HIGH SCHOOL COUNSELORS

Frequently Asked Questions by High School Counselors
Question: What can high school personnel, such as school psychologists and counselors, transition specialists, special education staff and others, do to assist students with disabilities with documentation requirements?

Answer: By the time most students with disabilities are accepted into a postsecondary institution, they are likely to have a transition plan and-or to be receiving transition services, which may include evaluations and services provided by the state VR agency. High school personnel can help a student with disabilities to identify and address the specific documentation requirements of the postsecondary institution that the student will be attending. This may include assisting the student to identify existing documentation in her or his education records that would satisfy the institution’s criteria, such as evaluation reports and the summary of the student’s academic achievement and functional performance. School personnel should be aware that institutions of postsecondary education typically do not accept brief conclusory statements for which no supporting evidence is offered as sufficient documentation of a disability and the need for an academic adjustment. School personnel should also be aware that some colleges may delay or deny services if the diagnosis or the documentation is unclear.

Question: Is a student’s most recent individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 plan sufficient documentation to support the existence of a disability and the need for an academic adjustment in a postsecondary setting?

Answer: Generally, no. Although an IEP or Section 504 plan may help identify services that have been used by the student in the past, they generally are not sufficient documentation to support the existence of a current disability and need for an academic adjustment from an institution of postsecondary education. Assessment information and other material used to develop an IEP or Section 504 plan may be helpful to document a current disability or the need for an academic adjustment or auxiliary aids and services. In addition, a student receiving services under Part B of the IDEA must be provided with a summary of his or her academic achievements and functional performance that includes recommendations on how to assist in meeting the student’s postsecondary goals. This information may provide helpful information about disability and the need for an academic adjustment.

Question: What should students expect in working with a disability coordinator at an institution of postsecondary education?

Answer: A high school counselor, a special education teacher or a VR counselor may meet with high school students with disabilities to provide services or monitor their progress under their education plans on a periodic basis. The role of the disability coordinator at an institution of postsecondary education is very different. At many institutions, there may be only one or two staff members to address the needs of all students with disabilities attending the institution. The disability coordinator evaluates documentation, works with students to determine appropriate services, assists students in arranging services or testing modifications, and deals with problems as they arise. A disability coordinator may have contact with a student with a disability only two or three times a semester. Disability coordinators usually will not directly provide educational services, tutoring or counseling, or help students plan or manage their time or schedules. Students with disabilities are, in general, expected to be responsible for their own academic programs and progress in the same ways that nondisabled students are responsible for them.


Read more FAQs for High School Counselors (Source: U.S. Dept. of Ed).
Still have more questions? Please email the DSS Office at disability.services@sonoma.edu or call (707) 664-2677.