As parents, you have helped your student get to this educational milestone enrollment in college. This is a great accomplishment! The Office of Disability Services recognizes the supportive role families play for students. We strive to help students ease the difficulty of making the transition to adulthood and independence by providing opportunities for students to develop skills necessary for disability related issues after graduation. It is now your student’s responsibility to develop the self-knowledge and self-advocacy skills that are essential to the success of any individual with a disability.
Throughout your student’s high school years, you may have worked closely with a team of administrators, counselors, and teachers to ensure that your student received appropriate accommodations. In college, the team model changes significantly. The responsibility of handling this process becomes the student’s. We know that the change in this role may be overwhelming, but remember that college is the launching pad for your student’s career and adult life. Being able to communicate disability-related needs is an important life skill called self-advocacy. Our department supports self-advocacy skill development through ongoing training with students on interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, and identification of support resources.
Your student will decide whether or not to pursue disability accommodations. Students must self-identify with the Office of Disability Services to initiate and participate in the process of applying for accommodations. Your role is to encourage your student to apply for the necessary accommodations and then step back and let your student take on the responsibility. Before your student begins classes at Southeastern, there are several important things you can discuss with your student to prepare for the process of requesting accommodations.
You can help your student by:
Reviewing the Disability Services website together,
Reading the Disability Services Policy and Guidebook for detailed information about forms and procedures,
Going over the student’s IEP, 504 Plan, medical record, or psychological evaluation to make sure that your student knows what the diagnosis says and can explain what accommodations have been helpful, and
Having your student sign waivers with the professionals who have performed testing in order to expedite the process for pursuing follow-up information if necessary.
Please remember that your student may be in the last environment where the disability laws and accommodations are well-understood by most people he or she will encounter. After college, your student will have to articulate the nature of his or her disability and request accommodations. Now is the time for your student to take on this responsibility and learn to self-advocate effectively.
We hope that gaining familiarity with the services and procedures at Southeastern will reduce anxiety, help students in their decision to pursue accommodations, and assist them in gathering the necessary materials to complete the process with ease.