Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Fred J. Galloway, EdD; Robert Donmoyer, PhD; Bobbie J. Atkins, PhD


accommodations, Attention Deficit Disorder--ADD, college students, disability, disclosure, higher education, professors, qualitative quantitative, self-advocacy


Many college campuses are striving to recruit and retain a diverse student population, and one population making its presence known are students with disabilities. As a result of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, students with disabilities are ensured equal access to education through the removal of architectural barriers and the provision of reasonable accommodations. Despite the existence of these laws, however, many students with attention deficit disorder (ADD) choose not to request classroom accommodations from professors. Students choose not to disclose out of fear of having inaccurate labels placed on them, being accused of faking their disability to obtain an unfair advantage in school, and experiencing non-supportive classroom settings where professors appear cold toward students with disability needs. To help understand why some students choose to disclose while others do not, this study explored student comfort levels and self-advocacy skills in requesting classroom accommodations among students with ADD at a large public four-year university in the southwestern United States. Four specific research questions guided this investigation: (1) What has been the student's comfort level in sharing confidential information with faculty? (2) What is the student's knowledge about ADD and does it appear to be sufficient for the student to self-advocate for classroom accommodations? (3) Do students find the campus environment supportive in providing academic accommodations? (4) How does a student's comfort level, self-advocacy skills, and satisfaction with the campus environment, together with student demographics, influence disclosure? To answer these questions, this study applied both quantitative and qualitative research techniques to survey data collected from 97 students with ADD. The results of the analysis suggest that students with ADD disclose on a need-to-know basis; however before making the decision to disclose, students usually evaluate the classroom environment. Furthermore, students are not very familiar with Federal laws that ensure them reasonable accommodations, and not surprisingly, are not very effective in describing their ADD to professors. However, students have found professors fairly willing to provide classroom accommodations, even though they are only somewhat knowledgeable on disability issues.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access