What Parents Need to Know


Today’s presentation will include Highlights
of 10 differences between high school and college, How to access services at college,
Skills students need to be successful, Issues to consider when choosing a college, And tips
for Parents. Let’s begin with 10 ways high school is
different than college. Number one, Institutions of post-secondary
education is not covered by the same set of laws. The IDEA and subpart D of Section 504 do not
apply to colleges and universities. This means the IEP or 504 plan generated in
high school do not carry over. It is true that Section 504 applies to colleges
but it is subpart E, not D, and the requirements are different. And of course the Every Student Succeeds Act
does not cover post-secondary institutions. With the IDEA, Local Education agencies, or
LEAs, are responsible to find, assess and remediate disabling conditions. Children are entitled to a free and appropriate
education. The “appropriate” education results in
a broader range of services being offered, more equipment being supplied by the LEA and
specially trained staff, such as special education teachers to work with students of all abilities. With Civil Rights laws, post-secondary institutions
are required to provide equal access to education. The responsibility is shifted to the individual
to disclose their disability and the auxiliary aids and services are aimed at equal opportunity
and equal access, not completion. How this plays out is that the LEA has a duty
to assess students where as a student must disclose to the university staff. Once diagnosed, the student is entitled to
appropriate services. In college, the student has to provide acceptable
and current documentation before becoming eligible for services. Parents and can receive information from anyone
about their child until he or she turns 18. In post-secondary education, parents cannot
receive information because of FERPA, even if they are paying the tuition
Parents can initiate contact with their child’s teachers in K-12 but in college, the student
must initiate the communication, especially with the instructors, but this applies to
all departments. In high school, students may or may not receive
assistance with technology. In post-secondary education, students are
expected to know how to use technology. Number two, There are different goals for
high schools and colleges. What does this mean? Whether we like to admit it or not, the laws
dictate our goals. The goal for K-12 is success. How do you measure that a student has been
successful in High School? Graduation! With disability service offices, the goal
is equal access. Of course, everyone wants students to be successful
and graduate from college, it is just not what the law mandates. Number three, Different Accommodations are
available. Institutions of post-secondary education will
provide reasonable accommodations. But what is reasonable? It basically means effective. What will produce the intended or expected
effect? The accommodation needs to be reasonable,
not necessarily the preferred or requested accommodation. What limitation causes the student to not
have access? Accommodations are based on functional limitations,
not disability. A common question from a Disability coordinator
might be: “How does your ADHD affect your learning?” or “What impact does your depression
have on your learning?” Auxiliary aids and services, to be equally
effective, are not required to produce the identical result or level of achievement as
other students, only to give the student an equal opportunity to learn. Examples of reasonable accommodations at college
may include: Captions on videos, Audio recording lectures, Braille books and handouts, Books
in electronic format, Special height-adjustable tables, And access in laboratories. Examples of accommodations NOT normally allowed
are: Untimed tests Attendants, Individually prescribed devices (glasses, canes, wheelchairs,
hearing aids, special computers, etc.) Readers for personal use or study, or other
devices of a personal nature. Number four The Academic Environment is different
in college. In post-secondary schools, the academic environment
is more competitive – especially in four-year schools where the majority of students have
taken college preparatory classes in high school. There is more work to do-– more reading,
more writing and larger assignments. There is also less extra credit work. Deadlines come quicker during the semester
and are less flexible. Most of the learning happens outside the classroom. Number Five, The acquisition of knowledge
is different. Students often have to rely on their note
taking and reading comprehension to learn material, Test items may include material
not reviewed in class, and students are expected to “self-teach” some of the material. Number six, Grading is different. At a university, a student’s grade may be
based on exams only. Grades may be based on only 2 or 3 exams,
and each exam may be over substantial material. Students often have to monitor or keep track
of their own scores and calculate their own grade. Seven, Available support is different. There is often significantly less support
in colleges and universities than in high schools. And it is the student’s responsibility to
request support. Also, the relationship with the instructor
may be more impersonal. Eight, Responsibility is different. Mainly, the student is responsible to initiate
services and responsible for their own academic progress. The student is responsible for finding the
appropriate office on campus for accommodations BEFORE the start of the semester. The student must make an appointment to register
and request accommodations. The student must submit current documentation
that supports the accommodation requests. And the student is responsible for any necessary
follow-ups with services. The student is also responsible for their
own academic progress. They need to motivate themselves to attend
class and complete the assignments outside of class. No other person monitors their homework and
gives reminders. All the assignments and test dates are in
the syllabus; students need to check the syllabi on a regular basis. Number nine is Stress. All change—good or bad—can produce stress
The biggest stressors seem to be the different academic environment, Learning how to prioritize
commitments, The social aspect of forming, or wanting to form new relationships, And
time management issues, especially with work, homework, residential community living, and
dealing with or developing new family relationships. And number ten is distractions. There are numerous additional distractions
at college. There are more opportunities to socialize
and attend more adult activities, all of which are more appealing than studying or going
to class. And for those living on campus, the residence
halls produce their own distractions, 24/7, with more activities, more people, more noise
and potentially less rest. How do students access auxiliary aids and
services at college? While the process is a little different at
each institution, most follow this pattern: First the student must contact/visit the disability
office (Informing someone in Admissions, Financial Aid, Campus Life, a professor, or an academic
advisor does not usually work.) The student must provide appropriate documentation. Once a decision has been made, the office
produces some type of Accommodation Letter or notification for instructors. In some cases, the student delivers the letter,
sometimes it is emailed directly to faculty. In most cases the student must dialogue with
instructors before receiving any services. The courts allow the schools to determine
what they require for documentation and the differences are wide-ranging especially for
students with cognitive or learning disabilities. Because IQ assessments are no longer required
every 3 years in high school, a few colleges are accepting achievement assessments without
the aptitude results. This is definitely something that needs to
be clarified for each student’s school of choice. Some community colleges will now accept the
IEP or 504 plan, and then if the student transfers to a university, he or she finds out they
are not eligible for any services based on the high school IEP without test results. If a transfer is even remotely possible, the
student should be encourage to discover what documentation requirements are at all potential
schools. The documentation must be sufficient to support
the student’s request, and identify the current functional limitations. Documentation for a math learning disability
is not going to allow for extended time on tests in history or biology. In the same way, documentation from a physician
for ADHD is not necessarily going to allow a student more time to complete tests without
additional information on how the ADHD impacts the student. Students with learning disabilities or cognitive
disabilities are sometimes caught between a rock and a hard place. Neither secondary nor post-secondary are required
to provide the updated testing, yet the student needs the test results to access services
at universities. Let’s talk about skills students need to
be successful? There are 4 main skills: Self Advocacy skills,
Responsibility, Leadership, and Technology Students need to advocate for themselves by
asking for services. Students have to explain the characteristics
of the disability and the impact on their learning. They engage in problem-solving Students have
to go to professor’s offices and speak to them. Students have to seek guidance and assistance
from appropriate resources, such as tutoring, advising, or requesting adjustments in services. Students are responsible to make sure accommodations
are in place before they are needed. They are expected to read the syllabi and
have all assignments ready on time. They are responsible for managing their time
effectively and getting to class. All students, regardless of their disability
are expected to know and follow the rules in the Student Code of Conduct. Students are also responsible for Filling
out forms, making and keeping appointments with different departments Own hygiene, including
laundry and cleaning rooms if they live on campus Studying daily Students are also responsible
for their own passwords, money transactions, and ID card. It is important for students to demonstrate
leadership skills, especially on a resume they can do this by joining clubs and organizations
and possible becoming an officer in at least one. Keeping a part time job or a summer job, volunteering
in the community, also, they can take leadership courses, if offered. Technology. Students are expected to be able to utilize
technology in their studies. Syllabi, grades, and readings may all be on-line. Most majors will require extensive on-line
research and typing papers. Students with disabilities should also be
familiar with assistive technology that helps them. Some examples might include: Technology that
helps them listen to their textbooks, either audio books or screen readers. Devices that audio recording lectures, Software
programs that overcome writing difficulties, Electronic spell checker, On-line organizers
for lecture notes, And on-line tutoring, flash cards, outlines and sample tests. Tips for Parents
Parents can check on documentation requirements of potential schools before the final IEP. Allow the student to choose the college. Help review the types of academic programs
offered, the services available, and his or her comfort level with the school. Parents can make sure the student knows it
is ok to take a lighter load, repeat a course, or drop a course. Parents can also allow the student to set
guidelines for contacting parents. Issues to Consider When Choosing a College
Disability services office are not all alike, some have multiple roles on campus. Financial aid will vary at different schools. Academic advising is done differently at post-secondary
institutions. Some schools have complete health centers,
some offer no health services. Academic support services like tutoring and
writing centers vary from school to school. Specialized tutoring may have costs associated. Some disability service offices have professional
staff who specialize in particular disability populations. Here are some specific considerations based
on disability type. Issues for Learning Disabilities and Attention
Deficit Disorders may include: Finding out if it possible for a reduced course load and
still be considered full time? Can a student obtain a substitution or a waiver
for a course? Does the school have guidelines or criteria
for documentation of LD/ADHD? What types of classroom accommodations are
available, such as extended time, note takers, quiet room, and books on tape? Does the school loan or teach assistive technology? Issues for students with mobility disabilities
may include: How accessible are the residential housing units? Is there transportation around campus or to
town? Will mobility around campus be an issue? How difficult is it to hire personal assistance? Does the office have wheelchair repair referrals? How accessible are the classroom buildings? Is there a Health Center on campus? What do they offer? For students with blindness and visual impairments:
What types of classroom accommodations are available for the use of overheads, board
work, labs, test format, or videos? What alternate formats for textbooks are available;
how early does the request have to be submitted? What assistive technologies are available
on campus? What is the availability and type of computer
programs used? Are their funding sources? Is Housing accessible? Is transportation available? Who provides campus mobility training? Some Issues for Deaf and hard of Hearing are:
What type of note takers are available? What is the percentage of professors who speak
English as a second language? What is the lead time necessary for captions
on videos? Is accessible housing available? Are qualified interpreters readily available? Is real time captioning an option? Does the school provide back-up assistive
listening devices? Issues for students with psychiatric disabilities:
What is the availability of local treatment? Is information kept confidential or must the
student disclose to professors? Are support groups available on campus? How are absences handled in the classroom? What type of classroom accommodations are
available, such as extended time for tests, note taking assistance, or are separate testing
locations offered? Just as individuals are unique, so are post-secondary
institutions. Hopefully this presentation has highlighted
some of the differences, to guide you and your child as you begin the search for the
perfect fit. In conclusion, I would like to make it known
that students with disabilities can and do succeed in post-secondary education!


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