10 Tips for Parents of Students with Disabilities

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Denise Johnson Marshall
Assistant Dean/Director, Disability Services

You are your student's biggest supporter, cheerleader and advocate, and that makes you the best person to help your student make a successful transition into adulthood. Your encouragement to become educated about his/her disability and to embrace the responsibility for getting the help needed is a valuable skill that will stay with your student throughout his/her time at Georgia Tech and beyond.

The development of successful self-advocacy skills are rarely developed overnight. However, there are a few ways you can help your student grow in this area.

1. Educate your student on his/her disability. Your student should be familiar with all aspects of the disability including: its name, how it has impacted him/her in the past, and what type of accommodations have been used throughout his/her education.

2. Show and explain all of the documentation that you have on your student’s disability to them. It is very important for your student to understand this documentation because the ADAPTS-Disability Services Program at Georgia Tech will use your student’s documentation to assess his/her disability and needs.

3. Encourage your student to schedule an appointment with the disability services office as soon as he/she arrives at Georgia Tech so that your student can meet the disability services staff and begin the registration process with the office.

The staff in the disability services office also meets with students on a regular basis throughout the first year at Georgia Tech. This is a good way for students to remain connected and feel that they have a place to ask questions.

4. Help your student learn how to communicate his/her needs. Your student should be able to describe how the disability limits him/her functionally.

5. Talk with your student about what accommodations have been used in the past and focus on which ones were the most helpful.

6. Remind your student that he/she is now responsible for handling all aspects of his/her disability. Therefore, encourage your student to embrace the responsibility.

7. Encourage your student to keep an open line of communication with the ADAPTS office throughout his/her entire career at Georgia Tech. Your student should also seek appropriate assistance when problems arise.

8. Encourage your student to meet with his/her instructors and other administrators when needed. Your student should learn to work collaboratively with professors to ensure his/her success with the accommodations.

9. Talk to your student about the many tutoring services that are offered throughout the Georgia Tech campus and encourage him/her to find different strategies for studying.

10. Finally, when things get tough, be there for your student. Many students who come to Georgia Tech have a hard time adjusting to the difficult academic requirements; therefore, your student may need some additional support from you during his/her career at Tech.

For more information on disability services at Georgia Tech, please visit our Web site at


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Rachael Pocklington
  • Created: 08/03/2009
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

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