Students with Special Needs can Graduate from College too! They Just Need a Step Up!

You have probably heard that equality isn't always fair or just. Equality is giving every student the same thing. Justice is leveling the playing field for your student with special needs by giving them a Step Up. Equity= Justice.Your Transition Concierge can help prepare your student by learning and practicing "soft skills" that are referenced in the article above. Working with the Transition Concierge will help your student learn that there is help aside from their parents. Students that are approaching college age developmentally yearn for independence and need these skills. As much as you as a parent want to help, working through this process can help your student take ownership, pride and instill confidence that they are becoming adults and can eventually do it on their own. This can be combined with therapy as needed.

Chances are, up to this point, your student has had assistance through an IEP, 504 or other accommodation plan and/or a GREAT deal of time provided by you! Perhaps you have had to provide all the support to your student yourself if they didn't qualify for a plan but definitely have special needs!  The reason many students struggle once they go to college is because they go from intensive assistance by parents, teachers and case managers to very little assistance if any. This will depend on the school and also your student and the amount of initiative they take. A 504 plan in college looks very different if provided. Colleges have counseling programs but they are typically understaffed and overwhelmed.What can you do? If they have an IEP, that will end with high school. Now what?! Don't assume they are alright, even if they have always been strong and independent. Transitions to college can be difficult for any student, especially if they are no longer local. Even students that go  to a college or nearby university may want to distance themselves in other ways to help them establish their own identity and utilize resources. Students with special needs therefore are more at risk but they do not have to be...

Regardless of how many years your student has before worrying about needs in college, early preparation is the key.  If they have an accommodation plan, does it truly give them access to the curriculum so they can demonstrate knowledge? Are you and your student getting the support, assistance and representation that you need? Schools often do the very best that they can. However, due to the increasing numbers of students and demands of their jobs, very little case management may be happening. We don't want to let your child fall between the cracks. Schools work optimally with the students that are middle of the road. Oftentimes, those with special needs and those that are twice exceptional (disabled and gifted) still struggle  because they need more hands on attention... a step up! This will pave the way for them so that they can graduate from college too. You can assist your student in beating the odds.

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