Over 35% of the freshmen in 1996 who reported having a disability were purported to have a learning disability -- an increase from 24.9% in 1991 (HEATH Resource Center, 1998).
The growth in the number of students with learning disabilities has created a new challenge to professors and colleges.
The greater demand for accommodation can be attributed primarily to the fact that many current college students received either an Individualized Education Program (IEP; as is required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990; IDEA) or a service plan (as is required by Section 504) while in elementary and secondary schools, and have become increasingly aware of their rights to accommodation while in higher education.
Over the years, there has been considerable resistance by professors to alter the way they instruct, particularly if such alteration were to accommodate a student with a mental, as compared to a physical, disability. Department of Justice (DOJ) Opinion Letter, 9 National Disability Law Reporter 315 (DOJ 1996).
Many professors prefer that all students meet the same set of requirements, within the same time period (see, e.g., Morse v. De Paul University, 4 National Disability Law Reporter 157 (Office for Civil Rights 1993).
That figure represents over 9% of all freshmen (HEATH Resource Center, 1998), as compared with only 2.6% in 1978 (HEATH Resource Center, 1995).
Although the process has been slow, colleges and universities (hereafter referred to as 11 colleges") have made their programs more and more accessible, sometimes in good faith, sometimes due to coercion by federal agencies and courts.
The diagnosis of Aspergers and classroom accommodations must go hand in hand if the child is to be successful in the academic environment.
In many cases, children with Aspergers have above average intelligence, although this ability is often overlooked at first.
Often, they excel in certain subject areas, but their peculiar behavior sometimes supersedes their accomplishments within the classroom.
Because the occurrence of autism is seemingly on the rise, educators must be aware of the abilities and limitations of children diagnosed with Aspergers, and classroom accommodations must be considered and provided.
Only modest progress was made between 1973 (the passage of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act) and 1990 (the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act; ADA); however, once the ADA was passed and amended and regulations were promulgated, institutions that had made little or no progress in making their buildings and programs accessible increased their efforts.