Though the main responsibility of the Office of Disability Services (ODS) is to work with your student directly, we know that parents and families are an important part of a student’s support system. We cannot always share information with you, but we are always open to receiving information that you think might be important for us to know. If you are concerned about your student, please let us know by contacting us at 201-216-3748 or by email at [email protected]. Upon hearing your concerns, we may be able to reach out and help your student get connected to the best resources on campus.
Tips for Parents
The transition from high school to college can be a challenging time for both students and parents. For parents of students with disabilities, this transition can be even more difficult. Prior to college, parents have often played a major role in advocating for their children's disability needs and were heavily involved in their child’s progress in school. However, when students are in college, they need to take the lead in their journey to academic success and their maturation process into adulthood.
Help your student prepare for their transition to college during their senior year of high school by having them progressively assume more responsibility for academic progress. Often first year students are ill- equipped for the kind of responsibility that they will encounter in college. Your student can build up skills and abilities by taking more responsibility for their own educational and personal profess while in high school. Parents can help encourage their student to problem-solve and tackle situations independently, while offering their support and help, if needed.
Have conversations with your student geared toward helping them become comfortable with discussing their disability and any limitations that stem from it. This will assist the student in being able to communicate their need for accommodations in specific areas and it can also assist them in discussions they have with the instructors or others from whom they seek assistance.
Encourage your student to register with the ODS early! The sooner a student discloses and makes a request for accommodations, the more smoothly the process will go for everyone.
If your student has benefitted from outside support, such as tutors or mental health counselors, work with your student to identify how they can find similar resources, like the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services at Stevens.
Do not expect to interact with your student’s faculty members. Your student should be the one to initiate communication with each faculty member.
Finally, be prepared for your student to experience struggles and difficulty along their college journey. Remember that people can learn and grow the most when they are challenged and face hardship.
External Resources for Parents
Article by Nick Anderson of the Washington Post Advice from a professor about how to manage the protective-parent instinct.
Article by Brian Harke of the Huffington Post Describes three distinct stages parents go through during their child's transition to college.
A Brief Guide and Frequently Asked Questions for Parents of Students with Disabilities
Advice on College Topics for Students with Learning Disabilities or ADHD & Their Families