Frequently Asked Questions by Parents

Admission Questions

Can my student meet with someone from the Office of Disability Resources when we are on campus for a tour or visit?

While we are unable to schedule individual appointments with perspective students, we always encourage students and their families to visit our office while on campus.  We are happy to answer any general questions or inquiries you may have.

Should my student disclose that they have a disability during the admission process?

Self-disclosure of a disability is voluntary in higher education.  It is important to note that it is illegal to inquire about disability during the application process.  As part of our application process, your student may be asked to complete a personal statement.  Many applicants with disabilities choose to discuss this aspect of their lives in their personal statement as a way to explain one’s identity and life experiences, or to shed light on skills and aptitudes. Disclosing a disability will not negatively impact a student’s standing in the applicant pool.  If a student should choose to disclose during the application process, it is important to note that he/she will not automatically be registered for services through ODR.  To receive accommodations your student must provide appropriate documentation and complete the Registration Process.

Are there separate admission standards for students with disabilities?

No.  A student with a disability must meet the same admission requirements as his/her peers.

If my student is receiving accommodations at another college/university will they automatically transfer?

No.  Your student must self-disclose to the Office of Disability Resources (ODR), provide appropriate documentation, and participate in the in-take appointment with personal from ODR to determine eligibility and reasonable accommodations.

Registration & Documentation Questions

How does my student receive services?

Information on our registration process can be found here.

What role can I have in helping my student request accommodations from the Office of Disability Resources?

Once a student is in Higher Education, they are considered an adult.  Therefore, our office is required to work directly with the student when discussing the receipt of accommodations.  However, we do recognize that parents traditionally have access to the documentation, and can send that into our office on behalf of their student.  Furthermore, we also are happy to discuss concerns and/or problems parents are aware of.  Due to confidentiality laws, we may not be able to participate in a discussion, but we can follow-up with the student on information parents share.

What documentation does the Office of Disability require?  Will a prescription pad with a diagnosis suffice?

In determining eligibility for accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) the student must demonstrate that a qualified professional has established a formal diagnosis of a disability and that there is evidence of a substantial limitation in one or more major life activities.  Accommodations in Higher Education are given based on the functional impact of a diagnosis.  Please see Documentation Guidelines for more information on appropriate documentation.

A prescription pad or letter simply stating diagnosis will not suffice as appropriate documentation.

Where and when should my student submit documentation to become registered with the Office of Disability Resources?

Students with disabilities who have been admitted to UMW and wish to request accommodations are encouraged to submit the student registration form, along with appropriate documentation as soon as they accept the offer of admission and have a UMW banner ID number and Email address.  Documentation and forms can be submitted in person to Lee Hall, Fourth Floor, Room 401; faxed to 540-654-2155, or emailed to ODR@UMW.EDU.

Does my student need to submit new documentation every year?

No.  Once your student is deemed eligible for accommodations, updated documentation is not necessary unless his/her needs change.  The student is required to request their accommodations, each semester through an online form.  This informs the office that the student has registered for classes and would like to receive their services.

Transitioning from High School to College

My student was in special education class (IDEA) or had a 504 Plan in high school.  With he/she automatically receive the same services he/she received in high school?

In K – 12th grade the student is entitled to services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  This law governs procedures only in K-12, not in post-secondary education.  Special education is mandated to provide a free and appropriate education to public school students through the provision of instructional services and modifications.  The school is responsible for ensuring a student’s success.  This does not apply to universities and colleges.

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act are the primary laws that govern the procedures for post-secondary education.  Universities/Colleges must ensure that a student does not encounter discrimination due to a disability, and must provide reasonable accommodations that allow the student equal access to programs and/or classes.  Special education, IEP’s or504’s are not developed at the university level.

Will the Office of Disability Resources Office seek out my student to provide services?

No.  At the university/college level, students with disabilities are covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities ACT (ADA).  Under the new laws students have a right to confidentiality and non-disclosure.  Therefore, it is the student’s responsibility to seek out services.

In high school, I was kept informed on how my son or daughter was doing in class.  Will a professor or Disability Representative contact me if my student is having difficulties in class?

In college, students are considered adults.  Therefore, as a university we are not allowed to discuss the student unless the right consent forms are signed.  For academic access the student would need to fill out a FERPA form.  For a Disability Representative to talk to a parent (or any other individual) outside the student’s presence, the student would need to complete a consent from found in our office.

Even with the above forms completed, faculty and staff will not update parents on student progress.  Students should be aware of how they are doing in classes and should seek assistance if they are having problems.

Other Common Questions

Is tutoring provided specifically for students with disabilities?

No.  All UMW students have access to tutors through Academic Services.  Individual departments also have tutoring programs available.  Students need only inquire with their faculty.

How will my student register for courses next semester?

First time freshman are given an advisor associated with their Freshman Seminar course.  Their advsor will email students around registration instructing them to schedule an appointment.  Information about recommended courses and registration date will be provided at this time.

What should my student do if he/she has never received accommodations and we suspect he/she may have a disability?

If you suspect your student may have a disability that is impacting his/her academic performance, please have the student contact the Office of Disability Resources at 540-654-1266 to discuss the area’s of struggle he/she is experiencing and documentation that would be required.

At the student’s request, we can provide a list of evaluators for our service area.

What is the process of obtaining housing accommodations?

Requests for housing accommodations are different then classroom and/or programmatic accommodation requests.  Housing Accommodation Requests are submitted to the Office of Disability Resources.  Complete applications are reviewed by the housing committee.  While there is a deadline, and we encourage students to submit documentation by this date to be guaranteed the accommodations, applications are reviewed on an on-going basis.

My son or daughter is in need of a car on campus for their freshman year, how do we make this request?

All requests for permission to have a car on campus would go directly to Parking Management.  A request to have a car on campus do to medical need requires medical documentation to accompany the request.  Parking management can be contacted at 540-654-1129.