We all know that going to college is a big adjustment. For students with disabilities and their parents, there are also differences in how services are provided. Knowing what changes can make the adjustment much easier, so we've provided below some information to help you sort out those changes.


High School


Applicable Laws

I.D.E.A. (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)

A.D.A. (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Title II)

Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973

I.D.E.A. is about success

A.D.A. is about access

Required Documentation

I.E.P. (Individual Education Plan) and/or 504 plan.

High school I.E.P. or 504 plan are not sufficient. Documentation guidelines specify information needed for each category of disability.

School provides evaluation at no cost to student or family.

Student must get evaluation at own expense. Insurance may or may not cover some of this expense.

Documentation focuses on determining whether
student is eligible for services based on specific disability categories in I.D.E.A.

Documentation must provide information on specific functional limitations and demonstrate the need for specific accommodations.


Student is identified by the school and is supported
by parents and teachers.

Student must self-identify to the Disability Services for Students office.

Primary responsibility for arranging accommodations belongs to the school.

Primary responsibility for self-advocacy and arranging accommodations belongs to the student.

Teachers approach you if they believe you need assistance.

Professors are usually open and helpful, but most expect you to initiate contact if you need assistance.

Parental Role

Parent has access to student records and can participate in the accommodation process.

Parent does not have access to student records without student’s written consent (Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act).

Parent advocates for student.

Student advocates for self.


Teachers may modify curriculum and/or alter pace
of assignments.

Professors are not required to modify the fundamental objectives of course or alter assignment deadlines.

Students are expected to read short assignments
that are then discussed and often re-taught in class.

Students are assigned substantial amounts of reading and writing which may not be directly addressed in class.

Students seldom need to read anything more than once, and sometimes listening in class is enough.

Students need to review class notes, texts, and other materials regularly.

Grades and Tests

IEP or 504 plan may include modifications to test format and/or grading.

Grading and test format changes (i.e., multiple choice vs. essay) are generally not available. Accommodations to HOW tests are given (extended time, reduced-distraction area) are available when supported by disability documentation.

Testing is frequent and covers small amounts of material.

Testing is usually infrequent and may be cumulative, covering large amounts of material.

Makeup tests are often available.

Makeup tests are seldom an option; if they are, students need to request them from the instructor.

Teachers often take time to remind students of assignments and due dates.

Professors expect students to read, save, and consult the course syllabus; the syllabus spells out exactly what is expected, when it is due, and how it will be graded.

Study Responsibilities

Tutoring and study support may be a service
provided as part of an IEP or 504 plan.

Tutoring does not fall under Disability Services. Students with disabilities must seek out tutoring resources.

Student time and assignments are structured by

Students must manage own time and complete assignments independently.

Students may study outside class as little as 0 to 2 hours a week, and this may mostly be last-minute
test preparation.

Students are expected to study at least 2-3 hours outside of class for each hour in class. For a 3 credit class, this means 6-9 hours per week.

Enrollment Services
Campus Public Safety
 (541) 552-6258 (8:00 AM - 5:00 PM)
 (541) 552-6911 (Evenings and Weekends)
University Housing
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd
Ashland, OR 97520
 (541) 552-7672
Campus Map
Follow Us
SOU facebook  Follow us on Instagram  Follow us on Twitter  Subscribe to us on YouTube