Neurodiversity & Academic Accommodations
The University of Denver encourages all students to consider participation in study abroad.
Learning Differences Abroad
Differently-abled and neurodivergent students who are interested in studying abroad are encouraged to contact the Office of International Education (OIE), the Disabilities Services Program (DSP), and the Learning Effectiveness Program (LEP) early on in the process. Because U.S. laws and regulations related to disabilities generally do not extend beyond this country's borders, and because study abroad sites vary greatly regarding their capacity for and type of accommodations available, students should make use of all campus resources to research appropriate programs and services available abroad.
The OIE will work with students to identify study abroad opportunities which meet their individual needs. If you are eligible for accommodation(s), we suggest you incorporate consideration of the following into your program search:
Learning Effectiveness Program
Students who make use of the Learning Effectiveness Program (LEP) at DU are likewise encouraged to speak with their LEP counselor early on and throughout the pre-study abroad process about what type of programs may best suit their learning styles and individual needs. Once you have selected and been nominated for a particular program, your LEP counselor can also help you further think through potential academic challenges you may encounter within your new academic setting abroad and help you determine strategies to be successful.
Tips for Success
We offer these quick tips for students with learning differences going abroad:
- We strongly recommend that you complete a Student Success Plan for your time abroad
- Make sure to register with DSP at DU. Even if you do not use accommodations for which you are eligible at DU, you may find that you require them in a different academic setting.
- Start the process of selecting and applying for a study abroad program early on. We recommend you get started early on in Fall quarter a year before you are looking to study abroad. This will provide you ample time to consider and research different study abroad options, as well as to complete the various steps involved in the study abroad application process. Steps to Study Abroad provides an overview of the study abroad application process and is a good place to start.
- Discuss your needs with an OIE advisor so we can help guide your search.
- Disclose your needs and desired accommodations to your programs of interest early on. This will allow them time to let you know what accommodations are in fact possible at your desired study abroad program(s). If you do decide to wait until after formal acceptance to a program or your arrival on site to disclose your needs, you may find that the program is not able to provide you your preferred or necessary accommodations.
- Most programs require documented proof of disability. You should bring a full copy of your disabilities documentation with you to the program site, preferably emailing the program early on with official documentation.
- Remember that other cultures may provide disability access in a different way—learn about what types of accommodation are typically provided in your host country, and be flexible and open to different ways of accommodating your disability.
- Before you go, find out as much as you can about your host culture and how they view disabilities/learning differences by reading, talking to other students, and attending pre-departure orientation sessions. The more you know, the better prepared you will be for the interactions between your disability/learning difference(s) and the new environment.
- Think about how you will answer questions about your disability/ learning difference(s) in the language of your host country—look up key vocabulary words ahead of time.
For additional tips and resources for physical or other disabilities, see Diversity and Identity Abroad.