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Inside look at disability services for college

July 9th, 2018

We hope everyone enjoyed the holiday week – Independence Day provides an opportunity to reflect on our country’s founding tenets and can be quite stirring.  Of course, fireworks and cookouts are stirring in their own right!

Heading off to college is a time to establish independence, too, and this new-found self-reliance can be a major adjustment for both parents and students. Students with disabilities have an even bigger responsibility of managing how they will request and utilize services to help them achieve success in their studies.  Throughout the K-12 years parents have played that role, but now it’s time for students to become their own advocate as parents take a back seat and give encouragement along the way.

The purpose of accommodations in college is to give equal access and opportunity to all students.  It’s important to take advantage of this and understand what options are available to you if you’ve been receiving accommodations in high school.  The link we share below leads to a wonderful guide to the college accommodations process from the Office of Disability Resources at Carnegie Mellon University.

As a bonus, the videos linked here ( are terrific short clips modeling appropriate behavior for students when navigating this task.

We want all students to experience success in their new educational homes.  With the right attitude and initiative, we know that everyone can!

Article referenced below from Carnegie Mellon Disability Services

You and your student are embarking on an incredibly exciting, yet challenging chapter of their life.  Going away to college is a wonderful opportunity and accomplishment for students.  here at CMU, we pride ourselves in offering an academically rigorous, student-centered environment where students’ hearts are in the work they do.  We welcome students with disabilities and provide responsive and reasonable accommodations that allow them to do their best work.

For students with disabilities and their families, the transition to any college often presents unique challenges and opportunities.  Students become responsible for arranging their own accommodations and communicating their needs to university faculty and staff.  Parents or guardians’ roles change from advocating for their K-12 children’s needs to providing support as their college-aged adult children advocate for themselves.  The laws underpinning the provision of disability accommodations change from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.  While accommodations available in the college setting are often similar to those a student received in high school, a greater level of independence is expected of college students, and college-based accommodations may not be identical to those offered in the K-12 setting.

Read more at Carnegie Mellon >>

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