Skills to work on before graduation
Planning for the future can be very daunting and while it is a great big world out there, it is best to start small. One of the first questions a school will ask is how independent is your child? What can they do on their own? While your child is still in high school it is important to collaborate with their IEP team on fostering their independence. This doesn’t just include academic independence but life skills as well. It isn’t just about remembering to study for the test but can they get themselves lunch if they forgot it at home? As parents you can help prepare your child by giving them more responsibilities and chores at home, this is very important if they are going to a program with a residential component. Campuses will have Residential Assistants or Mentors for support but the majority of the work will fall on your child. The more they do at home before living away the more prepared they will be!
Advocating for supports
Once your child moves on to post-secondary education they move into the world of eligibility. In the school system they are entitled to many accommodations and supports that after graduation will unfortunately fade away. At the college level it will be up to your child to advocate for their needs. If during the application process your child does not state they have a disability, they may not be able to get the supports needed for their classes. When visiting colleges ask questions about: campus size, number of students in each class, testing accommodations, note taking supports, audio books, seating accommodations or other supports you think your child may need. This will be helpful in narrowing down programs you and your child that will best suit their needs.
Degree or Certificate
As your child moves on to their next stages of life what do they want to do? Are they looking for a two/four-year program or a certificate? This decision stems from the big question “What do you want to do with your life?”. This is possibly one of the hardest questions for our kids to answer. Do some research with your child, see what they are good at, what do they enjoy doing? Is this something they can get a certificate and find a job or will they need an associates or bachelors degree? A great resource to research what would work best for your child is Think College. This site offers family resources, trainings, college searches and so much more. https://thinkcollege.net/
Some programs to look into:
Vista Vocational https://www.vistalifeinnovations.org/
Centenary University Project ABLE
College Steps https://www.collegesteps.org/
- College Steps and County College of Morris