A: Philosophically, the first responsibility of our office, I believe, is to treat our young students the exact same way I would want my own daughters or nieces or nephews to be treated in a similar situation, and likewise for our non-traditional aged students — how would I want my own mother or grandmother to be treated were they to need support services? Mrs. Meyers and I both share this “Golden Rule” approach in working with all of our students. Legally, we operate under the Americans With Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and guarantees equal access to otherwise qualified individuals. Unlike in high school, where it’s the responsibility of the school to identify student needs, in college students have to self-disclose their disability and any related needs. As you can imagine, that can be tough, or uncomfortable, but the good news is that we strive daily to streamline and fine-tune our processes to make things as smooth and painless and pleasant as possible; a student’s personal health or disability information is also kept confidential, unless they specifically ask us to share otherwise. And so many of the same types of accommodations that were available to high school students are likewise generally available to college students, even though some of the underlying laws change, but the big difference is that now the students have to come forward to seek out the help, rather than the help coming to them. Once a student’s needs are known or disclosed, we engage in an interactive, fully-individualized process with them. The law requires that, but it’s also the right thing to do. So we have a conversation (sometimes with parents or advocates in attendance too) — what accommodations have they used in the past? What might they need now? What are their short and long-term plans? What are the major differences between high school and college? Is their current path the best fit for them? What are their rights and responsibilities? What rights and responsibilities does the college or the faculty have? Is there anything else we can do to support them? We view all of our students on both that individualized, yet holistic, basis. And for almost all of our new incoming students, or students with a history of personal, mental/physical health or academic difficulty, as well as many of our veteran students or students on the autism spectrum, we’ll more often than not schedule recurring weekly or biweekly meetings with them, just to keep communication open and support on-going. Of course, we also provide our students with both formal academic accommodations, such as testing or classroom accommodations, as well as informal support, such as open-door drop-in availability or referral to other resources on or off campus. I love that every day of the job is different, and brings something different, and no two days look the same. Sometimes it’s advocacy or problem-solving with people, or just helping new students adjust after their transition in from high school. Sometimes students just need a friendly face, a word of encouragement, or an active, empathetic listener or problem-solver, other times they need a confidential resource and a referral to other resources. I get to wear so many different hats — the educator, the coach/advisor, the advocate, the friend, the lawyer, the medical professional, the technology specialist, the counselor, the job coach, the mediator, etc. It’s simultaneously challenging and gratifying.