April 12, 2019 |
Education & Schools
Today, more and more students with an intellectual disability (ID) are taking part in post-secondary education (PSE). This is an exciting time.
PSE options are varied—including universities, community colleges, specialized programs for persons with an ID, vocational training, and certificate programs.
And expectations are high. The success students experience in a PSE program is being measured in areas such as academic growth, employment skills, increased independence, relationships and self-determination. These are just a few and there are more.
Finding a PSE program that best fits your expectations requires research and time. Start planning early. Here are a few tips from other parents:
- Explore PSE options with your child. Visit the program. Talk with parents and students. Schedule an appointment with the disability services office. Gather as much information as you can.
- Before you rule out college as an option, watch the short film Rethinking College. The film looks at the progress made to include students with ID in higher education. It focuses on how colleges and universities can provide a place for all students.
- Teach your child about his or her disability—e.g., strengths, needed supports, and accommodations. This will help your child learn that seeking help is a not a bad thing and will boost their confidence.
- Use the Admissions Review Dismissal (ARD) and Individualized Education Plan (IEP) planning process to reach PSE goals. Students as early as the 7th grade should create goals and an action plan to achieve them. Pay attention to the course work and graduation options. Both may play a role in PSE eligibility.
- Urge your child to take an active role in his or her ARD/IEP meeting. Self-advocacy is a skill needed in PSE. Students are expected to advocate for themselves.
- Explore financial aid options. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA), Scholarships and the Texas Workforce Solutions Vocational Rehabilitation (TWC VR) services are a few to consider.
Once you make a decision, you can start to put all the pieces of your plan together. Expect that there may be challenges along the way.
Don’t lose hope. With your persistence and strategic planning, you can help pave the way for your child to attend the PSE option of his or her choice.