• Transitioning to Post-Secondary Education: What You Need to Know

    The Law

    ·         In high school, students are covered by IDEA, which mandates a free appropriate public education to all students and focuses on educational outcomes. IDEA has a list of 13 disability classification areas.

    ·         In college, students are coved by ADA, which are civil rights mandates that ensure opportunity, equal access, and prevention of discrimination. Under ADA, a disability is defined as a physical or emotional impairment (diagnosis), a history of such an impairment, or regarded as having an impairment, which substantially limits one or more major life activities.  

    ·         In college, eligibility is based upon significant functional limitations caused by the condition. A clinical diagnosis is not synonymous with a disability. Evidence sufficient to render a clinical diagnosis might not be adequate to determine that an individual is substantially limited in a major life activity.

    ·         Some individuals who received services in high school may not qualify for services in college – for example, colleges are not required to address Gifted/Learning Disabilities.

    ·         Assessments for Postsecondary - Neither your high school nor your postsecondary school is required to conduct or pay for a new evaluation to document your disability and need for an academic adjustment. This may mean that you have to pay or find funding to pay an appropriate professional for an evaluation. If you are eligible for services through your state vocational rehabilitation agency, you may qualify for an evaluation at no cost to you.

    ·         Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/transition.html#reproduction

    Purpose and Type of Documentation

    1.       To establish protection from discrimination – if the student does not have documentation, the student is not entitled to protection. If the student is regarded as having a disability, the student is protected from discrimination, but not given accommodations.

    2.       To determine the accommodations to which the individual may be entitled – Functional limitations in academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and services

    3.       Documentation must include

    a.       Qualifications of evaluator

    b.      Statement of presenting problems

    c.       History – Symptoms – Development – Family – Medical – Academic – Accommodations

    d.      Testing – description of the diagnostic methodology, complete intellectual assessment (not an abbreviated format) with age based standard scores and percentiles, comprehensive academic achievement battery in reading, mathematics, and writing

    e.      Diagnostic statement using the DSM-IV

    f.        Functional limitations of a major life activity

    g.       Stability of disability

    h.      Accommodations need to include a rational for requested accommodations and how the accommodations mediates the symptoms of the disability

    Levels of Support in College

    Specialized Colleges


    ·         The college is associated with a specific disability

    ·         Few if any “average” students attend the college

    ·         Students may need a specific Diagnosis to attend


    Structured Programs


    ·         Specific programs for students with disabilities

    ·         Paid staff

    ·         Additional fees may apply

    ·         Students agree to participate in the program

    ·         Disability considered in the admission process


    Coordinated Services


    ·         Specific supports

    ·         Services provided as needed

    ·         Students request services

    ·         Students voluntarily participate

    ·         Often includes preparatory program


    Support Services


    ·         All colleges that receive federal funds are required to have support services

    ·         These programs comply with the federal mandate

    ·         Accommodations only

    ·         Faculty and staff support students

    ·         Relationship with Disabilities Services Coordinator  is important


    Interventions in College


    ·         Non-academic services are limited to accessibility and nondiscrimination (OT, PT, Speech, etc are not covered).

    ·         There are not modifications to the curriculum

    ·         Students are with their peers

    ·         Students structure themselves

    ·         Graduation requirements are set by the college and they do not vary for students with disabilities

    ·         Waivers of essential courses are not permitted

    ·         Colleges/departments determine appropriate substitutions

    ·         Accommodations are not made for inappropriate behavior

    ·         Professors/instructors may deny accommodations if they believe it affects the essential portions of the course

    ·         Students must inform each professor of their needs in person and have them sign the agreement to gain adaptations for each course, every semester




    ·         Extended time for tests

    ·         Assistive technology for taking tests

    ·         Tape recording of lectures

    ·         Textbooks on CD/MP3

    ·         Textbooks in alternate format

    ·         Use of calculator when appropriate

    ·         Modifications of attendance requirements

    ·         Extended time to complete in-class or short-term assignments


    Colleges will not:


    ·         Modify test items

    ·         Provide more tests covering less material

    ·         Decrease course content

    ·         Unlimited time to take tests

    ·         Testing the same way the material was taught

    ·         Any change that alters the essential elements of the course


    Auxiliary Aides and Services


    ·         Reaching device for library use

    ·         Closed caption decoders

    ·         Voice synthesizers

    ·         Specialized gym equipment

    ·         Note takers

    ·         Interpreters

    ·         Readers


    Unacceptable Auxiliary Aides and Services


    ·         Any auxiliary aide or service that substantially changes the curriculum

    ·         Personal aides, devices, and services – Personal care (bathing, dressing, and eating), Academic activities outside of the classroom (tutors or help with individual study time)


    What Parents Can Do


    ·         Discuss long-term goals with daughter/son

    ·         Help daughter/son determine the level of support needed

    ·         Help daughter/son identify appropriate postsecondary institutions

    ·         Research Disability Services for the postsecondary institution in which daughter/son is interested

    ·         Accompany daughter/son to the intake appointment with Disability Services

    ·         Ask difficulty questions for daughter/son

    ·         Understand that once your daughter/son enters college, your child is an adult and must advocate for her/him. Colleges do not / will not discuss anything with parents.


    On-line Resources


    ·         ADA Information Online http://www.ada.gov/

    ·         Association of Higher Education and Disabilities http://www.ahead.org/

    ·         Disability Rights and Defense Fund http://www.dredf.org/

    ·         HEALTH Resource Center http://www.heath.gwu.edu/

    ·         College Preparation Resource for Students http://www.washington.edu/doit/Resources/college_prep.html

    ·         LD Online http://ldonline.org/indepth/college


    Printed Resources


    ·         The K & W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities or Attention Deficit Disorder

    ·         Colleges that Change Lives: 40 Schools You Should Know About Even if You’re Not a Straight-A Student

    ·         Coaching College Students with ADHD

    ·         Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities or ADD (Peterson)

    ·         Postsecondary Education and Transition for Students with Learning Disabilities

    ·         Success for College Students with Learning Disabilities


    Websites with Studying Strategies

    ·         http://www.studygs.net

    ·         http://www.how-to-study.com/

    ·         http://www.howtostudy.org/

    ·         http://www.muskingum.edu/~cal/database/

    ·          http://counseling.uchicago.edu/page/virtual-pamphlet-collection-stresswellness

    ·         http://www.lib.umn.edu/help/calculator/