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A short guide to help you understand the transition process from high school to college for your child with a disability.
College life poses different challenges for students with disabilities. When students enroll in college, they are considered responsible adults by faculty and staff. The expectations are that they will assume responsibilities for meeting their class requirements.
This added responsibility is coupled with a change in environment. Whereas the high school was a very structured environment with a set schedule, college schedules can vary dramatically. For the first time students may have considerable time between classes and frequently do not use this time wisely. Students must enforce their own attendance policies and prepare to realize personal consequences if they choose not to attend class.
Is my child ready to assume responsibilities? If not, how will she/he learn these responsibilities?
Another student responsibility is that of self-advocacy. Students must become adept at realistically assessing and understanding their strengths, weaknesses, needs, and preferences. Also, they must become experts at communicating these to other adults including instructors and service providers. Although services will be available to them through DSPS, students will be responsible for seeking these services and supports. Good communication skills and knowledge about oneself become crucial to success in college.
High School and college are very different. Consider these differences and their importance to your child.
Keep in mind that the college demands will be different and often greater than in high school. These demands include the need for greater organizational skills, assertiveness, and use of self-advocacy skills. Students must be prepared to handle a complicated course schedule and make more time for studying and completing assignments. Mastering learning strategies and study techniques will make college coursework more manageable. Because adults will not be seeking the students out to offer assistance, students can not be shy about asking for help.
How good are my child's study and test-taking skills?
How to Lend Support
You can support your child entering the college setting in a number of ways. First, be knowledgeable about the rights and responsibilities your son/daughter has under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Your son/daughter is responsible for using the information. Prior to enrollment, make sure that your son/daughter has all the paperwork needed to obtain services. Once you have gathered the necessary paperwork, make copies and turn it over to your son/daughter as the first step toward he/she assuming responsibility (make sure that you keep a copy in a safe place).
Beyond taking care of paperwork, consider these steps:
Your child is considered an adult at the age of 18. You will no longer have access to your childís records, unless your child chooses to share information with you. You cannot call the school and get updates on your child.