Guiding the Transition: Support for Parents and Guardians
From Accessibility Services Staff at SCTCC
There are many ways in which you can offer support to your college student. Some suggestions on how to best support your student include:
- We encourage parents and guardians to participate in SCTCC orientation sessions, tours, and events open to the community. These are great opportunities for parents to speak directly with college representatives and to hear what life will be like for their student. It is also an opportunity to learn about various campus resources that could support your student down the road.
- However, there are times where your student might need or want to do things independently. We strive to promote and support student independence, self-efficacy and problem-solving skills to best prepare students for the workforce. In these moments, it is important that parents and guardians can support their student by helping them prepare and debriefing with them afterwards.
- We highly encourage parents and guardians to familiarize themselves with:
- The rights and responsibilities the student has under The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and The Minnesota State Board Policy 1B.4
- The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA requires colleges and universities to maintain the privacy of a student’s educational records, which prevents SCTCC from communicating with parents without consent of the student.
- Accessibility Services’ Policies and Procedures to familiarize themselves and their student with what accommodations look like in college.
- The differences between high school accommodations and college accommodations with your student.
- Ask questions of your student if there is something you are unclear about. Work together to find the answers you are looking for.
- Encouraging open lines of communication with your students before they start college can help to maintain the expectations for communicating information. Creating a safe environment for your student to come to when there is a challenge is key to open communication.
- Once the semester begins, ask your student about the work they are doing in their classes, the support services they are utilizing, or how they are working through any struggles. Keeping the focus on the student’s work and not their grades can be a great way to encourage your student to be open with you regarding their academic progress without needing a Release of Information. We highly encourage parents and guardians to take an advisory or support role and not a hands-on approach in their student’s academics when they start college to encourage self-advocacy, self-efficacy, and independence.
- Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education
- Post-Secondary Resource Guide (sctcc.edu)
*Third party links are not monitored by SCTCC. If a link is broken, redirects you, or is no longer what is listed here, please contact Accessibility Services to get the link updated or removed. Thanks!
- Due to FERPA, Accessibility Services cannot speak to anyone other than the student about the student without a signed Release of Information.
- It is the recommendation of Accessibility Services that parents and guardians allow their student to come to them if they need support. Higher education can be an intimidating experience for parents of students with disabilities, however it is important to work together to promote student independence, problem-solving, and self-efficacy.
- Yes, if your student would like to invite you.
- Some students are excited to stretch their wings once they leave the nest and might want to take on college independently. In cases where students come to Accessibility Services meetings without a member of their support system, we will always be mindful of making sure students are understanding their next steps and their responsibilities. We will send home handouts with clear next steps and other supporting documents that will support the student’s success in college. We also make a point to give students a clear point of contact if they think of questions later on.
- To encourage self-advocacy in our students, we insist that it is the student’s responsibility to communicate with their parents or guardians. We highly encourage parents and guardians to take an advisory or support role and not a hands-on approach in their student’s academics when they start college to encourage self-advocacy, self-efficacy, and independence.
- Encouraging open lines of communication with your students before they start college can help to maintain the expectations for communicating information. Once the semester begins, ask your student about their academic performance, the services they are utilizing, or how they are working through any struggles can be a great opportunity for your student’s growth.
- If you have an academic concern regarding your student and you believe it has to do with their accommodations, encourage your student to come speak with the Accessibility Services Coordinator. The coordinator can speak with them about their situation and, if needed, the coordinator can connect to the instructor to advocate for the student.
- It is the recommendation from Accessibility Services to allow students as much independence as they are safely able to have. It is our suggestion for parents and guardians to ask themselves the following questions before they intervene for their student:
- Does my student want my help?
- Is this problem really something they cannot solve on their own?
- If I fix this for them, will this help them develop independence and confidence in their ability to problem-solve?
- Is my student bringing this to me for a quick fix or because they are really struggling?
- Have I given them the space to process the problem and supported them with potential avenues they could use to solve the problem on their own?
- Will my intervention here negatively impact their problem-solving, independence, self-confidence, or self-advocacy skills?
- Is this situation something that they will have to navigate in their professional careers? Will I intervene on their behalf at their job once they graduate?
- If a parent or guardian still feels the need to intervene on their student’s behalf, we encourage them to connect with Accessibility Services to see what campus supports are available to the student.
- Students are not penalized for not utilizing they accommodation plans. If a student chooses not to send their instructors their accommodation plan, they are taking a safe risk and will always have their accommodation plan to fall back on.
- We encourage parents and guardians to talk through the pros and cons of starting the semester without their accommodation plan with their student.
- We highly encourage parents and guardians familiarize themselves with the rights and responsibilities the student has under The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and The Minnesota State Board Policy 1B.4.
- We also suggest that parents and guardians familiarize themselves with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA requires colleges and universities to maintain the privacy of a student’s educational records, which prevents SCTCC from communicating with parents without consent of the student.
- It would also be beneficial for parents and guardians to read through Accessibility Services Policies and Procedures with their student to familiarize both parties with what accommodations look like in college.
- Finally, learn more about the differences between high school accommodations and college accommodations with your student.