Meg Glass & Associates, LLC

Enable or Empower


Enable or Empower


Many students who have a 504, psychological diagnosis, or other physical or mental disability are accommodated throughout secondary school.  Both the students and the parents are usually concerned about continuing that support throughout college.  These students have a variety of accommodations granted through the schools, depending on the size of the school, location and status as private or public.  All public schools require 504 Class students to attend Learning Skills courses at the Learning Center, throughout secondary school. Many students as they mature through school stop going to the Learning Skills meetings, but continue to seek support with extended time testing, note taking, or some other support offered.

There are many parents who have diligently gotten the appropriate testing done and sought the support services offered in the schools.  However, some of these parents have over the years, rather than discuss with their child the actual reason for their accommodations, have encouraged their child to think he or she is fine.  I have had some very loving parents withhold all information about the student’s disability from the student.  Many have been told that they are fine but just need some extra help with reading or math, etc.  Understand that this not done to hinder but to protect the child from feeling lesser in school, but by the time the student is 17, this withholding of accurate and specific information can actually impair the student’s ability to transition well in college.

I am a strong proponent for empowerment.  America has laws that afford all disabled people access.  Learning and psychological disabilities are protected under this law.  Learning Skills Centers are not for “slow” or developmentally disabled students, Learning Skills Centers are supposed to help the student learn to self-advocate.  This is essential for the student in college.  Most colleges and universities provide enormous support, and many have a process to ensure the disabled student is registered, and that all reasonable accommodations are provided.  Here is a great list from University of Southern Maine on how best to transition to college, Transition Tips.

When I work with a 504 Class student or a disabled student, I want to know the diagnosis and also to read the Psychological Evaluation that led to the diagnosis.  All colleges will require copies of the Psychological Evaluation testing, which must be updated every three years until the age of 21, in order to grant the accommodations and support services.  504 Class ExperienceSome emotional disabilities, such as bi-polar, depression, or anxiety, will require a Psychiatrist’s report on medications, and a Psychologist’s letter as to what therapies are required.  Some such students have support animals, which will have to be cleared by the school. I urge all students to be sure and get one set of comprehensive testing at 21, should they desire to go to graduate school.  If the testing is not within 3 years, the schools can legitimately not offer accommodations.


I strongly urge all parents to:
  • Have a clear discussion with your disabled student’s evaluator as to how to explain, in very specific detail, to their child what his or her diagnosis is –dyslexia, dysgraphia, audio-processing delay, executive function impairment, etc.
  • The student by the age of 17 should be able to know what his or her diagnosis is, what it is called, and how it impairs their particular ability to learn traditionally –most colleges will require a conversation directly with the student.
  • The student must be able to communicate what he or she requires in terms of support; ideally, the student will have read his or her own 504 Plan and understand it.
  • The student should feel capable of finding the services afforded to him or her by law, and also he or she should feel comfortable asking for such support.


These are the minimum to EMPOWER not ENABLE a student to learn how to navigate not just college but also the work world, relationships, social life, and any community forum or project.  All colleges are happy to grant what a student needs, but all are also very concerned about enabling.  The Counseling programs and support programs are there for access and support not to give a student a crutch to avoid working to his or her potential.  Parents often feel a tremendous need to insist on a lot of services that the student does not need and will not use. Colleges prefer to speak with the student upon acceptance of admission.  Early contact with the school’s support or access or accommodations services department is encouraged to ensure the best transition from the start.



I am creating a comprehensive database of support services at colleges.  Look for it this summer, just as you start to hone that list and decide which schools you will apply!



You can always contact me at any time to ask specifically how to understand your diagnosis or what are typical support services or accommodations that your particular challenge usually benefits from having in school.  I have, over the years, kept in contact with many former clients. I cannot tell you how many times I have had a lunch or coffee with a former client specifically to discuss his or her particular disability, because as adults they really want to understand more so they can communicate better.