Archived Fact Sheets

  • Adult Language/ Learning Disability: Issues and Resources

    A language/learning disability (LLD) is a disorder that may affect the comprehension and use of spoken or written language as well as nonverbal language, such as eye contact and tone of speech, in both adults and children. Characteristics of LLD vary, as does the severity of the disorder. Some people may have a mild problem, whereas others may demonstrate significant disabilities across many aspects of language. People with LLD may have social-pragmatic deficits, for instance, having trouble giving the listener a speaking turn or overusing certain forms of humor such as sarcasm.

  • A Rising Tide: Students with Psychiatric Disabilities Seek Services in Record Numbers

    Disability support service providers in higher education are serving an increasing number of students with psychiatric disabilities. While specific data is lacking, the anecdotal evidence of this increase is strong. An informal survey of recent publications from professional organizations with an expressed interest in adults with psychiatric disabilities reflects the rise of such students throughout all levels of postsecondary education.

  • Community Colleges and Students with Disablities

    Community colleges fill a distinct role in American postsecondary education and are the primary source of higher education for individuals with disabilities. The latest figures from the U.S. Department of Education suggest that nearly 60% of students with disabilities who attend postsecondary institutions, attend those institutions with two-year programs or less than two-year programs (U.S. Department of Education, 2002).

  • Federal Financial Aid and College: An Overview for Students with Disabilities

    The following article contains excerpted material from HEATH's annual publication Creating Options: Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities and provides a general discussion of federal financial aid programs and how students with disabilities can best maximize their potential for financing postsecondary education.

  • Low-Tech Assistive Technology: Changing Roles and Paradigms in Rehabilitation

    The uses, variety, and scope of assistive technologies (AT) for people with disabilities are growing rapidly. The Technology Related Assistance for Individuals Disabilities Act of 1994 (PL-103-128) defines assistive technology devices as any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capacities of individuals with disabilities. An AT application may be as basic as a rubber grip on a door handle or as advanced as a voice activated environmental control system.

  • Non-Degree Postsecondary Options for Individuals with Disabilities (Part I)

    There is new emphasis in the United States on assisting students with disabilities as they transition from high school to post-school life. This emphasis has resulted in more services and programs to help individuals with disabilities become better educated, more employable, and more independent as they leave high school and proceed to further education or training.

  • Non-Degree Postsecondary Options for Individuals with Disabilities (Part II)

    Developmental disabilities (DDs), which result in substantial physical and/or mental impairments, refer to disabilities that manifest by the age of 22 and that are chronic, severe, and likely to continue indefinitely. Nearly 4 million Americans currently live with DDs, which include autism, brain injury, cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome, fetal alchohol syndrome, mental retardation, spina bifida, and various behaviour disorders.

  • Parenting Postsecondary Students with Disabilities: Becoming the Mentor, Advocate, and Guide Your Young Adult Needs

    The importance of involving parents in the education of elementary and secondary school students is widely encouraged. In fact, federal law-the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)-has created a process to involve parents in the education of their children with disabilities. Once youth with disabilities graduate from high school, however, resources and guidance to help parents with this challenging new phase of parenting become difficult to find. Yet, parents continue to be important role models and guides for their young adult sons and daughters.

  • Postsecondary Options for Students with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities

    Participants of an online community of practice of college and university Disability Supports Services (DSS) staff and others interested in postsecondary education for students with disabilities were asked if they have students with autism spectrum disabilities (ASD), or other developmental disabilities, and/or intellectual disabilities (students who medically would be classified as mentally retarded, not including traumatic brain injury); and how they provide services, supports, and accommodations to attend school at their college. The responses gathered here is a small sampling of universities and colleges that provide support and accommodation for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Following their responses are other resources gathered in HEATH's LINKS pages for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities, their families, high school staff, and college staff for planning, developing and providing supports for college.

  • Postsecondary Students with Disabilities: Recent Data from the 2000 National Postsecondary Student Aid Survey

    This brief provides an initial view of NPSAS 2000 data relating postsecondary students with and without disabilities, and specificifically examines disability prevalence estimates and sociodemographic characteristics. Findings are discussed in the context of previous research and future research needs.

  • Rights and Responsibilities to Ensure Educational Access for Students with Disabilities

    Educational access is the provision of classroom accommodations, auxiliary aids and services to ensure equal educational opportunities for all students regardless of disability. Creating equal educational opportunities is a collaborative effort between the student, the faculty member, and the Office for Disability Services (ODS).

  • Section 504: The Law and Its Impact on Postsecondary Education

    Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that: No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States "shall, solely by reason of" disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

  • Selecting a College for Students with Learning Disabilities or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

    Students with learning disabilities (LD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) approach the transition from high school to college with an array of learning strengths and needs. They need to understand their own abilities and guide their own transition planning by looking at various postsecondary options. If college is the path chosen, investigating postsecondary programs to find the right match is a crucial step. In general, postsecondary support services are less intensive than secondary special education services.

  • Self-Determination: Assuming Control of Your Plans for Postsecondary Education

    Many HEATH inquirers are high-school aged students with disabilities and their families who are considering options for living and learning beyond high school. Self-determined students, with the help and encouragement of family and teachers, are best positioned to make informed, appropriate choices about their futures. The following fact sheet emphasizes the important role of self-determination in effective transition planning for students with disabilities, their families, teachers, and service organizations.

  • Students with Disabilities and Access to Community College: Continuing Issues and New Directions

    Students with disabilities need to be clear on what they hope to accomplish during their community college experience, and for what purposes they are pursuing education after high school. This article supplies guiding questions, clarifying notes, and strategies for students with disabilities and their supporters (including family members and secondary educators) to assist them in becoming informed consumers or service providers as they pursue their investigation of community colleges as postsecondary education options. The article concludes by identifying emerging trends and issues that may serve as new directions for community colleges and that have the potential to affect the participation of students with disabilities.

  • Students with Disabilities and Higher Education: A Disconnect in Expectations and Realities

    On college campuses today, approximately one in eleven students has a disability"three times the number reported in 1978. Yet, in spite of almost 30 years of judicial and federal agency interpretation, the issues facing colleges and universities with respect to students with disabilities have become even increasingly complex.

  • Students with Disabilities in Postsecondary Education: Accommodations Received and Needed

    With the passage of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and later, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, a core of academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services began to emerge to meet the challenge of including students with disabilities in postsecondary education. Stodden, Jones, and Chang (2002) performed an analysis of the terms "services," "supports" and "accommodations" used in practical contexts across secondary education and transition, postsecondary education, and employment.

  • The ADA: The Law and Its Impact on Postsecondary Education

    The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is the civil rights guarantee for persons with disabilities in the United States. It provides protection for individuals from discrimination on the basis of disability. The ADA extends civil rights protections for people with disabilities to employment in the public and private sectors, transportation, public accommodations, services provided by state and local governments, and telecommunication relay services.

  • The Disclosure Dilemma for Advocates

    Should you? Shouldn't you? When? To whom? Such questions frequently arise for parents, counselors, and teachers whenever the topic of disclosure of a disability arises. Many disabilities, such as certain learning, cognitive, and perceptual disabilities, are not readily apparent. Students and employees with hidden disabilities may be understandably reluctant to disclose information about the presence and nature of a disability for fear of discrimination and negative perceptions.

  • Top Ten Things to Think about as You Prepare for Your Transition to Adulthood

    For young adults with disabilities, transition is the culmination of a lot of hard work, many obstacles overcome, a roller coaster full of emotional ups and downs, and countless IEP meetings. To be best prepared for the journey ahead, students should be closely involved with their own transition planning and also recognize that considerable planning and preparation remains to be done. We offer a Top Ten list to help transitioning students focus on areas they can control to ensure success in postsecondary education.

  • Understanding College Students with Autism

    Although many people think of the term "autistic university student" as an oxymoron, there is evidence that a potentially significant number of students in college fall on the autism spectrum. However, many brilliant students find college to be a formidable mixture of overwhelming sights and sounds, full of change and disruption. They quit, never to return, and a vast resource of intellect and unique insight is thus lost. Often people are not even diagnosed as having autism until adulthood.