I chose Loyola for many reasons – it’s in the city of New Orleans, the communications department, and the sense of optimism I had while on campus – but the main reason was because of the Accessible Education Office.
I was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD at a young age and have had accommodations for them throughout my educational career. I started my process for a 504 plan as soon as I decided to go to Loyola in May 2021. At first they were very helpful in guiding me through the process. The woman I spoke to at the start on the phone made me feel that the process would go smoothly. All I had to do was send in two documents: my diagnosis and my 504 high school plan that showed all of my previous accommodations.
But that was not the case.
At the end of May-beginning of June, I contacted the OAE again just to check that I had the correct documents to send; they then informed me that I had to arrange another meeting with another adviser from the office.
This time, they told me that I would need more documents than my old Individual Education Plan, 504, and diagnostic papers. I would need my letter confirming that I have extra time for the SAT which means I need to contact the College Board.
During this process it felt like they were trying to set me up for failure, but if you know me you know it takes a lot for something to get in my way and ruin what I want. . It took me another two months to put everything together and send and in mid-August I was able to secure my accommodation.
Do you see the problem here? If it hadn’t been for my self-advocacy and determination, I probably would have just given up on it and struggled without my accommodations.
After I received my 504 plan from Loyola, I was able to send it to all of my teachers. I was disappointed to see the lack of questions I had received after viewing my accommodations.
Of the five teachers I have this semester, only one contacted me with questions to better understand my disabilities and help me succeed in their class.
I know it’s not the teacher’s job to email and ask questions, but for students to be successful they need to feel like they’re not just being accommodated.
Students need to feel heard.