What Role Can Parents Play?

Welcome to the Tufts family. As a parent you may be concerned about your student's transition to Tufts and his or her access to all that Tufts offers. We are here to help with that transition.

The transition to college is a journey for both you and your student. You can expect some amazing changes to happen during your student's college years. The road to self-actualization happens with each step your student takes and with each challenge turned into opportunity.

Differences Between High school and College

There are a number of differences between high school and college that families should be aware of before starting college. The most important thing to know is that in college the student is expected to speak for their selves. That means meeting with staff from Student Accessibility Services to discuss their disability and accommodations, talking to their professors when they have a question or a problem and making and keeping appointments. There are other important differences too like the fact that in high school some of their work may have been modified.

In college, course assignments cannot be modified. Students with disabilities will be expected to learn all the information just like everyone else in the course. But, how they learn that information may be different. In college, students with disabilities can use accommodations to support their learning once they register with the Student Accessibility Services office. Accommodations might include things like using audio recorders to tape class discussions, reading an electronic version of a textbook or having more time to finish a test or quiz.

Key Differences Between High School and College

High School
The Law IDEA provides supports for the student to do well in school. ADA assures that students with disabilities have the supports that they need in order to fulfill the same requirements as their peers. 
Professors/Faculty Teachers may adjust the material for students with disabilities. Professors will not change the material, but they will provide students with the accommodations determined by SAS.
Advocacy School districts are responsible for evaluating students’ learning and reporting disability to teachers. Students must start conversation about their disability in order to acquire and use their accommodations. 
Parent Involvement Parent has access to student records and can advocate for their student.  Parent has no access to student records without student permission and it is up to the student to advocate for themselves. 
Scheduling Classes meet daily, which means that students can have consistent contact with their teachers. Classes meet less frequently, so students will see their instructors less frequently and must plan ahead to ask questions.
Extra Help Teachers make sure that students get extra help. Students must schedule time and determine how to get the extra help that they need.
Due Dates Teachers often remind students of assignments and due dates. Professors expect students to read the course syllabus. They do not remind them of upcoming due dates.
Frequently Asked Questions and Other Resources

Tufts University has a resource for parents regarding supporting your student through all the frequently asked questions and transitions that college brings. In particular Student Accessibility Services has a separate page just for supporting your student with disabilities in particular. These questions are based on questions we get regularly as well as other resources that are available for your student regardless of if they are registered with Student Accessibility Services.

Roles and Responsibilities of Students, Parents, and SAS

It is sometimes helpful to understand the roles and responsibilities that your student, you and SAS will assume in seeking and getting accommodations. For that reason we have included this chart. Please note it is not exhaustive. 

Student, Family, and University Roles and Responsibilities in Student Success

SAS Role/Responsibilities
Embrace the opportunities to develop independence, intellectual skills, interests; build new relationships; get involved on campus; advocate for yourself. Facilitate and foster a positive social environment for all students and faculty and promote equal access for all. Encourage student to value social and residential life experiences; encourage campus participation and socialization.
Know and understand your disabilities

Provide documentation of your disabilities as required

Exercise good self-care habits!

Communicate with faculty regarding course requirements and accommodations

Develop and engage in solution-oriented problem solving

Abide by all student codes of conduct

Meet the academic requirements of your courses

Learn time-management skills

Develop your computer skills




Provide clear statements of the requirements and procedures for obtaining accommodations

Assist student in registering with SAS

Review all documentation and develop reasonable accommodations

Protect the confidentiality of information pertaining to a student’s disability

Offer guidance in making the transition to college

Provide accommodations counseling

Provide information about campus resources

Assist faculty in making reasonable accommodations
Help your student understand their disabilities

Encourage student to register with SAS

Arrange for adequate documentation of your student’s disabilities

Encourage student to use problem-solving strategies

Help student advocate for help that they need

Offer support and encouragement

Maintain student’s privacy except in an emergency or when student requests that information be shared with the university