Questions and Answers

From Ask The Expert Webinar 

How can I begin to give my high school student more responsibility?

Take an assessment of the roles and responsibilities that your child is responsible for and what you as a parent handle. These responsibilities can include waking up in the morning, medication management, finances, laundry, appointment reminders, and more.  Start by scaling back support with one responsibility. For example, let them take control of waking themselves up rather than having you wake them up each morning. They can set their own alarm and manage their time so that they can get ready in the mornings.

How can I help with my child’s initial transition to college?

It’s tricky. College is a place where students begin to find a lot of autonomy. On the one hand, if you provided a lot of support during your student’s high school years, you don’t want to leave them with no support. You might want to mimic supports that you provided your child during high school throughout their first semester of college.

You can help them establish points of contacts within the different offices on their college campus and find support within the surrounding community. Have an honest conversation with your student about when they might want you to reach out to someone on campus. Let them know you are there to provide support, but also help them build their own support system on campus so that over time you can then step back.

How can students receive accommodations on college campuses?

Students have to self-identify their needs to the office of disability services or the office of accessibility. This means disclosing their diagnosis of ADHD and providing documentation. While the exact documentation varies from college to college, often they are looking for an evaluation in the last two years and a copy of the student’s IEP or 504 plan from high school.

Accommodations are then individualized to each student and are very discretionary at each institution. Sample accommodations might include:

  • Extended time on tests
  • Testing in a distraction reducing environment
  • Note taking assistance
  • Use of assistive technology such as audio recording lectures or using a computer in class

Once a plan is in place students then have to advocate for their needs. They choose when and how to use them and have to discuss their accommodations with professors.

Would it be helpful for my college student to not take a full course load?

The structure of academics is one of the main differences between high school and college. College students are expected to ask for help from a professor if they feel like they are falling behind. Professors also usually assign work and tests without regard to the other responsibilities or assignments a student might have.

Students have to learn how to manage their academic course load. For some students taking a full course load helps them be effective. They like being really busy which helps in structuring their days and time. For other students this transition to more academic responsibility is overwhelming. Taking 12 hours instead of 15 hours can really help students learn to manage the transition better.  Sometimes even dropping to part time status can help students be successful.

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