How can I prepare my teen with a disability for college?
Preparing your young adult for a college experience can be daunting. Cathryn Weir, Project Coordinator for the Think College National Technical Assistance Center, recommends focusing on self-help skills — asking for help, using a cell phone to send a text, etc. — high-school participation, and most importantly: encouragement. Think College has prepared materials to support families, including a list of IEP goals to work on independence.
“So many students with intellectual disability get shut out of just learning for the joy of learning,” Weir says. “They're in high school and their whole education is around daily living skills and career skills, and they don't always get to talk about ideas or things they're interested in. But the more high school classes that students can be in it, the better they're going to be prepared. So if in high school, they already have that experience — they sit in a class, take notes, know how to raise their hand, know how to participate in discussion — even though it might be modified, that's going to be good for them. But if they haven't been able to have that experience, I still wouldn't discourage them because if that kid likes learning and you think they can sit in a classroom and participate, they're going to do okay, because there's going to be some flexibility around what they're expected to do.”
To learn more, see this article.