There are many differences between high school and college obligations to students with disabilities including:
High schools must:
- Identify students with disabilities.
- Provide assessment of disabilities.
- Involve parents in decision-making and educational planning process.
- Provide non-academic services.
- Modify educational programs, standards, teaching methodologies and sometimes even provide an out of district placement.
- Prepare Individual Education Plans (IEP)s or 504 plans depending on student eligibility.
- Provide a free and appropriate education that ensures student success.
Post-secondary institutions must:
- Protect the student’s right to privacy and confidentiality (this includes conversations with parents)
- Provide equal access to programs and services that are offered to non-disabled students
- Make information available to students regarding office locations and procedures for requesting accommodations
- Evaluate documentation
- Determine whether the student’s disability substantially limits one or more major life activities which would qualify the student for accommodations.
- Provide reasonable accommodations, meaning those accommodations that enable the student to compete equitably with their non-disabled peers
- Provide reasonable and equal access to generally available programs
- Make reasonable classroom adjustments that do not alter the integrity or essential components or technical standards of a course or program
- Inform students of their rights and responsibilities
Post-secondary institutions are NOT required to:
- Reduce or waive the essential requirements of a course or program
- Provide evaluations or testing to diagnosis a disability
- Provide personal attendants
- Provide tutoring beyond what is available to all students
- Prepare IEPs or 504 plans
- Ensure a student is academically successful
- Keep parents informed
The student is responsible to:
- Disclose his/her disability to Disability Services and provide appropriate documentation, the college may request additional information. Know about the nature of their disability and how accommodations help
- Act on his/her own behalf as an independent adult
- Discuss classroom and testing accommodations with faculty members in accordance with college policy
- Arrange and pay for personal care attendants if needed
Students who attend college are considered to be adults, protected by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Disability Services staff cannot talk to parents about confidential information, including academic activities without a student’s written permission. Parents need to talk to the student directly. Students act as responsible adults when disclosing disabilities and requesting accommodations.
How Parents Can Help their Student
- Listen and provide support and consultation, but give your student the space to figure it out on their own. Resist the urge to “fix” their problem.
- Encourage them to make connections. Direct your student to talk with Disability Services, their professors, their academic advisor, and other individuals who can assist them while at the College.
- Don’t be afraid of mistakes. Mistakes are part of the learning process; allow them to learn from their experiences.
- Help promote your student’s self advocacy by encouraging them to set their own goals and take ownership of their education.
- Disability Services welcomes parents’ appropriate involvement. However: be aware that because of FERPA, Disability Services professionals cannot share information with parents without a student’s written permission.
- Trust the Disability Services process. Our role is to guide students through this developmental process in order to help them become independent and responsible adults. Parents and College Staff are on the same team and want the same ultimate goal: a fully functioning adult.