Barriers to Success in Postsecondary Studies for Students With Disabilities: An Analysis of Current Policies and Practices
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Students with disabilities who wish to pursue education at the postsecondary level are impacted by various factors, including: differences between practices and policies at the secondary and postsecondary level, transition supports, and available accommodations. A comprehensive literature review was conducted in order to determine current barriers and effective supports in place for students with disabilities transitioning to postsecondary education. It was found that, in Ontario, students with a disability are nearly 24% less likely to attend university when compared to students without a disability, and those who do attend are more likely to attend college (Brown & Parekh, 2010; Finnie et al., 2011). Students with learning disabilities and ADHD report being unprepared and overwhelmed by the increase in responsibility and the workload, miss academic support from their parents, and experience more problems academically (Arscott, 2013; Tsagris & Muirhead, 2012). Currently, there are transition programs which have been identified as supportive by students with disabilities; however, these programs are not consistently delivered across the province. This study compared Ontario Ministry of Education (OME) documents and policies around supporting students with disabilities, the funding available, and the supports available between elementary/secondary and postsecondary education. The study focused on the transition supports for students with disabilities as well as the effectiveness of the programs available. Students with disabilities need support to develop academic coping strategies in order to meet the academic demands of postsecondary education, and, as stated by the OME (2013a), it is crucial for schools in Ontario to provide opportunities and support for all students to make a successful transition to postsecondary education.