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Differences Between High School and College:



High School

Higher Education

Education is a right under IDEA and must be provided in an appropriate environment to all individuals.

Education is not a right. Students must meet admission criteria defined under ADA as "otherwise qualified".

School district is responsible to identify a student's disability.

Students must self-identify.

School district provides free testing, evaluation, and transportation to program.

Student must provide current and appropriate documentation as defined by the college. If documentation from high school is not adequate, student pays for additional testing and transport to program.

Transition planning and timelines exist to clarify students' vision, identify programming choices and coordinate appropriate coursework options.

Students make all coursework selections.

School district develops IEP to define educational supports and services under special education.

No IEP/special education in college.

IEP Team (including student) determines IEP supports and services that will be provided.

Student is responsible to contact faculty and advocate for services.*

Access to general curriculum, necessary modifications, and a variety of appropriate accommodations are available.

No fundamental alterations to the curriculum are made. Academic accommodations and modifications are available based on student's documented disability.

Personal services for medical or physical disability are required.

No personal services are required.**

* Although responsibility lies with the student, DSS works closely to develop a Faculty Request for Services and will advocate if difficulty arises. ** Disability Support Services may assist students in efforts to advocate for such services.


Differences in High School and College: DEPENDENCE vs. INDEPENDENCE

High School

Higher Education

School year is from Sept. to June

School year is August-December, January-May

The main office exists as the center of activity for school.

Students are responsible to know where to locate information, assistance, study support

Rigid schedule with constant supervision

Greater flexibility of scheduling

Classes meet daily

Classes meet 1,2,3 or 4 times a week.

Attendance is taken.

Attendance policies at discretion of instructor

Guidance counselors or other staff schedule support services for students

Students connect with Disability Services staff and arrange all support services

Someone is available to help plan study time (teachers, SPED, parents)

Student responsible for setting and following through on all scheduling and study time

Classes generally held in one building

Classes are held at many different sites on campus

Average class is 35 - 45 minutes

Class times vary from 50 minutes - 4 hours

Daily contact w/teachers and support staff

Classes meet less frequently, impacting access to instructors and assistance

Parent permission required (until 18 years).

School responds to parent concerns Student is an adult with all decision making authority. Parent permission not required.

Students generally live at home.

Students are responsible for housing, transportation, finances, etc.


Permission was granted by Lisa King for usage.  Information was taken from Lisa King's presentations.  For more information about Lisa King's programs for students with Autism visit

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