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Toss Your Caps in the Air!

It’s graduation time again! Many proud parents will be watching their high school senior walk across the stage to receive their high school diploma. It is predicted that 1 in 5 of those students has learning disabilities* and 1 in 6 with ADHD*.

NEWSFLASH! Learning disabilities and ADHD do not disappear after graduation from high school.

A recent report from the 2017 NCLD, The State of LD shows that:

  • 41% of students with learning disabilities will complete college compared to 52% of their peers without learning disabilities.
  • 24% informed their college they have a learning disability.
  • 7% did not inform their college even though they still considered themselves to have a learning disability.
  • 69% did not inform their college because they no longer considered themselves to have a learning disability.

For the student who is college bound, would the success rate increase if more students informed their college they needed help and used the accommodations they are eligible for?

I believe it would and I have seen it happen first hand.   Students will struggle to the point of failing if they deny themselves the opportunity to succeed by not self-advocating for themselves and using services such as tutoring, note takers, digital textbooks or the option of working with a learning specialist.

Also, many factors that are not academic get in the way of success. Organizational skills and independent living skills are tested beyond the maturity of the student and can hijack the experience for both the student and parent. However, once they consistently start using the services available to them, grades and self-confidence increase as well.

It is imperative that we deliberatively teach our students these skills prior to leaving for college. But if the student is showing that they are not ready there are options.

  • Enrolling students in a gap year program focused on helping the student learn more about themselves and independent living skills can be beneficial.
  • Enrolling in a summer program focusing on the transition process before going to college can also be beneficial.
  • Attending a local community college and working a part-time job may also provide the year of maturity that they may need.

Remember that after graduation the support of the school, IEP and teachers are gone. No second chances on tests, no projects turned in late for a grade. If a student stays home after graduation to attend community college, parents have to play a larger role in guiding their student when these supports are no longer offered. A typical Disability Support Services Office at college doesn’t normally offer personalized service. They will help to put the accommodations in place but then the student is left on their own to navigate the system. In that case, I suggest hiring a learning specialist to guide the student in acquiring the self-advocacy and organization skills needed to succeed on their own.  Some colleges offer Comprehensive Learning Support which also can provide the personalized support.

High school graduation is a major accomplishment and I congratulate all the graduating seniors and their parents. It is an exciting time. Launch Pad Consulting Group can assist with all aspects of helping your student embark on the next journey of their life after high school. Contact us and we will walk through it together.

Sources: The State of LD, National Center for Learning Disabilities (2017)

Source: National Longitudinal Transition Study-2, The Post-High School Outcomes of Young Adults With Disabilities Up to 8 Years After Leaving High School (2011)

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