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The Power to Spring Up Postsecondary Education Opportunities for Students with Significant Disabilities Diana M. Katovitch, M.S.

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During almost 30 years in the special education field, Diana Katovitch has sometimes been frustrated when her students do not reach their potential as adults. Her new book, a guide to postsecondary education (PSE) opportunities and vocational and life skills training, is her answer to making sure they do. The Power to Spring Up makes it clear that education and learning after high school are both possible and beneficial for students with significant disabilities, giving them better job opportunities and more fulfilling lives.

This guide to PSE options is designed for students ages 14 and up with a variety of disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders (ASD), Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy, their families, advocates, and secondary school professionals.

Beginning with the transition planning phase, Part One discusses the benefits of various programs and what special education law does and does not support as children move into adulthood. Part Two profiles a dozen specific programs to show the many different types of options, ranging from a modified academic program on a university campus, to a vocational residential program designed specifically for students with special needs. Readers learn what to look for and which kind of program is best suited to their child's or student's abilities. Part Three offers nitty-gritty advice to students, parents, and teachers on preparing for the demands of postsecondary education--everything from learning about and practicing self-advocacy skills and financial planning to the application process, and how to support a child while he or she is attending a PSE program.

Not only does the author provide important practical information and guidance, she also inspires families, giving them renewed hope in their child’s future and the possibilities for them to continue learning and gaining independence into adulthood. 

"Young people with significant disabilities (low IQ, severe and multiple learning disabilities or physical disabilities, autism spectrum disorders) and their parents need to know all the options for life after high school. Persons with intellectual disabilities have been included in some Canadian universities since 1987 while others are attending colleges. Occupational therapists need to help them prepare for participation. Reasons for motivated young persons to experience post secondary education include improving adult outcomes, learning beyond high school content, and taking the next step in lifelong learning according to the beginning chapters of this book.

Written by a high school educator of students with special needs, the book provides examples and participants' stories from inclusive, mixed, and specialized programs in the United States. The specifics of programs are most useful for those living in the United States although the descriptions may help parents or parent groups developing Canadian postsecondary programs. The content directly relevant to Canadians includes: a chapter on what to consider when looking at options (instructional focus, living options, supervision and support, inclusion level, and student characteristics); a chapter on attending without a specific program; one chapter each of advice for students, secondary teachers, and parents; how to seek admission: supporting the student; and barriers to be expected (finances, inadequate preparation, and difficulties finding support).

The book is easy to read and stories make it interesting. The program descriptions vary across the spectrum of supports and student needs but can feel repetitious if read all at once. Measured program outcomes are not included and indeed some programs are too new for outcome evaluation. Overall, this is a book about possibilities and hope for parents and young persons. It is useful for those who want to continue learning beyond high school and those who prepare and support them."
-Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, October 2010, 77(4)

"Students with significant disabilities should not be expected to languish in their high schools for years, or accept substandard transition plans that leave them unprepared for life. I wish this groundbreaking roadmap had been available to me when I was stumbling through this uncharted territory not knowing where my own daughter with Down syndrome belonged after high school graduation. This book will be required reading for all my clients from my special education law practice. An essential book for families, professionals, and yes, it speaks to the students as well."
-Anne I. Eason, mother, special education attorney, and co-author of IEP and Inclusion Tips for Parents and Teachers

"What a wonderful introduction to the world of postsecondary education for students with disabilities! The profiles from various colleges and universities illustrate the creativity and dedication of institutions of higher education to creating environments and programs that respond to the needs of students with significant challenges. The section that offers advice to students, parents, and the professionals who serve them gives practical, realistic, down to earth tips for REAL success. This publication serves as inspiration, hope, and a meaningful guide to all of us who are dedicated to the success of ALL students in higher education who seek productive lives."
-Lynda L. West, Ph.D., Professor of Special Education and Principal Investigator for the HEATH Resource Center, Graduate School of Education & Human Development, The George Washington University

"The Power to Spring Up is about the importance, possibilities and planning for education or training for disabled students once they stop being eligible for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) services and move to the provisions of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Part 1 looks at why college classes and vocational training are important for students with significant disabilities. Part 2 profiles academic programs on university campuses for disabled students, and vocational programs for students with special needs. About half the programs profiled are residential programs many of which are on the Eastern seaboard. The profiles are useful for highlighting what to look for in a program which may be available at a local community college or one that could be tailored to the student. Part 3 is a down-to-earth assessment for the student, parent and school counselor to make of the student’s support needs and ability to benefit from training or college experience.

There is good information in the book but author’s emphasis in the first section is on college attendance which may not be appropriate for many developmentally disabled adolescents. This may discourage reading the last section which has much smaller and more manageable goals such as independently attending an exercise class. Parents, counselors and high functioning students will find the lists of questions very useful and it should make planning for adulthood less haphazard. Buy where there is a demand for transition planning information."
-CAPHIS Consumer Connections 

Acknowledgements

Prologue

Part One: Students with Significant Disabilities in Postsecondary Education

Chapter One
"A Life Worth Living": Postsecondary Education and Students with Significant Disabilities

Chapter Two
What's Transition Got to Do with Postsecondary Education?

Chapter Three
Addressing the Elephant in the Lecture Hall: Inclusion and Postsecondary Program Options

Part Two: Program Profiles

Chapter Four
More about Options

Chapter Five
Storming the Ivory Tower: College-Based Transition Program--Buffalo State College

Chapter Six
A Matter of Degree: The Venture Program at Bellevue College and ReThink Higher Education’s Passport Program

Chapter Seven
Taking Care of Business: The Occupational Training Program, Eastern New Mexico University

Chapter Eight
Five Hundred Graduates Strong: The Threshold Program, Lesley University

Chapter Nine
Learning to Take Ownership: The College Internship Program at the Berkshire Center

Chapter Ten
Sharing the Gift of Music: The Berkshire Hills Music Academy

Chapter Eleven
Becoming Part of a Greater World: Vista Vocational Program and Chapel Haven R.E.A.C.H. Program

Chapter Twelve
"Energy Is Anything That Causes a Change": The Career and Community Studies Program at The College of New Jersey

Chapter Thirteen
A Spectrum of Support: College Options for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Chapter Fourteen
Working without a Net: Students with SD Attending College on Their Own

Part Three: Making It So--Advice for Students, Their Parents, and Secondary Education Professionals

Chapter Fifteen
So You Want to Go to College? Advice to Students

Chapter Sixteen
Touching the Future: The Secondary Teacher's Role In Facilitating PSE

Chapter Seventeen
Time to Face the Music: Parents' Roles in Building Competence for PSE

Chapter Eighteen
The Buck Stops Here: The Fine Art of Financing

Chapter Nineteen
The Nuts and Bolts of College Admissions: How to Start

Chapter Twenty
And They’re Off! Supporting Your Student During the College Years

Epilogue
Removing the Stone

References and Recommended Reading

Resources

Appendix A
Advice for Students with Disabilities about College Accommondations

Appendix B
Advice to Students with Acquired Brain Injury

Glossary

Index 

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