Sheryl Burgstahler

Transition to college is not just a challenge for students with disabilities. It is a challenge for parents as well. Below is a sample of some of the advice parents of DO-IT Scholars have given to one another as part of their active discussion list.

  • My advice sounds simple, but believe me it was one of the hardest things to do. It is time, mom and dad . . . to encourage your child to learn to take the lead. For many of us, our child's success in school has depended on how well we have learned to navigate the "system". It is time to pass those hard won skills on to our kids. The next year or two of high school is the prefect time for them to practice the skills needed to advocate for themselves in the "real world." DO-IT will give them all kinds of ideas on this. Let them negotiate with their teachers; let them follow up on concerns; let them take the lead in IEP (Individualized Education Program) meetings; let them problem solve as much as possible on their own. Be a support person; be a mentor; but let them be in charge.
  • For us this approach is really evident as the transition to college is happening. Our son has handled all contact with the disability support services at the university by himself. Wow . . .my job was to get the disability documentation paperwork gathered up, and help brainstorm with him about what needed to be done before school started. He took care of it from there.
  • The university that my daughter plans to attend has been exceptional with assisting her with her needs. But as she prepares for school in the fall, I find myself running scenarios through my head about all the things that could go wrong. I have to remind myself that she did pretty well while she was in the DO-IT program on campus, and that left to her own devices, she will manage. It helps alleviate some of my fears, but letting go is still difficult. I appreciate the input from other parents and will continue to say my prayers for my daughter and all the kids dealing with managing their lives.