Monday, July 17, 2006

Special Ed in College

It's not that I necessarily disagree with this, but I've never seen it put so bluntly before:

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, disabled students from kindergarten through high school are entitled to an individualized education plan created by a pit crew of teachers and specialists.

It all stops in college, a surprise to students who may think administrators will know their needs, said Jane Warner, assistant director of services for disabled students at Virginia Tech University and co-organizer of College Bound, a collaboration of the Blacksburg school, Radford University and New River Community College. (emphasis mine--Darren) has the story about a program designed to give special ed students some knowledge and skills they'll need to succeed in college.


Anonymous said...

As a community college department chair here in California, and as a parent who is going to be facing making IEP's for at least one of my kids, I've got a little bit of perspective on this.

It's not necessarily that services stop in college. Our school, and I think all community colleges (if not everyone in the UC/CSU/CC system) have a Disabled Students Programs and Services office. The big thing is that the responsibility shifts from the college to the student. The student needs to get themselves down to DSP&S, go through whatever evaluation is necessary, and then present that information to their instructors.

At our school, we've got a standard form that students with identified needs will present to instructors. It covers everything from note-takers to audio recording to extra time for tests.

Santa Barbara has a nice summary of the differences between disabled student programs in high school and college.

For my money, here at the community college level, much of what we teach to all of our students is how to take courses at the college level. Things like "no, attendance doesn't count, but yes, your attendance will affect your final grade" :-)

Darren said...

I didn't state it, but the CNN article was clear that students shouldered the responsibility for getting to the appropriate office and letting the school know about their disabilities.

Thanks for clarifying it.

Anonymous said...

This may be un-politically correct to say but the numbers of students who receive special ed. services are growing by leaps and bounds as more and more parents are medicating their children to counter what is probably normal boisterous childhood behaviors. Why not get extra time on tests, fewer problems of homework, smaller class sizes, less disciplinary measures, etc.... On to the topic of services in college, my neighbor's son recently attended junior college and his mommy went in to see the counselor for him to let them know he has ADD and was able to obtain some of the benefits that I listed above for him. Are these same students going to have their mommies go talk to potential employers for them as well? Will their deadlines be extended at work? Will their job requirements be modified? Real life is tough--it's competetive out there. I hope we aren't doing a major disservice here.

rightwingprof said...

Here is what I have to say about this.

Warning: it is extremely insensitive.

Darren said...

It wasn't *too* extremely insensitive unless you're oversensitive in the first place.

EllenK said...

I have a dyslexic ADHD son who will be senior this year. Early in high school, I coached him in ways to problem solve by talking to teachers and becoming his own advocate. Sometimes we were successful and sometimes we weren't which largely mirrors how the general population apporaches learning disabilities. But the important thing is that he knows he can speak for himself. Now to relate, I will probably help him negotiate some of the scheduling issues before his freshman year (and he will be taking classes in summer to get a jump on this), but it is not because I am "mommying" him, but because he learns through doing and most registrars dont' have the staff or the time to walk kids through. In fact in most larger colleges the advising that is recieved by incoming freshmen is mistaken, misguided and flat out wrong as I saw when I helped my older kids enroll for those first classes. It isn't because they can't do it, but because having done registration I know the shortcuts that can avoid unnecessary time in lines and unnecessary expenditure. After the first time, they are fine. Maybe you the esteemed professor should try working a few orientation groups because really, they could use someone who actually knows how to present and read a degree plan rather than the grad students they have sleepwalking through the job.