Laws that Promote Participation in Postsecondary School for Students With Disabilities
Despite the challenges of entering a “different world” of postsecondary education, recent laws have greatly improved access and support of youth with disabilities. Most postsecondary institutions are responding to the mandates and are developing greater capacity to recruit and include students with disabilities.
How Does IDEA 2004 Promote Collaboration for Postsecondary Participation?
Collaboration and the Summary of Performance.
The IDEA 2004 included a new requirement to assist students to make the transition from high school to postsecondary education or employment. Under IDEA 2004 local, educational agencies must provide a students with a summary of the child’s academic achievement and functional performance (summary of performance or SOP), which includes recommendations on how to assist the child in meeting their postsecondary goals (IDEA, 2004, Section 300.305 (e) (3)). The SOP also provides documentation of disability which is necessary, under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, to help establish a student’s eligibility for reasonable accommodations and supports in postsecondary settings. It is also helpful in the vocational rehabilitation comprehensive assessment process to determine eligibility for VR services. Developing the SOP may be the responsibility of the special educator or school psychologist, but coordination and participation of teachers, counselors, and related services professionals is essential to gathering and summarizing relevant information on the student.
Postsecondary educational institutions do not typically accept an individualized education program (IEP) from a high school as documentation of a disability or an academic accommodation (HEATH, 2006). However, colleges may use high school testing results, documented in the summary of performance if the information is current and disability specific. For example, after consultation with the college, a student with a learning disability might submit the psycho-educational evaluation from 11th grade as documentation of the learning disability. It is very important that students collect and maintain their high school records and their summary of performance for the purposes of disability documentation (Hart, Zafft, & Zimbrich, 2001; Kochhar-Bryant & Vreeburg, 2006; Shaw, 2006; Shaw & Dukes, 2001).
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