What advice can I give to a college student with a disability to promote their success?
Being in college means managing a demanding schedule. It is important to develop and utilize personal skills in the areas of self-advocacy, self-management, and study skills.
- Self-advocacy skills
Self-advocacy skills include knowing how to skillfully initiate action and interact with faculty, staff, and other students to obtain support services necessary for your learning needs. If you require accommodations, you are the one who must recognize the need, make the initial contacts, follow up on these contacts, and maintain the necessary actions to receive the services needed.
- Self-management skills
Self-management skills include planning your academic and personal schedule and developing and maintaining academic and personal routines that are reasonable and manageable on a daily basis. Take into account your abilities and strengths as well as your disabilities. For some individuals, strength and ability may vary daily - flexibility may be an important factor.
- Study skills
Study skills involve knowing how to effectively study academic materials. They entail developing effective strategies for note taking during lectures and labs, reading, and test taking. Development of each skill is important for effective overall study habits. If your study skills are weak, ask a counselor if study skill courses are available on your campus.
- Support services
To be successful in college, many individuals with disabilities find it necessary to utilize assistance from campus offices as well as outside resources. An office of student disabled services can be a good place to start. Support services can be steady and continuous or merely temporary. In many instances, a service that provides assistance requires ongoing attention. For example, to continue receiving some service updates on progress, status reports, and/or renewal requests may be required. Factoring these requirements into a regular schedule of activities will assure continuity of services.
Computer and network resources are essential in many colleges and work settings. Adaptive technology makes it possible for people with a variety of disabilities to use these powerful tools. Take advantage of opportunities in high school and college to learn about and use computer technologies. Of particular importance is developing skills in word processing and information access for research purposes.
Contacts with individuals inside and outside of your area can provide mutual assistance or support. Conversations, interactions, and assistance from a broad range of people take place continuously during the process of preparing for college, attending college, and finding a career. Network through professional organizations, friends, family, and coworkers, because who you know, as well as what you know, can determine your success.