The transition to college involves many changes for both the student and the parents. Students who used academic accommodations at the high school level will need to understand new systems at the college level. Parents can be an important resource in understanding the new world of accommodations. To begin to understand these differences, please check out the General Accommodations Overview information found elsewhere on this web site. In addition, the Missouri Association on Higher Education and Disability (www.moahead.org), of which Saint Louis University is a part, has excellent transition resources for students and parents.
Answers to common questions asked by parents to Disability Services can be found below.
Very generally speaking, the high school accommodation process is rooted in the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, Subpart D while college is rooted in the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, Subpart E. Subpart D could be summarized with the phrase "success-oriented accommodations" while Subpart E could be summarized with the phrase "access-oriented accommodations."
It is not unusual for accommodations at the high school level to be provided in such a way that ensures the student is successful in academic endeavors. Examples of such accommodations include teacher's providing notes for students, untimed testing, and the interpretation of test questions on exams.
At the college level, accommodations do not ensure success but rather provide equal access in the educational experience. The idea is that a student is accommodated so that the student is not discriminated against because of a disability. Examples of such accommodations include a student volunteer note-taker for the student who has trouble listening to, processing, and writing lecture notes at the same time, a limit on the amount of extended testing time available, and a reader for an exam in select situations but with no interpretation of the question itself.
In addition, students find themselves at the center of the accommodation process at the college level from the outset. The student is responsible for disclosing to the Disability Services office the need for accommodations (accommodations are not officially recognized otherwise) and the student must coordinate with course instructors regarding how the approved accommodations will be arranged in the respective class. At some high schools, accommodations were arranged on behalf of the student without direct student involvement. At the college level, a student who does not take initiative in a timely manner throughout the accommodation process will not receive accommodations.
While the IEP or 504 Plan can be helpful historical information, it is not acceptable documentation as a stand-alone at the college level. The IEP or 504 Plan should be seen as a contract between the student and the high school in which it originated and is often based on the rules determined by Subpart D of the 1973 Act as described in the previous question. Because higher education operates on a different set of rules (Subpart E), some or many of the accommodations listed on an IEP or 504 Plan will not be deemed reasonable accommodations at the college level.
It is essential and required that your student meet with Disability Services (except School of Law and School of Medicine students), disclose disability and need for accommodations, discuss possible reasonable accommodations, and understand procedures for arranging approved accommodations.
Disclosure with any other office on campus (Admissions, major degree programs, course instructors, etc.) is not considered official disclosure warranting consideration of and receipt of accommodations. In addition, a parental disclosure to Disability Services is not deemed an official disclosure. Ultimately, the student must meet with Disability Services and must sign the necessary paperwork.
No. Accommodations can be implemented at any point during the academic tenure. While there is no deadline, students must be aware that there is a turn-around time necessary to incorporate accommodations with some taking longer (such as books in audio (4 - 6 week turn-around) or possibly a student note-taker) to implement than others (such as extended time testing). Students inquiring about accommodations on a Monday for a test on Tuesday will probably not get the Tuesday test accommodations but would need to plan for the next test in the course. It is recommended that students contact Disability Services well in advance of the desired date of accommodation implementation.
Some students are hesitant to use accommodations at the college level for a variety of reasons. Since the student must ultimately disclose the need for accommodations by contacting Disability Services and signing off on the necessary paperwork, there might not be much that can be done.
It is important to note that accommodations can be implemented at any point during the academic tenure. While there is no deadline, students must be aware that there is a turn-around time necessary to incorporate accommodations with some taking longer (such as book in audio or possibly a student note-taker) to implement than others (such as extended time testing). Students inquiring about accommodations on a Monday for a test on Tuesday will probably not get the Tuesday test accommodations but would need to plan for the next test in the course.
Students who used accommodations in the past but who are hesitant about using accommodations at SLU are encouraged to talk to Disability Services about services and how it is organized. Disability Services staff will discuss services and can talk about the pros and cons of registering for accommodations now or choosing to wait until later. The student will always have the final choice as to how to proceed and will never be under an obligation to commit to accommodations during inquiry meetings.
Parents are encouraged to support the student during the decision-making process and to understand the student's concerns. Students who feel external pressure to register for accommodations rather than make the internal choice to use them often do not end up using the accommodations until internally ready.
6. How does my student create the best opportunities for success at SLU?
SLU has a wealth of resources available to support students in their effort to achieve their academic goals. Students are encouraged to making connections with the tutoring and/or writing services in the Student Success Center as needed in addition to making connections with each course instructor. Academic advisors can also be a valuable resource. Some students find support at Student Health and Counseling, at Campus Ministry, or via involvement with different student organizations. Additionally, Disability Services can be a positive resource in some situations and can refer students to contacts elsewhere on campus as needed. Successful utilization of these services requires strong student self-advocacy abilities and initiative.
Students should speak with Disability Services and talk about the strategies the student has implemented to work with the instructor, what the instructor has done, and how to best proceed based on the situation. Disability Services will become directly involved in the situation as necessary.