Letter to Parents

Dear Parent,

Congratulations to both you and your college student, for reaching this point!  Students with disabilities survive and thrive on college campuses across the country, and we are looking forward to partnering with them here at Marymount!

You as a parent have likely been very involved in the educational programming and planning that your son or daughter received during their years in the K-12 school system.  By law, the school needed to engage you and receive permission from you before moving forward on anything regarding your son or daughter’s disability.  You may have sat through IEP meetings over the years, and been insistent on certain issues of academic support when necessary.  Now, as your son or daughter is preparing to enter college, the role of you being their academic advocate transitions from you to your college student. With this hand-off in mind, you can still play a vital role in this transition.

It is time to begin thinking of your son or daughter as a college student.  You should begin to step back and allow/encourage/gently nudge your student with a disability (SWD) to assume significant independent responsibility for their own lives, both academically and personally.  We are well aware that this shift in perspective may be new for you and your college student.  It is important that they take on the role of being a SWD, which requires them to share information and partner with our office, Student Access Services (SAS).  They have to be the one to convey crucial information for a number of reasons.  Colleges and universities provide services and supports to SWD under very different laws than the K-12 system does.  To learn about the differences between disability services in high school and college please visit the Marymount web page about Disabilities Services in High School & College.

The services and supports available to SWD may be very different than what was provided in high school.  Marymount University, like all colleges and universities, is not obligated to continue to provide the exact services given in high school or to adhere to the recommendations of an outside diagnostician.  Marymount, like other colleges and universities, complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Sect. 504”) and with Title III of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and its 2008 Amendments (ADA/AA).

Marymount University’s Office of Student Access Services (SAS) makes a determination of what services and supports to offer based on the documentation of disability, interview with your college student, and available resources.  There are no IEP’s in college, and no place to sign off with your parental approval.  Your college student is responsible for their own destiny, and we are excited to support them.

While you may be well-equipped to convey important disability-related information, it is now your college student’s first chance to convey that information all by him or herself.  It is important for them to, independently, learn more about Marymount, the campus and resources available to them, and to become familiar with communicating and interacting with campus staff members.  We will speak directly to your college student, and welcome you to join our conversation if they invite you!

Tips for parents:

  • Let your college student realize that they are the authority on their own disability.
  • Prep your college student in advance of their SAS intake meeting on the issues that you think need to be discussed.
  • Encourage your college student to make a list of the topics you would bring up, and to have access to that list during their SAS intake meeting.
  • Rehearse with your college student, if they let you.
  • If your college student asks you to attend the SAS intake meeting, do not offer advice until prompted to do so.
  • After we and your college student have discussed Marymount practices and policies, and their list of concerns, you will have the opportunity to add to or clarify information.
  • Keep in mind, self-advocacy is an important step in their journey toward independence!

We look forward to meeting and working with your college student, and to welcome you, IF they invite you to accompany them.  Again, congratulations to your college student, on their accomplishment, and to you for your support in assisting them to reach this point in their academic journey!


Student Access Services
Marymount University