Going to college is a big step for any student; however, if your child has a disability, this step may require additional planning and preparation.
Unfortunately, individualized education programs (IEPs) do not transfer to college. As we discussed in a previous blog post, a federal bill proposed the carryover of IEPs in 2021, but the bill has not progressed.
In the meantime, there are some critical steps that California families can take as they prepare their student for college.
1. Emphasize self-advocacy
Just because your child’s IEP does not transfer to college does not mean your child is without rights or support. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act still provide your child with:
- The right to obtain reasonable accommodations upon request
- Protection against discrimination
Even so, your child must be prepared to advocate for themselves. Most universities require students to self-identify themselves to both professors and service offices to obtain accommodations for their disabilities.
2. Create a folder
In addition to self-advocacy, your child will often need to prove they have a disability to receive certain accommodations and services in college. You may already have a folder of documents and records related to your child’s disability services, benefits, and education. When your child goes off to college, it is beneficial to make a copy of this folder and ensure it includes:
- Copies of relevant medical records
- Documentation of your child’s diagnosis
- Copies of past IEPs, just in case
Having documentation prepared can help your child stay organized and obtain support and services efficiently.
3. Research your options
As U.S. News & World Report states, it is important to research and select the school that will best meet your child’s needs. For example, it may be helpful to:
- Evaluate the physical and digital accessibility of each school
- Look into the support services they provide
It is important to look into the accommodations each college provides to reduce any potential obstacles your child may face in their college journey.