- Is the testing that was done for my child in elementary school or high school adequate to receive accommodations and/or services at the college level? Is the IEP or 504 plan that covered my child in high school sufficient documentation for college?
- How can my son or daughter have accommodations and how are these determined? Will my son or daughter receive the same accommodations and services they received in high school?
- I had regular (weekly, monthly, etc.) communication with my child’s teachers when he/she was in high school. Can I get updates on my child’s status in his/her classes from professors or DRES staff?
The IEP or 504 plan that was used for your child in high school does not apply to the college level. More comprehensive and current information is necessary. Please refer to our Documentation Requirements page for information on how we verify the nature and extent of the disability.
In order for your son or daughter to receive accommodations at U of I, he or she needs to register with DRES. Our Applying for Services page has an introduction to the process and the Application for Services can be filled out online.
Once your student is registered, he or she will be contacted by a case manager and asked to make an appointment to discuss services and accommodations. Accommodations are determined on a case by case basis depending on the functional limitations of that student’s disability (ie., reading, walking) and the course requirements. Some times the accommmodations are similar to what was received in high school. For example, extended time on tests. However, some accommodations that are provided at the high school level are not appropriate for the college level. For example, modified currriculum where the student only has to complete 10 problems for homework instead of 20. Accommodations provide access to the curriculum but do not change the curriculum. The curriculum is set by the individual instructor. DRES focus is how the student can access that curriculum and be able to demonstrate what he or she knows.
You may contact your son’s or daughter’s access specialist at DRES who can listen to your concerns, make recommendations, and refer you to another University office for assistance, if appropriate. However, please note that DRES cannot share information about your son or daughter with you due to FERPA policies. We can also set up a time to talk with you and your student over the phone.
Since your son or daughter will be considered an adult in college, professors do not usually communicate with a student’s parents. DRES staff does not routinely contact faculty to check the status of the DRES student in their class. Typically, DRES staff only contacts faculty if the student requests it.
Help your child to understand his/her disability and why he/she uses accommodations. This information will be essential when they meet with DRES staff to write a Letter of Accommodations, which outlines the accommodations they will need in their classes. In collaboration with his/her teachers, help your child to practice self-advocacy by approaching teachers to let them know what accommodations are needed. Your son or daughter will need to be prepared to bring their Letter of Accommodations to their instructors and discuss their accommodation needs. On a case by case basis, if effective communication with faculty is problematic due to the effects of a disability, DRES staff will work with that student to determine a reasonable solution. Good study skills and reaching out for assistance (from professors, DRES staff, etc.), when needed, are also important for a successful college experience.
What is the best for me to support my son or daughter during this transition period into adulthood?
At DRES, we recognize that parental support for your student is vital for their success. We also recognize that being mindful of the quality and nature of that support is also crucial in order to make it most effective. College students are in a unique developmental stage of becoming more independent and doing so very quickly. Learning to navigate this stage effectively is an important developmental goal, including students with disabilities.
DRES has coordinated with the Student Assistance Center at the University to help express this message to parents. We hope that you will take a few minutes to learn more about our University’s message to parents: http://odos.illinois.edu/studentAssistance/resources/parents_video.asp
After watching this video, you may feel inclined to say, “Yes, but having a young adult with a disability means that my young adult has unique developmental needs.” We couldn’t agree more. For that reason, our staff at DRES work hard to provide mental health counseling, academic coaching, drop in academic services through Academic Lab, learning strategies coaching, as well as therapy and support groups. Furthermore, we are always available to consult with your young adult about other resources that are available both on and off campus. Having almost 70 years of helping young adults with disabilities make this transition into adulthood, we understand that this transition may be different, or more difficult for students with disabilities. On your part, it will require a great deal of patience, coping, and willingness to see your young adult make mistakes, fail, and get bumped and bruised along the way. These experiences are an inherent part of the transition into adulthood and preventing your young adult from navigating these normal developmental difficulties can have a significant effect on their ability to develop and attain resilience and adult independence that they will need for a happy and successful life. You are a very important person in your young adult’s life, there is no doubt about it. We hope that you will take our message into account when you consider the best and most appropriate way in participating in your young adult’s education.