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How-to

Start here: First steps to get your academic students (of any age!) ready for life after high school

How to navigate the College Readiness Resource Center

Whether you are a TVI, paraprofessional, O&M instructor or other service provider working with a student with a visual impairment, you’re a critical part of their educational team. Yet, as you consider your student’s life after high school, it might be hard to know where to begin, especially if you’ve never sent a student to college before, or if you never attended college yourself! 

You may also have questions or concerns about your student’s readiness for this next step. We’ve created this guide to help you begin, with some important foundational information to help frame your next steps. 

The expectations for blind students in college are high! I know now that I really need to work with students on typing skills and computer literacy to ensure that they can keep up with the pace of college courses.

From a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI)

You can approach these resources in a couple of ways. Choose which one works best for you.

For those of you who like to start at the beginning: 

  1. Learn the difference between the supports for your student in high school and college in this article: “Guide your student to know their rights: IDEA and the ADA.” Trust us. This is the best place to start! (We’ve got similar articles for your student and their parents, too.) Understanding the significant shift in responsibilities helps your student, and their team, develop realistic goals and know what to aim for.
  2. Take the College Readiness Checklist with your student. Here’s a guide to help get you started. Consider sharing the checklist with your student’s other educators (special educators and general educators). Then, discuss the outcomes with your student and their parents. It’s likely to have highlighted some gaps in the student’s preparation. Consider how to pace out adding some of these as IEP goals.  Consider bringing in an access tech teacher to help your student efficiently learn these skills. Who are other team members who can help move your student to better readiness, or to explore the range of post-secondary options available?
  3. Finally, if some of their skills are not ready and they’re not quite independent, consider helping your student to take their time to get to college. Here are several articles that can help you frame these discussions:
    1. Journey to independence
    2. Academic rigor
    3. College: Is it the right option for me?
    4. If not college… then what?  (Because while a lot of voices online and in social media make it sound like attending college right after high school is what everyone does, that is not the case.) 
  4. Work with your students to plan out next steps carefully, on a timeline that makes sense for them. And, be sure to include other important adults in this conversation (sometimes, it’s helpful to discuss these topics with someone other than a parent). Once you read through these foundational articles, explore the rest of the articles as your needs evolve. 

Option 2: Jump in wherever your interest takes you! We will be adding more material to this resource, so keep coming back to learn more! 

I had no idea that my blind and visually impaired students would be expected to do things a lot more independently in college. I’m now working with the students and families on skills to ensure that they are ready for college.

from a Special Ed teacher
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