ERIC Number: EJ931816
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
College Students with Disabilities: A Student Development Perspective
Hadley, Wanda M.
New Directions for Higher Education, n154 p77-81 Sum 2011
High school students with disabilities are attending colleges and universities in growing numbers, with their rate of college participation doubling in the past twenty years. Students with disabilities in the secondary educational system are protected by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) of 2004, which requires secondary school districts to develop special education programs and services, including a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment (i.e., with a minimum of segregation from nondisabled students). In their high school experiences, students receiving special education services are supported by multidisciplinary teams available for planning and interventions related to their disabilities. Teams typically include the student, parents of the student, teachers of the student, a counselor or school psychologist, and a school administrator, who implement Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and specialized instruction. The college environment for students with disabilities, however, does not include the same extent of support that is required in high school settings. College students with disabilities are covered by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. Unlike the high school environment, however, it is the student's responsibility to initiate requests for services in the postsecondary environment. When students make the transition to higher education, they are expected to contact the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD), self-identify as a student with a disability, provide documentation of their disability and the accommodations needed, self-advocate to their instructors, and participate in the services that will support their academic progress. Such self-advocacy moves students with disabilities from a pattern of more passive dependent behavior to a more active and responsible role. In order to successfully self-advocate, students should have a good understanding of their particular learning disability and the compensatory strategies that work best for them. Student development theory can be a useful framework to help administrators and service providers be more supportive when providing services, and to consider how the needs of students with disabilities may change throughout college. This article provides several strategies for administrators, faculty, and professionals to consider in applying developmental theory to interactions with students with disabilities.
Descriptors: College Students, High Schools, Learning Disabilities, Academic Achievement, Self Advocacy, College Environment, Educational Environment, Student Development, Special Education, Academic Accommodations (Disabilities), Higher Education, College Attendance, Educational Legislation, Federal Legislation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Teachers; Administrators
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Americans with Disabilities Act 1990; Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act 2004; Rehabilitation Act 1973 (Section 504)