Using a critical interpretive framework, the authors utilized semi-structured interviews to understand the experiences and perceptions of two college students living with disability concerning their use of accommodations, modifications, and adaptations in program requirements, classroom instruction, and testing. The central research questions were: “Are accommodations perceived as effective in supporting students with disabilities in their academic and social pursuits? Do students perceive that accommodations allow them maximum engagement and participation in their educational experiences?” and “To what extent are accommodations perceived by the participants as leveling the playing field for students with disabilities?” And, finally, “What do the participants perceive as the biggest obstacles to success for students with disabilities?” An understanding of the participants’ perceptions will enhance the overall awareness and appreciation for the experiences of students living with disability and will have direct implications for faculty-student interactions, student-to-student interactions as well as larger interactions within society.


College Students With Disabilities, Accommodations, Academic Success, Qualitative Research

Author Bio(s)

Lorna C. Timmerman, Ed.D., Adult, Higher and Community Education, Ball State University. Lorna's dissertation explored how self-determination among incoming college students affects behaviors related to retention and success. Research and teaching interests include self-determination, transition to adult life, teacher education and special education, best practices for teaching, and assessment of student learning and engagement. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Lorna C. Timmerman, Department of Special Education, Ball State University; Email: lctimmerman@bsu.edu.

Thalia M. Mulvihill, Ph.D., Professor of Social Foundations and Higher Education at Ball State University. Her research and teaching interests include qualitative research methods, innovative pedagogies, and the history/sociology of higher education. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Thalia M. Mulvihill at tmulvihi@bsu.edu.

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