Sending a child off to college is nerve-wracking for most parents. How much more so, then, for parents of 2e children?! Although this is what we have worked for, there are so many worries about how our children will fare away from home.
There are some things we can do to help make the transition easier and safer. Starting early, in high school if possible, is best. The excellent book Ask and Tell: Self-Advocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum, edited by Stephen M. Shore, provides some excellent advice, especially in these two chapters:
It’s worth buying this book just for them. Most of the advice in these chapters is applicable to all our kids, not just those on the autism spectrum.
Starting as early as possible, it’s important to model advocacy for our kids and then encourage them to do as much as is reasonably possible for themselves. If there’s a problem with a teacher that is not so severe as to need parental intervention, encourage your child to approach the teacher and rehearse with her beforehand. When a situation requires parental intervention, discuss it with your child. If you write a letter to the school, show it to your child. Except in rare cases, you want him to be aware of how you are handling things so he can learn to do it himself later. High school teachers expect kids to start taking responsibility for solving problems, and it’s best for your child to practice while still living at home so she can learn the skills she’ll need in order to advocate for herself at college.
Most colleges have information on their websites concerning disability services. It’s important to check this out for any college where your child is considering applying. When looking at colleges, be sure to visit the disabilities office so that you can get a sense of how friendly and accommodating they are. Make sure that your child brings her 504 plan or IEP to the disabilities office; that will make it easier to get a continuation of services. Be sure that the most recent testing and plan are no more than three years old.
Although it’s important for college kids to learn to use the resources available to them, many are loathe to go for the help they need. Encourage them to do the following:
Useful Resources for 2e Kids and their Parents
Interested readers can find more information at the following websites and in the following books.
Meredith Warshaw, M.S.S., M.A., is a special needs educational advisor, writer, lecturer, and contributing editor for 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter.
This article is reprinted with permission from the 2e Newsletter and the author.
This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent
Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. To
learn more about the Davidson Institute’s programs, please visit www.DavidsonGifted.org.
The appearance of any information in the Davidson Institute's Database does not imply an endorsement by, or any affiliation with, the Davidson Institute. All information presented is for informational purposes only and is solely the opinion of and the responsibility of the author. Although reasonable effort is made to present accurate information, the Davidson Institute makes no guarantees of any kind, including as to accuracy or completeness. Use of such information is at the sole risk of the reader.