Just as students are transitioning from high school to college, parents too are transitioning from being directly involved in a child's education to a supportive role. This transition can be a learning process both for the student and the parent.
How can parents/guardians support their student through this transition?
- Encourage your child to register early during the process, especially if housing accommodations are being requested.
- Maintain a file that includes school and medical records such as IEPs; 504 Plans; evaluations; and/or written communication from medical providers.
- Review documentation together so that your child is comfortable articulating both the diagnosis and requests for accommodation. It is important for a student to be able to advocate for themselves.
- Once your son or daughter is on campus, keep in frequent contact and if possible, plan regular visits to campus.
- Support them during their college career, but allow them the opportunity to take charge of their education.
College is also different than high school in regards to the law. It is important that students and parents understand these differences and plan for the transition to the post-secondary environment. Students in high school are covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA. IDEA provides all K-12 students the right to a free and appropriate education. This includes regular or special education, and related aids and services necessary to meet the needs of the student. IDEA does not apply to post-secondary schools. Students with disabilities are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. These regulations provide students at the post-secondary level the right to equal access to programs and services through nondiscrimination and accommodations.
For a more complete explanation, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights furnishes a comprehensive publication.