Prepare Your Child for College, Since Their High School Probably Won’t

autistics in high school

As your child’s biggest autism advocate, you have probably sat in on extensive meetings with their instructors and school administrators to craft their Individualized Education Program.

U.S. High schools are typically focused on one main goal: graduating their students through senior year. Lesson plans, assignments, and testing are set up to pass students through 12th grade. However, the educational system that students become so accustomed to is drastically different from what they will encounter in a post-secondary environment.

This is especially true of a student with special learning needs, including those with autism spectrum disorder. Once the child enters adulthood, and particularly if they attend college away from home, they may struggle with the independence required to succeed without direct supervision. Luckily, there are steps a parent can take to prepare their child with this important transition.

Start preparations at a young age

Most parents, including those of neurotypical children, start thinking about college once their child enters their junior year of high school. It will behoove you to start preparing them much earlier than this. The key to success in life is preparation, and if they begin reflecting on their interests and strengths in middle school, they will be ahead of the game by the time they enter high school.

Point them in the right direction

Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, students 18 and over are in control of their own educational records and services provided to them. College environments are far less structured than grade schools, since they are under no obligation to compel their students to succeed. The best way to prepare your child to advocate for themselves is to teach them how to seek assistance.

Often in high school, accommodations are simply handed to them by adults. Once they reach adulthood themselves, they should know what kind of assistance they need, and where to go in order to request it. For example, who would they need to approach if extended testing time is needed? In other words, they should learn to be their own advocates.

Choose the right program

Although most college-bound students look at schools with prestigious reputations, a child with special learning needs should apply to schools that are prepared to accommodate them. This means that your family should extensively research institutions for the special services they offer. Make sure that your child has access to the resources they need to be successful in college, such as tutoring centers, note takers, or even specialized ASD support centers.

A high functioning student on the autism spectrum may not appear at a casual glance to be much different from other bright, neurotypical peers. This is why they must stand up for themselves, accept their differences, and ask for the right kind of help when they need it.

ICare4Autism’s Workforce Initiative is currently in the process of setting up vocational training for high school students, an invaluable resource that is difficult to find for teens reaching adulthood in the US. The program will focus on developing employable skills for high functioning and semi-skilled individuals.

Written by Hannah Jay

This entry was posted in Autism Action Alerts, Autism Advocacy, Autism America, Autism Awareness, Autism Education, Autism Employment, Autism in the Family, Autism Money, Autism News, Autism Resources, Featured and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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