IDEA Changes Lives — Look Who’s Going to College!

Think College! College Options for People with Intellectual Disabilities.

Students who receive special education services, including those with cognitive and intellectual disabilities, are attending college in record numbers, an achievement that few people would have thought possible before the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1975. As we approach the 40th anniversary of IDEA, we can reflect not only on the impact that it has had on individual lives but the benefits to society that come from having a workforce of students who are college and career ready. IDEA provides supports to students who now attend elementary through high school with their siblings and same age peers with the expectation that they will continue to do so in post-secondary settings. Four-year colleges, community colleges, and career and technical education centers have risen to the challenge by providing supports and accommodations so that students can not only attend, but thrive in post-secondary settings. Learn what attending college means to these students and watch the four minute trailer, below, for Think College’s full 27-minute movie, Rethinking College.

For more information about college and post-secondary opportunities for students with disabilities visit The Association on Higher Education and Disability and Think College.

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Marsha Goldberg is an Education Program Specialist in the Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education.

How Disability.gov Can Help Students with Disabilities Succeed in & out of the Classroom

By the Disability.gov Team

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All students rely on lessons learned in the classroom to prepare for their transition to adulthood, whether that means entering the workforce or continuing their studies in college or at a vocational school. Thanks to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, children with disabilities today have greater access to quality education and accommodations to help them learn and succeed in and out of school.

Contributing to this success is Disability.gov, the federal government website for information on disability programs and services across the nation. Through the site, students with disabilities, parents, guardians, educators and others are connected to valuable resources on education, such as accommodations and supports in the classroom, individualized education programs (IEPs) and teaching strategies. Furthermore, since Disability.gov is a directory of resources, visitors can find information on other topics like benefits, employment, health, housing and technology, to name just a few. All of the site’s resources are carefully chosen from the federal government, state and local government agencies and nonprofit organizations to make sure visitors get information that is both helpful and easy to understand.

Disability.gov’s Guides to Information

Disability.gov also provides 14 guides on popular topics, which allow visitors to view as much or as little information on a given subject as they choose. For example, high school students with disabilities and families may want to read Disability.gov’s Guide to Student Transition Planning. The transition process prepares students with disabilities for life after high school graduation. Through this guide, you can learn about options after high school, including planning for college or a technical school, vocational rehabilitation and job training programs and laws that protect students’ educational rights.

For students who are currently attending or heading to college, financial aid is just as important as an acceptance letter. Disability.gov’s Guide to Student Financial Aid provides information on scholarships, grants, federal work-study programs and student loans. Visitors can also find out about state financial aid programs and how to apply for federal financial aid. Once they are ready to graduate, Disability.gov’s Guide to Employment has information on conducting a job search, applying for federal employment and getting help writing a resume and preparing for interviews.

These are just a few of the many ways Disability.gov enables quick and easy access to helpful information and resources. You may also want to visit the “Youth” section of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy’s website for five Guideposts for Success – What All Youth Need to Successfully Transition into Adulthood.

We invite you to share this information with family and friends, and visit Disability.gov to get started. You can also subscribe to email alerts, read the Disability Connection newsletter or follow the site on Facebook, Twitter and Disability.Blog.


OSERS is glad to highlight Disability.gov and all of the great work they do!
Check out a recent blog by an OSERS grantee, Benetech, that was featured on Disability.gov!

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Information Technology Specialist, U.S. Department of Education