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Accessible College: Tips For Transitioning To College As Student With Mobility Impairment

Curated by
Whitney Bailey
Content via Accessible College
Accessible College
Curated by
Whitney Bailey

Accessible College has a mission to “provide students with physical disabilities and health conditions and their families with supports to ensure a successful transition to and through higher education.” 

A new semester is quickly approaching. Accessible College gives tips below on transitioning to college with a mobility impairment such as housing accommodations, personal care attendants, and emergency evacuations.

two students (one in wheelchair)

“When students with mobility impairments transition to college, there is a lot to consider beyond academic accommodations and campus accessibility.”

Housing Accommodations 

“If a student with a mobility impairment plans to live on campus, the student will need to request an ADA accessible residence hall. To do that, the student should contact the Disability Support Office (DSO) and follow the process to request a housing accommodation,” says Annie Tulkin, founder of Accessible College. 

Annie writes that first students need to consider their needs by making an outline of each aspect of their daily needs and consider the modifications that they may have in their own home. She states, “For example, blue push buttons will be common feature for entry doors. In the college setting, they typically require students to first swipe their ID card and then push the button to get into the residence hall. If a student lacks the hand mobility to be able to swipe a card, they will need to work with the DSO to ask for an alternative such as a key FOB, clicker, or sensor.”

Personal Care Attendants 

“Because universities do not cover the cost of the PCA, families will need to consider their options, which might include: private pay, medicaid, or a friend/family member acting as the PCA,” says Annie. She advises for students that need personal care attendants to make an outline of their daily routine and include all of the areas the student requires help within a 24 hour period. “Consider every aspect when a student needs assistance, from getting out of bed, to doing laundry, to night time physical adjustments, to buttoning a shirt,” she writes.

Emergency Evacuation

Annie states, “Many times, emergency evacuation is a secondary concern. However, for students with (mobility impairments) it takes time, effort and planning to ensure that they are safely able to evacuate. It requires upfront consideration.” She advises having a conversation with the Disability Services Office and Campus Police about evacuation needs. The discussion should include all areas of campus. Make sure to ask about the university’s process and protocols for evacuating students who use wheelchairs. “It’s a good idea to carry a card with information, allergies, medications, and emergency contact info. Most phones also have a medical ID feature where this information can be stored,” writes Annie. 

Do you have advice for someone who is making the transition to college? Share your story with us at!

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Accessible College: Tips For Transitioning To College As Student With Mobility Impairment | AbleThrive


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