Supporting My Student
What is my role as a parent or supporting family member who has a college student with a disability at CMU?
Students need the support of, but also independence from, their parents and other family members. Appropriate involvement must take place within the boundaries set by the 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 university life most often involves advising and encouraging from the sidelines. Only the most extreme circumstances, such as those that seriously threaten the health of the student, allow for direct parental involvement.
I have heard that my student can sign a waiver that will allow me to speak with staff at CMU. Is this true?
A CMU student can sign a waiver giving staff permission to share information with whom they designate. However, you should know that Student Disability Services staff require that the student handle any matters related to our office, including registration and accommodations. We do not work with the parent or family in place of the student.
What is my student’s role as a college student with a disability at CMU?
A student’s role is to successfully transition into an independent adult. We know that students with disabilities face the same challenges as every other college student, plus the challenges related to their disabilities. College is a great time to practice moving from dependence into independence. Therefore:
• “We do nothing about the student, without the student” – Any action regarding access to services, seeking special assistance, or providing reasonable accommodation must be initiated by the student.
• “We speak with the student, not about the student” – All communication in any matter related to the student flows through the student.
• “No one speaks for the student or acts for the student, but the student” – We look to the student to express their needs, provide us with information that will help us assist them, and keep in contact with us.
Federal law requires this. University policies require this. Providing students with the best service in this transition is crucial.
In high school, teachers keep me informed of how my student 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 to seek assistance if they are having problems. CMU does not release information about a student's academic progress. Encourage your student to speak to their professor if they aren't sure how they are doing in the class or are experiencing difficulties.
Can I speak with a staff member about my student's schedule, so that I can help them plan the semester?
In college, students are expected to do their own planning. This includes deciding which degree program to enroll in and which courses to take each semester. Academic advisors are available to assist your student with scheduling. Staff members do not consult with parents about a student's schedule.