- Going to College: Expanding Opportunities for People With Disabilities
A goal of Going to College: Expanding Opportunities for People with Disabilities is to assist in alleviating the gap between the proportion of people with disabilities who pursue and complete postsecondary degrees in the U.S. and the proportion of all people who achieve this facet of the "American dream." The book provides information and resources on preparing for the transition from high school to college and being successful in college. In their preface, the editors explain that the book is organized in a logical progression from the first section on "College Planning and Admissions" to the last section on "Creating Opportunities for Employment," with an intended audience of students with disabilities, their families, secondary and postsecondary educators, and community agencies.
Within the first section of the book, chapter 1 (authored by Paul Wehman and Satoko Yasudo) addresses "The Needs and the Challenges Associated with Going to College." As noted by the authors, the reasons for going to college can be the same for all students: increased earnings, employment benefits, opportunities for career advancement, social status, job marketability, knowledge, socialization skills, and the development of personal networks. However, for students with disabilities there are also additional challenges in accessing higher education, including barriers posed by standardized testing and the need for self-advocacy skills.
Chapter 2, "Understanding the Regulatory Environment," by Virginia J. Reilly and Trent Davis, focuses on legal issues and provides insights into the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the court decisions that have affected its interpretation. The chapter includes guidelines for documentation of a disability, program access, and reasonable accommodations. In Chapter 3, "Self-Determination and the Transition to Postsecondary Education," Colleen A. Thoma and Michael L. Wehmeyer define self-determination as "acting as the primary causal agent in one's life." They urge that in order for students to be active participants in the educational process, transition planning and the development of self-determination skills must begin in middle school. The next chapter ("Preparing for College," by Elizabeth Evans Getzel) addresses factors students with disabilities must consider when choosing a postsecondary institution, including a list of questions regarding disability services and a table of activities for high school students with disabilities to assist them in preparing for college. "The Role of Disability Support Services" (Chapter 5), by J. Trey Duffy and John Gugerty, notes that the law focuses on access, but educators must also focus on success. The chapter discusses pros and cons of centralized versus decentralized services and [End Page 234] the location of disability services in either student affairs or academic affairs.
"Section II: Creating a Welcoming Environment through Design and Implementation," begins with a chapter by Sally S. Scott and Joan M. McGuire on "Implementing Universal Design for Instruction to Promote Inclusive College Teaching." In response to the increasing diversity of students, Scott and Mcguire present a proactive and inclusive approach to teaching and assessing student learning. Universal Design for Instruction involves the consideration of a "broad range of learners" (p. 121) when developing curricula and planning for specific courses. The authors provide nine principles to guide faculty and illustrate each with case studies.
Chapter 7, "Expanding Support Services on Campus," by Getzel and Shannon McManus, describes components of supported education, including links to community resources, student recruitment, development and implementation of academic and career plans, and program evaluation. In Chapter 8, "Strategies for Students with Hidden Disabilities in Professional School," McManus and Lisa Donegan Shoaf propose strategies like determining essential functions and being acquainted with technical and professional standards in order for faculty and staff to be better equipped to assist students in responding to the increased demands and rigor of professional programs. A topic that may be of particular interest to those teaching in counseling and student development professional preparation programs relates to clinical placements.
The focus of Chapter 9, by Sheryl Burgstahler, is "The Role of Technology in Preparing for College and Careers." Assistive technology is defined...