In the past, college was a closed door for many students with disabilities because their abilities were underestimated or deemed nonexistent. Thankfully, that has changed. Between 2011 and 2012 alone, 11% of undergraduates reported having some type of disability; 44% were female and 56% were male. Your teen with a disability can succeed in college if given the right support and tools.
Discuss Disability Service Options
The first thing you and your teen need to know about any school is what kind of disability services are available. For example, many disability service directors write modification letters for students to give their professors. These are confidential and help instructors modify classes as needed. Be aware that some services are more comprehensive than others. For example, if your teen has a physical disability, a large campus may be hard to navigate. He or she may need on-campus transit options. If these don’t exist, consider a different school.
Determine if a Program Is Needed
Many universities offer special programs for students with disabilities. Most award either certificates or degrees. Some are geared toward students with specific disabilities, such as Down Syndrome or autism, or students at a particular functioning level. Your pupil may or may not need this type of program. If you think he or she does, ask what the program entails, what the benefits are, and whether your student will still be allowed to participate in the mainstream college experience.
Apprise Your Student of His or Her Rights
College students are considered adults, and they have the right to seek and obtain modifications and help without discrimination. However, discrimination still happens. Furthermore, some students won’t use disability services because they fear the stigma. Make sure your student knows his or her rights on campus and that it’s safe and wise to use these provisions.