If you are a parent of a student with a disability, the Disability Resource Center (DRC) understands that you have been advocating for your student from day one in their K-12 journey. We hear many positive stories of support and accommodations for students with disabilities in K-12, and on the other hand we hear the unfortunate stories regarding fighting with IEP boards just to get minimal support. When it comes to requesting disability accommodations on a college campus, the DRC at Missouri State hopes that students and families find our process to be much more simple and welcoming.
Here’s how the process works:
- Student should fill out a request for accommodations at www.missouristate.edu/secure/disability/request.htm.
- Provide supporting documentation that describes barriers related to your disability and its impact. If documentation is not readily available, that’s okay! We don’t want documentation to be a gate keeper for a student seeking support and talking with us. However, it is helpful and we will still probably need it even if it’s after the initial meeting.
- Schedule a meeting with a DRC advisor to discuss any accommodations requested. We schedule it for one hour.
- Accommodations are typically determined at this meeting. More documentation may be needed, or the advisor may have to do some research before a final decision. Appropriate referrals may be made as well.
- If accommodations are determined, an accommodation memo will be prepared for your student. The DRC advisor will discuss with your student on how to implement these accommodations.
One thing to note with Missouri State is that we have two offices that serves students with disabilities: the Disability Resource Center and the Learning Diagnostic Clinic (LDC). The DRC works with students living with physical, sensory, and health disabilities. The LDC, which is housed under the Department of Psychology, works with students living with Autism, learning, cognitive, and psychological disabilities.
If a student is applying for accommodations and it is deemed that LDC will be a better fit, the DRC will do a referral for your student to the LDC. We will provide them your student’s request so that they can get started with them. It is not uncommon to have a student who lives with disabilities that would be served under both offices. The DRC and LDC will work together to determine the appropriate office for which the student should be served, and sometimes collaborate on what would be appropriate for accommodations.
Debunking the myths:
Receiving accommodations in college is different than high school. We hear stories from students that they didn’t like “not being in control of their information.” In high school, they walk into class and their teacher already knows about their disability and accommodations because of their IEP or 504 plan.
In college, your student is protected under FERPA just like any other student on campus. What this means is that your student is in control of their story. When a student seeks our support and accommodations are established, we create their accommodation memo. They take this memo to their instructor and have a thorough conversation with them about how accommodations will be implemented in their course. Their advisor within the DRC or LDC will have this discussion with your student on how to have this conversation.
Their accommodation memo lists only their accommodations. It does not say anything about their disability. If an instructor were to call us and ask what their diagnosis is, we would not go into those details. We would only discuss strategies on how to implement their accommodations. If DRC staff feels like they need to get into diagnosis information with instructors or staff on campus, they will ask your student’s permission before doing so. We hope that your student is open to discussing their disability as it may give instructors more insight on how to better support your student. However, your student doesn’t have to, and sometimes that is a misconception that will keep students from seeking our support.
Please visit https://www.missouristate.edu/disability/ for more information, and for your student to start the process if they are interested. We are located in Meyer Library 111. You can call us at 417-836-4192, and email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
We look forward to seeing you in the fall. Go BEARS!
(submitted by Justin Lozano, Director – Disability Resource Center)