This chapter is an important addition to CollegePrep-101. Not only
does it provide useful information to help students with
disabilities prepare for college, but it will serve as a reference
for anyone who works with those with disabilities, or for those who
are simply interested in the subject. Because of the nature of the
information provided in this chapter, the format is a little
different than many of our chapters. The author has divided the
information into three distinct sections, "High School v. Post
Secondary," which discusses the differences in laws, expectations
and responsibilities, "Strategies," which outlines strategies to
make students successful, and "Advising," which gives suggestions as
to how to get the most out of the relationship with an academic
The author of this chapter is Michael Shuttic.
Michael Shuttic has worked in the field of disabilities for 14
years. He is currently Coordinator of the Student Disability
Services office at OSU. Just prior to that he spent 7 ½ years at the
University of Kansas in the office of Services for Students with
Disabilities providing services/ accommodations for students, and
chair of campus Architectural Barriers Committee. He has been a
member of AHEAD (Assoc of Higher Education and Disabilities) since
1990, chair of AHEAD's Disability Policy Committee 1996-1999;
current President of Oklahoma AHEAD; member and past president of
local Transition Council; and current NASPA (National Assoc of
Student Personnel Administrators) national chair of disAbility
Concerns Knowledge Community.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HIGH SCHOOL AND POSTSECONDARY
Transition from high school to postsecondary can be confusing,
unfamiliar, and awkward. With respect to "disability" and
"accommodations", it is essential to understand the differences.
Appropriate expectations and an understanding of how things work
will provide for a smoother and more successful transition. What is
the difference between "free and appropriate public education"
(mandatory education) under IDEA and "equal access, equal
opportunity" (access to programs & services) per 504/ADA?
*IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Educantion Act
*504 (Section 504, Rehab Act, 1973)
*ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990)
|*504(Section 504, Rehab Act,
*ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990)
School districts are responsible for identifying, evaluating
and planning educational interventions.
|Students are responsible for
self-identification, and for obtaining disability services
IDEA is to provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE)
in the least restrictive environment to eligible students
with disabilities, including special education and related
504/ADA are to ensure that no otherwise qualified person
with a disability is denied access to, benefits of, or is
subjected to discrimination in any program or activity
provided by any public institution or entity.
All infants, children and youth requiring special education
services until age 21 or graduation from high school are
covered. A list of disabilities is provided in IDEA, and
includes specific learning disabilities.
|*Civil rights, non-discrimination
504/ADA ensure that no otherwise qualified person iwth a
disability will be denied access to, the benefits of, or be
subjected to discrimination by any program or activity
provided by any public institution or entity.
All qualified persons with disabilities who meet the entry
age level criteria or particultar program entry criteria of
the college and who can document the existence of a
disability as defined by the ADA are covered
defined as "any physical or mental impairment that
substantially limits one or more major life activities;
having a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as
having an impairment."
Students may be "otherwise qualified," which requires meeting
established criteria (e.g. admissions, course expectations,
STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS
YOU are a critical variable in your success. Knowing personal
strengths, areas of interest/aptitude, and specific needs will help
in decision-making. Informed choice presumes that there is
information available to use to make sound decisions. What
information is necessary to decide what to take in high school?
choice of college/ university? academic preparation & skills?
Develop knowledge about yourself
Learn about the nature of your disability and
its impact on learning, academics, etc.
Assess your interests, aptitudes and achievements
Understand your personal and academic strengths and weaknesses
(self-esteem, self-perception, self-confidence)
Remember that high school preparation and
courses set your foundation
Explore life experiences
To succeed in college you first should
understand the admission requirements as well as
graduation requirements of your chosen college
Here are some tips to help you develop and asses
your academic, social and personal interest
Take courses in many disciplines (subjects)
Identify & utilize current and available
Master basic skills including:
writing and composition
Your disability may have/ have had an impact on
your opportunities or your level of involvement
in high school. Once in college, you will have
to create and maximize your opportunities.
Try a variety of school activities, social
organizations and functions, volunteer
opportunities and paid jobs
Seek Career Counseling
Advances in technology have created a wide range
of occupations for people with disabilities
To prepare yourself for the career you desire you should obtain
realistic information about employment trends
and acquire information about the educational
requirements for that profession.
It is important to have an understanding of your
career options and not to let others discourage
you from pursuing your interests. And don't let
your own anxiety or apprehension turn you from
Also, it is necessary to consider the impacts
others have on you through their perceptions,
assumptions, prejudices, etc.
Base decision making about college on a variety
Admission requirements--applicants with
disabilities must meet the set criteria
Develop self-advocacy skills (speak up for
Programmatic requirements (degree requirements)--colleges are not
required to alter programmatic requirements if a
course in question is fundamental to the nature
of the major
Other factors about the school:
-Field of study
-Reputation of the institution
-Size and diversity of student body
-Intellectual and social environment
-Availability of financial aid, work-study
-Quality and type of support services
-Types of auxiliary aids and accessibility
Other things to know about:
-lowered expectations in high school may be
-curricular preparedness, skill building, &
meeting established standards with
accommodations (v. waiving requirements);
-be aware of requirements: course,
-note the expectation of your increased
level of personal responsibility;
-differences between high school &
postsecondary (see: "Differences");
-comparison factors: who is now the
"average" student (ACT, high school gpa);
-assess your ability to work, be involved in
other activities AND study;
-make contact with Student Disablity
Services to identify appropriate
To make the most of your college career you need
to become comfortable in describing to others
both your disabilities and your academic needs
You also must be informed about legislation
with which colleges must comply that protects
Be sure to file appropriate documentation of
your disability with the university you attend
Settings in which you will need to
- Student Disability Services (see Oklahoma
State University's Student Disability
Services web site: www.okstate.edu/ucs/stdis/index.html)
-you must self-disclose
-need to provide disability
-ask about their legal rights and
responsibilities to you
-orientation & mobility on-campus
-information/materials in alternate
-pace of tour, conversation, etc. & your
-distance from other buildings on
campus-housing preferences (note
difference between "preference" and
- Financial Aid
-accessibility (building, restroom,
telephone, alarm system, etc.)
-impact of enrolled number of credit
-continuous enrollment and academic
progress issues regarding federal
Compiled from U.S. Department of Education Document, Heath Resource
Center, and American Council on Education
ADVISING & COURSE SELECTION
Considering disability-related needs in
There are a number of ways to maximize your strengths. Focusing on
what YOU can control is important. Course selection (size, format,
days/times) and schedule creation (credit hours, types of courses,
days of the week) are choices you can make. What are things to
- What should an academic adviser know to help you create a
- more alert, do better in early morning;
- joints, body ache in early morning;
- topics regarding 'x' trigger reaction (e.g. seizure, anxiety, post
- difficult topics require more time (e.g. math, foreign language);
- need time to eat and take medication(s) at certain time(s) of the
- What factors/variables are important in choosing your
- class format (small group discussion v. large lecture);
- teaching style;
- exam format (essay v. multiple choice);
- amount of reading;
- number of credit hours (desired or manageable v. advised or
- Is math an area of difficulty for you?
- Create a schedule that will allow more time for difficult
topics—fewer credit hours—for that semester.
- Discuss taking the course(s) in the summer, through
independent or correspondence study, at another school (e.g.
- How do you handle a lot of reading?
- Inquire how much reading is required in the courses you will
- Get texts early and begin reading ahead.
- Ask about books on tape or other means of reading texts.
- What foreign language experience have you had? Is it
required for your major?
- Identify options & information (e.g. majors or schools w/o
language requirement; alternatives to language, such as "area of
concentration" or computer skills or culture courses; degree
options, B.A. vs. B.S.).
Differences to consider:
- M/W/F classes are approximately 1 hour long; T/Th classes
are approximately 1 ½ hours long
- What difference does that make for you?
- number days/week of being in-class for continuity, practice,
(2 v. 3 days/week);
- amount of time required to pay attention, be seated in class
(1 v. 1 ½ hours).
- What about large classes v. small classes?
- Options of how to meet needs, i.e.
- How many hours do you think you want to take?
- permission from instructor for enrollment in full courses;
- different course for same requirement;
- take in summer v. fall v. spring (be sure course is offered
- ability to hear, see, focus, interact;
- ask about "priority enrollment" as appropriate option.
- rule-of-thumb is 1 hour in class = 3 hours out-of-class
- When are you most alert? Is there anything that would affect
you taking morning classes? afternoon classes? evening classes?
- impact on scholarship, financial aid, vocational rehab, other;
- concern of time (years to graduate, cost) v. level of
- How much time should you allow between classes?
- amount of time necessary to get to next class (look at the
- ability to get organized before beginning class, to re-focus
- possible time necessary to prepare for class (e.g. read, write
lab report, review notes, complete project).
- desired time to relax, study, eat, take medication(s), etc.
·Teaching styles – how do you learn best (lecture, participation,
read on own)?
·Test formats – explain to the academic advisor or consider how you
do on different types of tests (multiple choice, essay, short
·Talk with instructor/department and/or look at a syllabus BEFORE
enrolling in a course. Many syllabi are on-line.