Like many of our clients (and ourselves), you are ambitious for your children, and you do not believe that their disabilities should prevent them from being successful after high school - either in college or whatever they might choose to do. You have worked very hard advocating for your child getting him through high school. You are proud of your child, and you should be proud of yourself. Graduation is near.
But graduation is not the end of the road for your child - just a big and important step in the journey of life. In the world of college, and particularly the "real" world of business and work, the rules are not the same. There is no protection provided by IDEA, for example.
So your child needs to become her own best advocate. Once your child is in college you will NOT be able to advocate for her except in special circumstances - likewise in the work world. Your special needs child is now, legally, considered an adult.
College provides a young adult with what seems like an extraordinary amount of free time. Many freshman students fail because of this "free time." There isn't really a lot of free time - it just looks that way, because no one is telling the student how to spend his time.
The challenge for college-bound young adults with disabilities is even greater. They must be better organized, prepared, and often put in far more work than their peers without disabilities.
Yet your child may well be entitled to accommodations in college - things like extended time, note takers, books on tape, and other adaptations are relatively common at most colleges.
But does your child know how to request these services? Does she know how and when to coordinate with her professors?
Given the lack of structure in college - particularly for a child with different abilities - does he know how to plan his week, month, semester so that he can be successful? If your child builds these skills, they will pay off exponentially in college - and the work world beyond.
We at the Brownley Law Group recognize this and are offering a new service to help you and your child along with their next steps.
We call it SOAR.
Do you have what it takes to SOAR? The most successful students not only know how to SOAR, they employ it through every aspect of their daily lives.
Here's what SOAR is all about:
S - self advocacy
O - organization
A - ambition
R - resilience/results
S - Self advocacy: Ensuring you get what you need. This means putting aside embarrassment and inhibitions. Self advocacy is not to be confused with self centeredness. There are ways in which you can do to this successfully without bringing unwanted attention to yourself. Some examples of self advocacy are taking control and accessing one's accommodations, making the right decisions and speaking up for something you are passionate about.
O - Organization: A difficult component particularly if you are bogged down with an executive functioning disorder. However, a little organization goes a long way. First, start small (no more than a 3 step plan) and build a habit. From there expand and build new habits. Without an organized plan, you will be setting yourself up to fail before you even begin.
A - Ambition: It's not enough to want something; you have to have the desire and drive to get it. Most things come with trials, knowing you want it enough to go through the trial is ambition.
Follow through goes hand-in-hand with ambition and is driven by "R".
R - Resilience: How strong are you? Can you mentally commit to the ambition and desire to achieve a particular goal? Good question, but the better question is: Will I quit when the travelled road gets steep and precarious? Resilience is the inner strength to get to the end of the journey…..no matter what. Being resourceful along with learning about meta-cognition, having some semblance of organization, and ambition will help you finish the journey.
We offer three types of services related to SOAR.
For organizations we offer two-hour seminars to be held for parents and children preparing for life beyond high school. It is never too early to begin preparing for
this - you can practice and perfect the skills we teach and use them in high
school - and probably should. These seminars are free.
For parents and young adults we offer hourly rate services providing direct support before and during the young adult's college and/or post high school years.
Finally, we offer flat fee services to provide a young adult with a series of consultations, trainings, and tools to help them successfully navigate college and the work world.
Help your child to help himself. Contact us, and let us help your child SOAR.