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Preparing Your Special Needs Child for College

Aug. 10, 2017

It’s truly inspiring how far we have come to assist special needs children with their educations. The numerous advances have opened up the doors of universities across the United States to a wide variety of students with special needs.

If you’re a Connecticut parent with a special needs child, and you’re preparing your child for university, the following tips can help.

Navigating College for Parents Special Needs Children

Every special needs child will have different needs when attending college. Here’s how you can support your child as a parent:

  • Learn everything you can about your child’s disability: You can help your child get to know his or her strengths and potential challenges. You can be a coach for your child to keep his or her focus on the strengths while encouraging him or her when faced by a setback.

  • Help your child participate in his or her IEP and Section 504 process: When developing a unique plan of assistance and special needs services with the university, your child is mature enough to be involved. When he or she is involved in this process, it will help it be more successful.

  • Consider what worked in high school and what didn’t: Help your child consider what accommodations were useful in high school, which ones may have been detrimental, and which ones may not have done anything to help him or her achieve educational goals. This information will be useful when devising a strategy for university.

  • Develop time management skills: Just like any new college student, your child with special needs will need to learn time management skills to effectively organize his or her study and recreation time in the free-schedule environment of university.

  • Research prospective universities based on the disability accommodations they provide: Some universities may be better than others based on your child’s unique educational needs.

Your Child Is Going to Be Okay

Perhaps the most difficult challenge for all parents when their children go away to college is the question of whether their children will be all right. Trust that no matter what happens at university, it will be a learning and growth opportunity for your child on his or her unique path in life. You can be his or her coach and cheerleader, but success ultimately lies in the hands of your child.