Differences between High School definitions and College definitions of Disability Rights
Under IDEA, children with disabilities are absolutely entitled to a "Free and Appropriate Public Education".
Equal Access is the goal - no one is entitled to anything but rather students must advocate for themselves in order to enjoy these rights.
Section 504 in the public schools includes "Free and Appropriate Public Education" language and accommodations may include a shortening of assignments, use of notes on test, etc., when other students cannot have the same accommodation.
Section 504 is the first civil rights legislation that applies to colleges. It upholds the institution's right to maintain academic standards. No accommodations may be permitted to reduce that standard for any students. There is no "free" education, and shortening of assignments, use of notes, etc. are not considered "reasonable" accommodations in college.
Plans, either the IEP or a 504 plan, drove all services and accommodations and involved the teachers, counselors and required a parent's signature.
There is no plan and instructors are not contacted except by the student. In fact, parents may not receive even the student's grades, without the student giving written permission.
"Placement" is determined by the child's "team" and outline in the plan, and must, by law, be in the least restrictive environment.
Placement integration is assumed and implemented. We adjust the environment through accommodations but we don't deliberate and select the environment for the student in advance.
Students were qualified for public education simply by being the appropriate age, because they had a disability.
"Otherwise qualified," in college, means that the student must meet all entrance and academic requirements, whether they receive accommodations or not.
Everybody knew about a student's placement, and practically everybody signed the plan. A teacher would know about a student even before he/she would enter the classroom, and have a good idea of what the needs were of that student.
The student must initiate all actions regarding accommodations with each professor, for each course, every semester. In addition, students have the civil right to refuse accommodations they don't want or need; and if they do not register with the Disability Service Center and request accommodations, it is assumed they do not want it.
Public schools, for the most part, are responsible for appropriate assessment of a student's disability.
Higher education does not have to assess the student but can expect that the student will provide proof of their disability within accepted guidelines.
Some subjects may have been waived for a student before graduation, if they were specifically related to the student's disability.
Substitutions for specific graduation requirements may be requested by following a rigorous petition process, but "waivers" for requirements are rarely, if ever, granted. Substitutions may be granted after the student has both provided adequate verification to the Disability Service Center office of their disability and unsuccessfully attempted the courses in question and unsuccessfully attempted the courses in question with the appropriate accommodations recommended by the Center.
Assessment, physical or therapy, or personal care may have been provided by the school during regular school hours.
Student is responsible for personal services-personal care, medical and related requirements, just as if they would if they were living independently and not attending school.
Students often receive "Un-timed tests" if they have a disability.
"Un-timed tests" are not reasonable. Time extensions may be considered reasonable, typically time and a half, on rare occasions double time may be granted.
Teachers may be expected to learn all they can about the disability of a student in one of their classes.
Professors need only know that which applies to the accommodations the student requests.
Additionally, you will be required to provide the appropriate documentation of your disability from a licensed physician or professional from the appropriate specialty area. Documentation must include a description of the diagnostic criteria or the diagnostic tests used. This description should include the specific results of the diagnostic procedures and methods used to obtain the diagnosis. Documentation should be thorough enough to demonstrate whether or not a major life activity is substantially limited and should include information regarding the impact of the condition, including medications.
The IEP or 504 Plan from high school will not be sufficient documentation to identify the actual disability or how the disability limits a major life function. This is particularly true if there has been no recent testing as much of the information provided to us from high schools are simply IEP/504 Plans, which outline the plan for the student as far as accommodations or goals, but do not list any actual diagnoses or testing results. In most cases where test results are more than three years old, the student will be required to have new testing completed in order to receive accommodations from the Disability Service Center.