

 

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