As the parent or caregiver of a young person 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.
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:
- Learn the difference between the supports for your student in high school and college in this article about how to support your student’s growing independence and transition from IDEA to ADA. Trust us. This is the best place to start! (We’ve got similar articles for your student and your student’s TVI, too!)
- Assess your student’s skills with the College Readiness Checklist (from your perspective), share it with your student’s educators, and then discuss your answers with your TVI and your student. Some of the questions may surprise you, or be about things you’ve never heard of. The key here is to learn what you don’t know, and consider how to plan to fill in some of the gaps. Bottom line: the supports currently in place in high school do not exist in the college setting. (The previously mentioned article, “From ‘parent advocate’ to ‘partner:’ How your role changes with high school graduation” has more on this crucial topic.)
- Then, explore the differences between colleges and universities in this article ”College: Is it the right option for me?” Move onto “If not college… then what?”
- Finally, “College: Not a one size fits all” will help you better understand the many kinds of colleges and programs out there. A common way to begin is to consider how you feel about a few things: How far from home does your student want to be, or are they ready to be? Does your student really know what they want to study? There aren’t many students who really do!? (Pro tip: it’s ok if they don’t!) How much academic work does your student do independently? Do they have initiative? How independent is your student in managing day-to-day logistics, travel and other tasks of daily living? Lots of things change in college, but there are different ways to begin this part of their life that will set them up for success.
- 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. 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’s not the case. Work with your student to plan out the 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!
There is so much I didn’t know about the differences in accommodations between high school and college. My son had lots of support in high school, but once he got to college he had to be a lot more independent.