Rehabilitation Services (ORS) for mutual students. Under the agreement, ORS pays one-half of the college’s cost of tutoring, note-taker services, interpreters, readers, and Braille services. StAR also refers students to ORS and other community service providers such as Will County Mental Health. Strong ties with community service providers extends opportunity to additional individuals and ensure more efficient delivery of services and more effective transitions.
Kishwaukee College officials implemented an approach to serve students with learning disabilities better by delivering timely and cost effective in-house learning disability assessments. Kishwaukee College supported the training of its disabilities services professional to receive certified administrator status for the Woodcock/Johnson learning disabilities assessment instrument. Having a trained person on staff has allowed the college to conduct its own professional assessments, properly document learning disabilities, and provide appropriate accommodations for students. Additionally, the objective to be no or low cost to the student was met by using grant funds to pay for the staff member’s assessment time. Now that this trained professional has retired, a modest fee is paid by the college ($20 per hour) for each assessment. As the number of students with a learning disability increases, the college may have to require students to pay assessment costs ($65 to $100) which is still well below what area psychologists charge for comprehensive assessments.
The impact of Kishwaukee College’s sponsored assessment for students with learning disabilities has been substantial. For the past 10 years, between 5 to 10 adults and some traditional age students without assessment documentation have been tested annually. As a result, each of these students now possess legal documentation of a learning disability and have a record of their specific learning strengths and weaknesses. This allows for special accommodations to be implemented that improve opportunities for success. While some community colleges have used area psychologists or had an Office of Rehabilitative Services Office (ORS) nearby to conduct assessments, Kishwaukee College discovered that it was too costly for the undiagnosed adults to use area psychologists and the distance to the nearest ORS offices was too great so college officials provided this needed service in-house. Over 60 students have benefited from the in-house assessment program.
Four years ago officials from the Illinois Eastern Community College District’s Olney Central College began implementing a four step plan to better identify and serve students with disabilities. Initially eleven staff were trained as Resource Specialists for Special Learning Needs to assess and inventory student’s special learning needs and devise strategies and accommodations to help them succeed in the classroom (Step one). Step two involved implementing related training for a broad cross section of faculty and staff on several topics including Learning Styles, Brain Dynamics, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Legal Accommodations and Strategies, and Understanding Learning Disabilities. In FY 2002, Vocational faculty, Dislocated Workers staff and Learning Skills Center (LSC) faculty and staff attended further learning disabilities training. Step three placed additional emphasis on referring students for assessment. Advisors screened school records, test results, agency referrals, and self-disclosure to refer individuals to the
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