Disability Resources for Students

Going to college can be a significant transition for both student and family. For many students this is the first time they are separating from family and moving toward independence. This is an exciting time but the transition can also bring up concerns for all involved. Students with disabilities and their families must also understand what it means to transition to a university with a disability and what steps to take in order to receive support from Disability Resources for Students (DRS) at UW.

While DRS cannot promise your student will succeed, we are committed to ensuring that your student has equal access to all UW programs and services, and facilitating opportunities for success. Below are resources that will be helpful in facilitating a smooth transition to higher education. DRS is excited to be a partner with students during their journey at the UW.

Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA)

Because of The Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA), your experience as a parent or guardian will be different from the K-12 system. At the high school level, the relationship was between the school district and the parents; at the college level, the relationship is between the college and the student. Once your son or daughter enrolls in a post-secondary institution, whether they are 18 years old or not, they become the sole guardian of all records maintained by that institution.

Your student may choose to fill out the DRS Release of Information form so that you may be included in your student’s affiliation with Disability Resources for Students. The release of information form may also be used to request documentation to be sent to DRS from your student’s physician or previous school.

Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 plans

Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 plans often differ significantly from the accommodations and services provided at the post-secondary level. One difference is that IEPs and 504 plans do not always contain the evaluation/assessment scores that qualify a student with a learning disability for accommodations and services at the higher education level. If evaluation/assessment scores are not available or your student needs to be assessed for a disability, please contact us to discuss your options.

The second difference is the role of the school in the provision of accommodations. At the high school level, the school is responsible for identifying students who need accommodations or services. However, in higher education students are responsible for identifying themselves to the disability office and state their requested accommodations. Once accommodations are approved DRS partners with your student and their faculty to ensure effective and appropriate accommodations are facilitated to provide equal access.