Options for Students with Disabilities–CHOICES

Options For Students With Disabilities
And Tips For Counselors
Julie Smith – Transition Specialist, Glenbrook South High School
Michael Southern – Director of Disability Services, at the University of
Gretchen Stauder-Post High School Counselor, New Trier High School
• What kind of skills are needed in order to be
successful in college?
• Strong self-motivation in college prep courses
• A full scale I.Q. in the average range of intelligence
• Solid ability to understand verbal concepts and
symbols and to communicate ideas and thoughts both
orally and in writing
• Understanding of learning style, including an
awareness of academic strengths and weaknesses
• Ability to function independently in the academic
Is College the Right
Learning Disability
Intellectual Disability
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Physical Disability
Communication Disorder
Defining Disabilities
• Person First Language
• Some students receive accommodations
• Some students have curriculum which is very different
from the general education curriculum
• Confidentiality
• Not your job to diagnose
• Ask student about strengths or weaknesses
• Allow time for student to process information
• Positive feedback
• Avoid use of abstract language and sarcasm
A few pointers for counselors!
• How do you learn best?
• What are your accommodations? Which
ones do you think you will need in
• Is there a particular area you struggle with?
• Foreign Language?
Good questions to ask
Is a 2 year school a better fit?
Would a gap year be beneficial?
Why do I want to attend college?
Is my curriculum really preparing me for college?
How much time is spent on studying?
Do I wake myself in the morning or am I relying on
someone else?
• How much support am I currently using?
• Landmark College Assessing College Readiness
Questions students
should ask themselves
• Schools’ responsibility
• LRE, quality and free
• Individualized Planning
and related services
• Applies until student
graduates or reaches age
of 22
• Transition services
• Individual Responsibility
• Focus on
• Focus on
nondiscrimination and
undue hardship
• No link between federal
funds and compliance
with the law
Differences in the Law
• No IEP
• No IDEA- working under ADA and 504
• Students must self identify
• Pay for services in some cases
High School vs. PostSecondary
• Secondary Environment : Students learn about their
disability and the importance of self-advocacy. The
student gradually assumes more ownership over time.
Parents act as strong advocates.
• Post-Secondary Environment: Students must selfidentify, describe their disability, identify strengths &
weaknesses, identify accommodations needed and
become a competent self-advocate. Students are
considered adults. Privacy required by FERPA.
Self-Advocacy Transition
• Designed to accommodate students whose options may not
include traditional college
• Own contained facility or separate facility on traditional
• Consider potential rather than high school record
• Small classes and selected faculty
• Focus on basic skills review and reinforcement of independent
life skills
• Non-Degree Status- skill building and experience with
vocational planning for graduation from the program
• Strong vocational component
Alternative PostSecondary Programs
Career Foundations (Harper College)
ELSA (Elmhurst College)
PACE Program (National Louis University)
Personal Success Program (College of Lake County)
Chapel Haven- Westville, Connecticut.
College Internship Program – Indiana University, Bloomington
Horizon Program- University of Alabama Birmingham
Life Development Institute- Phoenix, Arizona
Minnesota Life College- Richfield, Minnesota
Reach Program- University of Iowa
Riverview School GROW Program- East Sandwich, Massachusetts
Supported School to Work Transition Program, Lewis and Clark
Community College- Godfrey, Illinois
• Threshold Program at Lesley College- Cambridge, Massachusetts
• VIP Program- New York Institute of Technology
• We all have different expertise
• Work with in school staff to ensure a appropriate
• Collaboration with counselor and special
education teacher
• Disability Service Office at colleges
• What is best type of setting for student?
• Are they ready?
• Are technical programs more appropriate?
• How much support is needed?
• One of the search factors should be Academic
Support and/or Disability Support Services
• Common mistake: “I have done well in high
school so I will not need services at college.”
Beginning the Search
• Post-Grad year
• Gap year
• 2 year college
• Technical school
• Community college
• 4 year college
• Post Grad Year- (Pre-college Preparation)
• Strengthen study strategies
• Additional preparation in math and writing
• Personalized attention
• Residential component
(Thames Academy, Connecticut)
• Gap Year
• Work
• Options that range in location and fee
• Gap Year Fair at New Trier January 2014
(Apply Concurrently)
College bound but…
• Technical Schools- vocational component and career
• Community College
• Terminal Option - vocational component
• Transfer Option- plan to transfer and earn B.A. or B.S.
• Schools with residential options
• Vincennes University, IN (STEP Program)
• Lincoln College, IL (ACCESS Program)
• Kirkwood Community College, IA
• Parkland Community College, IL
• University of Cincinnati- Blue Ash, OH
2 year College Options
• Accommodations
• Comprehensive Programs
• Full-Service Programs
• Specific Colleges for Students with
Learning Differences
Levels of Support
• Accommodations
• May not have a specific department for LD students
• Student arranges for accommodations
• Academic support is not centralized
• Comprehensive Services
• Structure for providing services to LD students
• Office in charge of making arrangements for
students with disabilities
• Tutoring may be available by LD specialists or
peer/subject tutors supervised by director
• Learning Specialist often coordinates services
Accommodations or Services?
• Study skill strategies and awareness building with
personalized attention
• Fee for Service
• Staff includes trained specialist(s)
• Students required to spend a specific amount of time
each week in the support center
• Regular scheduled meetings with staff
• Special arrangements may be made for course
• Often separate application and apply concurrently
Full-Service Programs
University of Arizona (SALT Program)
University of Denver (LEP Program)
University of Indianapolis (BUILD)
Loras College (Enhanced Program)
Lynn University (Institute for Achievement and
• Southern Illinois University (ACHIEVE Program)
• University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh (Project Success)
• University of Wisconsin- Whitewater (Project Assist)
• Schools Specific for Students with Disabilities
• Landmark University in Vermont
• Beacon College in Florida
Schools with Special Programs
• Voluntary
• Provides a context for admission representatives
• Explains the nature of the disability and its impact on
learning and/or grades
• Verbalize how their disability impacts them
• Highlights growth and current accommodations
• Addresses anticipated support needs
• Additional Information rather than topic of essay
• Disclose during application or after acceptance?
• Have a conversation with student about what they want
• Obtain permission before disclosing
• Highlight strengths of student
• Focus on student not disability
Counselor Letter of
• Institutions may not make inquiries about
prospective students’ disabilities prior to
admitting them.
• Myths
• It will be easier to be accepted by a college
• Requirements for admission will be changed
• Disclosing will hurt chances of acceptance
It’s a Jungle Out There:
the Post-Secondary Transition
(Hint…..remember this definition )
Differences Between
Secondary and PostSecondary
A) Receiving Disability Services-Intake
B) Documentation
C) Laws
D) Advocacy
E) Fundamental Alterations
• Secondary Environment: School districts are
responsible for identifying students with disabilities,
design special education instruction and/or providing and
paying for accommodations. The focus is creating student
• Postsecondary Environment: Students are responsible
for seeking disability related services on campus from
Disability Services Offices (DSO) and requesting
accommodations within their classes. The focus is
providing equal access.
The Intake Process For Students At
Post- Secondary level
• Student needs to contact Disability Services Office
(DSO) to arrange for an intake appointment .
• In an ideal situation, documentation (more
information to come about this) should be
presented ahead of time for DSO to review and
develop questions specific for that student
• Student should be prepared to discuss
• Student should be able to discuss their disability
and how it affects (impacts) them.
• Secondary Environment: School districts are responsible
for providing trained experts to assess eligibility and plan
education services. Experts may include: School psychologists,
Speech Pathologists, school counselors, etc. Collectively, they
develop and implement IEP’s and 504 plans.
• Post-Secondary Environment: Students are responsible
for providing disability documentation from a qualified
professional who can assess their specific disabilities.
New Guidelines For Documentation
at Post Secondary Level
• Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments ActADAAA
Signed into law on September 25, 2008 by George
W. Bush. Became effective, January 1, 2009. Offers a
broader definition to major life activity which can be
standing, learning, speaking, reading, thinking,
concentrating, breathing, thinking, communicating,
along with performing manual tasks such as lifting,
working, reaching, hearing and others.
“What does this mean for
students transitioning to
post-secondary settings?”
It means 3 things…….
1) A larger group of students who may not have been served
in secondary settings can be served.
2) The student has more input into the accommodation
conversation than before.
3) The post-secondary institution (along with student input)
can determine what accommodations would be
reasonable and appropriate.
Disability Services Offices At Post Secondary
Level Can Now use these 3 sources as
acceptable forms of documentation….
1) Student Self-Report: The students narrative of his/her experience or history
of disability, barriers and effective accommodations is an important tool to
help Disability Services understand the “impact” and history of the disability.
(Landmark Assessment)
2) Documentation: Information from external sources that may include IEP’s
(Individualized Education Program), SOP (Summary of Performance),
Psychological evaluations, Medical documentation and other forms of
documentation could be deemed useful to help identify the nature (diagnosis)
of the condition or disability.
3) Observation and Interaction: During the intake process, the DSO professional
can elicit information from observation and the student’s language (SelfReport) in helping determine that a disability is present which requires
reasonable & appropriate accommodation/intervention.
Student Self-Report
• How does your disability impact you within the academic setting? (Test
taking, class attendance, taking notes, etc.)
• What accommodations i.e., extended time, quiet room for testing, etc. have
you used in the past?
• If any, what assistive technology devices and/or auxiliary aids have been
effective in providing equal access to educational opportunities? (Example:
Tape Recorder, Calculator, Audio Textbooks, etc.)
• If deemed eligible, what accommodations are you requesting from Disability
• Is there any additional information you would like to include within your self
What Disability Services Office look for
when reviewing documentation?
• Documentation that contains these 3 items:
 1) Is there a disability diagnosis? EX: ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, etc.
 2) How does the disability manifest itself within the
academic environment?
 3) Based upon the impact of the disability, what
accommodation(s) can we introduce that will lessen the
impact of the disability within the academic setting?
Accommodations exist to level the playing field
Typical Accommodations at Post Secondary
* All accommodations are assigned on a case-by-case basis
• Alternate textbooks – Digital Textbooks
• Assistive Technology
• Communication Access Real Time Writer (CART)
• Extended Test Time/Alternative Testing
• Note takers
• Quiet Test Room
• Reader for Exams
• Scribe
• Sign language interpreters
• Use of calculator/computer
• Other, specific to the students disability related needs
Fundamental Differences In
Accommodations Offered
Secondary Environment: Students may have the ability to
have requirements waived such as foreign language or
complete less test questions.
Post-secondary Environment: All students, regardless of
disability status are expected to meet the same requirements
of a particular class or program of study. This is referred to as
“otherwise qualified”. Technical standards should not be
altered due to disability status. But, in some cases,
“alternative substitution” for program requirements may be
allowed. Example: Completion of Spanish American History
in lieu of taking Spanish as a foreign language. But, there are
exceptions. Let me explain.
• Secondary Environment: In some cases, students learn
of their disability and the importance of self-advocacy.
The parents act as strong advocates for their student.
• Post -Secondary: Students must self-identify and be able
to describe their disability, identify strengths &
weaknesses, identify accommodations needed and
become a competent self-advocate. Students are
considered adults. Privacy required by FERPA.
Making the transition easier for
students with disabilities
• School Counselors, Intervention specialists, etc., Make sure
that documentation offers insight into how the student’s
disability impacts him/her within the academic environment.
• Can the student explain the “how” to a person like me?
• Work with the student to help identify their strengths and
• Can the student verbalize which accommodations have worked
in the past and which have not been a success?
• Is the student aware of the many accommodations available to
• Does the student know what he/she needs to be successful?
• Encourage them to visit the DSO as part of college visit
“ Is college the right
• What is the desired goal? Is it the student’s goal or the
• Is the goal realistic based on the student’s ability and
skill level?
• Certificates vs. Degree options
• Level of support at the institution. Does institution
have what the student will need?
Counselor Responsibilities
• Help the student locate the DSO at their
college/university. Ask Admissions Office or
Student Services Office for contact information.
• Ensure that the student is ready to:
• Provide documentation
• Verbalize the “how” their disability impacts them
• Advocate for themselves
Institutional Responsibilities –
• Provide physical, academic, and program
access to ALL students. We are here to help.
All students have to do is ask.
• Once self-identified, provide accommodations
and services that will allow the student an
opportunity to “succeed” as they have defined it
for themselves.
The 10 Steps to Getting
Good Grades in College
1) Attend Every Class – Showing up is half the battle.
2) Be Organized – Buy a planner, Use technology (cell phone, IPad, Maintain a neat
and organized space.
3) Manage Your Time Well – Learn to tell your friends, “No”.
4) Be Successful in Class – Sit in the front. Participate. Communicate with your
5) Take Good Notes – Be an active listener. Ask questions. Develop clean, neat
handwriting. Use a lap top. (Not just for facebook, Twitter, etc.)
6) Know How to Read a Textbook- Scan, Read, Review
7) Study Smart – Find YOUR study bubble. Organize your time.
8) Use Test Taking Strategies – Pen/Pencil Ready. Scan exam and return to questions
later, if needed. Go over returned exams
9) Reduce Test Anxiety- Deep Breath, Relax, Close your eyes. Be confident
10) Use the Resources Around You – You don’t know where to go…Ask!!
Last thing…..
Remember the “Rule of 3” when
working with students with disabilities:
People FIRST
Students SECOND
Students with disabilities THIRD
25 year history
12 school consortium
College Fair specifically for students with disabilities
40+ colleges in attendance
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at Evanston Township High School
Post-Secondary Planning Guide
• Personal statement sample
• Schools and programs
• Refer to students and parents
• Questions?
• Comments?
• Concerns?
Thank you for coming. 
Julie Smith- Transition Specialist, Glenbrook South High
School 847-486-4661, [email protected]
Michael Southern- Director, University of Cincinnati
Disability Services (513) 556-6823
[email protected]
Gretchen Stauder- Post-Secondary Counselor, New Trier
High School 847-784-2236, [email protected]
Contact information
AHEAD Website www.ahead.org
CHOICES Fair www.postsecondarychoices.org
Transition Coordinator
College and Career Center
College Visits/Internet Exploration
Heath Center http://www.heath.gwu.edu
Glenbrook Transition Website www.glenbrooktransition.org
Disability Service Office Personnel

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