Transcript of NCSET teleconference call held on March 16,
Supporting Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
to Transition and Participate in Postsecondary Education
Robert Stodden, Ph.D.
Director, National Center for the Study of Postsecondary
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Meg Grigal, Ph.D.
Director, On Campus Outreach
University of Maryland
Debra Hart, M.Ed.
Coordinator, School and Community Projects, Institute for
University of Massachusetts at Boston
DR. STODDEN: This is Bob Stodden. I am Director
of the National Center for the Study of Postsecondary Educational
Supports, at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. The title of this
session is Supporting Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
to Transition and Participate in Postsecondary Education, and this
will be a one-hour teleconference call. The format will be as follows.
I am going to introduce the sessions, which will take the first
15 minutes, to give you the guidelines for the session, the roles
and introduce the topic. Then we have two speakers: Dr. Meg Grigal
from the University of Maryland will be the first speaker. And then
Dr. Debra Hart from the University of Massachusetts at Boston will
follow Meg. This will leave us about 15-20 minutes for questions
and discussion, and the last five minutes – I will summarize
and wind up the call and we will give each of the speakers a very
brief opportunity to summarize our response during the discussions
Just a real brief background on the topic, the purpose of this
teleconference is to allow the participants to learn about and discuss
issues and solutions related to the participation of persons with
intellectual disabilities in postsecondary education. The speakers
today are all noted professionals in this area of study –
they have conducted a number of projects in postsecondary education
with people with intellectual disabilities. They have a lot of experience
in this area. The outputs of today’s teleconference call should
be in the following three areas:
- You should have a better understanding of the benefits of postsecondary
education for individuals with intellectual disabilities,
- You should have a better awareness of the barriers to transition
to postsecondary education for individuals with intellectual disabilities,
- And you should have a better sense of the various approaches,
the supports and services that are provided to enhance the transition
of persons with intellectual disabilities to postsecondary education.
So our hope is that you will have a better understanding across
these three purposes when we finish today.
I will give a little bit of background about postsecondary education
and persons with disabilities in general, and then we will move
into specifically talking about persons with intellectual disabilities.
As most of you on the line may know, there has been a significant
increase in the number of persons with disabilities who have accessed
and participated in postsecondary education. Over the past 10-20
years, in fact, this increase has been very significant and more
than three times the number of people with disabilities now access
and participate as freshmen in postsecondary education than did
more than ten years ago.
This is one indication of the success or the impact of the Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA, which has a focus upon preparing
and transitioning those individuals to postsecondary education.
So one of the positive impacts of IDEA has been this significant
increase in the number of people with disabilities accessing postsecondary
education. We have also seen an increase in the provision of supports,
services, and accommodations in postsecondary education for persons
with disabilities. This increase can somewhat be attributed to the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and some of its requirements,
particularly to provide accommodations for people with disabilities
in postsecondary education. We now see in postsecondary education
a range of all types of support services and accommodations provided,
so there is a vast diversity of level and type of supports and services
provided and accommodations that are made for people with disabilities
in postsecondary education.
One of our studies found that almost all postsecondary institutions,
including two-year and four-year as well as private and public institutions
provide some level and type of disability support and accommodation,
so this is a fairly significant increase over the last 10-20 years.
We are also finding today that there is a wide range of the people
with disabilities participating in postsecondary education, including
people with psychiatric disabilities and other hidden disabilities.
All of these increases have increased demands on postsecondary institutions
to respond to the needs of this population.
One of the groups that has drawn a lot of interest are young people
with intellectual disabilities in postsecondary education, and the
focus of this call today will be on this population. This includes
students that have traditionally been referred to in lower education
and particularly in high school as those students found in EMR,
TMR, SMR types of classes, or today more in classes for students
with significant disabilities, intellectual disabilities, or developmental
disabilities. These are students that traditionally have been supported
in high school within self-contained classrooms or partly self-contained
classrooms or students who have participated in community-based
instructional programs. This group of students also includes those
that have participated in what is often referred to as the 18-21
year old programs. That’s referring to students who still
are eligible for services under IDEA in the age group 18-21 but
find high school settings not necessarily the most age-appropriate
Many of these students are found in local education agencies with
parents who are interested in community-based vocational programs,
and responded to this need by developing programs that are housed
on college campuses. You will find many of these programs on community
college campuses or occasional technical center campuses that are
of a postsecondary education nature and context. So with this interest,
we have had quite a few projects that have been funded by the U.S.
Department of Education, including a number of 18-21 year old projects—a
few demonstration projects were also funded in this group. A number
of other projects were funded as outreach projects to further explore
these arrangements. Our speakers today are very familiar with these
projects, have implemented many of them themselves, and also have
spent quite a bit of time nationally reviewing these projects and
some of the effective strategies that work in these projects. So
I will stop at this point and turn it over to Dr. Meg Grigal who
is very experienced in this area and have her talk a little bit
about some of the projects that she has worked with in Maryland
and whatever else she wants to talk about. So Meg, now I turn it
over to you.
DR. GRIGAL: Thanks, Bob. Hi, this is Meg Grigal,
I am at the University of Maryland and I direct an OSEP-funded outreach
project called On Campus Outreach. We have had it since 1999 and
the purpose of this outreach project, as Bob alluded to, is to provide
technical assistance and networking to personnel who are working
with students aged 18-21 with significant disabilities in various
postsecondary settings. When we first were funded in 1999 there
were six local school systems in Maryland that were providing services
to students in postsecondary sites. Now there are 19 in Maryland
and this may or may not be a wonderful thing, I think in some ways
it’s very exciting and in some ways it’s one of the
issues that we need to look at. But currently there are 11 school
systems serving students in various settings for four-year colleges,
13 community colleges, and 2 community settings here in Maryland.
Also, On Campus Outreach operates a Web site that lists these programs
in Maryland and provides an online training module on Needs Assessment
and lists our fact sheets and journal articles. So if you are looking
for additional written information, go to http://www.education.umd.edu/oco/.
Now as Bob said, there has been a great increase in postsecondary
options for students with significant disabilities and a lot of
this is due to OSEP and their funding of outreach projects and model
demonstration projects, also organizations such as TASH, and parents
and parent advocates who have been involved in the listserv Postsecondary
Education – a Choice for Everyone. This listserv has really
been a great source of information, I think, for parents. And frankly
the National Center for the Study of Postsecondary Educational Supports
and Bob’s work with Teresa Whelley has really pushed this
issue around the country. So they should get some recognition about
the summits and the capacity building institutes they have had on
About two years ago I did a study of parents of students with both
high- and low-incidence disabilities to find out what their goals
were for their students who were about to graduate. And, interestingly
enough, I found that over 50% of the parents of students with low-incidence
disabilities wanted their child to go to college. And even more
interestingly, 36% of them wanted their child to go to a four-year
college, while 21% wanted a community college. So actually more
parents of students with low-incidence disabilities chose a four-year
college than did parents of students with high-incidence disabilities.
So obviously these data are really demonstrating that the interest
is coming from all different realms to provide students with intellectual
disabilities more options when it comes to their postsecondary years.
There are a variety of models—and Bob talked about one of
them—providing programs through the local school systems for
students ages 18-21 by providing services in a postsecondary setting.
There are other models that Deb Hart, I am sure, is going to talk
about—she has done a national survey of the various types
of services that are provided. And while all the models have different
aspects, one of the things that we have seen pretty consistently
is that there are lot of similarities between what’s really
good and what are the challenges. And I will talk about some of
the challenges in a little bit.
The major area focus for most of the students who access postsecondary
- accessing college coursework,
- improving their employment opportunities,
- increasing their level of independence and self-determination,
- making social connections with students who are of similar age
or similar interests, and
- participating in futures planning activities, and in keeping
with that, connecting with the adult service providers who will
be providing their support services as they exit the public school
Last year OCO conducted a survey to see what activities students
who are being served in postsecondary studying here in Maryland
were involved in. We surveyed 13 settings that included 163 students.
I will briefly review some of the findings from this survey. I am
not sure they are necessarily reflective of what’s going on
around the country, but I think since we have a pretty large group
of students receiving services here in Maryland in postsecondary
settings, it’s a good beginning point.
Most of the students here—about 87%—were participating
in vocational training or employment, with 103 students in paid
jobs. I think this is very good news. The average wage was $5.91
an hour and the average student worked 15 hours a week. So on the
employment aspect of these students’ outcomes, I think the
news is good. The students were participating in ideally mostly
paid jobs and were working a good number of hours during the week.
Few students—a little over a third, 63 students—enrolled
in postsecondary courses even though 11 of the programs were located
on college campuses. Most of those that were enrolled in college
courses were auditing those courses and most of the courses that
were audited were non-academic in nature. The cause for this is
related to a number of things: the college’s admissions requirements
for students to actually get into academic coursework—the
prerequisites, the placement testing—and also students’
interest, whether the students are interested or not in taking courses.
There were a couple of students that took courses for credit, but
we haven’t seen that being a big outcome of the students’
participation in these programs here in Maryland.
A positive aspect was that, we found there was increased interagency
planning by teachers who worked with our local long-term funding
agency (DDA) and DORs, our rehabilitative agency, and the adult
service providers to assist students in applying for and choosing
providers. Many of these agencies had representatives come and speak
with students, they did tours of adult agencies, and some adult
service agency personnel would come in and provide instructions
on job application, interviewing skills, resume building. So that
level of interagency planning is often really looked for and doesn’t
happen sometimes when students get into high school. But these programs
sometimes take us out of the box and provide school system personnel
and various agency personnel with a new platform where they can
have systems and flexibility of funding and services and support
that is sometimes hard to come by when the students are still in
high school. So, as Bob mentioned, I think the ability to provide
interagency planning and flexibility of funding is a real benefit
to these types of services.
There was very little planning found for independent living outcomes
for students. I think this a reflection of a limited ability to
access residential settings for students; none of the programs in
Maryland have been able to access dorms for students to spend the
night. There are a lot of issues related to liability, to staffing
and to parental interest and fears about students spending time
on campus overnight. So I think the independent living aspect of
providing services at colleges is pretty widely untapped.
I think that one of the greatest outcomes of this survey is that
we documented the lack of evaluation of the services—little
to no evaluation is being conducted on the services that are being
provided. There is very little follow-up done on graduates to determine
if they had met their goals or achieved their outcomes. I would
guess that this is probably what’s happening in many of the
programs around the nation, that often people that are providing
very good service don’t have time to document that service.
But this is a real major downfall of providing services in postsecondary
settings without any documentation that the students are achieving
their goals, that their goals are created in a person-centered manner,
that their outcomes are successful and that students are really
being able to achieve their adult outcomes based on their experiences
in the postsecondary site. I think without any of that data we are
sort of spinning our wheels. Some school systems think they are
doing a great job by providing students with another option in the
postsecondary setting as opposed to providing them with seven years
of high school. But they fail to commit to monitor that provision
of service and without the monitoring, without looking at evaluation,
without looking at outcomes, we are not really demonstrating that
these services are any better than those services students would
receive if they remained in high school.
I have a few more minutes, so I am going to briefly talk about
some of the issues that remain challenging for the provision of
services in a postsecondary setting, the first being the bandwagon
approach. I think often school systems hear about this model and
say, “Well, there is our answer: college. Let us find a college
and we will take some students and we’ll begin providing services
in the college,” and then they take the exact program that
the students were receiving in high school, they move it to a new
setting, and they think they are doing something innovative. This
jumping on the bandwagon makes our project very crazy, as we would
really think that students would be better served with a good deal
of planning. This is the only way that this service option is really
successful, whether you use a program-based approach or an individual-support
approach, because the best outcomes are achieved by planning. So
it is really important that the school system commit to good planning
on the forefront of their process and involving the right people—getting
students and their families involved in person-centered planning,
bringing in interagency personnel from the beginning to make sure
the partnerships are there, so that students will receive the support
they need in the setting of their choice.
I think another problem with some of the school systems is the
lack of ownership and oversight by administration. Sometimes these
programs are created and there is a lot of energy and enthusiasm
by the school system at the beginning and then they get going a
year or two later. The administration figures okay, things are going
well out there, we are just going to let it go and they check in
a couple times a year, but again there is a very little formal evaluation
done. There is very little support for the actual instructor or
coordinator of the services and I think it’s difficult because
again, there is no accountability when it comes to student outcomes.
Another issue for students when it comes to being successful in
these settings is the lack of preparation they get to succeed in
college. If they want to take a college course but have had no coursework
that has provided them with the skills to succeed in the college
course that they are choosing, it is going to be very difficult
for them. They don’t receive supports in high school often
to advocate for their needs in classes, often they are provided
with accommodations in high school classes without being involved
in the process, and far too often probably ask for accommodations
and aren’t given that in college classes.
And finally, the low expectations of students in high school is
very difficult I think, once they get to college—that also
leads to a lack of preparation to be able to succeed. Family issues,
some other issues related to family I think, are number one –
lack of choice. From the beginning, students with intellectual disabilities
are often not thought of as college material and therefore, parents
and families and students are not supported in even establishing
that as an outcome of choice, and then if it is provided to them
as an option when the student is 16 or 17 they may or may not be
ready to make that a reality. And if they are presented with it
as an option, very often it is the only option: “It’s
okay, you can go to this program because it is the one we have.”
Seldom are students are provided with the option of creating access
to a different college and that has to do a lot with school systems
looking at groups of kids as opposed to looking at supporting one
student. I think for families that are involved, there is need for
an increased level of commitment to the involvement of their student
to gain access to all the possibilities of a college experience.
Many times students, as they have been in high school in special
education classes, have received all the support they need including
transportation and an instructional assistant to be with them without
having to be in charge of that, and parents are used to handing
off those responsibilities to the school system. I think if the
whole idea of accessing postsecondary experiences for people with
intellectual disabilities is to succeed, we have to realize that
this is a true transition experience in which the support –
which when it comes to accessing activities during after-school
hours are possibly providing transportation to and from a job site
– begins to transfer back to systems and support people that
are going to be in the student’s adult life and not public
school personnel. So, I think changing the mindset is working collaboratively
with families to begin at 18, and perhaps providing most of the
support and then transitioning to a natural system of support once
the student is aging towards 21 would better serve the student and
Finally, because my time is running very short, there are some
college issues. I think the attitudinal barriers have existed in
almost every setting that we’ve seen here in Maryland and
many that I have talked to across the nation, “Why would a
student with intellectual disabilities go to college? What is the
purpose here? Are they going to derive any benefit out of this?”
The faculty and instructors often really don’t understand
and it's really not as mean-spirited as it is, they really truly
don’t understand what the purpose is. Another problem with
college is the disability support personnel in some cases and I
won’t say all, but in some cases have been charged with the
gatekeeper role and that mentality often doesn’t serve students
with intellectual disabilities. The DSS personnel are accustomed
to providing support and services to students with other types of
disabilities, but a student with an intellectual disability is often
seen as someone who is not a part of their job.
Finally, I think one of the big issues is the protocol differences
between high school and college. High school and college are very,
very different and the students and the local school system personnel
need to learn how to navigate that new system. The way you would
provide support to a student in a high school class is not that
same way you would provide support to a student in a college class.
Parental rights in a high school are very different than the parental
rights of a student who is in a community or four-year college,
and that is something that I think really needs to be made clear
as people go into these experiences. If a student is going to apply
for disability support services at a community college, their parent
cannot do it for them. They need to learn how to ask for the accommodations
and support and to provide the necessary documentation as a self-report
measure. They cannot have their parents do it for them. And students
have to be prepared that there is no resource room at a college,
that if they are looking for support, they need to do so through
appropriate channels and no one is going to do it for them. So,
my time is now up. I have a lot more I could say, but I know Debra
Hart has some really wonderful information about a national survey
that she has done so I am going to turn it over to Debra and thank
you all for listening.
MS. HART: Hi, everyone. I am just going to cover
briefly some results from a national survey we did over last summer
and into early fall of this past year. The survey was looking at,
specifically, programs that serve students between the ages of 18-21
who are still in high school or served by their local educational
agency. We term that they were “dually enrolled” meaning
still supported by their school district but they were participating
in some type of postsecondary education experience. Now the concept
of dual enrollment really is not new. What is new about it from
our perspective is that it’s the student population we are
talking about that is having access to a college experience that
it hasn’t in the past, and specifically students who have
been identified with intellectual disabilities.
What we were able to find over 40 programs, there were 25 that
served students who were still in that age group, 18-21, who were
dually enrolled, and what we found out in those 25 programs –
we categorized them across three areas or models if you will. One
was substantially separate, another was mixed, and the third was
an individual support model that was totally inclusive. I am going
to talk about how we defined each of those models.
- You heard both Meg and Bob allude to some of the components
of a substantially separate model. They
have tended to focus on life-skills classes, community-based instruction,
some rotation through jobs or employment sites for work experience
both on and off campus. But students were not supported in taking
any typical academic classes that students without disabilities
were taking. They might take a life-skills curriculum, such as
learning banking skills or something like that.
- The mixed program model still had
those life-skills classes but students were supported in electing,
if they chose, to take regular college courses based on their
choices, again with the supports going to them. Those mixed programs
also included rotation or work-experience type of activities.
And they had greater exposure to students without disabilities
because they were supported in taking some of the courses.
- The third one, the individual support model
or the more inclusive if you will, was focused all on academic
courses and when I say academic courses I mean courses that students
without disabilities would be taking – the typical college
course of study. And the supports went to the student in the form
of educational coaches or some type of technology or common accommodation
tutors or some other support for the students to have success
in the course. Again, as Meg spoke about, many of the students
in that model began by auditing our classes. Another feature of
the individual support model is that they were much more student-centered
and it was not program-based and if they did have employment as
a feature of it, they were looking at internships and apprenticeships
as it related to the courses they were in. And the career goals
of the students often guided their course selection.
Next, further explaining those three models: over 50% of the 25
programs fell into the mixed model category, 8 were in the individual
support model, and 4 were in the substantially separate category.
The substantially separate programs have been around longer –
anywhere up to 16-17 years. The mixed tended to be more between
3-5 years and as you would think, the individual support model was
typically around for a lesser period of time, usually less than
5 years. The substantially separate were also larger and they served
– the range was anywhere from 21-70 students and when I say
70 students, there were 70 students in one class. It was across
a number of different classes or programs, teachers. The mixed category
or model had between 11 and 15 students and the individual support
model had between 6 and 10 students, again being much smaller.
Overall, in all three program categories, students with cognitive
disabilities were the highest category of those served. But what
I thought was most interesting is they all reported that they serve
students with a wide range of disabilities and also that individuals
tended to have multiple disabilities. The types of services that
were offered - the most frequent service was transportation, the
next was instructional assistance with secondary educational coaches,
and the third was vocational assessment of a whole range of services.
I think the most noteworthy – 75% of the programs reported
that there was some type of cost or resource-sharing going on, meaning
that the adult agencies and the college disability support offices
were participating and supporting these students. So it wasn’t
just the local educational agency paying for everything. I think
that’s important just to start to see that this really seems
to be promoting much more involvement of the adult side of the equation,
which has been a challenge in the transition field for years, and
it remains to be. But it is something that I think we should look
at in more detail.
Now some of the barriers – and you have heard Meg and Bob
refer to most of these and they probably won’t be much of
a surprise to any of you out there – but the top barrier identified
was attitude and, well, expectations if you want to combine the
two. A feeling that students with intellectual disabilities don’t
belong in college, they are not college material, they are going
to water down the curriculum. And it was interesting because I remember
in the literature on K-12 and especially secondary inclusion of
students with significant disabilities in the general curriculum
when that push started, we heard the same type of barriers and the
same comments. So, that is consistent with this movement to look
at including students with significant or intellectual disabilities
into the postsecondary world if you will.
The second most cited barrier was transportation and the third
was entrance for admission requirements, meaning to take part in
the community college two-year programs there is an advanced placement
test that students are required to take which typically for many
students with and without disabilities would place them into needing
to take developmental courses in both English writing and math.
And overall there were only two programs that of the 25 that had
any data collected on outcomes. And I think Meg hit heavy on that
and we see that nationally, not just in the state of Maryland. So
I think I’ll move into a little bit of some recommendations
which followed from there. We need much more demonstrations of some
effective practices but we need the data to document that these
things are effective or not, and what the outcomes are. I think
also we need additional strategies. And on that, if folks have questions
on strategies, I was involved in the demonstration project, so if
you have questions on that feel free to ask more, I am not going
to cover that right now. But I do know we need more solutions and
strategies on how to better include students. And I think we need
to identify further policies and practices that are creating these
impediments or barriers such as entry requirements. And at that
I am going to stop now and hopefully turn it over to Bob and you
folks for questions, thank you.
DR. STODDEN: Okay, thanks a lot, Deb. Okay, we
are going to enter the discussion phase of the call. We have a fairly
large number of people on this call, so in asking your question
or making your comment if you would give your name and indicate
who you are directing the comment or question to, that would be
appreciated and most probably keep it orderly, so the line is open.
Any comments or questions for any or either of the speakers?
MR. MILLER: Sure, I will try to start it off.
Scott Miller from West Virginia, a parent, my son is 19 years old,
he is graduating from high school this year. He has Down syndrome
and I just want to get some ideas of the kinds of programs that
he might be looking at. You are very general in your discussions
of what’s out there and I have been doing a little bit of
looking around here and there on the internet. But are there some
places to go to look at kinds of curriculums or particular colleges
that might be open to have him attend?
MS. HART: Right now Amy Galmer from the University
of Kansas has a database of transition programs that includes postsecondary
educational programs for students with intellectual disabilities.
That Web site if you are interested is http://www.transitioncoalition.org/.
If you click on “18-21 Programs” – there are only
four links on that homepage – you get the searchable database.
MR. MILLER: Great, thanks.
DR. WHITE: Hi, my name is Dr. Carol White, I'm
calling from the University of Nevada in Reno, and Debra, you mentioned
some program data that was collected from two other programs. Do
we have access to those data?
MS. HART: None at this point, you could have
access to one in particular because I was involved in it. And if
you want to contact me directly by e-mail, we could communicate
more on that.
DR. WHITE: Great and your e-mail address.
MS. HART: email@example.com
DR. WHITE: Okay, great, thank you.
MS. MOORE: Hi this is Sheila Moore, I’m
with the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee and the National
Tennessee area. I have a question about choosing partners to make
this work. Do you have a Web site that we can go to, to look at
MS. HART: Choosing partners as in who would be
involved in planning for services?
MS. MOORE: Yes, I have a general idea, but...
DR. GRIGAL: Yeah, we actually have a number of
fact sheets and journal articles that give pretty specific information
about who we think should be involved. And of course each system
is going to be different depending on who the players are, but I
can tell you initially, I think—you know, your local adult
service providers – if your school system is going to be involved
you want the teachers who know the students involved, you want parents
involved if possible, have some students involved in planning. I
think involving your larger funding systems, your MR/DD agency or
we have a DDA here in Maryland or your vocational rehabilitation
services. Getting those people involved at the very beginning really
provides them with the opportunity to provide input from the get-go,
to be a part of the process. And it really has them take over a
bit of ownership for achieving better outcomes for the students.
MS. HART: I want to emphasize what Meg is saying,
we also use norms. Switching over from the survey we did to a demonstration
model – a core of it is an interagency team, that has the
adult side of the equation, as Meg mentioned, vocational rehabilitation,
the one-stop career centers because they will support individuals
taking college classes, your developmental disability agency representation
from the call before and your colleges, and the local education
agencies, and families, and students themselves so you get a real
partnership growing and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel
each time another student is identified that is interesting in participating.
It is a really powerful way of getting some cost sharing or resource
sharing going on.
MS. MOORE: Thank you.
MR. WIGGINS: Bob Wiggins from Oakland University
in Rochester in Michigan, we had a relatively new program and I’m
on the faculty here at Oakland. I was a little surprised to hear
that there isn’t much available in terms of evaluations of
these programs. I am wondering if it’s because faculty members
who would often do this kind of work would be thinking in terms
of some pre-post or value added or experimental kind of way of evaluating.
My question is, is there an interest and a need for more descriptive,
narrative, qualitative types of evaluations of programs and what
they are able to accomplish?
DR. GRIGAL: I think there is a need for all types
of data collection, including qualitative. There have been some
journal articles related to individual student experiences, case
studies that are in the literature. But if a school system is implementing
the services, the school system is not providing any types of evaluation
or follow-along of the students. If students are being supported
in an individual manner, who is going to do that evaluation, if
it is not a school system, is there a coordinating agency? Is the
college going to look at it? Seldom is there anybody in particular
who is going to be connecting the dots in the long term. I know
our project has worked for the past three years in developing some
materials to evaluate services both through monitoring student activities
and monitoring staff activities to filing that data throughout the
course of the year and not just at the end of the year. Also, we’re
looking at how you are going to track student experiences once they
leave the school system during follow-up and follow-along activities.
And then, more importantly than just collecting the data, using
that information to improve your practice – to change how
you provide services so that the services are actually providing
students with the outcomes they want to achieve. So we have done
some work in the past three years, we have piloted some evaluation
materials in three states and we are actually getting that material
together now to put out in various forms, one of which will be an
online training module on evaluation so that people around the country
can get materials from our Web site, but that’s in the process
of being created right now. Did that answer your question, Bob?
MR. WIGGINS: Yes.
MS. TRISHA: Hello, my name is Madeleine Trisha
in St. Louis, Missouri and we have a program over at Fontbonne University,
it is a private Catholic university, and our students are interested
in taking courses but we are wondering who should we contact at
the University to inquire about getting into a course. Just from
the examples that are already out there, who did they go to?
DR. GRIGAL: It looks different at different colleges.
In some cases if the people that were providing services had a contact
who they knew, either the president of the university or provost
or dean. Obviously getting in at a higher level gives you a little
more teeth when it comes to implementing things down at the faculty
level, so if you have a connection with somebody who is in a position
of providing further access, that’s a good place to start.
If you don’t, I think sometimes just starting by talking to
a professor who you know is amenable to providing accommodations
and has demonstrated some interest in supporting students with different
learning needs. We’ve seen it go both ways in Maryland. Some
teachers have been able to go up to a professor and say “Hey,
you know we have got a student who really wants to take your Intro
to the Internet course and we will provide some supports to him
and then eventually will get out of here and he will be taking your
course” and the professor is fine with it. In some cases that
sends a million red flags up and down the protocol avenue and then
the teacher has to go back to the chair of the department or dean,
who then goes to the faculty members. So it is really a matter of
knowing what the protocol is and sometimes if you have a connection
at the college to began with, speaking with whoever your liaison
is and getting their input on where to start would be a good route.
MS. WILL: I would like to say ditto to what Meg
just described to you. When we started our demonstration project,
we started with the interagency team and simultaneously we identified
one student to start with who was interested in postsecondary experience.
We went to the particular area she was interested in. Using our
student as an example, she was very interested in working with animals
and wanted to run her own kennel, so we looked at what would you
need to learn to be able to do that. We looked across with her some
of the course catalogs in several different colleges in her geographic
area and identified a pet grooming course and we went with her to
meet the professor and they just they hit it off and the professor
was very open to having her participate. She did audit the course
to begin with and ended up taking it for credit later, but it was
more because she audited first because she had never taken any type
of academic class in her all of her high school experience, so this
was brand new to her. But I think really starting with one student
build your confidence, the student’s confidence, the faculty,
all the family members, everybody who is involved to figure out
how to make it work and then you can start to move it systemically.
MS. BASFORD: This is Candy from Ohio. I just
want to respond to a couple of things. I have been to Scott Miller
in West Virginia and some other folks, that we have approached this
with all our program. In fact as the program had been at the community
college we probably would have avoided it just from my personal
experiences in public school, but we waited until (Katie) graduated
from some school and she has been at the community college for five
years going part time and earning credits. So there are lots of
ways to do this and it doesn’t have to be dependent upon a
program. Two thoughts: one, a concern that many of the things I
have heard especially Meg, your reports about some of the things
you are finding with the model programs, is a concern I have that
we may be in fact reinforcing the idea that some people are not
college material. And the other side of that is, I would hope that
anybody who is interested in education would begin to explore the
possibilities of expanding who attends college as a tremendous opportunity
which I truly believe this is. But it’s not just an opportunity
for people with disabilities and it’s also not just an opportunity
for people without disabilities to get an education about disabilities.
This is an opportunity to expand exponentially what knowledge is
and what cognition really is when people who are diverse come together
to learn. I know that makes them philosophical but I actually think
it’s in the literature and everywhere we look, this is a tremendous
opportunity and I would really be sad if we miss that. And that’s
basically my comment. I am afraid that we are missing that. When
we focus on the person with the disability and the outcomes of education
– of a job or whatever – there is much broader opportunities
here for people who are interested in education.
MS. HART: I couldn’t agree with you more.
This is absolutely about what you are describing. It’s also
and I am sorry I did not mention – there is another category,
if you will, just to be able to talk about on using that terms and
these are the folks who have done it all along – their family
members and individual students themselves who have made this happen,
and they are not in a program or model or there has been no professionalism
around it, that is great. The one part about that is not as positive
is that we don’t know who all those individuals are. I have
talked to a lot of families on a weekly basis across the country
and what I hear over and over and over again is, “Gee, I wish
I knew how so and so did that in Nevada or in California or in Massachusetts.”
We are not sharing the lessons learned.
DR. GRIGAL: Yeah, I also think that your comments
are really important, Candy, and I think that there is a broad range
of issues here and what you are talking about is really truly what
is the essence of education. It’s about going and improving
yourself just for the sake of improving yourself and enjoying and
having the experience and making connections just like anybody else
who goes to college and grows from the experience, whether they
were successful in a class or not. I think that’s really important,
but I think Debra’s comments about documentation and sharing
– if we are going to have college as not only a viable but
exciting opportunity for all students regardless of their abilities,
we need to – based on the history here and that the attitudes
that have prevailed unfortunately towards the limited outcomes for
students with disabilities in the past – document some of
these outcomes to say, “Hey, look! These students can achieve
great things, we need to continue to provide staffing and support
and funding and excitement at the school system level from the time
the students are in kindergarten.” But with especially the
way that public school monies are dependent on federal funding and
federal funding is dependent upon increasingly high standards of
expectation in research-based and evidence-based practices, we as
researchers and professionals in this area have a responsibility
to really try and document those outcomes in some ways so that we
can continue to build this force.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Yes and I would suggest that
people take a look at documenting fringe activities. Because it
seems like what we are doing and what some of the people that are
out there on their own are doing sort of represents the things that
are happening on the fringe – kind of out there. And that’s
fine with me that I am on the fringe, but it seems like there might
be some interesting – I don’t want to say comparison
– but some interesting learning and a different kind of data
that might need to be gathered. I am not sure how to do that because
we are not part of a program, but if we only document the programs
then we have only reinforced the programs. There has got be a way
of documenting peoples’ life and that includes not just students
with disabilities being documented and what are the outcomes for
all the kids too – gee, that might be an important question
since I have got two other kids in college so there is three in
here in college. So it’s an interesting question for anybody,
not just the person with the disability.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Yeah, I think you are right,
I think those are all really good issues.
MS. MARTINEZ: This is Donna Martinez. Can you
speak to the reauthorization of IDEA that’s coming up and
concerns in transition? We have the higher education act that you
know works right now and what do you feel how those two pieces of
legislation might impact where is it going to go and how we are
going to get there? You did mentioned the issue of funding and money
and of course tucked inside there somewhere is the IES testing and
the gold standard of how to do the appropriate assessment although
Lloyd Frist did mention that he is open to concept of single subject
studies now. Can you speak to those legislation pieces and getting
it off the road?
DR. GRIGAL: Okay, I think one of the major impacts
of NCLB on IDEA or it is worthwhile to start with the reauthorization
of IDEA on some of the things, that one of the bills is to eliminate
annual IEPs for students 18-21 and to just have one plan for three
years. I think that’s a pretty scary option when it comes
to accountability – when it comes to NCLB it’s amazing.
Life skills programs where many of these students have been served
in the past would be eliminated. You know there might be programs
but there is no [life skills] curriculum, all students would be
tested on the general ed curriculum. So I think the ramifications
are huge and long term I don’t think we are going to necessarily
know the outcomes of those for a couple of years as people start
to really implement how you document adequate yearly progress.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Well, I don’t think in
NCLB they were thinking about students 18 and older.
FEMALE SPEAKER: No, but in IDEA the reauthorization
FEMALE SPEAKER: Absolutely, but the two are not
well aligned there.
FEMALE SPEAKER: No, they are not aligned in many
FEMALE SPEAKER: Bob, did you have any comments
on those two pieces of legislation?
DR. STODDEN: I think you guys pretty much covered
it. I am going to have to cut you off and I think we are reaching
the witching hour here. So let me just sum up real quickly and really
I would like to thank both Meg and Debra, excellent comments, excellent
presentations, and very knowledgeable responses to questions. I
would like to mention a couple resources that if our listeners would
like to do further reading.
- There is a special issue of Education Training and Developmental
Disabilities which is the journal for CEC, the developmental disabilities
division of the Council For Exceptional Children, a special issue
on postsecondary education and intellectual disabilities just
came out last week and if you are not a member of CEC or of the
developmental disabilities division of CEC, you can go to the
CEC Web site and to that division and you can preview that special
edition at http://www.dddcec.org/publications.htm.
Both of our speakers on the call today authored on that edition
and it’s an excellent set of papers and articles on this
topic, all obviously very current because it has just come out.
- Also, any of you that are going to the CEC conference in New
Orleans in a couple of weeks, there is a full-day strand on preparation
for postsecondary education on Friday of the week. You can actually
spend the whole day in the sessions focused on postsecondary education
and people with disabilities and there will be sessions specifically
on postsecondary education and intellectual disabilities.
- And I would like to mention one other source, I think particularly
the last couple of discussions were around studying disability
and the implications of the study of disability. And there is
a new journal called the Review of Disability Studies, an international
journal which has a couple of editions out, and if you are interested
in that area, it is basically the discussion of disability by
people with disabilities. And the edition that will be coming
out in April will actually be a discussion of people with disabilities
in postsecondary education. It’s a little bit different
perspective. What I will do is give you the Web site for that
journal. The Review of Disability Studies Web site is http://www.rds.hawaii.edu/
and you can access free of charge the first issue that is posted.
You will be able to preview the second issue that is coming out
on postsecondary education at that site. The Web site for the
National Center for the Study of Postsecondary Education Supports
Meg, do you want to give your Web site again?
DR. GRIGAL: Sure—it’s On Campus Outreach,
located at http://www.education.umd.edu/oco/
and to follow up on your CEC presentations, OCO will be presenting
how to evaluate programs and services and postsecondary settings
on Saturday at CEC.
DR. STODDEN: Great. Debra, I know you are doing
a new Web site also, do you want to add any information on that?
MS. HART: Yes, thanks Bob. One of our latest
activities for the National Center on the Study of Postsecondary
Education Supports is developing a portal to this whole topic. So,
if you go on that site, you will be able to link to Meg and anyone
else that we can find who is doing anything related to this topic.
That we are going to be launching that at the end of this month.
So, if you e-mail me with your contact information, in turn I will
make sure when it goes live, that folks who are interested will
get notice of that. So, again my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
DR. STODDEN: Okay. I would like to thank everyone
on the call and especially our two speakers for their excellent
presentations. And I apologize slightly for going over; I think
we are about five minutes past 4:00 Eastern. But again, I would
like to thank everybody and wish you a good evening and that concludes
our call for today.
END OF TELECONFERENCE
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