Congratulations on your new status – parent of a college student! This new step represents an achievement for your entire family, and reflects your dedication, hard work and commitment to a goal.
The Office of Accessibility Resources is just one of many sources of support for you and your new college student. The unique and confidential services provided by this office aim to assist your family as you navigate the transition from high school to higher education. It is helpful to be aware of some of the differences between disability support services in higher education and those of the K-12 System you have just left.
The primary differences are in the role of the institution in the identification of students with disabilities and in the extent to which modification of requirements is permitted. Additionally, students are expected to self-advocate with instructors and administrators about all matters related to their course work. Without written consent, communication with you is restricted.
Identification: Drew students who wish to request accommodation for a diagnosed disability must self-identify (disclose) to the Office of Accessibility Resources (http://www.drew.edu/academic-services/disclosure-form), presenting professional documentation (see: Documentation Guidelines) in a confidential interview with the OAR Coordinator. Accommodations are approved based on the data provided in the supporting documents. These may be different from those approved in high school.
Modification: The role of colleges and universities in accommodation of students with diagnosed disabilities is defined by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and its 2008 amendment, the ADAAA . This role is to ensure equal access to programs and services. Therefore, no modification to course or degree requirements is permitted. The essential nature of the course or program cannot be compromised. Your student must complete, with approved accommodations, all requirements stated in course syllabi and in the University Catalogue.
Self-Advocacy: As your son or daughter makes these first steps away from you toward independence and self-sufficiency, your encouragement will be vital. Encouraging your new college student to be responsible for his/her own educational experience is a valuable gift. This responsibility includes: checking Drew email for notices from instructors; proactively meeting with instructors as soon as there is a hint of difficulty; maintaining contact with the academic advisor and the Office of Accessibility Resources as needs and preferences change over time.
Please accept our best wishes as you enter this exciting, and sometimes challenging phase of family life.