A Parent’s Guide: Supporting Your College Freshman with Psychiatric Disabilities Affecting College Students | South Atlanta Moms

As a parent who recently sent my daughter off to college, I understand the mix of excitement and concern that comes with this significant milestone. If your child has psychiatric disabilities affecting them, you might be wondering how best to support them during their college journey. Based on my own experience, I’ve put together this informative guide to share some essential insights that I believe every parent should know. Let’s make this transition as smooth and successful as possible for our children.


1. Familiarize Yourself with Disability Laws: Understanding the laws that protect students with disabilities in college, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, is vital. These laws ensure that your child has access to reasonable accommodations and support, which can significantly impact their academic success and well-being.

2. Encourage Early Communication with Disability Services: It’s crucial to advise your student to reach out to the college’s Disability Services Office as soon as possible. These offices are there to help students arrange accommodations tailored to their needs, such as extended exam time, note-taking assistance, or counseling services. Early communication can set the foundation for a positive college experience.

3. Foster a Supportive Network: Encourage your child to connect with other students facing similar challenges through disability support groups on campus. Having a supportive network can make a world of difference in their college experience, as they can share experiences, offer advice, and find camaraderie.

4. Stress Open Communication with Professors: Help your student understand the importance of communicating with their professors about their psychiatric disabilities and any necessary accommodations. Establishing open dialogue can lead to better understanding and support throughout their academic journey.

5. Emphasize Balancing Academics and Well-being: College life can be demanding, especially for students with psychiatric disabilities. Encourage your child to prioritize their mental health by establishing a well-balanced routine that includes study time, self-care, and relaxation. This balance is crucial for their overall well-being and academic success.

6. Make Them Aware of Counseling Services: Many colleges offer counseling services for students. Make sure your child knows about these resources, as they can be invaluable in providing support and coping strategies for the challenges that come with psychiatric disabilities in a college setting.

7. Time Management Skills: Help your student develop strong time management skills to juggle academic and personal responsibilities effectively. Students with psychiatric disabilities may need extra support in this area, so working together to create a manageable schedule can be beneficial.

8. Empower Them to Advocate for Themselves: Encourage your child to be their own advocate and assert their needs related to their psychiatric disabilities when necessary. Building self-advocacy skills will benefit them not only in college but throughout life, ensuring they receive the support they require.

9. Explore Campus Resources Together: Take the time to explore the various resources available on campus, such as writing centers, tutoring services, and study groups. Familiarizing yourselves with these resources will help your child excel in their studies despite the challenges they may face due to psychiatric disabilities.

10. Stay Informed and Involved: As parents, it’s crucial for us to stay updated on changes in policies or accommodations that may affect our students, especially those related to psychiatric disabilities. Being informed and involved will allow us to provide the necessary support when needed and help our children navigate any potential obstacles.


Remember, we play a significant role in our children’s college journey, and our unwavering support and understanding can make all the difference, particularly when they are facing psychiatric disabilities. Encourage them to embrace their unique journey, and by working together, we can ensure they have a positive and successful college experience. With our love and guidance, they’ll thrive academically and personally throughout their college years.



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