This is the first article by new College Parent Central contributor Lynn Abrahams. Lynn specializes in college transition and success for students with learning differences.
When I think of the transition from parenting high school students to parenting college students, I am reminded of the Sunday when I first began to teach my son how to drive. The instant we arrived at the huge, vacant parking lot, the momentous shift occurred. He clamored into the driver’s seat and I moved over to the passenger’s seat. All of a sudden, I knew that he had control of the car and I did not. I was terrified.
When your child first goes to college, you are no longer the conductor of his journey. You are a passenger – one with a very important role, to be sure, but no longer occupying the driver’s seat.
If your child has a diagnosis of learning differences, that shift may feel particularly challenging.
During high school, you needed to be involved in order to make sure your student got the services and accommodations they needed. The message in high school was, “be involved”. In high school, parents have access to student records and participate in the Individual Educational Plan (IEP) process. In contrast, as soon as your child goes to college you may be hearing the opposite message. In college, parents do not have access to student records, without a written consent from the student. In college, there are no IEP’s and it is up to the student to self-disclose to the Office for Disability Services. The message can feel like, “back off”.
Read moreMaking the Shift from High School to College When Your Student Has Learning Differences