FAQs for Parents of Students with Disabilities
The transition from high school to college is often a challenging time for students. For students with disabilities, this transition can be even more difficult. In addition to the typical concerns about academic success, campus safety, roommate issues and social adjustment, there may also be concerns about disability-related issues.
Prior to college, parents have often played a major role in advocating for their children's disability needs. Teachers, guidance counselors and tutors may also have been involved and provided support. With these familiar support networks no longer in place, your son or daughter will need to find new resources in college. You can help them prepare for this transition during the senior year of high school by having them gradually assume more responsibility for their disability-related needs.
As the parent of a Skidmore student, you may have questions about your child's successful transition to college. Student Academic Services (SAS) has compiled a list of FAQs to help clarify our procedures and services for students with disabilities.
We look forward to working with your child. If you have information you would like to share with us, or have questions after reading the FAQs, we welcome your contact.
Q. How do services for college students with disabilities differ from services provided in high school?
A. The laws protecting students with disabilities are different at the high school and post-secondary level. Skidmore College is committed to ensuring that academic programming and services are accessible to students with disabilities.
A very big difference of post-secondary education is that it is not the university's responsibility to identify and provide services to students with disabilities. Rather, the responsibility is to provide appropriate accommodations when requested to do so. Accommodations are adjustments to the learning environment and are intended to ensure an equal opportunity for participation, e.g., extended time to complete an exam or the use of a computer.
Accommodations cannot fundamentally alter the essential requirements of a course or curriculum.
Q. How and when can my student request academic accommodations?
A. Students should submit the application for accommodation and supporting documentation to the coordinator of access services. The application provides an opportunity for students to practice articulating their needs. It is best to make accommodation requests prior to the start of the semester to ensure they are in place when classes begin. There is no deadline for requesting accommodations; however, requests can take up to a week to evaluate.
Q: How do accommodations apply to attendance and assignment requirements?
A. Attendance requirements are established by individual faculty members and communicated through the course syllabus. All students are expected to adhere to class attendance policies and assignment due dates, and neither can be waived or extended as overarching accommodations for a disability.
Q. What kind of documentation do we need to submit?
A. The purpose of providing documentation for review is to aid in determining reasonable accommodations. When filling out the application, students should indicate previous educational experiences and past use of accommodations. A clear understanding of how the disability impacts the individual establishes the reasonableness of the accommodations. The Association of Higher Education and Disability has encouraged post-secondary institutions to review documentation policies. It is important that documentation is current and relevant, but not necessarily "recent."
Q. Once my student is approved for accommodations, how do they happen?
A. After the student and coordinator have agreed to approved accommodations, students will be given accommodation letters to give to each of their faculty members. Skidmore uses a shared model of disability services in which faculty are able to provide accommodations directly to students. One week prior to a test, students must arrange with faculty where and when exams will be given. The coordinator acts in a supportive role in making these arrangements.
Q. Are tutoring services available?
A. Student Academic Services maintains a large network of peer tutors for curriculum specific support. Additionally, professional staff members are available to work with students on assignments and study skills.