As you prepare to transition from high school life to college life as a student with disability, it is important to familiarize yourself with rights of students living with disabilities.
This will help you cope and fit well into the institution you join. Note that you do not have to disclose your condition if you don’t feel that you have to, but notifying the right parties such as the office of students with disabilities, can play a big part in making your college life enjoyable.
This way, the office will make arrangements where necessary to ensure that you have everything you need and that adjustments are made to accommodate you.
A. Laws Relating to Students with Disability
There are several laws that take into consideration the welfare of students with disability. These laws are there to ensure that this category of students is not discriminated against and that schools accord students with disabilities the same privileges that other students enjoy.
B. Transitioning into College Life
Moving on to college life means beginning a new phase, different from high school life. As a student with disabilities, this is a life-changing moment. You gain more independence; more systems in college are different from those in high school. You will be required to make most decisions on your own.
When preparing to join postsecondary institutions -2-year & 4-year colleges and universities-, one is required to do thorough research, to find out whether their needs as a student with disabilities will be fully met. Of course the law protects you from discrimination of any kind. The college or university you join is expected to make provisions to accommodate you.
Disclosing your disability is totally voluntary, but if you feel the need to seek assistance, then you have to share this information with the relevant office, in this case the disability support services. You are required to share this early enough so that the school can make adjustments as fast as possible. In a study by the National Center for Learning Disabilities, 44% of students who took part in the survey stated that even though they were independent, they would be much better with some assistance.
You will have to present your school with documentation that supports your claim, prepared by a medical doctor or psychologist. The documentation should contain information such as diagnosis, date of diagnosis, how it affects one or more major life activities and how it affects your performance in school. If the academic adjustment is not working as you expected, you should immediately let the school know so that you can find a solution that works for you.
C. Types of Disabilities
Below are some types of disabilities:
Data from the National Center for Education Statistics on a survey that they conducted shows that 11.1% of students who enrolled into postsecondary institutions were those with disabilities.
D. Factors to Consider when Choosing a College for Students with Disabilities
Finding a good college where you will be supported as a student with disabilities is the first step you take when looking for schools to join. Below are some pointers to help you with your search:
Accommodations are changes done to a school program or facility to enable easy access by students with disabilities who would otherwise be at a disadvantage was it not for the changes. The changes should not however, alter the quality of the programs or facilities. Some of the accommodations made may include providing a note taker, reducing course loads, sign language interpreters, assistive devices for the hard-of-hearing, extended time for examinations, braille transcriptions, recording devices, extra access to professors and adaptive software and hardware for the school computers.
F. Filing Grievances
Students with disabilities who feel the need to file for grievances may do so through:
Important things that students with disabilities need to know to succeed in college.
1. Learn About the Law that protect the rights of people with disabilities. The most important first step is to be aware of what the law provides in regard to your situation.
2. Know Student Rights and Responsibilities.
3. Know how to find the right College
4. Understand College Accommodations
5. Develop College Survival Skills
Online Resources for Students with Disabilities
Software Resources for Students with Learning Disabilities
Learning disabilities here include listening, understanding, writing and reading.
Fast for Word Reading Assistant
Fast for Word reading Assistant by Scientific Learning increases the ability to process and comprehend what is being read. This helps the student learn and develop critical reading skills.
Reading Horizons Elevate is a program that uses a multi-sensory approach to address reading problems in students. It meets the Common Core Standards and creates blended learning as well as monitor’s progress in a student.
The Inspiration program lets students visually draft ideas after which they can begin to construct or structure sentences. It helps grow the student’s ability to study flow-charts and in the end boosts their writing and communication skills. The tool supports individualized lessons to enable the students to learn in ways that meet their specific needs.
WordQ is a software that helps students go over and read their own work. It has a word-prediction feature which helps the user to type faster and accurately. It also has a read-aloud feature which helps students read materials and listen to their written work for errors in grammar.
Understanding Questions Out Loud
Understanding Questions Out Loud is a program that’s built to help students with auditory and reading comprehension. They can use it to practice different words which they might find confusing. The program shows and reads out loud a question and provides the user with up to four answers. It gives a hint if the user answers incorrectly.
Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing (LiPS) helps develop phonemic awareness in students with listening disabilities. It helps them understand sounds within words, which helps them read and spell words correctly.
ModuMath Basic Math and Algebra
ModuMath basic Math and Algebra is designed specifically for learners find it hard to understand Math. It contains numerous interactive video lessons with tutorials which are presented in an audio-visual format. The program is designed to adjust its pace to that of the learner.
Ignite! Math uses a multi-media approach to trigger comprehension and interaction from students in a classroom. It uses print and engaging media such as animations, charts and songs to keep students engaged. It helps develop skills like problem-solution and cause-and-effect.
Memory Challenge! is designed to help the user with memorization and organizational skills. It can be used as to practice, as a test or as a game. It improves short-term visual memory, delayed recognition and visual reproduction skills.
Executive Functions Skill-Building Program
Executive Functions by Premier helps improve the performance of students in the classroom. It promotes the executive functions which are problem-solving skills, organizational skills, decision-making skills, being attentive and managing time. The program includes a teacher’s guide.
Books for Students with Disabilities
Learning Outside the Lines
Learning Outside the Lines is authored by two individuals who struggled with ADHD and learning disabilities. The book motivates you to persevere and take charge of your education and life.
How to Reach and Teach Children with Challenging Behavior (K-8): Practical, Ready-to-Use Interventions That Work
How to Reach and Teach Children with Challenging Behavior gives educators a new perspective that will help them manage behavioral problems with student’s at school. The book features ways in which an educator may influence self-regulation and management of emotions in a student, and ways to create engaging lessons or activities that encourage positive behavior.
Transition Education and Services for Students with Disabilities (5th Edition)
The book Transition Education and Services for Students with Disabilities is for undergraduate and graduate level students with disabilities as well as instructors in secondary special education programs.
Assistive Technology in the Classroom: Enhancing the School Experiences of Students with Disabilities (2nd Edition)
Assistive Technology in the Classroom is a book that explains how assistive technology can be incorporated into the curriculum and how much of an impact it has on learning. The technology empowers and motivates student to participate in classroom activities. The book does not categorize disabilities and therefore it doesn’t suggest a particular tool for any particular condition seeing as every student is unique.
Teaching Students with Moderate and Severe Disabilities
The text in “Teaching Students with Moderate and Severe Disabilities” emphasizes research-based practices that educators can use to evaluate the needs of students and create a personalized education plan for them. The book covers areas such as healthcare, daily living, social and communication skills, reading, and job skills.
Students with interests in special education as a career can visit this website to read about these books. The books advocate for personalized teaching plans for students with disabilities. They also recommend ways in which teachers can make learning and interaction fun for kids with learning disabilities.
Important Twitter Accounts to follow
Disability.gov is the official twitter account where one can find information on programs, services and policies that can help advance persons with disabilities. It creates awareness and ensures that people have the right information and tools to address disability.
Disability Scoop is a top source of developmental disability news. It addresses a wide range of topics and challenges that people with disability face in their daily lives.
The Coffee Klatch, a special needs radio, is now a network of moderators, parents and special needs experts. Every once in, they host experts who share their perspective on special needs and address issues that the community is facing.
Dr. Michael Hart is an expert in attention and learning disabilities, and this has helped him establish approaches through which individuals with such conditions can be helped.
Let Me Learn is dedicated to children with dyslexia and dyscalculia, to help them find ways in which they can improve their learning and overcome their condition. They have things likes games which will help kids learn, practice and have fun.
Handicap This! is an amazing show that provides entertainment while at the same time educating the masses on cerebral palsy. It advocates for inclusion and tolerance of people with special needs.
Learning Ally is a nonprofit that was formed for students with learning and visual disabilities. It offers plenty of resources for parents and teachers of children with special needs. it also has human-narrated textbooks for K-12 students.
Gina Baladaty runs the “Mom blog” and has a huge presence on twitter. She has two daughters with special needs and empowers other parents to understand and take care of the needs of children with special needs.
Brain Balance is a group of after-school learning centers which helps children with learning and behavioral disorders. The centers are equipped with the necessary tools to improve on the well-being and advancement of the children.
The Brain and Behavioral Research Foundation funds mental health research grants across the world. It pushes for research on conditions such as autism, schizophrenia, depression and anxiety.
Important Apps for Students with Disabilities
Ideament is an App that you can use to draw a sketch, like an idea map or flow chart, and use it as a draft for a piece of writing. You can also use it to design organizational charts, and to plan presentations.
Accessible Curriculum Tools (ACT) Spell
The ACT Spell can help with motor, neurological and visual skills of individuals with special needs. The app is designed for caregivers or facilitators of kids with special needs, to create a program that meets the needs of the children.
Speak It! is one of the most effective text-to-speech applications available. You only need to copy a certain text into the app, press the Speak It! button and it will read out loud the text, word by word. The app highlights every word as it’s spoken so that the user will follow along.
Read2Go partners with Bookshare to allow its users access to thousands of books which are featured in Bookshare’s digital library. This is an excellent app for students with visual disability and dyslexia. It requires a Bookshare membership to access the library.
Audiobooks By Cross Forward Consulting, LLC offers you the opportunity to read from thousands of books. With the support of the Apple watch, one can select which books to read from the library and control playback. The app also features podcasts.
Storyrobe enables students and teachers alike to create their own stories and share them with other users through emails and YouTube. It can be used for school work purposes too. This app boosts self- expression in an individual.
The Americans with Disabilities Act Reference
With this App, it’s actually easy to refer to the act on Americans with Disabilities. It contains the original version of the bill and all information about returning to service, persons living with AIDS, how to contact and visit ADA.GOV and 2008 revisions.
ABC Braille Translator
ABC Braille Translator is designed for individuals trying to learn, understand and communicate in Braille. It’s designed for easy use with interactive selection buttons that let you translate alphabetical letters into braille.
The Institute of Education Services conducts education research and supports evidence-based education. It helps educators make informed choices based on the evidence available. Teachers can access plenty of resources including practice guides, single study reviews and intervention reports.
TeachingLD offers information that is useful to teachers of students with disabilities. It has a number of resources such as Expert Connection which answers questions about handling students with disabilities and Teaching Tutorials which offer teachers different ways that could that could improve learning of special needs children.
What Works Clearinghouse is the number one resource for education research. They review studies on different programs, policies and practices to establish what would work best in the education industry and what wouldn’t.
All Kinds of Minds is an organization that pushes for recognition of all students, given that all students have their weaknesses and strong points in learning. It helps teachers understand how students learn. The teachers then use this knowledge to give students the chance to improve in their academics day by day.
The Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice
The Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice advocates for the development of children with or at risk of suffering severe emotional disturbance. They partner with agencies at local, state and federal levels to raise awareness of effective practices.
The National Center on Educational Outcomes pushes for the inclusion of English Learners (ELs), English Learners with disabilities and students with disabilities in assessment systems such as classroom-based tests and benchmark assessments. Some of its resources include policy documents, reports, briefs and self-study guides.