Letter to Parents on Accessibility Resources
What an amazing milestone you have reached with your son or daughter. Against all odds and with support and tenacity your child has flourished;you are to be commended. With that said, this big transition can be quite daunting.
I am writing not just as a Director of Accessibility Resources at UC Blue Ash, but as a parent, and thus someone who shares many of your current emotions. My son, who is diagnosed with Autism, is currently attending college as well. At different times throughout this transition, I have been both excited and terrified simultaneously. This is because I am not familiar with this new role that I am now forced to assume. Previously, I made all the decisions for him, now I must recommend or suggest but no longer speak for him.
I am excited for my son because he has accomplished more than doctors knew he could, yet I am naturally concerned about his decisions and his safety in this world. However, working in the Accessibility Resources office gives me a daily reminder that as a parent, it is time to allow and to encourage SWD (Student with Disability) to assume significant independent responsibility for his/her own life, both academically and personally.
As you and your SWD prepare to visit campus for that initial meeting with a accessibility resources provider, it is advisable that you think about what can be accomplished and discussed at this initial meeting, and who is going to say it!!!
- Colleges and universities provide services and support to SWD under very different laws than those that governed services in the K-12 system. As a parent, I have no rights under Section 504/ADA in speaking for my SWD who is in college. Two of my favorite websites for learning more are The Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights and The HEATH Resource Center at the National Youth Transitions Center.
- The services and support available to SWD at the college level are sometimes very different than what was provided in high school, and the college is under no obligation to continue the services given in high school. The college will make its own determination of what services and support to offer, based on the documentation of disability and their interview with your SWD.
- It is often the first chance for your SWD to convey important information about himself/herself. Don't deny them that opportunity. You want their first impression to be one that is positive and reassuring. The service provider is eager to learn whether or not your SWD is mature enough to handle the responsibilities and independence of college life.
Here are some specific suggestions for helping your Student With Disability to shine in this newly focused spotlight:
- Don't be insulted if you are not invited to sit in on the initial meeting between your SWD and the disability services folks.
- Do acknowledge your SWD as the authority on their disability-related needs
- Do take some time to model and practice with your son/daughter on answering typical questions that are likely to be asked in that initial meeting.
- Don't interrupt. If you disagree with something said by the disability service provider or your SWD; you'll get a chance to clarify a little later
- Do prompt your son/daughter to speak up and share those important points as the interview progresses by using open ended questions to help flesh out info as needed.
There are only two things a parent can give to a child: One is roots. The other is wings.
Remember, your son/daughter will call, email, or text if they need you. They know what you can do for them, but now it is time for them to show what they can do.
Best of luck,
Pamela Goines - Director
John Kraimer - Program Director
Muntz Hall | Room 112L
(Far right corner of computer concourse)
Hours: Mon-Fri 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.