Academic Skills Lab

Differences: High School and Post-Secondary

High School

In high school the school has responsibilities which include the following:

  • Identify students with disabilities
  • Provide assessment of learning disabilities
  • Classify disabilities according to specified diagnostic categories
  • Involve parents or guardians in placement decisions
  • Provide certain non-academic services
  • Place students in programs where they can benefit (in any way) by placement committee with parent participation and approval
  • Structure a large part of the student's weekly schedule
  • Modify educational programs
  • Prepare Individualized Education Plans (IEPs)
  • Provide a free and appropriate education
  • Provide appropriate services by the school nurse or health service

Post-Secondary

The post-secondary level institutional role changes as follows:

  • Protect a student's right to privacy and confidentiality
  • Provide access to programs and services which are offered to persons without disabilities
  • Inform students of office location and procedures for requesting accommodations
  • Accept and evaluate verifying documentation
  • Determine that a mental or physical impairment causes a substantial limitation of a major life activity based on student-provided verifying documents. [Simply having a disability diagnosis is not adequate unless the functional impact (substantial limitation) is established.]
  • Determine whether students are otherwise qualified for participation in the program or service, with or without accommodations, and if so, whether a reasonable accommodation is possible
  • Make reasonable accommodations for students who meet the above qualifying criteria
    Provide reasonable access to program and service choices equal to those available to the general public
  • Make reasonable adjustments in course delivery which do not alter the essential content of a course or program (Students are required to show the same quality of mastery as other students)
  • Assure that off-campus and contracted program facilities also comply with Section 504 (Subpart E) and ADA
  • Inform students of their rights responsibilities
  • In contrast to their K-12 educational experience where many responsibilities were assumed by the school, student responsibilities at the post-secondary level change as follows:


Students have a responsibility to:

  • Self identify or disclose their disability to the designated office for disability services
  • Provide verifying documentation to that designated office
  • Obtain assessment and test results and provide them to that office
  • Act as independent adults
  • Arrange their own weekly schedules
  • Contact their instructors to activate and adopt accommodations for each class
  • Arrange for and obtain their own personal attendants, tutoring and individually fitted or designed assistive technologies


Post-secondary institutions are not required to:

  • Reduce or waive any of the essential requirements of a course or program
  • Conduct testing and assessment of learning, psychological or medical disabilities
  • Provide personal attendants
  • Provide personal or private tutors (but tutoring services normally available to persons without disabilities must be accessible to persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified for those services)
  • Prepare "Individual Education Plans" (IEPs)