FAQ

DASS FAQ for Parents

What is my role as a parent who has college student with a disability? 
I have heard that my son or daughter can sign a waiver that will allow me to speak with staff at the disability office. Is this true? 
What is my son or daughter's role as a college student with a disability?
Can I request accommodations for my student? 
I want my student to receive accommodations but they refuse to ask for support services. In this case can I request accommodations for them?
My student received academic accommodations in high school; will they be eligible for the same accommodations at SMU?
What criteria are needed in order for my student to receive accommodations?
If my student does not meet the guidelines for accommodations, then what type of academic support will my student receive?
How do the responsibilities of working with students with disabilities at SMU differ from those of high schools? 
How will my student's professors be notified of their need for accommodations?
In high school, teachers kept me informed of how my son or daughter is doing in classes. Will a professor contact me if my student is having difficulties in class? 
Does DASS have any suggestions for references to help parents understand more about the process of disabilities in college?

What is my role as a parent who has college student with a disability?
Students need the support, but not the control of parents and other family members. Appropriate parental involvement must take place within the boundaries set by law by good sense and by keeping the long term best interest of the emerging young adult in mind. Such involvement as it relates to SMU life most often involves advising and encouraging the college life from the sidelines. Only the most extreme circumstances, such as those that seriously threaten the health of the student, allow for direct parental involvement.


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I have heard that my son or daughter can sign a waiver that will allow me to speak with staff at the disability office. Is this true?
A college student can sign a release giving staff permission to share academic information with parents. However, you should know that even if a student signs a release, DASS staff requires that the student handle any matters related to our office, including registration and accommodations. We do not work with the parent in place of the student. It is in the best interest of the student to negotiate their accommodations as they learn to be their own self-advocate.


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What is my son or daughter's role as a college student with a disability?
Any student's role is to successfully transition into an independent adult. We know that students with disabilities face the same challenges as every college bound young adult plus the challenges related to their disability. However, their role still remains to successfully transition into an independent adult. The time for dependence is coming to a close. A student with a disability is responsible for requesting accommodations through DASS. DASS will not seek the students out. A student with a disability is also responsible for providing acceptable documentation of his or her disability. After being approved through DASS, the student is responsible for requesting letters for professors, advocating/disclosing his/her disability to professors in order to receive accommodations, and setting appointments for proctored tests when needed.


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Can I request accommodations for my student?
No. All requests for accommodations must come directly from the student.


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I want my student to receive accommodations but they refuse to ask for support services. In this case can I request accommodations for them?
No. Students must request academic accommodations and other support services. This can be very frustrating for parents who have always taken an active role in their student's educational needs. Students may want to “try it on their own” before requesting support services. Encourage your student to meet with a DASS staff member to determine whether or not they should request support services. Our staff is available to help students make informed decisions.


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My student received academic accommodations in high school; will they be eligible for the same accommodations at SMU?
Not necessarily. The diagnosis needs to meet the criteria of a “disabling condition”. The test data needs to support evidence of a current, significant, and functional limitation that impacts learning. The evaluation must support a link between the disability and the requested accommodation.


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What criteria are needed in order for my student to receive accommodations?
Current, appropriate documentation showing a “disabling condition.” Please refer to our Guidelines page.

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If my student does not meet the guidelines for accommodations, then what type of academic support will my student receive?
SMU offers academic support services to all students who request it, including tutoring, writing support, and academic workshops. Students may also receive support in the form of “coaching,” time management, organizational, and study skills. All of these services are free and available at the Learning Enhancement Center.


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How do the responsibilities of working with students with disabilities at SMU differ from those of high schools? 
The responsibilities towards students with disabilities at SMU are very different from those of high schools. High schools are required under IDEA to indentify the educational needs of students with a disability and provide a free and appropriate education. This responsibility is not required of SMU. SMU is required to provide appropriate academic accommodations to ensure that a student with a disability is not discriminated against. The student is responsible for disclosing his or her disability to the institution.


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How will my student's professors be notified of their need for accommodations?
Students who are eligible for academic accommodations must request letters describing their accommodations to give to professors every semester that they are requesting accommodations. DASS will print accommodation letters that the student will pick up and deliver. The student must hand-deliver a letter of accommodations to each of his/her professors. The accommodation letters will outline the type of accommodations the student will receive in each course. Academic accommodations are determined on an individual basis, course by course. The university requires that students notify faculty at least seven days prior to the need for accommodations.


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In high school, teachers kept me informed of how my son or daughter is doing in classes. Will a professor contact me if my student is having difficulties in class? 
In college, students are to know how they are doing and seek assistance if they are having problems. The college is not permitted to release information about a student's academic progress, without a release from the student. Even if the student signs a release, we encourage parents to allow their students to handle their academics themselves, while keeping parents in the loop. A student's adviser can be an appropriate contact if the parent is concerned.


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Does DASS have any suggestions for references to help parents understand more about the process of disabilities in college?
The following link has some information to help parents understand the transition process, written from the point of a view of a Disability Service Provider who is also a parent of a student with a disability.

http://www.arkahead.org/letterfromjane.htm

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