Posts tagged ‘Learning disability’

February 13, 2015

What percentage of college students have disabilities?

by Grace

During the 2011-12 school year, students with disabilities comprised 11% of college enrollment.

Here is the distribution of the types of disabilities from 2008-09

Type of Disability Percentage
Specific learning disabilities 31
ADD or ADHD3 18
Mental illness/psychological or psychiatric condition5 15
Health impairment/condition, including chronic conditions 11
Mobility limitation/orthopedic impairment  7
All others 18

The all others category includes audio, visual, and language impairments, as well as autism.

HEATH can be a resource for prospective college students with disabilities.

The HEATH Resource Center is an online clearinghouse on postsecondary education for individuals with disabilities. Since 2000, the HEATH Resource Center has served as a national clearinghouse on postsecondary education for individuals with disabilities, managed by The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Now, The HSC Foundation has partnered with The George Washington University to expand the content of this resource and to designate it as the official site of The HSC Foundation’s National Youth Transitions Center.

Some colleges provide extra support services.

Almost all colleges provide some level of services for students with disabilities.  The American Educational Guidance Center provides a list of some that go a step further…they offer programs, some quite comprehensive, designed to support students with learning disabilities”.

Most learning disabled college students are no longer receiving the type of support services they did during their K-12 years.

While 94 percent of high school students with learning disabilities get some kind of help, just 17 percent of college students do.

Along with “18-year-olds’ natural inclination to go it alone”, another problem is finances.

Many college disability centers require documentation of a student’s learning disability. A set of tests used to verify whether a student has a disability, necessary for those who have no documentation or haven’t been tested before, costs as much as $5,000, according to academic-support and disability-services coordinators at several colleges and universities — a price tag K-12 schools pay but many higher-education institutions won’t.

While more and more colleges offer innovative programs in which staff members work closely with learning-disabled students, many charge extra for those, too. Some schools have turned to grants and private donors to cover this cost, but students often are expected to pay for the programs.

It’s probably safe to say that most college professors are not knowledgeable about instruction for learning disabled students.

“I think we have to always remember that while professors are amazing experts in content areas, many of them have had no training in pedagogy,” said Williams, who is introducing UDL to three North Carolina campuses. “We have to find practical ways to help them know how to do that.”

ADDED:

Advocates for the deaf on Thursday filed federal lawsuits against Harvard and M.I.T., saying both universities violated antidiscrimination laws by failing to provide closed captioning in their online lectures, courses, podcasts and other educational materials.

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Matt Krupnick, “Colleges respond to growing ranks of learning disabled”, The Hechinger Report, February 13, 2014.

June 26, 2014

More students are receiving special accommodations for SAT and ACT tests

by Grace

Some recent numbers show the increase in students receiving special accommodations for SAT and ACT testing.

During the 2010-11 school year, 5 percent of all test takers were provided with some feature that was intended to adapt the test to their needs, ACT spokesman Ed Colby said, compared with 3.5 percent of test takers in the 2007-08 school year.

The numbers of requests have been rising among SAT takers, too, along with an increase in test takers overall. Once students are approved for an accommodation, they don’t have to reapply. Of new requests—almost 80,000 during the 2010-11 school year, compared with 10,000 fewer five years earlier—about 85 percent are approved, said Kathleen Steinberg, the spokeswoman for the College Board. The ACT said roughly 90 percent of requests made are granted.

Rich kids are more likely to receive accommodations.

Controversy has swirled for years about which students deserve special help. A 2000 California audit concluded that those getting college entrance testing accommodations “were disproportionately white, or were more likely to come from an affluent family or to attend a private school.”

More than a decade later, the Tribune’s review of data obtained under open records laws indicates that’s true in Illinois, where the percentage of test takers with accommodations doubled the national average.

Schools in wealthy enclaves with predominantly white students were at the top of the list when it comes to students getting ACT testing accommodations in Illinois, the 2011 data show.

A recent report from the General Accountability Office found that testing for qualifying disabilities “can cost from $500 to $9,000”.  Wealthy families can afford to pay these costs when the schools will not.  They also tend to have the expertise and money to force schools to pay for legally required testing.

One local affluent school district recently had a long list of applications for accommodations that was waiting to be submitted, probably typical for high-income locales.

The most commonly requested accommodation is extended time, but some others include “a quiet testing room, a reader or a scribe, enlarged print test booklets and/or answer keys, the use of a computer, additional or extended breaks, and multiple-day testing on the ACT”

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Nirvi Shah, “More Students Receiving Accommodations During ACT, SAT”, Education Week, May 14, 2012.

 Diane Rado, “Many Illinois high school students get special testing accommodations for ACT”, Chicago Tribune,  April 29, 2012.

Jed Applerouth, “SAT and ACT Accommodations”, Independent Educational Consultants Association, April 9, 2014.

August 15, 2012

Quick Takes — Bernanke ‘predicts’ student loan bailout, female authors dominate YA fiction, ineffective reading programs used for 40 years, & more

by Grace

—  Bernanke just guaranteed that the student loan bubble will be the next “Financial Stability Issue”

Apparently we can rely on things turning out just the opposite of what Bernanke predicts.

“At this juncture . . . the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime markets seems likely to be contained” – Ben Bernanke, March 28, 2007

“I don’t think student loans are a financial stability issue to the same extent that, say, mortgage debt was in the last crisis because most of it is held not by financial institutions but by the federal government” – Ben Bernanke, August 7, 2012

Uh oh.  But Tyler Durden has a catchy name for the upcoming bailout program:  CASH FOR FLUNKERS

—  Why Do Female Authors Dominate Young-Adult Fiction? (The Atlantic)

And why do male authors dominate NPR’s list of top science-fiction and fantasy books?


—  Reading Program Ineffective for Students With Learning Disabilities (Education Week)

new report from the What Works Clearinghouse questions the effectiveness of a longstanding, widely used reading program, developed by McGraw-Hill, for students with learning disabilities.

In a report this month, the WWC found that there is evidence that Reading Mastery has “no discernible effects on reading comprehension and potentially negative effects on alphabetics, reading fluency, and writing for students with learning disabilities.”

Looking at the 17 studies about about Reading Mastery Classic and Reading Mastery Signature, specifically for students with learning disabilities, the WWC found two of them met its research standards.

Reading Mastery is used in all 50 states and internationally, and more than 6,500 schools across the country use Reading Mastery Signature, McGraw-Hill said. The cost per student, the WWC said, during the first year of implementation ranges from $200 to $300 and pays for materials including storybooks, textbooks, workbooks and textbooks. Buying a full set of teaching materials costs between $650 and $1,000 per grade level.

Wrightslaw poses this question on its Facebook page:

How can a reading program with no research to support its effectiveness be used in thousands of schools for over 40 years? Just asking …


—  Upper-Middle-Income Households See Biggest Jumps in Student Loan Burden (WSJ)

Rising college costs and a sagging economy are taking the biggest toll on a surprising group: upper-middle-income families.

According to a Wall Street Journal analysis of recently released Federal Reserve data, households with annual incomes of $94,535 to $205,335 saw the biggest jump in the percentage with student-loan debt from 2007 to 2010, the latest figures available. That group also saw a sharp climb in the amount of debt owed on average.

The surge is leading many such families to look closer at cost and value when choosing colleges….

February 13, 2012

Don’t miss out on tax breaks for special education

by Grace

Parents should make sure they are taking advantage of all tax breaks for their special needs children.  Many conditions covered by IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), including autism and learning disabilities, qualify for special treatment.

There are numerous tax breaks for education, but the most important one for many special-needs students isn’t an education break per se. Instead, it falls under the medical-expense category….

In fact, tax rules allow medical deductions for “diagnosis, cure, mitigation, or treatment…primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental defect or illness” (IRS publication 502).

Examples of what is covered:

That can include the cost of a school or program if prescribed by a licensed health-care professional. It might even cover costs for a special two-year college certificate program for students with severe learning disabilities, such as the Reach program run by the University of Iowa, which costs as much as $40,000 a year.

The deduction also can be used for additional therapies. Regina Levy, a Los Angeles CPA with two special-needs children, offers a partial list: occupational therapy, music therapy, dance therapy, physical therapy, social-skills groups and “hippotherapy” (horseback riding), among others.

Travel to therapy, food and lodging at a specialized school, and even the cost of parents attending some conferences may be deductible.

Costs for college students are included.

Joseph Nagy, a CPA in Port Jefferson, N.Y., says he helped one family with a college-age son with severe attention deficit disorder maximize their deductions for 2008. The student couldn’t live in a dorm, so the family bought a small house near the school.

The Internal Revenue Service allowed a $5,000 medical deduction to alter the house to his needs, and another $9,000 deduction equal to what room and board would have been, on the grounds that living off-campus was a medical necessity, Mr. Nagy says. (His tuition wasn’t deductible as a medical expense because it wasn’t a specialized program, though the family did take an education tax credit.)

IRS Publication 502 (Medical and Dental Expenses) gives details, and a tax advisor should be consulted for complicated cases.  Keep in mind that medical expenses are deductible only if they exceed 7.5% of AGI or 10% if taxpayers qualify for the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). [UPDATED]

Special Tax Deductions for Special Education, @SJ 11/12/11

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