The Impact of Race and Socioeconomic Status on Access to Accommodations in Postsecondary Education
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In this paper, the author argues that even though individuals who grew up in poverty may experience more severe impairment associated with the behavioral characteristics of autism, they are less likely to receive a psychiatric diagnosis. Therefore, when colleges and require students with mental impairments to present evidence of a psychiatric diagnosis as a pre-requisite for access to accommodations, students who grew up in poverty are disproportionately prevented from accessing accommodations, which are required for them to compete on equal footing with their non-disabled peers. This in turn perpetuates a lack of educational attainment among individuals who grew up in poverty (disproportionately individuals from minority groups), leading to lower adult productivity and earning among these individuals. The paper examines federal policies and legislation underlying the provision of educational opportunities to all students (including students with disabilities).