Independent Living Skills and Cognitive Disabilities: Reduce Anxiety, Solve Problems

Can My Young Adult Attend College?

Coffman dormitory

Coffman dormitory (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Statistics indicate that a significant number of students with disabilities are attending college.

According to the 2010 Census, 10% of students who were identified with a disability before they graduated from high school are attending college. This includes learning disabilities, mental health, autism, intellectual disabilities, and other such as vision or hearing impairments. While students with disabilities go to a range of postsecondary institutions, data reflected that most commonly, disabled students are under 23 years old, go to two-year institutions, are part-time, live off campus, and are financially dependent on parents.

Data from the Center for Disease Control in 2008 reflect a rise in autism from 1 in 150 to 1 in 88. These students are in K-12 education but will reach college campuses at a rapidly-increasing rate, almost doubling by 2018.

Support for College Participation

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 contained a number of provisions to improve access to postsecondary education for students with intellectual disabilities. Students can qualify for Pell grants and other financial aid.  Over 200 postsecondary institutions with programs for students with intellectual disabilities have registered with Think College, the National Coordinating Center for 24 federally-funded projects. The center also serves as a resource for families, researchers, and postsecondary institutions.

Transition Planning

As students progress through middle school and high school, IEP teams are required to discuss goals for life after high school and to formulate a transition plan that addresses these goals. Talk to your IEP team to be sure that classes and activities are preparing your young adult for college if that is your young adult’s dream, and that appropriate activities are documented on the IEP transition plan.

(c) 2013 Smart Steps (TM), LLC

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