How To Help Autistic Teens Transition Out of High School
For students with disabilities, the transition from high school can be an anxiety-provoking time and bring some unique challenges. Thankfully, for thenearly 6 million students with disabilities in the United States, there is support available. At Transitions, we offer support programs and camps tailored to support the various needs of this population. Even if the child does not attend one of our programs, there are ways to learn how to help a child with a learning disability after high school.
Challenges After High School for Children with Learning Disabilities. All students are likely to encounter certain stressors as they transition after high school. Yet, students with learning disabilities may have a more difficult time with the changes and decisions that naturally arise following high school graduation, such as:
- Deciding whether to enter the workforce or attend post-secondary school
- Loss of consistent structure/schedule
- Changing supports and need for self-advocacy
- Increasing responsibility and independence
Learning How to Help a Child With a Learning Disability After High School
Discuss the options
Not all children with learning disabilities want to do the same thing following high school graduation. Some enter into a college or university while others join the workforce. And while there is no “right” answer, it can be helpful to discuss the options (and the necessary steps to get into either the workforce or a post-secondary education institution) with your child. In discussing the options it can be beneficial to assist him or her in identifying strengths and weaknesses and exploring potential career interests.
Help the child understand his/her rights
Whether a child with learning disabilities is entering the workforce or planning to attend a college or university, it is vital he or she be educatedon his or her rights (which are specified under either the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)). These rights prohibit discrimination and allow for certain accommodations to help those with disabilities function at work and/or school. If your child is planning on attending college, there are some differences he or she should be aware of regarding the party responsible for seeking services. In high school, it is the school’s responsibilityto identify students with disabilities, and provide them with services. At the college level, it is the responsibility of the student to request accommodations and provide the necessary documentation to support that request(s).
Teach independent living skills
If the child is planning on living independently following high school, learning independent living skills is an essential part of a successful transition. Independent living skills include
- Money management
- Maintaining a living space (i.e. – cleaning, laundry, etc.)
- Taking care of health needs (i.e. – nutrition and cooking, basic self-care, etc.)
- Time management
- Transportation (whether he or she will be driving or taking public transportation)
Although young people with learning disabilities may face particular challenges in transitioning to post high school life, some advanced planning, education, and encouragement by parents can make all the difference.
To find out more about how to help a child with a learning disability after high school, or to learn more about Transitions programs, contact us at (518) 775-5384.