My daughter has ADHD and is a junior in college. There is a course requirement she must meet to graduate and so far she's failed the course three times. Is there any way she can get a waiver for this requirement so she can graduate?
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Colleges and universities usually follow Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under these laws, if a person has a documented disability that limits a major life activity, such as learning, they may request reasonable accommodations from the school. In some cases the waiver of a required course, substitution of alternative classes, or a modification of the required classes may be seen as reasonable accommodation. Whether the waiver will be allowed will be based on the student providing strong clinical documentation of why their disability prevents them from meeting that requirement and why the waiver is needed. Once the need is proven, the institution will decide whether the waiver is reasonable, is an undue burden on the school, or changes the emphasis of the school's program. For example, it wouldn't make sense to waive a math requirement at a technical school (or in a major) where math is a key subject, but it might be reasonable at a school (or in a major) that specialized in theatre or music. The courts and federal agencies approach these situations on a case by case basis, so if a student is having these sorts of problems, they should contact the school's disability services office. If that is unsuccessful, they may need to consult with a knowledgeable disability rights/special education advocate or attorney. See We need an educational advocate. What are our options? for tips on locating an advocate or attorney. For general information on the legal rights of individuals in higher education, see What We Know 14: Legal Rights: Higher Education and the Workplace.
Published: June, 2014