Parents: Welcome to the Access Center!
The Access Center is pleased and excited to work with you to make your student's transition to higher education as smooth as possible.
Going to college can be a significant transition for both the student and the family. For many students this is the first time they are separating from the family and moving towards independence. The Access Center is here to help students with disabilities and their families with this transition. Below are links to our new student procedures and documentation guidelines which describe how a student can register for services with the Access Center.
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 Release of Information form (available below) so that you may be included in your student's affiliation with the Access Center. The release of information form may also be used to request documentation to be sent to the Access Center 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 of the biggest differences is the role of the school in the provision of accommodations. At the high school level, the school is responsible for insuring that a student is receiving their designated accommodations. However, in higher education students are responsible for ensuring they receive the accommodations they need by registering with the university's disability support office. After students register with the Access Center, we work closely with your student and their faculty to ensure that your student receives appropriate accommodations that provide equal access.
Furthermore, 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. Additionally, below is a link to help guide you in some of the differences between high school and higher education as well as a link to the Access Center's documentation guidelines.
If you would like to visit, we are open Monday through Friday, 8:00 to 5:00. Please call 509-335-3417 for an appointment so that an Access Center staff member can meet with you and answer any questions you may have.
We have put together some information that you may find helpful:
- Access Center New Student Procedures
- Documentation Guidelines
- Release of Information Authorization Form (PDF)
- Transitioning from High School to Higher Education for Students with Disabilities (PDF)
- FERPA General Guidance for Parents (PDF)
- An Open Letter to Parents of Students With Disabilities About to Enter College (Ark-AHEAD)