The most important thing that your student with disabilities can do is be a strong self-advocate— someone who speaks or writes in support of themselves. As a parent, you may have been involved in the process during high school but the student is now expected to take responsibility for their own needs and learning.
Differences between high school and college
It is important for you to understand the differences between high school and college modifications and accommodations when working with your student preparing for the transition to ACC.
College students must act on their own behalf when disclosing a disability to ACC’s Student Accessibility Services (SAS) staff and requesting appropriate accommodations. We recognize that this is a significant change from K-12, where the burden to identify students with disabilities falls on instructors, administrators, support staff, and parents/legal guardians.
Regardless of whether a student has a disability, Dual Credit/Early College High School (ECHS) students are treated no differently than any other ACC student.
There are no parent conferences. Students can choose to have their parents attend meetings with SAS, however, staff will address the student directly.
Students with disabilities are responsible for being their own advocates, requesting accommodations, and engaging in the interactive process with our staff to help us determine reasonable accommodations. As an ECHS student, your child is considered an adult and must act on their own behalf, even if they are not yet 18. College faculty and staff will communicate with the student directly.
While parents are entitled to make inquiries on behalf of their sons and daughters regarding accommodations and the process and/or procedures for receiving them, ultimately it is the student who must make or confirm the request, follow the college’s process and procedures, and interact with staff as necessary about the accommodations.
Students with disabilities are responsible for being their own advocates, requesting accommodations, and engaging in the interactive process with Student Accessibility Services (SAS) staff in order to help us determine reasonable accommodations. As an Early College High School student, your child is considered an adult and must act on their own behalf, even if they are not yet 18. College faculty and staff must communicate with the student directly.
Encourage your child to become comfortable with discussing their disability and understanding how it impacts their learning. They should also be familiar with the accommodations or modifications they receive in high school so they can discuss the college accommodations that will give them access to their course materials and help “level the playing field.”
To begin developing strong self-advocacy skills while still in high school, allow your student to:
- Lead their ARDs
- Explain effect of diagnosis on learning
- Identify study habits
- Communicate with school staff
- Learn when, where, and how to request support
- Begin a personal file that includes documentation of disability (diagnostics), IEP/504, FIE/REED, treatment plans from other providers, etc.
- Create structure, use available resources, form habits that promote success
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
At ACC, FERPA requires that all records pertaining to a student that are maintained by the college must be open to inspection by the student and may not be made available to any other person without the written authorization of the student.
Due to FERPA, ACC faculty and staff are not able to discuss the progress, attendance, or grades of the student with parents. Regardless of the age of the dual credit/ECHS student, once they become a student, FERPA is applicable.
Written consent provided by students under FERPA entitles parents to information regarding their sons’ and daughters’ educational program; however, such consent does not entitle parents to participate in the academic accommodations process. It is not related to any services provided by Student Accessibility Services and this authorization of a parent as a delegate does not allow parents to insist that students not be contacted directly or involved in the accommodation process. Parents may not request accommodations and/or services on behalf of their son and/or daughter. The student must request services and accommodations.
For more information, go to FERPA – Department of Education.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA is a federal civil rights law designed to provide equal opportunity for people with disabilities.
While legislation for K-12 (IDEA) persons with disabilities is focused on student success, the ADA, as it applies to the college environment, is focused on making sure that students with disabilities have access to the various programs, services and activities of the college.
That is not to say colleges are not interested in student success, and most provide an array of academic support services to help all students perform at their highest level. It does mean that federal laws that may have required certain accommodations in K-12 are different than those for colleges and universities.
The ADA ensures equal access and opportunity and also protects persons with disabilities from discrimination. While the ADA does require colleges to make reasonable accommodations to allow a student to fully demonstrate his or her level of learning and to fully participate in the college experience both in and outside of the classroom, the ADA does not require colleges to provide special educational services, therapies, or curriculum modifications that fundamentally alter the nature of the academic course or the major program of study.
For more information on the ADA, please visit www.ada.gov.