Eligibility criteria for accommodations at post-secondary institutions differs from those used for eligibility determination in the K-12 system. Information regarding these differences as well as some helpful guidelines for this new stage of life for parents and students can be found below.
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.
Legislation: One of the main differences is that the laws governing the provision of services to students with disabilities change. In high school, students were guaranteed a “free” and “appropriate” education under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). In college, education is no longer considered a right; students who are “otherwise qualified” are ensured “equal educational opportunity”. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ensure ACCESS to facilities, programs, and services; they do not guarantee SUCCESS.
Identification: Drew students who wish to request accommodation for a diagnosed disability must self-identify to the Office of Accessibility Resources (Disclosure Form), present professional documentation (see: Documentation Guidelines) and meet with the OAR Director for a confidential intake appointment. 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 as 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 a 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.