Frequently Asked Questions for Parents
What is my role as a parent of a college student with a disability?
Appropriate parental involvement must take place within the boundaries set by law and keeping the long-term best interest of the emerging adult in mind. Such involvement, as it relates to the University, mainly involves advising and encouraging the student from the sidelines. The student must learn self-advocacy skills. This includes asking for assistance and reporting any issues or concerns. Only extreme circumstances, such as those that seriously threaten the health and safety of the student, should a parent become involved. Disability Services will take action when the student directly addresses needs.
How do the responsibilities of working with students with disabilities in Higher Education institutions differ from those of high schools?
The responsibilities towards students with disabilities in Higher Education are very different from those of high schools. High schools are required to identify the educational needs of students with disabilities and provide a free and appropriate education. This responsibility is not required of Higher Education institutions. Higher Education institutions are required to provide appropriate academic adjustments to ensure that a student with a disability is not discriminated against. The student is responsible for self-disclosing the disability to the institution.
Can my son or daughter sign a waiver that will allow me to speak with Disability Services?
A college student can sign a release giving staff permission to share information with parents. However, you should know that even if a student signs a release, staff generally only communicates with parents in the presence of the student. Also, students are required to handle any matters related to our office, including requesting accommodations and reporting issues. We do not work with the parent in place of the student.
Can I request accommodations for my child?
All requests for accommodations must come directly from the student.
In high school, teachers kept me informed of how my son or daughter was doing. Will a professor contact me if my student is having difficulties in class?
In college, students are responsible for seeking assistance if they are having problems. Parents will not be contacted regarding grades or any other academic issues. Parents may refer to their student with any questions regarding academic progress.
What is my son or daughter's role as a college student with a disability?
Any student's role is to successfully transition into being an independent adult. We know that students with disabilities face the same challenges as most college bound young adults in addition to the challenges related to their disability. However, their role remains to successfully transition into being an independent adult.
If I am concerned for my student’s well-being, can I express my concerns to the staff of Disability Services?
Yes, when appropriate. It is best to speak with your student first with any concerns you may have. You may report your concern but we cannot take action without the direct involvement of your student. The only exception to this is a life-threatening situation or one that could cause substantial harm to the student. We will respond appropriately to ensure your student’s safety and well-being while still respecting their legal rights as an adult.
How can I help my son or daughter who is struggling in classes even with accommodations?
Ask your student if they are using all of the accommodations granted. Encourage them to go to Disability Services to ask for assistance. If accommodations need revising, the student is responsible for requesting any changes and providing documentation to substantiate those changes. Tutoring is also available through the Center for Academic Excellence.
Page last updated September 27, 2018