Options Beyond High School
Options Beyond High School
As a person with learning disabilities, or the parent of a student with LD, there are many decisions to be made about the future, post-high school. Maybe college is one option, or a different educational opportunity may be the right choice. Perhaps a career path such as an internship, apprentice program, or some entrepreneurial enterprise is more suited. Whatever direction is ultimately taken, the following information will help provide some insight and assistance as options are reviewed. A terrific site that should be visited by parents and students alike is www.heath.gwu.edu/node/134.
Some students and parents haven’t even considered college an option before due to developmental/intellectual disabilities; well it’s time for that thinking to change. The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (www.thinkcollege.net/topics/opportunity-act) has really made an impact on college programs all over the country. There are adult education programs, job training programs, occupational certificate programs and new comprehensive postsecondary transition (CPT) programs. CPTs are programs offered in over 140 schools around the country that provide students with ID/DD an opportunity to learn career, academic, and independent living skills as they prepare for the future. “Think College” (www.thinkcollege.net) is an outstanding resource for potential college students with numerous links and a plethora of information. College options for students with intellectual disabilities www.lifeafterieps.com/college-options-for-students-with-intellectual-disabilities-think-college/ can help identify various other options as well.
These schools offer basic, core requirements that usually allow for transfer to higher learning institutions, along with liberal arts and science subjects. Most also have degree programs for training in specific occupations, such as criminal justice, medical assisting, computer programming, etc. Community colleges provide an A.A., A.S. or A.A.S. degree upon matriculation. For some students this provides for a more conducive step-up transition to University, allowing for live at home stability while acclimating to all the new changes college brings.
Four-year colleges and Universities all differ in size, location, cost and admissions standards. Students who graduate earn a B.S. or B.A. degree. These students can go on to graduate school or institutions of higher learning, where there is no end to what may be accomplished. Networking By and For College Students with Disabilities http://weconnectnow.wordpress.com/ is a student run resource where undergraduates can connect and share resources and experiences from around the world.
Adaptive Technology /Assistive Devices
Whether preparing for college, pursuing a career, entering a Life Skills program or choosing any other path forward, it’s vital to understand rights and options regarding these products and services. Vocational rehabilitation agencies are generally responsible for most costs associated with these needs/services (except those provided by educational programs/policies), as long as they are in line with State policies. It should be noted that it is vital they be addressed and included in the Individual Employment Plan (IEP). The following is a non-inclusive list of available services:
- Adaptive services
- Auxiliary aids
- Assistive technology (speech recognition systems, talking calculators, software that predicts and edits words)
- Collateral support services
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