Although responsibilities that parents once assumed will now be the responsibility of the student, parents of students with disabilities can still play a key role in the student’s transition from high school to college.
In order to be of effective assistance in this transition process, parents can do the following:
Know and understand the differences between having, and receiving accommodations/services for a disability in High School and a disability in College.
Encourage your student to register with the Accessibility Resources Center, where they will be coached on how to proceed to obtain reasonable accommodations.
Encourage your student to take responsibility for their own academic concerns and limitations.
Help your student to both acknowledge his/her disability and to know and understand the limitations that stem from it. In other words, help your student to come to terms with the disability and its limitations. The more self-aware students are, the better they will be able to know how to access and use appropriate resources.
Make sure you are sending your student the message that it’s now up to them self, that you have faith in them as a student, and they have nothing to be ashamed of or apologize for.
Let your student know that a visit to the Accessibility Resources Center does not mean a commitment. The student is in control of his/her own academic career. Remind your student that Civil rights means the right to refuse any accommodation, but it also means that they ought to fully inform them self about what the choices may be before deciding.
Finally, let your student decide for himself/herself.
By educating students with disabilities and their parents, both parties can make a successful transition from a secondary to a postsecondary school, where all students are trained to become functional, productive, and capable members of society with the ability to communicate and compete with their peers through equal access.
The following are the steps your student must take to utilize the services/resources of Campus Access Services
Self-identify as a student with a disability to the staff of the Accessibility Resources Center and make a specific request for reasonable accommodations
Submit documentation of a disability, from an appropriate licensed professional, that is recent and verifies the nature of the disability, functional limitations, and the need for specific accommodation(s): View Documentation Guidelines
Attend a scheduled meeting with an Accessibility Resources Center staff member for a student intake (this will include a discussion about the student’s reasonable accommodations)
Complete a Service Request Form each semester
Pick up and Deliver the Verification of Disability/Request for Accommodation Letters to Faculty in a timely manner
Ensure that the faculty member is aware of the need for an accommodation at each instance (e.g. before each exam)
Please be aware, the students are responsible for all the above steps on their own. As a parent, it is now your role to support your student by encouraging them to self-advocate. You can begin to encourage your student by going over the Steps for Requesting Reasonable Accommodations and have them call the Accessibility Resources Center if there are any questions.
In order to assist your student with a smooth transition, the following should be considered:
If possible, your student should be re-evaluated prior to graduation - this can be requested of their current school, or by seeking outside resources (this is more than an updated 504plan/IEP, see the Documentation Guidelines).
Prior to graduation, encourage your student to meet with a professional who can explain in detail the nature and effects of their disability (how their disability impacts them in an academic setting).
Help your student to become comfortable describing their disability and encourage your student to advocate for appropriate services.
Knowing the Law
PL 91-142 no longer governs your student’s services. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973), subpart E, and the Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended now apply to the services.
Encourage your student to speak directly with a Campus Access Services staff member about the student’s disability, and attend a scheduled intake, even if they do not plan to access any services immediately. In this way, the services will be more accessible should they decide to utilize them, or if an immediate need arises.
You are no longer responsible for making sure your student receives services. The responsibility in college belongs solely to the student. Nothing can happen (services, accommodations, etc.) until your student identifies with the Accessibility Resources Center and requests accommodations. You can help your student to be prepared for this responsibility by allowing and encouraging them to take control of the interactions with all university offices.
ARC staff are aware of the difficulty of this role change, and welcome the opportunity to offer advice and general policy/office information to the parents of students with disabilities so that you can better support your student in becoming a self-advocate and successful college student.