9 steps to ease the transition to university

If your teenager is heading off to college, she doesn't need to wait until the end of high school to start preparing for the transition. There are things she can do now to deal with any challenges that may arise. Follow these steps to help teens with learning and thinking differences prepare for college.

Practice breaking down long-term assignments

When your child gets a long-term assignment, have them break it down and set dates for what needs to be done and when.

Help them develop good study habits

Have your child block study time on a calendar several days before a test. Help her determine what type of environment she studies best in. Develop a plan for taking notes. If your child has difficulty taking notes, practice other strategies, such as taping lessons or asking for a copy of the teacher's notes. Review other ways to keep track of your studies.

Make her comfortable meeting people

Suggest that your child get out of her comfort zone by sitting next to a new person in the cafeteria or joining a club.

Assign "advanced" tasks

Let your child do laundry and change sheets. Make sure she knows how to shop and cook. In addition to mastering these skills, she'll learn how long the tasks take so she can budget her time.

Teach money management and retail sales

Have your child create a budget and stick to it. While she's still at home, let her learn about the risks of overspending and running out of money. Learn more about teaching money management.

Make sure she understands her differences in learning and thinking

If your teen has an Individual Education Program (IEP), make sure she participates in IEP meetings and transition planning. This can help him or her clearly understand his or her challenges and how they affect him or her now - and in the future.

Cultivate her talents

Help your child identify strengths. This will give him or her a direction at university. The more opportunities she has to nurture her interests, the more aware she is of what she can offer.

Help her develop self-representation skills

Practicing self-advocacy skills now can prepare her to explain what she needs to succeed in university.

Guide her through the logistics

Go on campus and do some dry runs to get around. How long does it take to walk from the dorm to the classrooms. If she has a documented disability, make sure she knows where the disability service office is located.
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