If your student has a diagnosis that affects, or could affect, their ability to function- socially, academically, or otherwise, please contact us. Disability Access is an advocate of being proactive and talking with students about accommodations and resources before they are necessary.
Unfortunately, the experience of special education, resource rooms, and 504 services in high school are all too often unpleasant. Students with these services often feel labeled. The result of this is a student who either does not want to participate in any disability program or who feels like their condition is spontaneously cured after graduation.
College is a fresh start for your student. He or she does not want to be perceived as "different" and wants to "do it on their own, without help." As a parent, you are concerned about this- we get it! The worst thing you can do is strong-arm your student into setting up accommodations at college. All this does is continue the current feelings of negativity around their difference.
What can you do? Talk with your student about their challenges. Does he or she truly understand their disability? Can he articulate how it affects him? Help your student to see the strengths that she has because of her diagnosis. Most challenges create an opportunity for a person to learn to accomplish goals creatively - find this in your student and help him or her to see it for themselves. Ask your student what classes will be most fun because of their strengths? Which classes will be most challenging? What would be the repercussions of failing a class? Would accommodations, such as extra time testing, reduce the chances of failure?
Unlike the Special Education system, post-secondary education requires that students with disabilities meet the same academic standards as the general population. This means that any accommodations determined for your student create equal access, not an unfair advantage. Accommodations are determined carefully, through an interactive process in the Disability Access office with the the student. Think of accommodations in college as "leveling the playing field" for your student so that they may compete equally with their peers.
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