How can I help my son with dyslexia (a senior in high school) get ready for college? I know that there will be less individualized attention in the classroom.


Jamie Martin, Assistive Technology Consultant for Students and Adults with Dyslexia

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I'm happy to hear that your son is, indeed, planning to attend college. As your family already knows, there is no reason why dyslexia should hold him back from furthering his education and reaching his career goals.

If your son is not using assistive technology (AT) already, I would encourage him to explore his options while he is still in high school. He may need AT support to get through the large amounts of reading and writing that most college programs require. Then, before he heads off to campus next year, he should contact his college's Office of Disability Services to make sure he will be able to use the AT that works for him. He will not have an IEP to make sure his accommodations are in place -- he'll need to be proactive and be a self-advocate.

I also recommend that your family take a look at Elizabeth Hamblet's book, 7 Steps for Success: High School to College Transition Strategies for Students with Disabilities. It is a comprehensive guide that offers great advice for all aspects of the college transition.

Joel Cole, iMessage For PC

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Kathryn deBros, Special Educator, English Teacher

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Hello! There is a great Noodle article from Jules Csillag here that should help quite a bit. I'm also very fond of using as a resource for LD info.

In short, I would encourage your son to become his own advocate. Colleges have resources for student with disabilities, but it's up to the student to seek them out. He can still get accommodations, like extra time on his tests or even tutoring, but he needs to be able to articulate his specific needs and communicate with school staff to be able to see that those needs are met.

And if he hasn't already, he should start figuring out what works for him that he can do on his own - many high school seniors (with and without disabilities) don't even know how to study! Does he read to understand? Underline his reading? Take notes on his reading? Summarize or ask questions about the reading? Does he discuss with a peer, or use flashcards to remember and understand the material? Does he need a quiet space, or a space with some background noise, like music or the chatter of a crowd? (I used to do my best work in a coffee shop!) Does caffeine or chewing gum help him think? Doodling or squeezing a stress ball? Now would be the best time to figure those things out, especially if he's working with a special education teacher whose job it is to help him learn best - and that service is free right now, if he's in a public school!

Good luck to you and your son as he heads off to college! If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask!

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