Two months ago, Springer welcomed Cassandra Jones, MRC, CRC, Director of the Office of Disability Services at Xavier University, to speak with local parents and high school students regarding the transition to college. Ms. Jones emphasized several points of interest, including the fact that the law governing special education in grades Kindergarten through 12 (IDEA) does not apply to students in college.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the law that establishes the right of equal access to individuals with disabilities in many aspects of life, whether voting, working or going to college, and this is the law that applies to post-secondary education. The year 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of this law. At the college level, the ADA provides for reasonable accommodations that give a student with a disability equal access to education.
In order to qualify as having a disability under ADA, the student must provide documentation of major life impairments. The impairment could be the result of diabetes, a learning disability, ADHD, post-traumatic stress disorder, migraine headaches, anxiety, and many other disabling conditions.
The goal of IDEA is that a student will be successful in grades K through 12, as the goals and services mandated in the Individual Education Plan are followed and reviewed on an annual basis. After grade twelve, the goal of the Americans with Disabilities Act is that the student will have equal access to education, once they have gained admission. Virtually every college, university and community college in the United States offers services to students with a disability. The office might be called the Office of Student Services or Disability Services.
In the next several blogs, I will address questions from parents regarding common accommodations in college, what is meant by “documentation,” the student’s role in obtaining accommodations and the services that might be available to any student on a college campus.