Transition & Accommodations

All too often students with disabilities, and their parents, are lead by false expectations when transitioning from high school to college. For example:

  • As was the case in high school, students with disabilities and their parents may expect accommodation services to be the sole responsibility of the postsecondary institution of which they are attending.
  • In addition, students may still expect parents to act as the liaison or “voice” between themselves and the postsecondary institution concerning issues relating to their disabilities and accommodation services.

These two common misconceptions cripple a student’s ability to realize that they can become a high potential, self-sufficient, proactive, and responsible individual, which are key qualities that are expected of any student, regardless of a disability, who have advanced to a postsecondary institution. It is important to recognize:

  • In order for a student with a disability to overcome these, and other, misconceptions, the student must accept that he/she has a disability, understand and be able to communicate what the impact of that disability is, recognize that an accommodation is needed, and seek those services, on his/her own.
  • In effect, the parent of a student with a disability must accept that the parent can no longer be an advocate for that student. The parent’s role must shift from that of the “voice” to one of support in helping the student to find his/her own voice.

Some Important Differences

High School College
The Parent is the advocate The Student must self advocate
“Otherwise Qualified” for Public Education is simply being of the appropriate age to attend elementary through high school and having a disability “Otherwise Qualified” in college means a student must meet all entrance and academic requirements
School is responsible for providing physical or other therapy or personal care while in school Student is responsible for personal services such as personal care and/or medical and other related requirements/needs
School responsible for providing assessment of disability Student responsible for self-identification and for obtaining documentation of disability at student’s expense
School required to design special academic programs (IEP or 504 Plan) School required to provide accommodations for equal access to regular academic program
Teachers are expected to learn all they can about a student’s disability  Professors only need to know the accommodation the student is requesting
Everybody knows about a student’s placement for special education Students have a right to choose when and who to disclose or not to disclose a disability to
Absolute Entitlement to F.A.P.E. (Free & Appropriate Education). Required by I.D.E.A & 504 Civil Right to Equal Access to Education after meeting Eligibility Requirements. Required by 504 & the ADA as Amended 

Considering these key differences, in order for students with disabilities to make a successful transition from high school to college, students must first assume ownership of the following responsibilities:

  • Meet University qualifications and maintain the essential technical, academic, and institutional standards for courses, programs, services, jobs, and activities
  • Self-identify as a student with a disability to the appropriate university staff (at the University of New Haven, this is the Accessibility Resources Center) and seek information, counsel, and assistance for themselves when necessary

Follow established procedures for obtaining reasonable and appropriate accommodations, academic adjustment, and/or auxiliary aids, and do so in a timely fashion