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Resources for Parents

The transition from high school to the university setting is an exciting time for students and their families. This season creates an opportunity for students to take on the role of self-advocate and can lead to a successful transition into adulthood as they learn to manage these new responsibilities.

Students with disabilities and their families and supporters must understand what it means to transition to a university with a disability and what steps to take to receive support from the Office of Learning & Disability Services. Please refer to Getting Started for a description of the process at King University.

Differences Between High School and College

The laws that govern services for students with disabilities in high school vary greatly from those that protect students in college. All students with disabilities in a collegiate setting are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1992, the Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended (ADAAA) of 2008, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and corresponding federal regulations. These laws protect the civil rights of individuals with disabilities and ensure equal access to education.

Students and their families who have been served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) while in elementary or secondary school often have misconceptions about a post-secondary institution’s responsibilities to persons with disabilities and the range of services they are required to provide. The broad mandated responsibilities that elementary and secondary schools incur under the IDEA don’t apply to post-secondary institutions.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is an “entitlement” law intended to guarantee persons with disabilities a free and appropriate primary and secondary education that allows for achievement. Within this educational framework, funding is mandated to identify children with significant problems and provide them with appropriate services that facilitate successful learning. Aggressive measures, including the substantial alteration of academic course requirements, are often used to assure the success of students in special education programs.

In contrast, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1992, the Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended (ADAAA) of 2008, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and corresponding federal regulations are “non-discrimination” statutes. They guarantee that the presence of a disability cannot be used as the basis for denying an otherwise qualified student equal “access” to the same programs, services, and facilities available to others. Simply stated, the goal of these statues is to remove barriers and to guarantee reasonable accommodations so that persons with disabilities have the same opportunity to participate as the average person.

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Frequently Asked Questions for Parents

Appropriate parental involvement must take place within the boundaries set by law and keeping the long-term best interest of the emerging adult in mind. This mainly involves advising and encouraging the student in self-advocacy as opposed to directly advocating in their place. Students must learn self-advocacy skills, including asking for assistance and reporting any issues or concerns.

All requests for accommodations must come directly from the student and must be supported by appropriate documentation. Guidelines for documentation are available below and students are encouraged to download and share these guidelines with their provider.

A student can sign a release giving staff permission to share information with parents or other individuals.

In college, students are responsible for seeking assistance if they are having problems. Parents will not be contacted regarding grades or any other academic issues. Parents are encouraged to consult directly with their student regarding their academic progress.

Ask your student if they are using all the accommodations granted. Encourage them to seek assistance from the Office of Learning & Disability Services. If accommodations need revising, the student is responsible for requesting any changes and providing documentation to substantiate those changes. Tutoring is also available through the Academic Center for Excellence.

Yes. Please note that it is often best to speak with your student first with any concerns you may have. While we are always available to listen and make note of parental concerns, we often cannot act without the direct involvement of your student. Our goal is to respond appropriately to concerns while still respecting your child’s legal rights as an adult.