Disability Services at Kettering University serves an important role in helping students with disabilities obtain access to academic and programmatic services at the University, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation in Education Act of 1973.
Our Philosophy: Self-Advocacy
Kettering University, like all colleges and universities, subscribes to a self-advocacy model of development for students with disabilities. We believe the ability to self-advocate is a fundamental skill for our students to learn, in order to be successful in college and at all stages of their lives. Self-advocacy locates responsibility for disability management with the disabled individual so that students learn how to navigate life’s challenges and obstacles and to seek out the services and resources needed.
Self-advocacy skills include understanding one’s strengths and needs, identifying personal goals, knowing and acting upon the legal rights and responsibilities of disabled persons, and ably communicating these ideas. Parents may best assist their disabled students to acquire these skills by fostering independence and self-sufficiency.
Fostering Independence among Disabled Students
When a student begins college, parents face a major transition. One of the biggest challenges parents confront is shifting from a caretaker’s role, with some authority over your child's life, to a mentor and advocate who guides a young adult to make his or her own decisions. When the student has a disability, the challenges become even more complex. Disability Services helps students develop personal responsibility, self-advocacy, and self-determination. Parents can help their sons and daughters by reinforcing their sense of independence as they navigate the unfamiliar challenges of a university education.
How Parents Can Help
Parents can help their students manage disabilities in these important ways.
- Encourage your student to take advantage of available disability services. While we do not require disabled students to utilize our services, you and your student should know what services and resources we offer.
- Encourage your student to meet with Disability Services staff at the start of each term. Even students who do not seek accommodations will find it beneficial to discuss their individual circumstances with a staff member. The more we know about how each student is doing, the easier it is for us to facilitate assistance, with or without accommodations.
- Encourage your student to meet with the Disability Services staff at least once more during the term to check in with us and whether they need any additional services or assistance. It’s a good idea to check in with Disability Services shortly before midterms and a few weeks before finals and end-of-the-term evaluations. Students are, of course, welcome anytime.
- Encourage your student to familiarize him- or herself with the contents of the Disability Services website, particularly our requirements for documenting disabilities.
- Encourage your student to speak up for him- or herself and to be his or her own best advocate.
- Encourage your student to meet regularly with his or her instructors to get feedback as to progress in class. Also, we recommend all students check in with academic advisers at least once each term.
Confidentiality and FERPA
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) limits significantly the amount of information that Disability Services may share with you regarding specific information about your student. Federal law prevents us from telling you whether or not your student came in for an appointment, requested an accommodation, or obtained an Accommodation Notice to provide to instructors. We may share this information with you only if your student completes and signs a FERPA Release of Information form, specifying you as the recipient of their Disability Services records. This form must be completed in the presence of a Disability Services staff member and signed by both the staff member and the student. Your student has the right to nullify this form at any point simply by providing such a request in writing. Even with this signed form on file, Disability Services strongly discourages parents from assuming the responsibility of the student in obtaining services and problem solving.
Important Information for Parents and Disabled Students regarding Treatment & Medications
The physicians and counselors at the Wellness Center do not diagnose or treat students for learning disabilities, including Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Wellness Center physicians neither prescribe nor dispense medications used in the treatment of learning disabilities. Students must acquire prescriptions from their personal physicians and obtain them from retail pharmacies, either in their home communities or in Flint. If a Wellness Center health care practitioner suspects a learning disability exists, the student will be referred to a local provider for evaluation and treatment. Or, if the student prefers, s/he may be evaluated by his/her personal physician. All expenses related to evaluation and treatments are the student’s personal responsibility.
We encourage parents to learn about our services and seek our guidance.
Cristina G. Reed, M.A., L.P.C.