The Committee on Special Education (CSE) is a multidisciplinary team that is approved by the Board of Education. This committee meets after a referral has been made and a multidisciplinary evaluation has been completed to review the information and determine if a child has a disability. This committee is responsible for students who are between the ages of 5-21. The committee determines eligibility, develops and Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and places the student in the least restrictive environment. If a student is eligible for classification, this committee will meet at least once a year to review the student’s programs and services. Every three years a student will undergo a re-evaluation process to ensure that the student continues to require special education services.

Multidisciplinary Team

The multidisciplinary team consists of the following people:

  • District representative
  • Parent(s) of the student
  • Regular education teacher
  • Special education teacher
  • School Psychologist
  • An individual who understands and can explain evaluation results and how the results affect instruction
  • A parent member who has a child with a disability, if requested by parent
  • School physician, if requested by the parent
  • Any other people who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the student, as requested by the parent or the school district
  • The student, if appropriate

It is important that the parent(s) be at the student’s meetings. The parents are the key to helping this whole process be successful and we encourage you to be a part of it all. Please let us know what we can do to make sure that you are informed and a part of all that we do to help your child.

Multidisciplinary Evaluation

After a referral has been made, many professionals must evaluate the student to determine his/her strengths and weaknesses. The professionals include, but are not limited to: School Psychologist, School Nurse, Service Providers (Speech/Language, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, etc.), Guidance Counselors, and School Administrators.

Referral Process

A student suspected of having a disability shall be referred in writing to the CSE Chairperson, Janine Jalal. A referral may be made by:

  • A student’s parent
  • A professional staff member of the school district in which the student resides
  • A licensed physician
  • The commissioner or designee of a public agency with responsibility for welfare, health or education of the children
  • For purposes of referring one’s self, a student who is over 18 years of age or older, or an emancipated minor, who is eligible to attend the public schools of the district

A referral submitted by anyone other than the parent, student, or judicial officer shall:

  • State the reasons for the referral and include any test results, record or reports upon which the referral is based that may be in the possession of the person submitting the referral
  • Describe in writing intervention services and programs or instructional methodologies used to remediate the student’s performance prior to referral [IST’s help in this process- see below]
  • Describe the extent of parental contact or involvement prior to the referral

Initial Evaluation

An initial evaluation must be completed within 60 days of receiving parental consent for the evaluation. This evaluation will include:

  • A physical examination
  • An individual psychological evaluation, except when a school psychologist determines after an assessment of a school-age student, that further evaluation is unnecessary
  • A social history
  • An observation of the student in the current educational placement
  • Other appropriate assessments or evaluations


The student must meet the qualifications for at least one of the 13 classifications established:

  • Autism
  • Deafness
  • Deaf-blindness
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Hearing impairment
  • Intellectual disability
  • Learning disability
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Orthopedic impairment
  • Other health-impairment
  • Speech or language impairment
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Visual impairment

A student cannot be determined eligible for special education if:

  • There was a lack of appropriate instruction in reading
  • There was a lack of instruction in math
  • Limited English proficiency

How College Differs From High School

There are many differences between high school and college; the following is a list of some of those differences:

  1. Academic environment in College:
    • Instruction is mainly by lecture
    • Independent reading assignments in addition to lectures
    • More students on campus
    • More social activities
    • Classes meet less often and for fewer hours
    • Using the library effectively is more important
    • Students are responsible for what they learned in high school
    • More emphasis on understanding theory
  2. Grading:
    • Harder work is required for an A or B; C is an average grade
    • Semester grades may be based on just two or three test scores
    • Exam questions may be more difficult to predict
    • More major writing assignments
    • Essay exams are more common
  3. Knowledge Acquisition:
    • Comprehension skills are more important
    • Taking good notes is important
    • Being able to identify main ideas is more important
    • Effective communication skills are more important
    • Students are responsible for monitoring their own progress and are responsible for recognizing the need for getting additional help
    • Paying attention in class is more important
    • Studying is more important
  4. Support:
    • No Resource Room. Student must be independent and responsible for seeking assistance
    • Less contact with instructors
    • Less individual feedback
    • More academic competition
    • Behavior problems are not tolerated
    • Environment may be impersonal
  5. Stress:
    • Increased work load and faster pace
    • Students are more independent and are accountable for their behavior
    • It is more difficult to earn high grades
    • An entire course is completed in 16 weeks or less
    • New and increased social pressures
    • Students are expected to know what they want from colleges, classes, life, etc.
  6. Responsibility:
    • Increased number of choices and decisions to be made
    • More self-evaluation, accepting of responsibility
    • More independent reading and studying are required
    • Students are responsible for time management
    • Students establish and attain their own goals
    • Students are more responsible to whoever is paying for their education
    • Students must be motivated to succeed

Going on For More School After high School: Questions To Ask

When Talking With Your High School Transition Team:

  • What are my career goals?
  • How have I arrived at this goal? (family, friend, career center, shadow, internship, other)
  • What education following high school will help prepare me for this career?
    • Occupational/Technical skill classes
    • Certificate program
    • 2 year college program
    • 4 year college program
  • What schools / programs am I looking at?

When Talking With College Admissions Office:

  • What admission / placement test do I need to take?
  • If I need test accommodations, have I requested them for this admission/placement test?
  • What does the score of my placement test mean?
  • What courses has the school recommended I take, based on my placement scores? (developmental studies, transition classes, intermediate studies?)
  • Are these courses credit bearing toward a degree?
  • What courses in the following subject areas do I need to take in order to complete my certificate or diploma?
    • English
    • Math
    • Science
    • Second Language

When Talking With the College Support Provider for Students with Disabilities:

  • Who is the support service provider at this school?
    • Name
    • Phone Number
    • Office Location
  • What is my disability and how does it affect my learning?
  • What strategies have I developed to help compensate for these difficulties?
  • What accommodations do I now use in high school? (Books on Tape, extended time on tests, tests read, class notes, assistive devices?)
  • What documentation do I need to provide in order to use these accommodations at this college?
  • Who do I send this documentation to?
  • By when do they need it?
  • Who can help me get the needed documentation? (High school psychologist? Teacher? Counselor? Family physician?)
  • How do I go about getting my accommodations at this school? (Do I need to talk with each instructor myself?)
  • What support services are provided to all students at this school? (Tutoring? Peer Tutoring? Counseling? Assistive Devices?)
  • Is there a Learning Specialist on staff?
  • Are there summer preparatory courses to help me build my study skills and learn about the school?

Students with Disabilities – Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities

U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
Washington, D.C. 20202
July 2002

More and more high school students with disabilities are planning to continue their education in postsecondary schools, including vocational and career schools, two-and four-year colleges, and universities. As a student with a disability, you need to be well informed about your rights and responsibilities as well as the responsibilities that postsecondary schools have toward you. Being well informed will help ensure that you have a full opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the postsecondary education experience without confusion or delay.

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education is providing the information in this pamphlet to explain the rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities who are preparing to attend postsecondary schools. This pamphlet also explains the obligations of a postsecondary school to provide academic adjustments, including auxiliary aids and services, to ensure that the school does not discriminate on the basis of disability. OCR enforces Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Title II), which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. Practically every school district and postsecondary school in the United States is subject to one or both of these laws, which have similar requirements.

Because both school districts and postsecondary schools must comply with these same laws, you and your parents might believe that postsecondary schools and school districts have the same responsibilities. This is not true; the responsibilities of postsecondary schools are significantly different from those of school districts. Moreover, you will have responsibilities as a postsecondary student that you do not have as a high school student. OCR strongly encourages you to know your responsibilities and those of postsecondary schools under Section 504 and Title II. Doing so will improve your opportunity to succeed as you enter postsecondary education.

The following questions and answers provide more specific information to help you succeed.

As a student with a disability leaving high school and entering postsecondary education, will I see differences in my rights and how they are addressed?

Yes. Section 504 and Title II protect elementary, secondary and postsecondary students from discrimination. Nevertheless, several of the requirements that apply through high school are different from the requirements that apply beyond high school. For instance, Section 504 requires a school district to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to each child with a disability in the district’s jurisdiction. Whatever the disability, a school district must identify an individual’s education needs and provide any regular or special education and related aids and services necessary to meet those needs as well as it is meeting the needs of students without disabilities.

Unlike your high school, your postsecondary school is not required to provide FAPE. Rather, your postsecondary school is required to provide appropriate academic adjustments as necessary to ensure that it does not discriminate on the basis of disability. In addition, if your postsecondary school provides housing to non-disabled students, it must provide comparable, convenient and accessible housing to students with disabilities at the same cost. Other important differences you need to know, even before you arrive at your postsecondary school, are addressed in the remaining questions.

May a postsecondary school deny my admission because I have a disability?

No. If you meet the essential requirements for admission, a postsecondary school may not deny your admission simply because you have a disability.

Do I have to inform a postsecondary school that I have a disability?

No. However, if you want the school to provide an academic adjustment, you must identify yourself as having a disability. Likewise, you should let the school know about your disability if you want to ensure that you are assigned to accessible facilities. In any event, your disclosure of a disability is always voluntary.

What academic adjustments must a postsecondary school provide?

The appropriate academic adjustment must be determined based on your disability and individual needs. Academic adjustments include modifications to academic requirements and auxiliary aids and services, for example, arranging for priority registration; reducing a course load; substituting one course for another; providing note takers, recording devices, sign language interpreters, extended time for testing and, if telephones are provided in dorm rooms, a TTY in your dorm room; and equipping school computers with screen-reading, voice recognition or other adaptive software or hardware. In providing an academic adjustment, your postsecondary school is not required to lower or effect substantial modifications to essential requirements. For example, although your school may be required to provide extended testing time, it is not required to change the substantive content of the test. In addition, your postsecondary school does not have to make modifications that would fundamentally alter the nature of a service, program or activity or would result in undue financial or administrative burdens. Finally, your postsecondary school does not have to provide personal attendants, individually prescribed devices, readers for personal use or study, or other devices or services of a personal nature, such as tutoring and typing.

If I want an academic adjustment, what must I do?

You must inform the school that you have a disability and need an academic adjustment. Unlike your school district, your postsecondary school is not required to identify you as having a disability or assess your needs. Your postsecondary school may require you to follow reasonable procedures to request an academic adjustment. You are responsible for knowing and following these procedures. Postsecondary schools usually include, in their publications providing general information, information on the procedures and contacts for requesting an academic adjustment. Such publications include recruitment materials, catalogs and student handbooks, and are often available on school Web sites. Many schools also have staff whose purpose is to assist students with disabilities. If you are unable to locate the procedures, ask a school official, such as an admissions officer or counselor.

When should I request an academic adjustment?

Although you may request an academic adjustment from your postsecondary school at any time, you should request it as early as possible. Some academic adjustments may take more time to provide than others. You should follow your school’s procedures to ensure that your school has enough time to review your request and provide an appropriate academic adjustment.

Do I have to prove that I have a disability to obtain an academic adjustment?

Generally, yes. Your school probably will require you to provide documentation that shows you have a current disability and need an academic adjustment.

What documentation should I provide?

Schools may set reasonable standards for documentation. Some schools require more documentation than others. They may require you to provide documentation prepared by an appropriate professional, such as a medical doctor, psychologist or other qualified diagnostician.

The required documentation may include one or more of the following: a diagnosis of your current disability; the date of the diagnosis; how the diagnosis was reached; the credentials of the professional; how your disability affects a major life activity; and how the disability affects your academic performance. The documentation should provide enough information for you and your school to decide what is an appropriate academic adjustment. Although an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 plan, if you have one, may help identify services that have been effective for you, it generally is not sufficient documentation. This is because postsecondary education presents different demands than high school education, and what you need to meet these new demands may be different. Also in some cases, the nature of a disability may change. If the documentation that you have does not meet the postsecondary school’s requirements, a school official must tell you in a timely manner what additional documentation you need to provide. You may need a new evaluation in order to provide the required documentation.

Who has to pay for a new evaluation?

Neither your high school nor your postsecondary school is required to conduct or pay for a new evaluation to document your disability and need for an academic adjustment. This may mean that you have to pay or find funding to pay an appropriate professional to do it. If you are eligible for services through your state vocational rehabilitation agency, you may qualify for an evaluation at no cost to you. You may locate your state vocational rehabilitation agency through this Department of Education Web page:

Once the school has received the necessary documentation from me, what should I expect?

The school will review your request in light of the essential requirements for the relevant program to help determine an appropriate academic adjustment. It is important to remember that the school is not required to lower or waive essential requirements. If you have requested a specific academic adjustment, the school may offer that academic adjustment or an alternative one if the alternative also would be effective. The school may also conduct its own evaluation of your disability and needs at its own expense. You should expect your school to work with you in an interactive process to identify an appropriate academic adjustment. Unlike the experience you may have had in high school, however, do not expect your postsecondary school to invite your parents to participate in the process or to develop an IEP for you.

Strategies For Attention and Concentration

  • Sit near the front of the class
  • Take notes to force attention
  • Find a quiet place to study, or use earplugs

Strategies For Memory

  • Study your notes right after class
  • To memorize a list, group the items and study them in rhythm.
  • Make flash cards with a key word on one side and explanation on the other
  • Make up sentences in which the first letter of each word stands for what you are memorizing.

Strategies For Listening and Note Taking

  • Sit in the front 0 f the class.
  • Listen for clues that tell you the speaker is giving a key point. (For example, the speaker may say, “The first point is …)
  • Categorize a lecture into parts. (For example, the speaker may say there were five causes of a certain event; then you know five topics will be discussed.)
  • Underline or star main points.
  • Use abbreviations for commonly used words. (For example, use the letter r for the word are, or p for professor.)
  • Meet with professors during office hours with questions.

Strategies for Planning and Organization

  • Keep a calendar with daily responsibilities. Include your work hours and study time.
  • Write assignments and due dates in assignment notebook and on a calendar.
  • Make a list of things you have to do and number the items in order of their importance.
  • Break a large project into smaller steps and set deadlines for each step.
  • Use study guides, such as outlines, so you can pick out the essential information in textbooks
  • Ask for a syllabus before the class begins
  • Ask for a schedule of assignments for the semester at the beginning of class or before class begins

Strategies for Test Preparation and Test Taking

  • Make sure you know what the test will cover and what kind of test it will be. (essay, objective)
  • Use relaxation techniques right before the test. (For example, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and imagine a scene that is very peaceful to you.)
  • Read directions carefully
  • Look over the whole exam before you start, and plan how much time you need for each section
  • Check your answers

Strategies for Using Resources (Text or Library)

  • Read study questions before you read the text to establish a purpose for reading
  • Find and use all study aids in the book (table of contents, index, appendix, chapter outline, etc.)
  • Seek assistance from the reference librarian when looking for resources
  • Seek out all possible sources (indexes, periodicals, reference books, pamphlets, etc.)

Strategies for Written Work

  • Learn and use word processing with spelling, grammar, and edit checks
  • Ask for proofreading help.

For more information, visit the Vocational and Educational Services for Students with Disabilities:

Janine Jalal

Director of Special Education
(716) 532-3325 ext. 6320
(716) 995-2155

Terri Reeves

School Psychologist (K-4) & CPSE Chairperson
(716) 532-3325 ext. 4122
(716) 995-2155

Melissa Davis

School Psychologist (5-12)
(716) 532-3325 ext. 5007
(716) 995-2155

Karrie Hollander

(716) 532-3325 ext. 6321
(716) 995-2155

Sue Weyand

(716) 532-3325 ext. 6322
(716) 995-2155

How can we help you?