A Vital Message for Parents of USCA Students with Disabilities

In College....It's All About THE STUDENT

The Office of Disability Services at the University of South Carolina Aiken is guided by a model of student empowerment. In this we are part of a team of faculty and staff that recognizes that college is a time of transition from late adolescence into adulthood for all students. We know that students with disabilities face the same challenges as every college-bound young adult plus the challenges related to limitations imposed by disabilities. Even so, a successful transition into an independent adult life is every college student's goal. 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 his/her needs, provide us with information that will help us assist him/her, and keep in contact with us.

Federal Law requires this. University policies require this. But most importantly, our desire to provide students with the best service in this time of transition requires this.

Such a philosophy marks a major change for many parents and families of students leaving high school and entering college. As a parent or family member, you assist the student, support the student, and you care for the student, so you will also be making significant adjustments. The time for student dependence is coming to a close.

In particular students need the support, but not the control of parents and other family members. Appropriate parental involvement must take place within the boundaries set by 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 the college life from the sidelines. Only the most extreme circumstances, such as those that seriously threaten the health of the student, allow for direct parental involvement.

--- Page content adapted from USC Columbia Office of Disability Services

See FAQ for Parents