Disability Resources in the Community

A blind man sits near a flower-filled landscape.
Whether you want to ride public transportation, get your equipment repaired, or try adaptive sports, find what you need in your host community.

Requesting Accommodations

  • Think carefully about your disability-related needs and what you will need for your exchange program to be accessible to you, if anything. If you think you might need disability accommodations, talk to the program coordinator soon after you have been accepted and allow for plenty of time to plan.
  • In order to receive accommodations, your program may require you to provide documentation/proof of your disability-related needs, fill out a medical form, or other procedures. Otherwise, they may just talk to you informally to learn your needs.
  • When describing your disability-related needs, be specific. Filling out our detailed disability accommodation request form can be helpful for you and your program coordinator to think about different situations in which you may need accommodations, and how you will accomplish those tasks in the United States.
  • Be flexible. You might use different kinds of accommodations or assistive technology in the U.S. than you use in your country. The types of assistance you receive from your friends and family at home will likely be performed by professionals or through assistive technology. You may find public accommodations like ramps and Braille signage make life more independent in the U.S. too!

Funding Personal Disability Needs

  • Personal disability needs such as a hearing aid or a personal assistant are usually considered the responsibility of the individual with the disability, not that of the exchange program. However, many exchange programs are willing to fund these requests in order for you to be successful on the program. They understand that you may not have access to the same resources for funding this equipment or services.
  • Equipment, training, or services that are not provided by your exchange program may be available at no or low-cost through your host community’s disability organizations, faith-based organizations, foundations, or government agencies. Note that non-U.S. citizens are not be eligible for some government benefit programs.

Services Available to Non-U.S. Citizens

  • You likely need to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in order to receive some government-funded services related to disability.
  • Private or religious foundations and non-governmental organizations typically provide services regardless of citizenship, such as Lions Clubs, Lighthoue for the Blind, Shriner's hospitals, or gently used equipment at thrift stores.
  • Emergency Medicaid is available regardless of immigration status if you meet the low-income requirements.
  • Students on a visa who can get a Social Security number to work on campus can use this number to receive services at an independent living center or other community organization.
  • If you can legally work in the United States and have a disability, you may be eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation funds to help pay for disability services or equipment you need. Connect with a Vocational Rehabilitation counselor in your host state to learn more.