Getting Ready for a New Semester at College
A new semester at college can be a challenge to new students. One of the most common adjustments that students with a disability need to realize is that if something is in writing, they have been told. However, these students are often very used to parents running interference for them. Parents remind them what to do, where to go, check their work, verify their needs, and talk to their teachers.
If that kind of enabling is still happening at the college level, these students might not make it. They need to take control of their responsibilities without being reminded by someone else. It’s a delicate balance. Reviewing the syllabus together helps with that transition and makes the semester less problematic.
Age 18 and new rules
At 18, students considered the legal adult and need to be self-advocating on their own. Parents called my office with a question and then put their child on the phone. Why didn’t that young adult call me directly? It’s a baby step. However, growing up starts with baby steps.
If students are working with the Disability Office, they need to keep their advisor informed. In that way, when the student has a problem in class, the advisor can help as needed. Most importantly, keeping the Disability Office “in the loop” is the only way we will know there is a problem. College advisors do not usually “check-up” on things without a good reason.
If your young adult has a disability that requires a personal attendant, then that individual will assist as needed alongside the student. As parents you can stay involved in your young adults lives at home, but you also need to teach them independence one step at a time.