How has my role as a parent changed?

When your child was in public school, you were the ever-present safety net. It was you who attended parent/teacher conferences and IEP or 504 planning meetings. You were readily involved in your child's life. You were there to make sure your child was getting the appropriate education entitled to all children. After all, that's the role of a parent.

In high school, you may have begun to see some changes in your adolescent. He or she began to assert his or her independence. Maybe taking the car on a road trip with friends-- friends that he or she chose to hang out with. Maybe your child began to require more personal space, withdrew from family outings on occasion, and perhaps strained against accepted family routines.

At the post-secondary level, this transition continues. You increasingly give your support in a slightly different fashion. Your role shifts to a subtle hand of guidance when it comes to the process involved in your student's education. Encourage him or her to take responsibility for academic concerns and limitations. Both of you should acknowledge the disability and the limitations that stem from it. This will allow him or her to identify areas in which the student should consider accommodations to level the playing field. It will also make it easier to convey his or her requests for accommodations to instructors, other students, and anyone from whom the student may seek assistance.

Encourage your student to register with Disability Services where he or she will be coached on how to proceed in obtaining reasonable accommodations.

College is the first testing ground where your new student will and must be his or her own advocate. Expect him or her to develop their independence further through making the suitable arrangements to ensure success in his or her classes.


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