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What Parents Should Know

  Here are some considerations for you as your child transitions to West Chester University
  • Parents may not request accommodations and/or services on behalf of their student; students must request their own accommodations and/or services
  • Have your student use their WCU email account and contact us at ossd@wcupa.edu to request information about receiving accommodations
  • Students have new freedoms and new responsibilities and must make decisions on their own
  • Students must manage their own time and arrange their own schedules
  • Students must seek out assistance and campus resources
  • Students must develop strategies and learn how to advocate for themselves
  • Accommodations provided in high school may not necessarily be appropriate at the postsecondary level
At postsecondary institutions students have the responsibility to:
  • Self-identify or disclose their disability to the designated office for disability services
  • Provide documentation from an appropriate professional source that verifies the nature of the disability, functional limitations, and the need for specific accommodations
  • Act as independent adults and use appropriate self-advocacy skills
  • Arrange for and obtain their own personal assistant, tutoring, and individually designed assistive technologies
Postsecondary institutions are not required to:
  • Reduce or waive any of the essential requirements of a course or program
  • Conduct testing and assessment of learning, psychological or medical disabilities
  • Provide personal assistants
  • Provide personal or private tutoring
  • Prepare Individualize Education Plans (IEPs)
Important Things to Remember

Students who attend college are considered to be adults and are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). OSSD staff cannot talk to parents about the student's academic activities. Parents need to talk to the student directly about disclosing disabilities and requesting accommodations.

How Parents Can Help Their Student
  • Listen and provide support and consultation, but give your student the space to figure it out on their own. Resist the urge to "fix" the problem
  • Encourage your student to make connections. Direct your student to meet with the OSSD, their professors, their academic advisor, and other individuals who can assist them while at West Chester University
  • Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are part of the learning process; allow them to learn from their experiences
  • Help promote your student's self-advocacy by encouraging them to set their own goals and take ownership of their education

An Open Letter to Parents of Students with Disabilities About to Enter College

Please click on the link below to read a letter written by Jane Jarrow, a professional who has worked with students with disabilities at the college level for more than 30 years. Jarrow wrote this letter as a parent – to other parents, as someone who shared all their anxieties about their child with a disability going off to college.

Jarrow recently reviewed the letter to determine if it still had relevance in this time of Covid-19. Everything in the letter remains true and useful, but it benefited from the addition of some information appropriate to the pandemic period. Just as disability service providers are facing a steep learning curve in doing what needs to be done to support students during the COVID-19 crisis, parents will face new challenges, as well.  

Click here to read Jane Jarrow's letter

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