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Be Prepared

Be Prepared

Sources, Think College and IN!

  • Encourage your student to dream.
  • It's never too early to start.  K-12 expectations will set your child on their path to college.   Family, friends, neighbors, therapists, doctors should all know and expect your child to dream big.   
  • Help your student know what choices they have. Visit programs, talk to other students, families, watch videos, etc.
  • Start a college Fund. 
  • Ensure that your son/daughter is enrolled in academic courses throughout high school, which will prepare him/her for college courses. While not a requirement, experience tells us that students with more inclusive academic experiences in high school do better once in college.
  • Encourage your son/daughter to participate in and, if possible, lead their own Individual Education Plan. Participation means planning the meeting, working with a teacher to identify their own goals and supports, presenting about their goals at the meeting, welcoming the team, learning the forms.
  • Include college in your son/daughter’s IEP planning.
  • Help your son/daughter learn to advocate for him/herself while in high school, which will prepare him/her for when it needs to be done in college.
  • Prepare student for independent decision making, self-advocacy, let them struggle to find a solution, develop good self-care routines.
  • Obtain college catalogue(s) and review them carefully with your son/daughter and with support from high school staff (e.g., guidance counselor, transition coordinator), as needed.
  • Ensure that documentation of your son or daughter’s disability is up-to-date. This may be required by the college.
  • Discuss with your son/daughter the nature of their disability and how it affects their school work. Practice how they refer to their disability and identify what supports they need.
  • Encourage teachers to document what accommodations and technology your son/daughter uses now and what they may need in college (e.g., reader, note taker, scribe, books-on-tape, speech-to-text software, screen reader, tape recorder, PDA, etc.). Create a list of these accommodations and supports.
  • Visit college(s) together so that your son/daughter has good information to make a final choice.
  • If there is a specific program on the campus for students with intellectual disabilities, arrange to meet with the staff. Find out how participants in the program participate in general college life and academics.
  • Discuss goals, learning needs, and how to access specific accommodations, including academic supports that are available for all students (e.g., tutoring, writing support) with your son/daughter and staff before classes begin.
  • Be aware of financial aid resources available to your family and make sure that funding for all costs is arranged before school starts (e.g., tuition, books, fees, transportation).
  • Identify how financial support your child may receive impacts other benefits (e.g., SSI, SSDI).
  • Know what services are available through adult human service agencies (e.g., vocational rehabilitation - tuition, books, transportation, employment support).
  • Be prepared for the fact that you, the family member, will need written consent from the student to obtain access to their records at the college level.