Tips for Parents

How to Help Them Fly

An old expression exists: “There are only two things a parent can give to a child… One is roots. The other is wings.”

As your son or daughter begins his/her education at Embry-Riddle and enters adulthood, you will find yourself transitioning from being your child’s caretaker, mentor, roots, and advocate, to being the number one supporter of their independence as they “spread their wings.”

Disability law is very different in postsecondary education than it is in K-12 education.

In K-12 education, parents play a major role in ensuring that their children have access to their disability-related accommodations. In college, students need to develop independence and self-advocacy skills. You can play a role in encouraging them to assume responsibility for their academic and personal lives.

There are three steps to register with DSS. While we understand that the parent of a freshman may be helping their student initiate this registration process, it is the student with whom we will be reaching out and communicating. At the post-secondary level, university personnel expect the student to advocate for him- or herself by filling out required paperwork, attending meetings, and making his or her own decisions regarding accommodations. Please see the “How to Register” page on our web page for students.

It can be helpful for Disability Support Services to have a copy of your son’s/daughter’s IEP or 504 Plan when making accommodations decisions. However, at the university level, accommodations are determined on an individual basis and are based on the student’s requests, self-report, and medical documentation. Some accommodations that were granted in high school won’t apply in the same way in the university setting. Please see the links below for more information.

Differences between high school and college for students with disabilities

Jane Jarrow’s Letter to Parents

While we recognize and honor that parents have a wealth of information about their children, we typically do not discuss your student’s accommodations without his or her consent and presence. It is important for us to begin our relationship with your student, and to speak directly and alone with them regarding how they access their learning and what accommodations they envision needing at the university level. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) requires that only the student have access to his/her educational records unless he/she grants “Auxiliary Access” to a parent or guardian. Information on how a student can do this may be found at:

Encourage your student to develop self-advocacy and independent living skills. It will be their job to work with the university. It is important that your student know:

  • The effects of his/her disability and why he/she uses accommodations
  • How to talk assertively with instructors, financial aid counselors, and other university staff
  • How to budget
  • How to avoid problems with credit and debt
  • How to do laundry
  • Their medical history
  • Current diagnoses, current medications (how to take them and get them)
  • How to eat a balanced diet and prepare simple meals
  • How to manage basic car care if they will have a vehicle on campus
  • How to negotiate with roommates and be appropriately assertive when needed
  • What their plans are in case of an emergency
  • How to keep themselves safe and recognize potentially dangerous situations

If your son/daughter has a chronic condition such as epilepsy or diabetes, a guide to managing chronic health conditions in school can be found here.