The most important thing you can do for your child in his or her transition to school is ensure that the educators and administrators obtain all records of your child’s diagnosis information. This will help when they go to plan and implement an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
Planning for your child’s transition out of high school and into higher education can be stressful. The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is a highly relevant tool to use at this phase. It will identify goals moving beyond high school that reflect realistic opportunities. But it is also important to start planning years in advance for this transition. Provide your child with the tools so that he or she can research post-secondary programs and Universities.
From the beginning of high school, ensure your child is meeting with a guidance counsellor regularly to make certain he or she is completing the correct courses for his or her intended program. Ensure the school counsellor is flexible with re-defining goals and re-setting expectations. If there appear to be any gaps in the skills or knowledge that is required for the post-secondary program of choice, ensure these are addressed. This could be a requirement for work experience, or participation in school groups and extracurricular activities. The counsellor can help your young adult to get involved in order to make his or her application more desirable. The best way to get your questions answered is by contacting the school’s Disability or Learning Services Office directly.
The size and location of the campus – it may be easier on your family if your son or daughter attends a school closer to home. Perhaps a smaller school would be more manageable. On the other hand, larger schools may have more support measures in place. These are just things to think about:
- Are there support programs in place for individuals with disabilities? Is there an autism community already established at the school?
- Are there on-campus service providers – such as counsellors; tutors; doctors?
- The size and location of the campus – it may be easier on your family if your son or daughter attends a school closer to home. Perhaps a smaller school would be more manageable. On the other hand, larger schools may have more support measures in place.
- Will your child be living at home? If not, are there systems in place so that your son or daughter will have the necessary accommodations.
Once your child has decided on the schools he or she wishes to apply for, consider going to visit them. Get acquainted with the staff, students and instructors. Request to sit in on classes, or stay in accommodations, as this could give you a much better idea of any missing pieces that would be required for your son or daughter to succeed.