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For Parents and Families

At the office of disability support services at Notre Dame, we understand that parents and families of students with disabilities may have more concerns than parents or families of typical college students.

You are probably accustomed to playing an active part in your child’s education. The changes in services and responsibility at the University level often take parents, families, and students by surprise. We are here to help you. If you have any questions or need any assistance, please feel free to contact us.

Laura Mathabel
Director of Disability Support Services
Notre Dame of Maryland University
4701 North Charles Street
Theresa Hall 009
Baltimore, MD 21210
410-532-5401
lmathabel@ndm.edu

We hope the information on our website helps provide the information you need to better understand post-secondary disability services so you can continue to support your daughter at this level.

In college, the service model changes dramatically. Individual Education Plans (IEPs) do not exist at the college level. There is no equivalent to the team approach to which you are likely accustomed. A college student is an adult in the eyes of the law and is the only one who can initiate the accommodation process. We are here to help our students, and to write the accommodations necessary to make her classes more accessible. Please encourage your daughter to apply early, and then allow her or him to take responsibility to register with disability support services.

Ways you can help

  • Look at the disability support services website together.
  • Make sure your daughter understands her diagnosis and is able to explain it to others.
  • Encourage your daughter to contact disability support services soon after admission to Notre Dame.
  • Go over your daughter’s documentation to make certain it is current and complete, with an evaluation conducted within the last three years.
  • Ask your daughter to contact the office of disability support services with questions or for clarification.

Being proactive and accepting personal responsibility are keys to college success. Social skills and awareness are also important. After college, your daughter will have to articulate the nature of her disability and assert the right to accommodations in the workplace. For legal, practical and developmental reasons, now is the time for your daughter to accept this responsibility and begin to self-advocate. As parents, you have helped your daughter get to this educational goal of college enrollment. Congratulations! Your role is still crucially important, but it is different at the college level.