Information for Parents

The information in this section is available to help you understand the process of accessing services and accommodations for students with disabilities at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). They include:

  • Significant differences between high school and Case Western Reserve
  • Essentials for a successful transition to CWRU
  • Potential areas of confusion in the transition from high school to CWRU

Steps for Parents

  1. When you are visiting the campus, have your student schedule an appointment with the office of Disability Resources. It may be very helpful to have a better understanding of what your student can expect at CWRU before making a final decision.
  2. Once admitted, please have your student complete and submit the New Student Application through Accessibility Information Management (AIM). In addition, students need to provide documentation to the Disability Resources office before arriving on campus. Documentation can be uploaded through AIM, sent via email to, or faxed at 216.368.8826.
  3. After all documentation is received and reviewed and the New Student Application is complete, your student will be contacted to schedule an initial intake meeting with a DR staff member. 
  4. After the registration process has been completed, it is your student's responsibility to manage any needed services or accommodations. The Disability Resources staff cannot answer questions about the student's progress. Please talk with your student about the importance of keeping you informed.

Significant Differences Between High School and CWRU

High School

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE):

  • School district is responsible for identifying children with disabilities.
  • Evaluation of disability is the school's responsibility.
  • Parent(s) consent to evaluations and advocacy for their child.
  • Child's information is accessible to the parent(s).
  • Disability is defined by specific categories.


Equal access and the opportunity to compete:

  • Student must self-identify as having a disability and provide adequate documentation.
  • Evaluation of the disability is the student's responsibility.
  • Student is responsible for advocacy (e.g., accommodation requests, communicating functional impact of disability, etc.).
  • Student information protected under FERPA (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act).
  • Disability is defined as a significant limitation to a major life function.
  • Communication occurs between the Disability Resources office and the student; not the parent.

Essentials For a Successful Transition to CWRU

Students should:

  1. Register online with the Disability Resources office prior to or early in the semester.
  2. Explore the Disability Resources website and become familiar with registration requirements, procedures, documentation guidelines, etc. as well as testing procedures and registration (when applicable).
  3. Ask questions of our department by calling 216.368.5230, e-mailing or visiting our office in 402 Sears Building.
  4. Provide current documentation that adheres to the documentation guidelines and review our procedures and information.
  5. Clearly communicate and present accommodation letters to all professors early in the semester.

Potential Areas of Confusion in the Transition from High School to CWRU

  • Self-Identification - In K-12 education, the school district must identify children with disabilities and provide appropriate services to help them achieve free appropriate public education. In the post-secondary setting, it is the responsibility of the student to self-identify to receive accommodations. Some students may not realize this and expect the college to come to them.
  • Documentation - In K-12 education, the school district may provide evaluations and documentation for the child. This documentation may not be current (e.g., an IEP for a dyslexic child may have been generated in the 2nd grade and continued on through high school without further updates). At CWRU, documentation is the responsibility of the student; CWRU does not provide an evaluation. Evaluations are available through Counseling Services at a reduced cost on a limited basis.
  • Accesses to Student Records (FERPA) - Parents do not have access to their child's information. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the student's information. Our staff communicates solely with the student regarding their disability and accommodations.
  • Requesting Accommodation Letter - Each semester new accommodation letters must be requested by the student. In most cases, further documentation is not required. In some cases (e.g., psychological disabilities), updated documentation may be required every 6 months or more frequently depending upon the disability and circumstances.
  • Self-Advocacy - In K-12 education, parents and school personnel are the primary advocates for the child. In the post-secondary setting, the onus is upon the student to make their needs known. Initiative, independence and self-knowledge are all important for success at CWRU. Our office will advise accordingly as students develop and refine their advocacy skills, learn more about themselves and their disability.

Helpful Links and Resources for Parents