PowerPoint - Lone Star College System

Transitioning Students with
Learning Disabilities into the
Post-Secondary Education
Catherine Zarate, J.D., M.Ed.,
Legal Specialist
Southwest ADA Center
Contact Information
[email protected]
Direct Line: 713-797-7119
Toll Free Line:
A Little About Us!
• The Southwest ADA Center is a part of the
national network of 10 ADA Resource Centers
funded by the National Institute on Disability
Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) under grant
number H133A110027 and is a project of ILRU, a
Program of TIRR/Memorial Hermann in Houston,
• Our region is called Region VI and includes Texas,
Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Louisiana
• Our charge is to promote the voluntary
compliance with the Americans with
Disabilities Act and provide information,
training, technical assistance and resources to
all audiences.
• http://www.SouthwestADA.org/
• 1-800-949-4232 (v/tty)
• To understand the obligations under the law
when working with students with disabilities
• Gain tools and strategies through the
presentation of scenarios to ensure students
entering post-secondary programs are
successful in their pursuit of an education
Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA)
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of
1973 and the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
• IDEA is not an antidiscrimination act
• Section 504 and the ADA are
antidiscrimination acts
Which law applies to
postsecondary education?
• Section 504
– Governs all postsecondary institutions that receive
federal financial assistance
– Title II: applies to all state-funded or supported
– Title III: applies to all private institutions, excluding
educational institutions that are controlled by
religious entities
Definition of a Disability
under the ADA
Plaintiffs must prove1. A physical or mental impairment that
2. Impacts a major life activity, and
3. That the impairment substantially limits that
major life activity.
• This definition is different than under IDEA.
What does the law actually say…
34 C.F.R. § 104.4 (a) Discrimination prohibited
• No qualified handicapped person shall, on the
basis of handicap, be excluded from
participation in, be denied the benefits of, or
otherwise be subjected to discrimination
under any program or activity which receives
Federal financial assistance.
What does the law actually say…
34 C.F.R. § 104.4 (b)(2)
• For purposes of this part, aids, benefits, and services,
to be equally effective, are not required to produce
the identical result or level of achievement for
handicapped and nonhandicapped persons, but must
afford handicapped persons equal opportunity to
obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit, or
to reach the same level of achievement, in the most
integrated setting appropriate to the person's needs.
6 Different Areas of the Law
• Admissions and Recruitment
• Treatment of Students
• Academic Adjustments, including the
provision of auxiliary aids
• Housing
• Financial Aid and Employment Assistance
• Nonacademic services
• Institutions cannot discriminate against
QUALIFIED individuals with disabilities in the
admission process
• Schools cannot make preadmission inquiries
as to whether an applicant for admission is
• Self-identification is not barred under the law
Admissions Example• Sue applied for admission to her local
community college. She submitted her
standardized test scores, transcripts, and
teacher recommendations to the school. She
also disclosed in her application that she had a
learning disability. Her grades are in the top
percent of the applicant pool.
• Can the school deny her admission because
she has a disability?
• Students wishing to receive accommodations
or adjustments must identify the disability.
– Documentation must be fairly recent, come from
an appropriate expert, and be sufficiently
Documentation Example
• Mike was admitted to Smile College. He went
to the Disability Services office to request an
accommodation. However, he did not submit
any paperwork to the College documenting his
• Does the school have to provide an
Treatment of Students
• Reasonable Accommodations- schools must make
the accommodation unless it would constitute an
undue burden or hardship to provide it or if it would
require a fundamental alteration to the program.
• There are three typical types of accommodations
– Academic adjustments
– Modification or alteration of course examinations
– Provision of auxiliary aids
Academic Adjustments
• Schools do not have to lower their standards nor waive a
required math or language requirement
• Examples
– Changes in length of time permitted for the
completion of the course or the degree requirements
– Substitution of specific courses required for the
completion of the program or degree
– Adaptation of the manner in which specific courses
are conducted or course materials are distributed
Modifying Course Exams
• Evaluation should represent the students
achievement in the course rather than
reflecting the students impaired sensory,
manual, or speaking skills.
• However, if those skills are the factors the test
is measuring, then no modification needs to
be made
Auxiliary Aids
• Taped texts
• Interpreters or other effective methods of
making orally delivered materials available to
students with hearing impairments
• Readers for visually impaired students
• Brailled or large print texts
• Classroom equipment adapted for use by
students with manual impairments
• Schools DO have to provide interpreter
• But students must comply with school policies
on attendance
Accommodations Example
• A school offers several chemistry classes for its
students. The school has decided to move one
of the classes to the first floor to make it
accessible to students who use wheelchairs. It
also has decided to concentrate students with
learning disabilities in that class as well.
• Any problems with this?
Nonacademic Services
• Examples include housing, health insurance,
counseling, financial aid, athletics, recreation,
transportation, and other extracurricular
Nonacademic Example
• Maria is a student with a learning disability.
She makes an appointment to meet with her
career counselor at the school. During the
meeting, Maria reveals that she has hopes of
attending law school. The career counselor
recommends that Maria pursue a career as a
paralegal because “law school is too difficult.”
• What is wrong with this suggestion?
Nonacademic example
• Linda wants to run for Vice President of the
Student Government. The college tells Linda
that she does not meet the requirements for
the position because she receives services
through the schools Disability Services office.
• What is wrong with this situation?
What can the schools do?
• Promote self-advocacy among the students
• It is now the student’s responsibility to request
assistance (not the school)
• Ensure that the school is working with each student
to develop a plan that best meets the students
Empowering the Students
• Questions students can ask themselves (or parents can ask of their
– Does the child truly understand how his brain works and how he
– Can he articulate his abilities and disabilities in a way people can
– Can he provide examples of how his learning disabilities affect his
academic performance?
– Does he understand his legal rights with regard to access and
– Does he understand what resources are available to him and how to
access those services?

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