Making the Transition

Welcome to College!

Independence = Responsibility

The transition from high school to college is an exciting experience for most students. For these students, this is an opportunity to become more independent, make their own choices and be in charge of their own lives. However, with great independence comes great responsibility. For a student with a disability, this transition can be confusing and requires careful planning. The purpose of this webpage is to help with this planning by discussing differences between high school and college, the disability laws, the learning environment, academic accommodations and tips for parents in helping their college-bound students transition into a new environment.

Disability & Education Laws

Americans with Disabilities Act

Colleges, public schools and businesses are required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals solely because of a disability.

ADA Amendment of 2008

The 2008 amendment of the ADA clarifies some of the terminology of the ADA specifically defining who is covered by the ADA.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act forbids organizations and employers from excluding or denying individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to receive program benefits and services. This law applies to all organizations and programs receiving federal funds including public schools and colleges.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

FERPA is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

IDEA is a federal law that governs how states and public agencies provide special education and related services to children with disabilities. It addresses the educational needs of children with disabilities from birth to age 21 or until high school graduation. Note: IDEA does not apply to college.

Process to Obtain Accommodations

  • Make an appointment with the LLCC Accessibility Services office as soon as possible.
  • Bring appropriate documentation of disability to meeting with Accessibility Services Office.
  • Complete an intake form.
  • Request specific accommodations.
  • Communicate your needs with your instructor.

The following table summarizes the differences between high school and college regarding students with disabilities:

High School College
The school identifies and tests for disability. The student self-identifies and provides documentation of disability.
Most study work is done in class or study hall. Most study work is done outside of class.
Students may have 1-2 hours of homework every night after a six-hour day of classes. Student may need to study 2-3 hours outside of class for every semester hour. For example 12 semester hours (12 hrs./week) is a full load. (12 x 3) + 12 = 48 hour study work week.
Study times are arranged and monitored by teachers. Study times are arranged and monitored by the student.
Resource teachers help students organize and make sure all assignments are turned in. Students are responsible for organizing themselves and turning in assignments.
Class material is presented slowly enough that all or most of the students can keep up. Class material is presented at the pace listed on the syllabus. Students have to keep up.
The student has a right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). The student has the right to equal access to the college facilities and programs.
The student has accommodations designated in her/his Individualized Education Program (IEP), and are these automatically provided. The student must contact the Accessibility Services Office for disability services, provide documentation for her/his disability, complete an intake form, and request reasonable accommodations.
Special education teachers interact with classroom teachers and advocate for the student. The student is responsible for communicating with instructors and self-advocating.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
  • Note: IDEA does not apply to college