Deaf and Blind Students
Learn the steps deaf and blind students need to take now in order to succeed in college later.
Preparing for college is an intricate process, and for deaf and blind students it’s even more important to begin preparation early. By high school, it’s important to begin considering the career path you’d like to take, and to begin exploring which institutions will best suit your needs.
Who Should I Talk To?
Your Individual Educational Program (IEP) team can begin a transition plan to prepare you for life after high school, so never hesitate to ask them about your options. Your interests may lead to a four-year university, or a two-year college or technical school. Start planning early to find out all of your options for life after high school.
Begin speaking with your IEP team about further education by ninth grade. They will help you prepare for your transition into higher education, and will help assure that you are on the right academic track. This is also a good time to start researching specific college and universities’ assistive technology tools, and familiarize yourself with important software that will aid your learning.
When you begin tenth grade you should start researching schools you’d like to attend, and whether they require the SAT or the ACT. Preparing for and taking the SAT by 10th grade is essential; it gives you a head start, and leaves time to improve if you’d like to take it again.
By eleventh grade you should start visiting and researching college campuses that interest you and meet your needs. It’s a good idea to begin discussing an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) with your IEP team, and to start considering what you will need to do in order to reach your contribution goal in a work setting. Acquire documentation of your disability - colleges will need those assessments.
Twelfth grade will be a busy year for you, so be sure to plan ahead. Be in close communication with the colleges you are applying to, and be sure to submit all required documents on time. Most colleges will require that you prepare a transition packet for disability documentation that will include your academic scores, evaluations and transcripts, as well as your IEP and medical records.
Remember, college will be a big transition - academically, socially and physically. The IEP support system mandated by the government for deaf and blind students through high school does not apply to universities, and you will need to initiate many services on your own.
Some students choose to attend community college for two years before transferring to a university; this allows time for a transition to the academic challenges of college, while also preparing for the experience of living alone and self-advocating in a university setting.
Remember to consider each institution’s accommodations, transportation, and available services for deaf and blind students. While most colleges do offer disability services assistant, an IEP team won’t be present – so be sure to reach out for help and research all of your university’s disability support services that are available for you.
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