The Office of Disability Services knows how hard the college transition can be for both students and parents. This is especially true for parents of students with disabilities who have advocated for their student; collaborated with teachers and administrators and kept a close, watchful eye on their child’s progress in school.

When students are in high school, parents are expected to help steer their child in the correct direction and help them achieve their goals. When students are in college, however, they need to become the driving force behind their academic success and development into mature adults.  Regardless, there are ways our office can partner with you to help your student develop the self-advocacy skills they need. 

Partnering to Support Your Student

Though our main role is to work with your student directly, we know that you are an important and critical part of your student’s life.  We cannot always share information with you (such as if your student has attended a meeting with our office, whether they have used accommodations or how they are doing in their classes), but we are always open to hearing information that you think might be important for us to know.  If you are concerned about your student, please let us know by contacting us at 508-831-4908 or by email at disabilityservices@wpi.edu.  We may be able to reach out and help them get connected to the best resources on campus. 

Note:  Disability services are completely confidential. Read WPI’s Disability Services – Rights, Responsibilities, and Confidentiality for more information.

Resources

Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)

AHEAD is a national, professional organization focusing on individuals with disabilities in higher education settings.  The Association has put together a list of frequently asked parent questions and answers

Helpful Books and Articles on the College Transition

The Happiest Kid on Campus: A Parent's Guide to the Best College Experience (for you and your child) by Harlan Cohen.  Harlen Cohen, America's most trusted college life expert, delivers the best advice, facts, stats, tops and stories from parents, students and experts across the country to ensure that you and your child will have an incredible and meaningful college experience.  

What the Best College Students Do by Ken Bain.  Combining academic research on learning and motivation with insights drawn from interviews with people who have won Nobel Prizes, Emmys, fame, or the admiration of people in their field, Ken Bain identifies the key attitudes that distinguished the best college students from their peers.

As Drop-off Looms, A Professor's Note for New College Parents by Nick Anderson of the Washington Post.  Advice from a professor about how to manage the protective-parent instinct.  

New College Parents: Lost in the Transition by Brian Harke of the Huffington Post.  The author describes three distinct stages parents go through during their child's transition to college.

A Letter from a Parent of a Student with a Disability

Jane Jarrow’s Open Letter was written by a parent of a student with a disability who also works in the college setting.  She describes her own anxieties about her daughter making the transition to college while balancing the need to help her daughter develop her own self-advocacy skills.