What Parents of Students with Disabilities Need to Know about Post-Secondary Education
The transition into a university setting can be stressful for any student, but for parents of students with disabilities, unique concerns may also be present. This information was developed to help clarify roles and make the transition smoother.
What are the responsibilities of my child if he/she has a disability and is enrolled in a post-secondary educational institute?
- Laws regarding confidentiality and responsibility for disclosure change when your child becomes 18 or enrolls in a post-secondary institution. It is important that your child is comfortable with taking the leading role in working with the Disability and Learning Resource Center (DLRC). Allow him/her to make the first contact with the DLRC on campus.
- Provide appropriate and current documentation (not just an IEP or 504 Plan) that verifies your child’s disability and requested accommodations.
- Your child should have a good understanding of his or her disability and any supports needed to be successful. Your child will need to be able to speak effectively with faculty or other staff regarding accommodation plans and any support services needed.
- Your child may assume that what was provided in high school will be the same in post-secondary education. It is important for your child to work closely with the DLRC to understand what Concordia University, Irvine considers reasonable accommodations.
What is the post-secondary educational institute’s responsibility to students who are disabled?
- To provide equal access to programs or services in accordance with federal and state laws.
- To determine if the student is eligible for services.
- To maintain confidentiality of disability related information. To provide an appropriate procedure for students to disclose accommodation information to faculty or staff.
- To allow for reasonable accommodations, adjustments, and modifications of courses, programs, or services on a case-by-case basis (as long as these accommodations do not alter core requirements, classes, or programs).
- To provide a grievance policy whereby students can have concerns about reasonable accommodations or modifications investigated.
- To develop policies and procedures related to students with disabilities and offer support towards the goal of equitable access for all parties.
What are the responsibilities of parents of students with disabilities enrolled in a post-secondary educational institute?
- Understand that your role has changed. Parents are often accustomed to advocating for their child in K-12 Special Education settings. In the collegiate level, this responsibility becomes one of self-advocacy. You are support and information for them, but the responsibility is now up to your child.
- Encourage your child to get services set up early. Sometimes students in college no longer want to be treated “separately” and may avoid this. Encourage them to set up services, try it out, and then decide if they wish to continue or discontinue services.
- Assist your child in getting appropriate documentation. This may require assistance because it may involve outside parties (e.g., physician, psychologist). Assist them, but allow your child to provide the information.
- Go through documentation with your child. What is the diagnosis? What accommodations are recommended? What does having a disability mean on a daily basis? What are the concerns? What are your child’s strengths and weaknesses?
- Communicate with your child on a regular basis. Ask questions not only about grades, but about what they are learning, if they are seeking supportive services, and how they are handling the transition.
- Help your child learn to be a self-advocate. If your child has a concern, ask if this is something they can and should handle? Do they know who to contact? If not, help them figure out the next steps to take, but allow them to do the action. They should send their own email or make their own phone calls/appointments with appropriate people who can assist them. Problem solve with them, not for them.
- Let go a little. Your child will need to test the waters on his or her own. This is part of a transitional process, and it is important to know when to step in and help and when to allow your child to have consequences for his or her own choices.
Still Have Questions?
This portion of the website contains frequently asked questions and answers for parents. If your questions about the DLRC are not answered here or in our other pages, please feel free to contact us via the following methods:
To reach us by phone, fax, or email:
To reach us by mail:
Concordia University, Irvine
Disability and Learning Resource Center
Administration Building, Suite 114
1530 Concordia West
Irvine, CA 92612