You are about to send your son or daughter to VMI. You are probably wondering how he/she will fare and how your role as a parent will change as life at VMI begins. The main goal for students with disabilities in higher education is to learn how to self-advocate and communicate his / her strengths and needs effectively. However, you play an important role as a parent.
There are several actions you can take to help your son or daughter succeed at VMI.
- Make sure your son or daughter self-identifies as a cadet with a disability to the Office of Disabilities Services (ODS). This is encouraged before the Rat year begins, even if he or she does not plan to take any major accommodations. The transition to college can be one of unforeseen changes and adjustments which is why it's so important to be proactive. Once registered through ODS, the office can assist your son or daughter to advocate for self and provide a layer of support should any problems or difficulties arise.
- After your son or daughter registers with ODS, any and all copies of documentation will be needed. (Please review Documentation Guidelines for what is needed in your packet). VMI requires extensive documentation so that we can determine what accommodations may be necessary for your son or daughter. The more information we have, the better we can serve and support your son or daughter.
- Your most important role is support. As a Rat, cadets go through many challenging days. It's important to stress self-advocacy, perseverance, and keeping focused on short and long term goals. Graduation numbers from the past several years show cadets with disabilities graduating at the same rate as those without disabilities.
- Encourage your son or daughter to take advantage of the many support services we have available here at VMI.