I’ve spent the past few months interning at the National Center for Learning Disabilities. One of the areas I was asked to research was transition—what challenges do students with learning disabilities (LD) face as they go on to higher education and the workplace, and how can NCLD help support them? This is an issue that is quite near and dear to me, and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned with the LD.org audience.
Ever since I can remember, I have had trouble paying attention and being able to sit still in a classroom. As I’ve matured, I’ve become better able to control this constant surge of energy inside me that makes it difficult to focus and do well on tests. As I’ve learned from my work at NCLD, there are many people who have similar stories to mine, who struggle with learning disabilities and AD/HD. One common thread many of our stories have is the uncertainty of what happens after high school.
Many teens with LD are used to relying on our parents and teachers to tell us what to do and when to do it. When we enter college and the workplace, suddenly we are the ones making the decisions! It is essential to build your self-advocacy skills, but the process of learning to advocate can be nerve-wracking for some people. On top of that is the fear of what is going to happen in the future. If you are in high school, you might be worrying if your grades are good enough to get into college, how you will pay for college, and what kind of accommodations will be available there. If you are a recent graduate headed to the world of work, you may be concerned about finding a job that’s a good fit for you, getting proper accommodations on the job, and if you should disclose your LD to co-workers. If you are a parent of a young adult with LD, all of these things are probably on your mind!
First…take a deep breath, you are not alone! My advice is to start early: students should attend their own IEP meetings in high school, and be proactive to learn more about accommodations in college and in the workplace. In addition to all of the great resources available on LD.org, my research has led me to some additional useful information and organizations that can help out young people with LD as they make the transition to college and work. Here are a couple of my favorites:
College Planning for Students with Disabilities is a handbook for teens from the Education Quest Foundation that focuses on four main points: developing self-advocacy skills, things to consider during the college admissions process, steps to take once you select a college, and legal rights and responsibilities as a college student with LD.
Be sure to follow LD.org for more on transition in the near future. And let’s hear from you—what transition-related challenges are you or your child facing? What resources might make the journey of transition easier?