OPINION: Filing for accommodations is testing my patience


Hannah Renton

Door of the Office of Accessible Education taken on December 13, 2021.

I chose Loyola for many reasons — it’s in the city of New Orleans, the communications department, and the upbeat feeling I got while I was on the campus — but the main reason was because of the Office of Accessible Education.
I was diagnosed at a young age with dyslexia and ADHD and have had accommodations for them throughout my educational career. I began my process for a 504 plan as soon as I decided to go to Loyola in May of 2021. At first, they were very helpful in guiding me through the process. The woman I spoke to at first on the phone made me feel like it was going to be a smooth process. All I needed to do was send in two documents: my diagnosis and my high school 504 plan that stated all my prior accommodations.
But this was not the case.
By the end of May-early June, I contacted the OAE again just to double-check that I had the right documents to send in; they then informed me I would have to set up another meeting with a different counselor in the office.
This time they told me that I would need more documents than my old Individual Educational Plan, 504, and diagnosis papers. I would need my letter that confirmed that I had extra time on the SAT, meaning I had to contact the College Board.
During this process, I felt like they were trying to set me up to fail, but if you know me you would know that it takes a lot for something to get in the way and ruin what I want. It took me another two months to get everything together and sent over and by mid-August, I was able to get my accommodations.
Do you see the issue here? If it weren’t for my self-advocacy and determination, I probably would have just left it and struggled without my accommodations.
After getting my 504 plan from Loyola, I was able to send it to all my teachers. I was disappointed to see the lack of questions I had gotten after learning about my accommodations.
Out of the five professors I have this semester only one had reached out to me asking questions to better understand my disabilities and help me succeed in their classroom.
I know this is not the professor’s job to email and ask questions, but in order for students to succeed they need to feel like they are not just being accommodated for.
Students need to feel heard.