Thursday, June 11, 2009

Free Tools to Fuel Your Journey!

As a mom of three young adults, all with special challenges, I have been focusing on transitions for the last few years. I know that going to college is one of several options and leaving home for the first time can be exciting, scary and challenging. Our children can look forward to it and worry about it at the same time.

As we move forward, taking action each day, our lives are transformed. Decisions on transitions deserve our attention and energy. As a parent, my emotions have soared high and low as I have contemplated life with my two oldest living several hours away from us. This is a major transition and it can be a difficult transition for your son or daughter and for you as well.

As parents, we have helped our children to receive the resources and supports that he or she has needed and now as they get ready for this transition, we must step back and let our youth step forward. Services are no longer spelled out in Individualized Education Plan and we must depend our teens to voice their needs, share their strengths, and get the supports that they need.

“Going to College” has proven to be a great online resource in our house. It is designed for teens with disabilities and helps them to prepare for it. I have used it myself and it has given me much food for thought. I have sat next to my daughter and we have learned together what helps to make college life successful for those with learning differences.

What I like about “Going to College” is that you hear the voices and stories of college students with disabilities. My adults- in- training are much more interested in listening to the advice of other students then they are in listening to me. They view these students as experts. After all, they have gone to college with a disability and they know what it is like.

“Going to College” is divided into three major themes: My Place, Campus Life, and Planning for College. In going through the material, your young adult will be encouraged to apply lessons learned, to respond to questions and to watch associated videos and podcasts. You and your teen will be engaged and will be encouraged to think about upcoming transitions and whether college is the next step on your journey.

Many of these thought provoking activities provide useful information that can fuel self assessment and lead to powerful discussions at IEP meetings in high school. These exercises can be added to an online portfolio that can be used while visiting colleges and talking with college personnel or taking other action steps forward.

For more Tools to Fuel Your Journey, visit my Website at

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