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IEP for college?


GwenMBS
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My 8th grade autistic son has an IEP due to his slow processing speed to give him more time for tests/assignments/time to answer questions etc. Part of his IEP is a social skills class that I really am not happy with - and neither is my son. He's at a private school and takes a bus to the public school for this 3 days a week. He hates missing academic class time and doesn't feel like he's getting anything out of the class. (I've asked the special ed teacher what's happening in the class but haven't heard back, I need to follow up.)

For high school, we are quite likely doing a combination of an online high school with a homeschooling coop. The online high school said they would work with us, communication being key - no problem for me! His teachers are very used to a lot of communication from me. 🙂 But I don't think there is a formal IEP - so I've been wondering if we'll regret not having an IEP or something in place in high school for when he transitions to college. Because I can't imagine him not going to college - he gets mostly A's and loves learning and the career options he's mostly interested in will require college. He'll mostly potentially need more time for things - but he's been doing fine in school so far this year. He's rarely had math homework (in the past, math homework was a daily thing, even with shortened assignments). My husband is a professor and I know from him that if you communicate with your professor, they'll work with you. Plus he could take a lighter credit load if needed.

As I write this, I'm thinking he won't really need accommodations in college, or at least nothing he can't get without just talking to his professors. Is there something else to consider, or a reason why he really should have an IEP in high school that he can take to college with him?

I also really want to ditch the social skills part of the IEP. The public school says if he doesn't do social skills, there is no IEP. If the private school is willing to do the IEP without the public school (and I think they would, but I need to talk to the principal), then I want to ditch the social skills and let the IEP go away. Is the public school allowed to say that we have to accept something like social skills in order to have the IEP?

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On 10/22/2022 at 8:37 PM, GwenMBS said:

No, the online high school is a private school.

Greetings! I am a Disability Services Coordinator in the University setting.  I do recommend keeping the IEP. Also, if when there is a re-evaluation of services (usually during a student's junior year) DO NOT waive this! Continue it just in case he does need support/accommodations at the college level. 

 

I can also tell you, not all professors accommodate unless there is an official letter from the disability office. They do not want to see IEPs or evaluation reports, that is not their job. Refer to the disability office to get everything you may need. I recommend getting things in place just in case because accommodations are not retroactive at the university level. 

 

The ADA is about equal access and not success. This is very different from IDEA. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I worked as a disability services coordinator in higher ed for over a decade. It is true that neither an IEP nor a 504 plan go with you to college. However, students can get accommodations if they have a disability. (Keep an eye on the RISE Act that's moving through Congress right now. If it passes, one of the benefits will be that students will have the ability to use their IEP or 504 paperwork from high school to prove that they have a disability). 

Before getting rid of your child's IEP, I would ask yourself if your child is doing well now because of his accommodations or would he do just as well without them? What types of accommodations does he have? What kind of major might he go into? What did he struggle with when he didn't have accommodations? Will he have to take a standardized test to get into college or to be licensed? How does he do on standardized tests?  Also, I wouldn't count on the professors giving their own accommodations. Most colleges and universities would require the student to go to the disability services office and register as a student with a disability to get accommodations. 

At the law school I worked at, I had a lot of students that had never been diagnosed with a disability as a child, were able to be relatively successful in K-12 and undergraduate. Many times they struggled with standardized tests but were able to do well in majors and classes that didn't have a lot of reading and writing or standardized tests but were classes that had projects and used other methods that played to their strengths. It's quite possible your son could find that type of major too and never need accommodations in college. However, if they are a student that wants to take a course of study that is in an area that is challenging for them, accommodations might put them on a level playing field with their peers.

 

 

Michigan mother of two with IEPs, and owner of MI Student Advocacy Services. Trying to change the world one IEP at a time. 

 

 

 

 

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On 10/18/2022 at 2:05 PM, Backroads said:

So an IEP would not exist as a legal document in college and no college would have to honor it if they didn't want to, nor would there be anything like IEP teams or meetings. While ADA of course still applies, all accommodations are what your son would arrange with the college and professors. 

That said... I am aware of a few people who did bring their last high school IEP to the college to help arrange accommodations. Again, it won't work as a legal enforceable document, but everything listed will be useful for talking with the disabilities office. It does get to still be a handy list of information and ideas.

So, while your son could likely negotiate accommodations just by talking with professors and the IEP isn't necessary, it's not a terrible idea to have one on hand.

Is the online high school you're looking at publicaly funded? If so, it might be worth still going the IEP route just for the sake of getting stuff in writing. 

No, the online high school is a private school.

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I have a college freshman now.   From your post, "... his teachers are used to a lot of communication from me..."   It will be exceptionally important to shift all of that responsibility to him over time through the high school years.   College course content, services, software access, even class registration will probably not be available to you anymore.  At my son's university they use 2-step security authentication for these things, (single-use codes sent to his phone) so I can't see things like syllabi or homework or due dates.  Start keeping track of what you are doing to advocate for him, and help him plan for how he will do it for himself.   Keep the focus on giving him the time and space for this problem solving and decision making.  My son has slow processing as well which causes him to incorrectly interpret instructions as he tries to keep up.  He is registered with disability services, but struggles to adequately make use of the support. I hear that this is common, but encourage your son as best you can.   Support offices often look at high school IEPs or 504s for reference, and may accommodate some things, but won't develop skills through goals anymore.  The support is more generalized.  

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So an IEP would not exist as a legal document in college and no college would have to honor it if they didn't want to, nor would there be anything like IEP teams or meetings. While ADA of course still applies, all accommodations are what your son would arrange with the college and professors. 

That said... I am aware of a few people who did bring their last high school IEP to the college to help arrange accommodations. Again, it won't work as a legal enforceable document, but everything listed will be useful for talking with the disabilities office. It does get to still be a handy list of information and ideas.

So, while your son could likely negotiate accommodations just by talking with professors and the IEP isn't necessary, it's not a terrible idea to have one on hand.

Is the online high school you're looking at publicaly funded? If so, it might be worth still going the IEP route just for the sake of getting stuff in writing. 

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Your public school can do an IEP eval to see what his needs are.  This can guide both the private HS as well as his college as to what accommodations he'll need.  They can even write an IEP  too but you'd have to enroll him for the public school to follow it.

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On 10/22/2022 at 6:37 PM, GwenMBS said:

No, the online high school is a private school.

In that case, if your main concern is support during college, would the private school be willing to list any supporters (not IEP supported, but whatever they do to be helpful)?

 

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As others have stated, there are no IEPs in college, only 504s.

And, the biggest change for most families, as far as college, is that your child is now a legal adult. The college is only required to, and likely only will, communicate with the student. Not the parents, even if the parent is paying the bill.

Gotta work on some self advocacy in the next year or two. In college the onus is on the student to get the required accommodations.

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