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7 ways to prepare a child with autism for college
http://www.savingforcollege.com/articles/7-ways-to-prepare-a-child-with-autism-for-college-764

Posted: 2015-04-28

by Kathryn Flynn

April is Autism Awareness month, which is why throughout the month you’ve likely seen children wearing the color blue to school, or businesses shining blue lights in an effort to spread the word. This is part of the “Light It Up Blue” awareness campaign run by the Autism Speaks organization. Why is spreading awareness so important? According to the National Autism Indicators Report: Transition into Young Adulthood, only 36 percent of young adults with autism spectrum disorder achieved any post-secondary education, and only 58 percent ever had a paid job outside of the home. However, it is possible, even for those with severe challenges, to go on to college and eventually careers. Here are 7 things that can help achieve this goal:

1. Begin preparing early
Occupational Therapist Bill Wong suggests parents of children with autism should begin researching college options as early as the summer before they enter eighth grade. You’ll want to make sure your child gets off to a good start in high school so you won’t have to play catch up later. Students will also need enough time to develop academic, social and organizational skills before entering college, which can take about five years.

2. Use high school experiences as training
High school is the perfect time to train your child on the skills listed above. Stay involved in their schoolwork enough to help when they need it, but try and let them learn independently. You should also encourage the child to make friends in high school to help with relationship building. This is crucial for learning to work well on group projects in college.

3. Train your child how to be independent
This can include learning to cook meals, do laundry and grocery shop if your child is planning to live in a dorm on campus. An overnight trip might also be a good idea to see how he or she responds to being away from home for an extended period of time.

4. Build skills through volunteering
“Not only does this present opportunities for your child to put on their “brag sheet” when they apply for colleges, but they also present opportunities to develop work skills and build relationships with others in the work environment” says Wong.

5. Utilize technology
There are many devices and apps specifically designed to assist people with autism. The Autism Speaks organization provides a detailed list of assisted technology resources to help children and adults become more self-reliant.

6. Look for a school that offers support resources

Students with intellectual disabilities may be eligible for certain types of federal financial aid for a comprehensive transition and postsecondary (CTP) at one of 30 participating institutions. Thinkcollege.net also offers a comprehensive list of 239 higher education programs designed for students with disabilities.

7. Be open with your child’s school
This includes having discussions with both high school teachers and college staff when applying. Colleges that support students with autism will likely be willing to work with your child to ensure they receive an education that will eventually lead to a job. In order to do this, they need to understand your child’s needs and how they learn.

April is Autism Awareness month, which is why throughout the month you’ve likely seen children wearing the color blue to school, or businesses shining blue lights in an effort to spread the word. This is part of the “Light It Up Blue” awareness campaign run by the Autism Speaks organization. Why is spreading awareness so important? According to the National Autism Indicators Report: Transition into Young Adulthood, only 36 percent of young adults with autism spectrum disorder achieved any post-secondary education, and only 58 percent ever had a paid job outside of the home. However, it is possible, even for those with severe challenges, to go on to college and eventually careers. Here are 7 things that can help achieve this goal:

1. Begin preparing early
Occupational Therapist Bill Wong suggests parents of children with autism should begin researching college options as early as the summer before they enter eighth grade. You’ll want to make sure your child gets off to a good start in high school so you won’t have to play catch up later. Students will also need enough time to develop academic, social and organizational skills before entering college, which can take about five years.

2. Use high school experiences as training
High school is the perfect time to train your child on the skills listed above. Stay involved in their schoolwork enough to help when they need it, but try and let them learn independently. You should also encourage the child to make friends in high school to help with relationship building. This is crucial for learning to work well on group projects in college.

3. Train your child how to be independent
This can include learning to cook meals, do laundry and grocery shop if your child is planning to live in a dorm on campus. An overnight trip might also be a good idea to see how he or she responds to being away from home for an extended period of time.

4. Build skills through volunteering
“Not only does this present opportunities for your child to put on their “brag sheet” when they apply for colleges, but they also present opportunities to develop work skills and build relationships with others in the work environment” says Wong.

5. Utilize technology
There are many devices and apps specifically designed to assist people with autism. The Autism Speaks organization provides a detailed list of assisted technology resources to help children and adults become more self-reliant.

6. Look for a school that offers support resources

Students with intellectual disabilities may be eligible for certain types of federal financial aid for a comprehensive transition and postsecondary (CTP) at one of 30 participating institutions. Thinkcollege.net also offers a comprehensive list of 239 higher education programs designed for students with disabilities.

7. Be open with your child’s school
This includes having discussions with both high school teachers and college staff when applying. Colleges that support students with autism will likely be willing to work with your child to ensure they receive an education that will eventually lead to a job. In order to do this, they need to understand your child’s needs and how they learn.

 

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