Summer break is the perfect time for parents of college-bound kids with learning disabilities, ADHD, and mental health disabilities to prepare for their child’s transition to college life by following a “Critical Steps to Do Now to Get Accommodations for College: Summer Guide.”
In this article, we will provide a guide for parents of college-bound kids with learning disabilities, ADHD, and mental health disabilities on how to get accommodations in college during the summer. It will be one less thing to worry about once the fall semester begins.
Step 1 Identify your child’s needs
The first step in the “Summer Preparation Plan for College Accommodation Requests” is to identify your child’s needs. Consider your child’s strengths and challenges, as well as any accommodations they may need to succeed in college.
For example, if your child has ADHD, they may need testing accommodations or a quiet space to study. If your child has a learning disability, they may need accommodations such as note-taking support or books in an alternate format, or the use of assistive technology for testing such as text-to-speech software.
If your child has a mental health disability, they may need similar accommodations such as extended test time and distraction reduction, but they may need more. Knowing what your student needs is key.
If medications and therapy are part of your child’s treatment and support system, check and double-check to ensure these services are supportive enough for your student’s needs. Also, check the academic services to ensure these support your child’s academic needs.
To help with this, I developed a free College Services Planner so you can do the research needed to make the best choice of school that meets your child’s needs.
Step 2 Check out the Disability Services Office at each college accepted.
Once you have identified your child’s needs, research the colleges and universities Accessibility Office as part of the “Summer Preparation Plan for College Accommodation Requests.”
Check the disability services department of each college or university to see what the process is for making accommodation requests. Look for the documentation requirements that relate to your specific disability.
If you have multiple disabilities, such as ADHD and Dyslexia, make note of the documentation requirements for each issue. To help guide and inform you more on documentation issues, see these resources for more guidance:
It’s important to find a college or university that meets your student’s needs. I’m fond of saying that your student should attend and focus on the college they need not the college they want.
Yet, this takes effort and some time to look at the services at the school that can help your student. So, I hope you use the College Services Planner to your best advantage.
Step 3 Apply for Accommodations
Once you have found the college or university that best suits your child’s needs as part of the “Summer Preparation Plan for College Accommodation Requests,” it’s time to make accommodation requests.
To help with ensuring each step is completed for the accommodation request process, I created a free checklist to keep each request organized and on track.
The accommodation request process typically involves filling out forms, providing documentation, and having a conversation with the disability services department. When making accommodation requests, be clear and specific about what accommodations your child needs.
As part of the “Summer Preparation Plan for College Accommodation Requests, it’s important to make accommodation requests early, as colleges and universities may need time to make arrangements. If you student waits to apply, there are consequences that they may not have realized or thought about.
Waiting is an all-too-common event. For this reason, I’ve written a blog article called Not Requesting Accommodations in College? Read this first. You can read that here.
Be prepared to provide any documentation or information that may be required. This should’ve been part of Step 2 as part of the “Summer Preparation Plan for College Accommodation Requests.”
Step 4 Communicate with the disability services staff.
Communication with the disability services department is key to ensuring your child’s needs are met as part of the “Summer Preparation Plan for College Accommodation Requests.” Before the college or university fall semester begins, make sure to have a conversation with the disability services department about your child’s accommodations and responsibilities and any additional information needed.
I have a podcast that reviews the questions to ask accessibility staff. You can listen here. It’s episode 16 “Accessing Success: Essential Questions for Parents and Students to Ask College Accessibility Staff at Every Step.”
This can help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that any necessary accommodations are in place before the semester begins. Having your accommodations prior to the semester and knowing how to use them cuts down on a lot of stress.
Part of the “Summer Preparation Plan for College Accommodation Requests” is helping your student prepare for their college transition. If your student is aware of their responsibilities for their accommodations, that is one aspect of their transition they do not need to worry about.
Further, if something occurs or needs to change throughout the college or university term, continued communication with the disability services department will be critical if any adjustments need to be made.
If your child is struggling with a particular accommodation or course, don’t hesitate to reach out to the disability services department for support and assistance. Know who to contact and how.
Know before you go.
In conclusion, by following the “Critical Steps to Do Now to Get Accommodations for College: Summer Guide,” it is possible to ensure your child has the necessary support to succeed in college.
By identifying your child’s needs, researching colleges and universities, making accommodation requests, and communicating with disability services, you can help your child to have a successful college experience and less stressful college transition.
Here are some additional resources to help you on your college journey.