Building a Life

A transition guide for Kansans

Things to Consider

  • Have your youth/young adult work closely with the college’s disability services office to provide the right kind of accommodations

Rights & ADA

In college, your young adult's access to a college education is protected by the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. However, much of the initiative for doing well must come from the student, even though accommodations are certainly available and designed for their particular disability. Unlike in high school, your college-age young adult must contact the disability services office, provide documentation of the diagnosis and request accommodations themselves. It’s a good idea for you as a family member to attend at least the first meeting to make sure everything goes smoothly. But, in general, unless your young adult gives the college written permission for you to speak with the disability services staff, they cannot do so.

It’s important for your young adult to become familiar with the college services as soon as possible and equally important for you to have a relationship with the staff in those offices. While your young adult becomes used to college, you’ll need to provide back up for them as much as possible. Make sure they attend college orientations; sometimes the support offices will have their own orientation for new students, so you’ll want them to attend that as well. Let your college student know that staff members are there to help them, but not to do things for them that they could do themselves. Colleges are busy places and staff members need students to act as independently as possible.

A college may not, by law, contact parents about a student’s academic performance unless the student gives the college permission to do so. It’s a good idea for you to be able to check with your college student’s counselors, so ask the ACCESS counselors for help with that. You’ll need to have your student sign a permission form.

Rutgers University’s Disability Services

University of Kansas Disability Services