We know parents and families are often a steadfast source of support and may have many questions about the resources, opportunities, and assistance available prior to visiting campus. The university believes that critical skills sets necessary for collegiate success are similar for all students as they transition to college; it's simply that neurodiverse and ASD students in addition to students with behaviors consistent with ASD may need them in different ways. Therefore, the university is committed to understanding how to best serve students with different learning abilities. We recognize that each student may have unique challenges related to their social, academic, and personal acclimation to the college environment. Additionally, upon entering college, students become the primary source of their own advocacy related to issues of decision making, and arranging for accommodations once on campus.

Prior to classes starting, it can be helpful to consider elements of the upcoming transition. The change from high school to college can be challenging for any student. There are several things that you can do together to make the transition a little easier for everyone involved:

  1. Advocate for appropriate transition services while your student is still in high school.
  2. Understand and discuss with your student the legal issues related to sharing of information once they are legally an adult.
  3. Reach an agreement with your student regarding how frequently you will communicate with one another.
  4. Discuss with your student if and how they plan to disclose they are a neurodiverse or ASD student with campus support staff or fellow peers. Explain to your student that informing one staff member does not mean that all university offices are necessarily aware of a diagnosis disclosure.
  5. Discuss what services and supports your student may need to know and how to access them.

We welcome families to share concerns regarding their students in advance of classes starting. We also encourage families to disclose any prior information/diagnoses that may provide insight on ways we can best support the student. To discuss potential accommodations or needs, please contact Student Disability Services. Examples of accommodations may include preferential seating, extended time for exams, or reduced distraction environment for exams. Once accommodations are documented, these do not need to be shared with other students, unless desired by the student. Additionally, students who disclose having a disability can not be discriminated against based on that disability as part of the Federal Americans with Disability Act.

Our staff members have found it helpful for neurodiverse students, ASD students, and students with different learning abilities to begin transition planning for college while in high school. This can include conversations with family members, community supports, and the university regarding a plan for an individual’s goals and needs during the next step of life. Additionally, having a student practice self-advocacy can provide tremendous benefits once an individual arrives on campus and begins classes. Examples can include discussing their class interests, accommodation preferences, and researching where to go for additional assistance on campus as needed.

Students often times view college as an opportunity for a fresh start and chance to develop one’s identity independently. We also recognize, however, that planning for particular supports in advance can assist the student with adapting to college. We encourage you to reach out with questions or concerns you may have regarding what we can do to support your student’s success.

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