Starting college is a big transition for students—and for parents. You can help your student make this transition successfully by encouraging them to become educated about their disability and embracing their responsibility for getting the help they need.
1. Educate your student on their disability. They should be familiar with all aspects of their disability including: its name, how it has impacted them in the past, and what type of accommodations they have used throughout their education.
2. Show and explain all of the documentation that you have on your student’s disability to your student. It is important for your student to understand their documentation because it will be what the office at Georgia Tech will use to assess their disability and needs.
3. Encourage your student to schedule an appointment with the office as soon as they arrive at Georgia Tech so that they can meet the disability services staff and begin their registration process with the office.
4. Help your student learn how to communicate their needs. Your student should be able to describe how their disability limits him/her functionally.
5. Talk with your student about what accommodations they have used in the past including which ones were the most helpful.
6. Remind your student that they are now responsible for handling all aspects of their disability. Therefore, encourage them to embrace the responsibility.
7. Encourage your student to keep an open line of communication with the office throughout their entire career at Georgia Tech. Your student should also seek appropriate assistance when problems arise.
8. Encourage your student to meet with his/her instructors and other administrators when needed. Your student should learn to work collaboratively with professors to ensure his or her success with the accommodations.
9. Talk to your student about the many tutoring services that are offered throughout the Georgia Tech campus and encourage them to find different strategies for studying.
10. Finally, when things get tough, be there for your student. Many students who come to Georgia Tech have a hard time adjusting to the difficult academic requirements; therefore, your student may need some additional support from you during their first year at Tech.
To receive disability-related accommodations, students must identify themselves to the Office of Disability Services as having a disability and provide adequate documentation of the disabling condition. Documentation must provide a diagnosis of the student’s condition and explain how it “substantially limits” one or more major life activities.
Documentation needs to come from an appropriately licensed professional. It must be recent, and it must adequately explain how the condition impacts the way the student functions in a university environment. The information must be clear and detailed because it will be used to determine the accommodations the student will receive. It is important to keep in mind that the Office of Disability Services recommends accommodations only for disabilities that you identify for us by providing documentation.
A disability services staff member will explain what documentation is necessary for his or his/her disability. Most health care professionals provide documentation letters at no charge, but if yours does not, you are responsible for the cost of documentation.
If Disability Services requires a second opinion, Georgia Tech will be responsible for the cost of that documentation. Please talk with the disability services staff if you have questions.
Parents who have been very involved in their children’s education may be surprised to find that at the college level, privacy laws such as FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, also known as the Buckley Amendment) may restrict their access to information.
As an enrolled student, the Office of Disability Services cannot release any information to you unless the office first has a signed release form from your student. Without the signed release, the office staff will be unable to share any information about your student with you. In addition, the student must invite you as the parent/guardian, to attend any meetings the student has scheduled with the disability services staff.
If your student is under 18, you have a right to attend all meetings, and the disability services staff can provide you with information regarding your student's accommodations.