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How Disability Services Differ Between High School and College

As you make the transition from high school to college, you will find the world of services and accommodations for students with disabilities dramatically different.

One of the first changes you will experience is that colleges are not permitted to ask if you have a disability when you apply for admission.

If you would like to receive disability accommodations, it is your responsibility to identify yourself to ASU’s Office of the Dean of Students in Room 112 of the Houston Harte University Center.

Below is a table that outlines the differences between high school and college disability services. You can also read the items below the table about several important pieces of federal legislation that you may need to understand.

Differences Between High School and College Disability Services
  High School College
Applicable Laws
  • IDEA
  • Section 504 (D)
  • Rehabilitation Act
  • Section 504 (E)
  • Rehabilitation Act
Required Documentation
  • Individual Education Plan
  • School provides evaluation at no cost to the student
  • School conducts evaluations at prescribed intervals
  • Varies depending on the disability
  • IEP and 504 Plans are not sufficient; must include the testing on which the requested accommodations are based
  • Student responsible for obtaining evaluation.
  • Student generally is not required to be re-tested after initial documentation approval unless additional accommodations warrant more documentation
Student Role
  • Student is identified and supported by parents and teachers
  • Primary responsibility for accommodations belongs to the school
  • Student must self-identify at designated office
  • Primary responsibility for accommodations belongs to the student
Parent Role
  • Parent has access to student’s records and participates in accommodation process
  • Parent advocates for the student
  • Parent does not have access to disability-related records unless student provides written consent
  • Student advocates for self
Curriculum and Instruction
  • Many schools modify curriculum and/or alter the pace of assignments
  • Use multi-sensory approach
  • Weekly testing, mid-term, final, and graded assignments
  • Attendance taken and reported
  • Faculty not required to modify curriculum
  • Student tends to rely on lecture. May or may not use multi-sensory approach
  • Student is responsible for attending class
  • Some schools modify tests
  • Grades may be modified based on the quality of the curriculum
  • Grades reflect the work submitted

Significant Federal Legislation

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