If you’re like most parents with a child with a 504 or IEP, you’ve spent countless hours advocating for your child to ensure they’ll succeed. Like many, I’m sure you’re also worried about how they’ll continue to find that success in college without you advocating for them. With support, your student can take over the role and learn how to be their own advocate, especially since their IEP or 504 plan won’t follow them to college.
While there won’t be an annual IEP meeting, case managers, or parent communication (YIKES!), there is still support for students who register as a student with a disability and provide the required documentation. Under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, colleges are required to provide equal access to education for all students. This may look different at different colleges.
Many colleges will have a disability services office that handles the student’s request for support. Unlike a case manager, who is in close contact with the student and the parents, a representative from the office will write a letter stating what reasonable accommodations the school can provide. This letter is given to the student’s professors. From there, the student will take over, advocating for his/her own needs and making sure the accommodations are both met and making a positive difference in their college experience.
In addition to the disability services office, some schools go above and beyond to help their students succeed. Some additional services do come with a fee, but some are included with tuition. These helpful options range from assistive technology labs to tutoring to frequent progress reports from professors. Several schools also focus on whole student growth with social skills and problem solving support.
Best Value Schools recently compiled a list of 20 colleges that offer the most value while catering to students with learning disabilities. The included schools not only have higher percentages of students with disabilities, they have more complete programs in place to assist these students in their college journey. However, if you and your child have your sights set on a state school, don’t feel like they’re out of reach.
One state school that offers a high-level of support to students with disabilities is the University of Arizona with their on-campus SALT Center. What once started with a handful of students in the basement of a building to a large, 3-story building that houses the SALT (Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques) Center, the program provides support to hundreds of students a year. Within the center, students can meet with tutors, access psychological services, and help develop their own individualized learning plans. Below is a video from one of UA’s students who uses the SALT Center to help her find success in college.
As you and your student map out their future plans, encourage them to be an active part of the process. Help them learn what their strengths and weaknesses are. And most importantly, teach them how to advocate for themselves. With the supports in place that they need, they will succeed in their future educational endeavors.
For additional support, contact us at www.propelsmart.com.