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Post Secondary Education and Students with Disabilities podcast by Southeast ADA Center

June 08, 2015

Recently I listened to a podcast about what access there is for students with disabilities at college campuses. The Southeast ADA center hosts the live talk radio show, here's the link for the episode if you're interested http://www.blogtalkradio.com/wada-se/2014/08/06/episode-11-post-secondary-education-and-students-with-disabilities

I'm going to paraphrase the interview Diana Katovitch of Taishoff Center on Inclusive Higher Education at Syracuse University. She also wrote The Power to Spring Up, about post-secondary education. Enjoy!

What are the most important things to know about access for students with disabilities in post-secondary education roles?

Access is the goal and priority for colleges and universities when it comes to students with disabilities, unlike in elementary schools and high school. The ADA act requires they provide access to services, to courses, but doesn't require that they make them known to students. Nor does the ADA cause Universities to have a focus on the success of the student. It's the student who's now in charge of their own success and they must use said access to services to create their own success. It's a change to many families as their used to schools being more supportive and being sure to fill in where need be. 

How can students prepare for college while still in High school?

She suggests students begin by attending their IEP sessions. This way they'll be more aware of what accommodations their getting now, what options are out there, and able to develop the IEP for their own goals. If a student understands their disability and where they're at academically it can make a big difference in them gaining independence. If students are apprehensive to going to their meeting, as a parent or caregiver it's important to talk with the student about what's covered. Students should know what help their getting and understand how or why that aid helps them. 

Is the IEP plan enough for proof of a disability for a university so students get their continued accommodations? If not, what can high school staff do to get them what they'll need?

IEP's have an expiration date, that being when students graduate from High school. There are some cases where the IEP will be allowed as proof but more often than not it's seen as no longer applicable. Although, here's how to get that expiration date removed...Including recent evaluations within the IEP in order to show it's still applicable. It's good as well to have an explanation of how or why the aid was useful to the student. For the second question, it's suggested to look at the college's disability office to see what they require for documentation. She suggests checking a few websites to get an idea of what options are out there, and to be sure to note how old the documents are allowed to be. She suggested nothing older than 3 years. 

What types of services are available on college campuses for students?

There are a wide variety of services available at colleges, but generally it's similar to what was offered in high school. It's easier to tell what is not available. An example being, in high school the school would arrange and sometimes pay for a one on one support staff to be with a student. Post-secondary options will not arrange or pay for that, but they can provide local agencies that would help with the support. Another piece, colleges are not able to alter tests or courses in a way that is fundamentally differs the program or test. Yet things like extended time, priority registration, read aloud software, and some environmental accommodations. The environmental accommodations could mean getting updates about what areas are plowed first, or being able to contact someone when a pathway hasn't been plowed yet. She says many times it'll be a negotiation of what services can be provided and how to make them work between the student and the school. 

How do students get the services? Who do they need to talk to?

As soon as the students decides to enroll to college, they should contact the school's disability office. This way the staff can provide them with documentation to give to professors for extended time, copies of notes, etc. This way the school's staff is able to present a united front and they all are able to communicate appropriately. It's very important to communicate with the disability staff since they'll be able to provide a counselor for the student and they'll know who to contact about the services. 

How long will it take for students to get their adjustments?

That depends on the aid or accommodations. Some are more common like notes or what not for the student, but make sure to allot time in case it takes a lot of time. Other aids such as a textbook in an alternative format, like braille or computer copies of the textbook will take time to set up. This being said, the sooner you let them know the better. Another example is for a sign language interpreter for a lecture that needs to be set up weeks before the lecture itself because it takes time to organize that.

What if these services aren't enough to ensure success?

That's an important question, and goes back to the Student's new independence in their academics. Universities are not allowed to share grades of a student with their family. If you're struggling or failing assignments it's important to talk with the professor. The university will have tutors for classes, they'll have help with paper writing, and other additional supports as they offer to every student. Yet it's the student that must seek out these supports.

What can you tell us about the trend of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities?

Well it's started because we're doing well with IEP's and seeking out post-secondary education options. They're seeing what friends and siblings are doing and wanting to do it as well. Now the difference is if students didn't complete the requirements for acceptance into college such as grades, SAT, etc. Now the programs are developing on Universities for those students either by being separate from traditional students but work with the IEP's of students. Now students are taking courses by auditing them. This way they're getting access to these courses as a participating student at the university.

What is the most important aspect of Post-Secondary Education?

Studies show that everyone benefits from growing their mind and learning in a post-secondary environment. There has been a great stretch of diversity on campuses. Colleges are learning about diversifying their student population and how that means everyone from sexual orientation, beliefs, or disabilities. It's also that diversity that harbors great success because the new perspectives show colleges where they need to improve.

Here's the link to the full podcast if you're interested:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/wada-se/2014/08/06/episode-11-post-secondary-education-and-students-with-disabilities






June 01, 2015


As a person with a disability, it is important to be aware of the significant role that employment can play in your future! Employment experiences can be an excellent way to learn about what employment can do for you. Whether you are wondering how you can pursue your favorite activities, buy your own car, have money for college, or live independently, participating in employment experiences can help you reach your goals. Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation presents #Work4LifeIN to bring awareness throughout Indiana regarding the employment concerns of individuals with disabilities. Please join us in spreading the word that Hoosiers with disabilities are ready and able to work! What will you work for? Please let Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation know by joining the #Work4LifeIN campaign!

* If you’re under 18, seek approval from your parent or guardian to post your
picture on any of the social media sites. *

The process is simple:
1. Dress for success!
2. Finish the sentence to include something specific to you:
“I work 4 ______"
3. Get your camera or cell phone ready.
4. HOLD your #Work4LifeIN sign in front of you (inside the picture frame of your cell phone or camera).
5. Smile.
6. Take a photo.
7. OR create a video. Here are some suggestions for video
talking points:
Hello my name is _______I work 4 ____________
Please join us by posting your #Work4LifeIN video with the reason you work.
8. Post your photo or video with your #Work4LifeIN sign onTwitter.
9. Share your post with friends and family.


If you have a disability and need help going to work, you may find information about Indiana
Vocational Rehabilitation online at vrs.in.gov and on Twitter @IndianaVR


Anyone heard of this Project SEARCH?

May 26, 2015

Anyone heard of this Project SEARCH?

 I've heard this name thrown around quite a bit when talking about Vocational Rehabilitation so this week I've done some research on the program. 

Project Search: 

  • International program
  • Mission is to aid high school students in transitioning from high school into adult life
  • They're having a conference July 14-17, 2015 in Pheonix, Arizona (http://www.projectsearch.us/)

How to bring Project Search to Your community? 

  • Step 1: Get Partners on  board
    • Education districts
      • recruit students
    •  Local vocational rehabilitation office 
      • provide employment supports
    • Community Rehab or Job Coaching 
      • provide follow along
    • Development Disabilities Agency
      • provides long term supports
    • Host Businesses
      • provide intern locations 
  • Step 2: 6-8 months to get everything up and running
    • Since there are so many people involved it can take a while. 
  • Step 3: Get your students and get to work! 
    • students need to be at least 18years old but are welcomed up to 33yrs or older depending on the case. 

About Indiana's Project Search: 

Vocational Rehabilitation and Indiana Institute on Disability and Community partnered to start the program in Indiana. There are now 9 Project Search Indiana High School transition sites. A tenth of the sites are helping individuals under the age of 24. The students enter the program in their last year of high school. 

Project Search Indiana High School Transition Sites:

  1. Ben Davis/Avon Schools - Sycamore Services - IN Government Center
  2. Lawrence Township - Easter Seals Crossroads - Community North Hospital 
  3. IPS - Easter Seals Crossroads - Community East Hospital 
  4. Hamilton Boone Madison Co-op - Noble of IN - St. Vincent Carmel
  5. La Porte Schools - Michiana Resources - IU  Health La Porte
  6. South Bend Community Schools - Adec Soth Bend Memorial 
  7. Warrick School Corp - SIRS - Deacones Hospital
  8. Vigo County Schools - Covered Bridge Co-op Hamilton Centers - Union Hospital 
  9. Bloomington Stone Belt  Adult Program - Cook Inc - Ivy Tech

For more information check it out here" http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/index.php?pageId=1835 


Vocational Rehabilitation Services

May 13, 2015

Vocational Rehabilitation Services

On Wednesday I heard a presentaiton about Vocational Rehabilitation or VR for short at the Self Advocates of Indiana meeting. The presenter, Virginia Bates, is the VR's Transition Coordinator. She handles cases where individuals are transitioning out of high school and into post secondary options. I'll have her contact information below the video. 

Virginia talked a lot about the focus of VR and what ways that can impact all of you! She said VR's focus is on employment. To start with VR you need a reccomendation stating that you need services or aid to get employed, be employed, or return to your employed state due to an impedment. She explained Vocational Rehabilitation is under the Burea of Rehabilitation Services which has 3 other branches. Those branches are: Blind and Visually Impaired Services, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, and Independent Living Services. You may find that if Vocational Rehabilitation can't help you one of those other services may be able to cover your needs. 

Next Virginia explained that you need documentation of an impediment and if you've never been tested they'll pay for whatever testing you need. Now the documentation of an impediment is important but so is all your other documents. Such as IEP's, therapy techniques, etc. This can help VR when they develop your "Individualized Plan for Employment" or IPE (don't worry we're all confusing it with IEP as well!) This will be an agreement between you and VR with goals and services outlined in it so you'll know exactly what kind of help you'll be getting. 

Finally, Viriginia talked about quality jobs for clients. The VR knows that people have dreams and goals they're striving for in their employment journey. She said they're working with clients and agencies to provide job shadowing, guidance, and helping them gain job experience. One example she used was someone wanting to be a veterinary because they love animals. Now some road blocks that could occur are - not being able to handle blood, not being able to achieve the college certifications to go through med school, etc. Virginia explained that this shouldn't be the end to this person's dream but instead used to find a more fitting atmosphere that let's them help animals. Such as being a vet tech, or working at an animal shelter. VR will work with you to find what'll be your dream job. 

 The VR created a new video of "Simply Put" to explain what Voc rehab is, and why you may need it. We have the clip below, but here's the link to view more videos https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtf4TPTqrX0Bl6zTde-652w 


The Arc: Self Advocacy

May 11, 2015

The Arc: Self Advocacy

After learning more about HANDS in Autism, I felt it was important to share about our other collaborators and how they can help you! The Arc does a lot of amazing work from their waiver and family supports, school supports and their work with adults with disabilities. They work with all disabilites in nearly every aspect of support even legal and financial advice. 

I know we've done anpost about The Arc's upcoming training center in Muncie, IN which will function as a hotel and restaraunt education model. They've also announced a partnership wtih Muncie Memorial hospital where they'll have additional educational programs. The Arc strives to develop individuals into self advocacy in order to boost indivdiuals into self relience and to spread the awareness of each's abilities. Here's a fantastic video to explain their mission & efforts with Self Advocacy


For more information abou The Arc visit them online at http://www.arcind.org/



About Special Kids

May 04, 2015

About Special Kids

We've decided to highlight our collaborater to help show what resources are available to help prepare students for Post Secondary education. About Special Kids is a fantastic resource for any age, but I love their online trainings! I mean how often do we wish for a break down of big topics we face - all the time! And now here they are! 

So feel free to check out the links below or to learn more about About Special Kids (ASK) visit them online at http://www.aboutspecialkids.org/

Training Descriptions

The goal of About Special Kids’ training department is to inform and educate parents and professionals and to serve as a system of support and reference. We strive to provide each parent and professional with a positive training experience that will give them the tools necessary to navigate through systems and advocate for their child.

Roadmap to Special Education: Laws and Processes
($40 - Family Member / $75 - Professionals)

 This all-day workshop provides basic information about special education laws and regulations for Indiana children ages 3-21. It also introduces recent changes in federal law that will impact Indiana's state regulations. In addition, this training will provide information on how to prepare for a case conference and write an IEP. This training is a great learning opportunity for family members and professionals who advocate for children with a disability or serious chronic illness.
Contact: Cindy Robinson, asktraining@aboutspecialkids.org 


Public Health Insurance: What You Don't Know Can Cost You
($40 - Family Member / $75 - Professionals)

 This full day training provides parents and professionals with information about public health insurance programs that can be accessed by families caring for children with special needs. It includes information on Medicaid, Medicaid Disability, Medicaid Waivers, Children's Special Healthcare Services, Hoosier Healthwise and SSI (Supplemental Security Income). ASK is pleased to be able to offer this training throughout the state of Indiana.
Contact: Cindy Robinson, asktraining@aboutspecialkids.org 


What Every Parent Wants You to Know- Group Rate for Professionals
($0 - Family Member / $70 - Professionals)

 This one hour session is geared towards an audience of teachers, professionals and child care providers. The premise of the class is to allow attendees a unique opportunity to gain insight into the daily lives, routines, and history of a family raising a child with special needs. The goal of the course is to allow participants to understand the parent and child perspective and to use this insight to address accommodations the child will need to be successful.
Contact: Cindy Robinson, asktraining@aboutspecialkids.org 


My Child Has Special Needs: Now What?
($0 - Family Member / $0 - Professionals)

 Finding out that your child has special needs can be overwhelming. Some common reactions can be "What do I do now? Where do I start?" This training provides families with a brief overview of how to find support for your child and family, find information and services, find ways to pay for services, and will help you start thinking about the future. This training is geared to help parents map out the next steps for their child and family.
Contact: Cindy Robinson, asktraining@aboutspecialkids.org 


It's Not WHAT You Say...But HOW You Say It (Effective Communication Workshop)
($10 - Family Member / $10 - Professionals)

 Communication is a key factor when working with individuals and organizations. This training is geared to help you build positive working relationships with schools, medical professionals, and groups or committees through improved communication skills. Topics such as partnerships, negotiation, and listening will be addressed.
Contact: Cindy Robinson, asktraining@aboutspecialkids.org 


A Life with Stress, Balance and a Plan
($0 - Family Member / $0 - Professionals)

 Parents of special needs children live with added emotional, medical, social and financial challenges. These extenuating circumstances can often lead to feelings of loneliness, depression, marital and family problems and health issues. This training will focus on identifying types of stressors, identify coping mechanisms and providing ways to incorporate them into everyday life, and the importance of good communication.
Contact: Cindy Robinson, asktraining@aboutspecialkids.org 


Hands in Autism: Art Expo, Community leader, and Preparing our youth

May 01, 2015

Hands in Autism: Art Expo, Community Leader, and Preparing our Youth 

Last week, I had the pleasure to attend Hands in Autism's opening ceremoney for their Art Expo held at IUPUI. Not only was I exposed to some amazing art pieces, I also learned a lot about Hands in Autism! They're one of our collaborators for Indiana Post Secondary Education Coalition and they're doing great work to prep individuals with Autism and other social, behaviorial, or communicative challenges to get employment or further their education. 

Their opening ceremony, started with Naomi Swayze, Director of Hands in Autism, taking the stage. She explained the event was designed to showcase hiddent talents through exhibition. The Art Expo created a venue for individuals to express themselves and their abilities louder than any stastitic about autism. The expo was made reality thanks to a 2 year grant from the Indiana Art Commision to bridge art and autism. To Paige Sharp, the Indiana Arts Commission Director of Programs, that bridge will provide "equal access to the arts for everyone."  The commission and herself believe that art can transcend diagnosis if given the opportunity. 

The highlight, for me, of the opening ceremony was hearing from a student with Hands in Autism. He has worked with HANDS since he was young. Now 15 years old and interning with Hands in Autism, Mathais spoke to the crowd with noticeable ease. He credits this ability to HANDS as it was there he learned the skills in socializing and to value his different abilities. Mathais described his ability to forsee a finished project with materials and then being able to bulid the materials into that finished project. It sounded almost poetetic hearing him explain how he sees the world. Before closing his speech, he said " People with Autism deserve to be noticed as people..Just that as people."

If you're interested in seeing some of the art displayed, you can find their virtiual tour below



Self Advocate: Mark Hublar

April 20, 2015

Mark Hublar : Self Advocate, College Student, and Motivational Speaker

This past Saturday, we helped bring Paula Kluth and Mark Hublar to a conference with Down Syndrome Indiana. These two leaders in inclusion were amazing to meet and an incredible encouragement. I wanted to share a little more about Mark in the context of one of Paula's quotes....

" (the goal should be) To learn the most important skills for them in the richest environment." - Paula Kluth

Paula said this in reference to and invidiual in High School who's mother was having some trouble with her IEP. The mother had attended a session of Paula's and wanted to bring more inclusion to her daughter's education especially as she entered high school. 

I loved this quote because it capitalizes on knowing what goals you're reaching toward while keeping in mind typical scenarios. When looking at Mark Hublar's life, this would definitely be a theme. He was born in 1964 and his parents immediately refused to put him in an institution. His three brothers constantly reminded him that he wasn't fragile or different through sports, wrestling, and all other brother rough housing! Mark played football and little league growing up, and participated in Special Olympics Basketball and Baseball. His dream is to be a motivational speaker and is currently in classes at Jefferson Community & Technical College. In 2011, he was granted the Ruby's Rainbow scholarship to pursue his post-secondary education. He also held a 5 year contract with Walmart to be employed as a greeter with them before attending his classes. 

The skills Mark learned before college - teamwork, determination, meeting lots of people, preforming in front of crowds, sticking with schedules, etc - were all natural elements of being on a sports team and working as a greeter. That's not even including what he learned in academic settings! So it's not hard to tell why he's such an amazing speaker and how he'll continue to grow with his classes. 

Hopefully, you're thinking of what skills you already have and love to do so you can think of careers that will utilize those skills!



Paula Kluth Conference April 18th

April 13, 2015

Don’t We Already Do Inclusion?

100 Ways to Improve Inclusive Schools

One day workshop featuring Paula Kluth

Saturday, April 18th from 8:30AM to 3:00PM

Down Syndrome Indiana

708 E Michigan Street

Indianapolis, IN 46202

Tickets are $45 each and include lunch

Click here for brochure.


Parents, educators and professionals... Are you trying to grow the inclusive schooling model in your community? Do you feel like you have tried everything to create change in your school? Do you want to, “sharpen the saw” and become re-energized as an advocate or educator? This day-long workshop is focused on addressing all of these goals and is designed to help a range of stakeholders learn new skills and ask new questions.

This presentation is not only filled with ideas for teaching diverse learners but is also focused on change itself and, more specifically, on how those invested in inclusion can create opportunities that allow all learners to thrive. Come and learn tried and true techniques (e.g., creating a culture of differentiation, focus on benefits for all) as well as some out-of-the-box solutions (e.g., “radical” role sharing, using social media to inspire inclusion).

Registration opens at 8:00AM. Workshop begins at 8:30AM with special keynote presentation by Self Advocate, Mark Hublar.

This workshop is a great opportunity for educators in both public and private schools, parents, OT's, PT's, ST's and disability professionals. Professional development points are available for attending this workshop. Upon check-in on April 18th, please indicate that you need a certificate for attending.

Tickets may be purchased online or by sending a check made payable to:

Down Syndrome Indiana
C/O Inclusion Workshop
708 E Michigan Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202


Comment on: Post Secondary Education and Students with Disabilities podcast by Southeast ADA Center