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Parent Frequently Asked Questions


Can my student meet with someone from the Disability Resource Office when we are on campus for a tour or visit?

The Disability Resource Office is happy to meet with your student to discuss the registration process and accommodations that would assist him/her if he/she chose to attend Radford University. Please have your student contact the Disability Resource Office at 540-831-6350 (Phone) or 540-922-1176 (VP for ASL Users) to schedule an informational session.

Should my student disclose that they have a disability during the admission process?

Self-disclosure of your student’s disability is voluntary and it is crucial to understand that it is illegal to inquire about disability during the application process. As part of the application process, your student may be asked to complete a personal statement. Disclosing his/her disability in this statement is voluntary. It is important to understand that if your student discloses his/her disability in this statement, he/she will not automatically be registered for services through the Disability Resource Office. To receive accommodations your student must provide appropriate documentation and complete all necessary procedures for becoming a fully registered student with the Disability Resource Office.

Does a student have to inform Radford University that he or she has a disability?

A student with a disability does not have to disclose his or her disability to Radford University. Disclosure of a disability is on a voluntary basis. However, a student will not receive accommodations unless he or she self discloses and registers with the Disability Resource Office.

Are there separate admission standards for students with disabilities?

No. A student with a disability must meet the same admission standards as his/her non-disabled peers.

Will it hurt my student’s case or help my student’s case to inform Admissions that I have a disability?

Admissions will evaluate your student’s application in the same manner that all applications are evaluated. For additional information about the college’s admission procedures visit http://www.radford.edu/content/radfordcore/home/admissions.html.

If my student is receiving accommodations at another college or university will they automatically receive accommodations at Radford University?

No. Your student must self-disclose to the Disability Resource Office, provide appropriate documentation, and have completed the process to becoming a registered student with the DRO before accommodations can be provided.


Registration & Documentation

How does my student receive services?

Students will be asked to complete a Student Registration Form, provide appropriate documentation, and complete an interview with a Disability Services Specialist to determine eligibility and reasonable accommodations.

What role can I have in helping my student request accommodations from the Disability Resource Office?

Laws for universities/colleges dictate a student who is 18 years old or older is legally recognized as an adult. As an adult, the student, must self-disclose to the Disability Resource Office, provide appropriate documentation, request accommodations, and notify us of any specific disability related needs or concerns. The student must make all requests for accommodations, whether for academics or housing. We cannot honor requests from parents. While the Disability Resource Office is happy to discuss concerns with your parents, please be aware that confidentiality laws prevent us from discussing specific information with parents, unless the student has signed a FERPA release allowing us to speak with your parents.

RU Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Policy

What documentation does the Disability Resource Office need? Will a prescription pad with a diagnosis suffice as appropriate documentation?

In determining eligibility for accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) the student must demonstrate that a qualified professional has established a formal diagnosis of a disability and that there is evidence of a substantial limitation in one or more major life activities. Please see RU Documentation Guidelines for more information along with examples of acceptable documentation

A prescription pad will not suffice as appropriate documentation.

The RU Documentation Guidelines will satisfy the request for accommodations at Radford University, but may not guarantee accommodations at other universities or on standardized exams by ETS.

Does my student need to be retested or reevaluated in order to receive accommodations?

We do not view documentation or testing to have an expiration date; therefore, we encourage the student to submit what he/she has.  If the accommodations your student is seeking are not clearly outlined or stated in the documentation, further testing may be required.

These requirements are good for accommodations at Radford University but may not be sufficient for other Universities or testing agencies (i.e. ETS).

Where and when should my student submit documentation to become registered with the Disability Resource Office?

Students with disabilities who have been admitted to Radford University and wish to request accommodations are encouraged to submit the Student Registration Form and appropriate documentation as soon as a decision has been made to attend RU. Documentation and forms may be submitted in person to the Lower Level of Tyler Hall Suites 054-069, faxed to 540-831-6525, mailed to PO Box 6902 Radford, Virginia 24142, or emailed to dro@radford.edu

Does my student need to submit new documentation every year?

No. Once your student is deemed eligible for accommodations, updated documentation is not necessary unless his/her needs have changed. The student must however, fill out a request for accommodations each semester he/she would like to receive accommodations through the Disability Resource Office. This informs the Disability Services Specialists of the student’s new class schedule and that he/she would like to continue services.


Transitioning from High School to College

My student was in a special education class (IDEA) or had a 504 Plan in high school. Is he/she automatically entitled to the same services that he/she received in high school?

In Kindergarten through 12th grade the student is entitled to services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This law governs procedures only in K-12, not in post-secondary education. Special education is mandated to provide a free and appropriate education to public school students through the provision of instructional services and modifications. The school is responsible for ensuring a student’s progress. This does not apply to universities or colleges.

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act are the primary laws that govern the procedures for post-secondary education. Universities/colleges must ensure that a student does not encounter discrimination due to a disability, and must provide reasonable accommodations that allow the student to fully participate in the university/college programs or classes. Special education classes, IEP’s, or 504 Plans are not developed at the university level.

Will the Disability Resource Office seek my student out to provide services like counselors did in high school?

Under IDEA (K-12th grade), it is the responsibility of the schools to provide services and seek out students with disabilities. At the university/college level, students with disabilities are covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). IDEA no longer applies in the higher educational setting. Since this is the case, the legal obligations change. There is no special education at the university/college level. Universities cannot seek out students with disabilities. It is the student’s responsibility to seek out services.

In high school, teachers kept me informed of how my son or daughter was doing in classes. Will a professor or Disability Services Specialist contact me if my student is having difficulties in class?

In college, students should be aware of how they are doing in classes and should seek assistance if they are having problems. Disability Services Specialists will not contact parents to inform them of how their student is doing, as the college is not permitted to release information about a student’s academic progress.

How do the responsibilities of working with students with disabilities in Higher Education institutions differ from those of high schools?

The responsibilities towards students with disabilities in Higher Education institutions are very different from those of high schools. High schools are required under IDEA to identify the educational needs of students with a disability and provide a free and appropriate education. This responsibility is not required of Higher Education institutions. Higher Education institutions are required to provide appropriate academic accommodations to ensure that a student with a disability is not discriminated against. The student is responsible for disclosing his or her disability to the Disability Resource Office in order to receive accommodations.


Academic Accommodations

What reasonable academic accommodations are available for students?

Reasonable academic accommodations are based on the nature of the disability and the impact of the disability on the academic environment. All accommodations are determined on an individual case-by-case basis. Reasonable accommodations at the university/college level may differ from those available to the student in high school. No accommodation can or will violate the technical standards of a course or program.

Examples of accommodations may include extended test times, reduced distraction testing environment, a volunteer peer note taker, use of a recording device, alternate text, etc.

Are accommodations retroactive?

No. Accommodations are not retroactive. Accommodations for students with disabilities do not take effect and will not be supported by DRO staff until the student has self-disclosed and completed the registration process with the Disability Resource Office. If your student feels he/she is struggling with classes due to his/her disability, it is in his/her best interest to self-disclose to the Disability Resource Office early in the semester to in order to provide him/her with the best possible opportunity for success.

What if my student is not able to maintain a full time course load because of his/her disability?

Radford University recognizes that some students may not be able, by reason of disability, to successfully manage a full time course load of a minimum of twelve (12) credit hours per semester for undergraduate students or nine (9) credit hours per semester for graduate students. These students may continue to participate in the benefits, privileges, and responsibilities afforded to full time students, the DRO may make available as a reasonable accommodation, Reduced Course Load.

Students and parents should be aware that a reduced course load requires additional coordination of services and could impact the following:

·         Financial Aid status

·         Health/Automobile Insurance

·         Eligibility for Athletics

·         University Billing

·         Progression towards degree completion

How does my student communicate his/her accommodation needs to professors?

Your student should schedule a time to meet with his/her instructor during office hours to present them with the accommodation paperwork. It is important that the student and professor discuss each accommodation and any logistics that need to be decided upon (i.e. for the accommodation of “Copy of professor notes”, the student will request as needed from the professor). The student and professor should complete the Academic Accommodations Contract and return the white copy to the DRO. The student should not sign the Academic Accommodations Contract, if he/she is not in agreement or comfortable with all of the accommodations or strategies discussed with his/her professor. If this happens, the student should thank the professor for his/her time and set up an appointment to discuss the situation with his/her assigned Disability Services Specialist.

My student’s instructor is not providing him/her with accommodations. What should my student do?

If your student feels that he/she is not being afforded his/her accommodations, and the student  has already had a discussion with the instructor to try and resolve the issue, please have the student set up an appointment to meet with his/her Disability Services Specialist.

Do you offer closed captioning services and/or do you have sign language interpreters?

Sign Language Interpreters and closed captioning services are available. Please contact Jesica Myers, Coordinator for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services for more information.

Email: jmyers7@radford.edu          Phone: 540-831-1505.

Will the DRO provide my student with personal attendants or equipment?

The DRO does not provide personal attendants or equipment for personal use. Students are responsible for securing their own personal attendant. Some equipment is available for student loan for a 2 week period to determine if the equipment may be beneficial for personal purchase. Students are permitted to use the Assistive Technology lab located in the DRO Monday-Friday 8:00-5pm and the Assistive Technology lab located in McConnell Library.



Where do students with disabilities receive academic advising?

Academic advising is available to all students through the advising centers within his/her specific college.  The Disability Resource Office does not provide academic advising or assist with course scheduling.

Please visit http://www.radford.edu/content/provost/home/about/advising.html  to locate contact information for your student’s specific college advising center.

Is tutoring provided specifically for students with disabilities?

The DRO works collaboratively with the Learning Assistance Resource Center (LARC) on campus. All tutoring sessions should be scheduled by the student through the LARC. There may also be tutors available through individual academic departments as well as clubs and organizations on campus.

How will my student know when to register for courses for the next semester?

Students currently registered with the Disability Resource Office will receive priority registration as an accommodation. The DRO will send out emails regularly to notify registered students as to when the priority registration window will occur. The student should set up an appointment to meet with his/her advisor well in advance of the registration window, to receive his/her registration pin number. The DRO is unable to access or provide students with their registration pin number.

What should my student do if he/she has never received accommodations and we suspect he/she may have a disability?

If you suspect your student may have a disability that is impacting his/her academic performance, please have the student contact the Disability Resource Office at 540-831-6350 (phone) or  540-922-1176 (VP for ASL Users) to schedule an appointment with a  Disability Services Specialist (DSS). The DSS will guide your student through the process of seeking appropriate documentation that may potentially verify a disability.

The Disability Resource Office will provide referral information to the Center for Assessment and Psychological Services (CAPS) located at 423 Russell Hall on Radford University’s Campus for testing.

A list of additional agencies that conduct testing in the community is also available.

What is the process for obtaining housing accommodations?

Requests for housing accommodations will not be considered until the student has completed all of the necessary on-campus housing application requirements through Housing and Residential Life. After completing all components of the on-campus housing applications, the student must set up an appointment with a Disability Services Specialist to discuss how his/her disability impacts his/her housing situation and what accommodations would best meet his/her needs.  After meeting with a DSS, the student will be given a Request for Housing Accommodations form which must be completed by a medical professional.  After the form has been filled out in its entirety by a medical professional, it should be submitted in person to the Lower Level of Tyler Hall Suites 054-069, faxed to 540-831-6525, mailed to PO Box 6902 Radford, Virginia 24142, or emailed to dro@radford.edu

Once submitted, a Disability Service Specialist will review the request and make the appropriate accommodation recommendation to Housing and Residential Life. 

Do you have designated parking for persons with disabilities?

If your student has a state handicap placard from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) there are designated spaces for parking on the entire campus. However, you must still purchase a Radford University student parking pass in addition to your DMV placard before you can park in the designated handicap spaces on campus.

Please contact Parking Services for more information about parking regulations and policies.

My student sustained a temporary injury. Are they eligible for services?

With documentation from a medical professional, students with temporary injuries or medical conditions are eligible for temporary services through the DRO.

My student is currently undergoing testing to determine if he/she has a diagnosis of a learning disability, ADHD, etc. Can they still receive services?

If a student is currently undergoing testing, please have him/her set up an appointment to discuss eligibility for provisional accommodations. Provisional accommodations are granted on a case-by-case basis and are good for one semester at Radford University.

How does my student request accommodations for a standardized exam offered by ETS or another outside testing agency?

Each testing agency has their own process for requesting accommodations. Please see the ETS tab on our webpage for more information. If your student is taking a standardized exam that is not offered by ETS, please have your student contact the testing agency to find out what information is necessary to apply for accommodations. For questions, please have your student call or meet with his/her Disability Services Specialist. 

How will my student get his/her prescription medication for ADHD, depression, anxiety, etc.?

The Radford transit is free for all RU students and has regular routes to CVS, Kroger, and Wal-Mart, all of which have pharmacies. It is suggested that you have your prescription transferred to one of the previously mentioned pharmacies so that you are able to regularly access your prescribed medication as necessary. The Medicine Shoppe, will also provide delivery to RU dormitories should the student need medication and he/she is unable to travel off-campus. 


General Questions

What is my role as a parent who has a college student with a disability?

Students need the support, but not the control of parents and other family members. Appropriate parental involvement must take place within the boundaries set by law, good sense, and by keeping the long term best interest of the emerging young adult in mind. Such involvement as it relates to the University life most often involves advising and encouraging the college life from the sidelines. Only the most extreme circumstances, such as those that seriously threaten the health of the student, allow for direct parental involvement.

What is my son or daughter’s role as a college student with a disability?

Any student’s role is to successfully transition into an independent adult. We know that students with disabilities face the same challenges as every college bound young adult plus the challenges related to their disability. However, their role still remains to successfully transition into an independent adult. The time for dependence is coming to a close.

Since the student is now in charge of his or her educational planning, what are some self-advocacy skills he or she should develop?

The Disability Resource Office strongly encourages students to develop these self-advocacy skills:

·  Understanding Your Disability: A student should be able to articulate what his or her disability is.

·  Communicating Disability: A student should also be able to describe how the disability limits his or her functioning (functional limitations). A student should also be able to express some ways that he or she could be accommodated.

·  Being Proactive: A student should provide acceptable documentation to the DRO and complete a request for accommodations. A student should learn to work collaboratively with professors to ensure his or her success with the accommodations. A student should also be able to identify if his or her accommodations are not being met.

My student currently does not think he/she will need accommodations at the college level; however I fear they will be unsuccessful without them. What should we do?

The DRO encourages students to register with the office, prior to the beginning of the semester regardless of whether or not they believe they will use their accommodations. By doing so, if the student runs into a situation further in the semester where accommodations are needed, the accommodation paperwork will already be in place.


Feb 26, 2014
Disability Resource Office
(540) 831-6350