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Working With Students With Disabilities

Working With Students With Disabilities
Preparing School Counselors

Edited by:

October 2015 | 408 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
“Finally, a book FOR school counselors that specifically addresses the needs of students with disabilities and how we can interface with the team in supporting these students.”  
–Nona Cabral, California Baptist University  

Working with Students with Disabilities: Preparing School Counselors is an essential tool for all school counselors in training and in practice with the aim to provide a comprehensive approach to working with students with disabilities in a school setting.  As more students with disabilities are being included, school counselors need to have a fundamental understanding of the terminology, laws, principles, collaboration, assessment measures, and psycho-social, diversity issues associated with special education. This text continues in the trend of providing sound, evidenced-based knowledge with practical case examples and guided exercises, making the material 'come alive' and fostering critical thinking.  

Working with Students with Disabilities: Preparing School Counselors is part of the SAGE Counseling and Professional Identity Series, which targets specific competencies identified by CACREP (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs). To learn more about each text in the series, please visit 

Section I: Foundation
Haas & Reynolds Trolley
Chapter I: Introduction
Person First Language

School Counselors Role in the Utilization of Appropriate Language and Dispelling Stereotypes By:

Attitudes and Biases Explored

Self-fulfilling Prophecies, Secondary Gains, and Learned Helplessness

Edward Mainzer
Chapter II: Educational Initiatives and Professional Organization Standards
Educational Initiatives

Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

Counseling Professional Organizations and Accreditation Standards

American Counseling Association (ACA)

National board for certified counselors (NBCC)

The Education Trust and National Office for School Counselor Advocacy (NOSCA)

American School Counselor Association (ASCA)

National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC)

Vicki McGinley
Chapter III: Laws & Ethics
Federal Laws and Legislation Relevant to Serving Students with Disabilities

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Acts (FERPA)

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Section II: Collaboration
Karen Dickinson
Chapter IV: Partnership Communication, Cooperation & Advocacy
Overview of Partnerships

Key Players in Effective Partnerships for Students with Disabilities

Purpose and Goals of Collaboration

Qualities of Effective Collaborators

Perspectives Toward and Interactions with Others

Perspectives Toward Self

Skills And Processes Necessary For Effective Partnerships

Establish the Mission and Ground Rules for Group Interaction

Group Problem-Solving Process

Roles of Team Members

Development of Specific Teaming Skills

Self-evaluation of Team Functioning on a Routine Basis

Consultative and Educational Approaches To Partnerships

Co-Teaching Approaches

Diana Lawrence-Brown
Chapter V: Multidisciplinary Team Players & Process
Players: Multidisciplinary Team

Process: Special Education

Additional Opportunities for Counselor Support

School Counselor Support: Transitioning from Early Intervention

School Counselor Support: K-12

Dickinson & McGinley
Chapter VI: Home-School Collaboration
Family Dynamics

Voices of Families

Sibling Impact

Home-School Collaboration


Working with Families

Working with School Educators/ Staff

Section III: Application
Siuta & Silliker
Chapter VII: ASCA Delivery Systems
Direct Student Services

School Counseling Core Curriculum

Academic domain school counseling core curriculum

Career domain school counseling core curriculum

Personal-social domain school counseling core curriculum

Individual Student Planning

Academic domain individual student planning

Career domain individual student planning

Personal-social domain individual student planning

Responsive Services

Indirect Student Services

Dahir & Stone Shea
Chapter VIII: Assessment, Evaluation and Plans


Assessment Considerations

Assessment Types

Response to Intervention (RTI)

Individualized Education Plans (IEP) and 504 Plans

Goal Setting for Students in Special Education


MEASURE (s) of Accountability

Domenico Cavaiuolo
Chapter IX: Inclusion Considerations
Current Issues in Special Education

The Continuum of Education Concept

Nature of the Curriculum

Transition Out of Special Education

Strategies to Increase and Enhance Inclusion

Preparation of Students with Disabilities and Without

Specific Challenges for School Counselors in Working with Students in Special Education



Attendance Issues

Health Impairments and Medical Concerns

Behavioral Issues


Donna Wandry
Chapter X: Fundamentals of Transition
Definition of transitions

Horizontal and vertical transitions for all students

Horizontal (changing schools, changing teachers)

Vertical (grade-to-grade, ECE to K-12, middle School to high school, high school to college and/or career)

Additional horizontal and vertical transitions for students with disabilities

Challenges associated with transitions for students with disabilities

Counseling tasks associated with transitions for all students

CACREP and ASCA roles for all students

Additional or modified roles on behalf of students with disabilities

Team structures (evaluation, IEP)

7-12 planning documents (ILP, IEP, SOP)

Section IV: Cultural and Psycho-Social Issues
York Williams
Chapter XI: Culturally Responsive Counseling & Collaboration
An Overview of School Counselors’ Roles in Special Education

Students with Disabilities

School Counselors’ Related Roles Across Diverse Learning Needs


Counseling to Improve Teaching and Learning


Culturally Responsive School Programming


Barbara Trolley
Chapter XII: Psycho-Social & Risk Considerations
Overview of Psychosocial Responses to Disability

Risk Factors for Specific Psychosocial Problems



“Finally, a book FOR school counselors that specifically addresses the needs of students with disabilities and how we can interface with the team in supporting these students.”

Nona Cabral
California Baptist University

“McGinley and Trolley have brought together in one exceptional volume the vast material that modern school counselors often leave the classroom searching for – how to understand the complexities of the system in regards to students with special needs, how to best collaborate with professionals and families in meeting those needs, and how to best structure interventions and programs to move those students forward across social, emotional, and academic realms.”

Carrie Lynn Bailey
Georgia Southern University

“McGinley and Trolley have crafted a text that illuminates the multifaceted responsibilities of school counselors relevant to special education. Faculty, graduate students and practicing counselors alike will find the problem-based learning approach a helpful guide for integrating the content covered in this text into their professional practice.”

Kylie P. Dotson-Blake
East Carolina University

“Special education students are frequently the most marginalized group on school campuses. Working with Students with Disabilities: Preparing School Counselors points to ways school counselors can open pathways for creating a learning community that supports all students.”

Rolla E. Lewis
California State University, East Bay
Key features


  • The book is divided into four sections:
    • Foundation—establishes a baseline of special education, terminology, classifications, and principles
    • Collaboration—as the age old saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child”, so too, it takes a community of educators, counselors, parents, and related professionals to adequately and effectively attend to the unique needs of children with disabilities
    • Applications—addresses interventions, assessment, counseling and evaluation methods
    • Cultural & Psychosocial Issues—culturally responsive school programs, and responding to the diverse learning styles of students are presented, and a review of school counselor roles and tasks and strategies in working with students with disabilities is shared
  • This text 'marries' School Counseling and Special Education Integrated Focus, historically independent disciplines, in a systematic, collaborative manner
  • This book has the unique distinction of being edited by professors skilled in both the fields of school counseling and special education and is one of the few that exist which addresses these topics
  • The selected authors are 'seasoned' professionals in the field, who possess both academic and clinical expertise
  • The backgrounds of the chapter authors reflect the duality of disciplines, blending the two approaches into one comprehensive perspective, in order to help students with disabilities achieve success to the best of their potential
  • Chapter case examples, discussions, and family comments highlight the actual experiences of the authors to illustrate theoretical knowledge
  • Special attention is paid to current ASCA, CACREP and special education standards throughout the text

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 3

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