blocks spelling out the letters "IEP"

Although an IEP or 504 plan doesn't follow your high school graduate to college, this doesn't mean that the learning disabilities that they dealt with vanish. Instead, incoming college freshmen need to choose the best school for their needs – one that offers the required support systems in order to help them make the most of their college experience. This doesn't mean that they won't receive the types of accommodations that they need. On the contrary, they will get plenty of assistance, as long as they choose a university with a department dedicated to helping them.

Have a child with an IEP who is getting ready to graduate and choose their college? Here are some questions that you and your student should ask when visiting colleges.

Who Oversees the Supports that Can Be Put into Place?

Most colleges have an office of accessibility or a department with a similar name. For example, Dean College has both an Office of Accessibility and the Morton Family Learning Center to provide the help that students who have IEPs in high school need to succeed in college. When examining schools, make sure to ask who is in charge of these supports and see if you can speak with someone from that department one-on-one to explain your concerns.

How Close is the School to Home?

Some students who need some extra support get it at home. Whether they need to be in close contact with parents and siblings, or even former high school teachers who are still willing to help get homework and study schedules in place, looking for a university that's close to home can be helpful. If this is the case, try to find a school that's within a reasonable distance, such as an hour or less, so that the student can still be independent but is able to be home when necessary.

Is Technology a Part of the Learning Support?

Technology can be a great assistant to students who have learning disabilities. Reading apps that turn any book (or even notes) into an e-book are one example. While some students may have their own personal technology to support them, others don't. Ask if the school provides technology for students who need it and what that technology looks like and does.

What About Other Forms of Assistance?

Some students with IEPs need help taking notes or a longer allotted time to take tests. Ask if the school provides volunteers who take class notes for the student or if live lectures can be taped and replayed later. Students who need extra time with exams or lab work might be able to get it, as long as the school and the professor make plans ahead of time.

High schoolers with IEPs will find that Dean College's Office of Accessibility Services is able to accommodate learning for many different disabilities. Students with a documented disability who need various resources can receive them, from help with meals to assistance in the classroom. In addition, Dean College has a number of other services available through the Morton Family Learning Center. Find out more today!