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Transitioning to Post-Secondary
Transition Planning Guide for High School Students
Are you planning to attend a post-secondary institution after graduating from high school?
Review Alberta Government’s Transition Planning Guide: A Career and education planning guide for students with disabilities for systematic guidance for your transition journey
Understanding Your Rights
Understanding Your Rights
As a person with a diagnosed disability, even if it is an invisible difference like LD or ADHD, you are entitled to certain accommodations that will reduce barriers and increase your access to learning. These accommodations are explained in the following links.
Each post-secondary has a Student Accessibility Office with advisors or strategists that are familiar with the laws governing accommodations. Nonetheless, you should be clear on how your disability affects you and what accommodations or strategies work best for you.
Student Accessibility Services
Student Accessibility Advisors will:
Student Accessibility Advisors will support you in getting services and accommodations at your post-secondary school.
Call Accessibility Services or Student Accessibility Services at the institution of your choice to make an appointment to see an Access or Accessibility Advisor. Ask what documentation you should bring with you to the appointment.
Questions to discuss with your Accessibility Advisor
Questions to discuss with your Accessibility Advisor at the post-secondary institution you will be attending or wish to attend:
- What documentation, if any, is required for me to get accommodations while I am attending school?
- Do I need documentation from my family doctor outlining my health issues that might affect my academics?
- Do I need documentation from a medical specialist such as a psychiatrist?
- Do I need to have a psycho-educational assessment from a psychologist that will support accommodations I need to be a successful student?
- Within what period of time does the assessment need to be?
Topics you will want to discuss with the Accessibility Advisor are:
Ask your Accessibility Advisor if you qualify for funding. You may qualify for Grants for Students with a Permanent Disability.
Note – only students who have a permanent disability and have updated documentation will qualify. Alberta Student Aid explains, “A permanent disability is a functional limitation caused by a physical or mental impairment that restricts the ability of a person to perform the daily activities necessary to participate in studies at the post-secondary level or in the labour force. The disability is expected to remain for the person’s expected natural life.”
Both a Learning Disability and ADHD are considered life-long conditions.
Individual Program Plan
Did you have an Individual Program Plan (IPP)/Learner Support Plan (LSP) in high school? If so, your school should have supporting documentation that was used to create the IPP/LSP.
If the IPP is the only documentation you have access to, and is recent (within 3 years), ask your Accessibility Advisor if you will need other documentation to get the accommodations you think will help you overcome the educational barriers you are facing.
Any accommodation an institution puts in place for a student is to assist that student to overcome an educational barrier. Discuss your learning challenges with your Accessibility Advisor. Once you and your advisor have an understanding of what barriers you will face in your program, discuss what reasonable accommodations can be put in place. Only accommodations that are supported in the assessment or doctor’s letter can be granted.
Once you and your advisor have agreed to your accommodations, discuss what the protocols are to inform your instructors about your accommodations.
If your accommodations allow for additional time for test-taking, it is important to find out how to go about booking these exams.
If you have used Assistive Technology in the past or would like to explore the possibilities of using it during your program, talk to your Access Advisor regarding learning more about what Assistive Technology is available, and whether Assistive Technology is one of your accommodations.
Is there funding and training available for the Assistive Technology? Most colleges and universities will have an Assistive Technology Advisor on staff.
Academic Strategist/Learning Coach
Ask your Accessibility Advisor if he/she thinks it would be beneficial to meet with an Academic Strategist/Learning Strategist or Learning Coach. Discuss options to access funding to pay for the learning coach.
A Learning Coach helps students examine their approach to learning and can provide alternate strategies to learning course material. Learning Coaches can also provide students support in areas such as time management, improve test-taking skills, strategies to manage anxiety, note taking, etc.
If you need a tutor during your studies, ask your Accessibility Advisor how you would go about finding one. If you are looking for a private tutor, with one-on-one support, you may apply for the Disability Grant using the Schedule 4 application to help pay for a tutor. Receipts need to be kept, and will be submitted to the government at the end of the semester term. Many courses offer tutorials, campus Peer Support Services, and continuous tutorials in Math and Science.
Some students may need to access counselling while attending post-secondary. Most schools have short-term counselling options. If you feel you may need to access counselling while in your program, discuss this with your Accessibility Advisor and ask how to make an appointment.
Other Services, Resources
Ask your Accessibility Advisor if there are any other services, resources, or events, such as student orientations or workshops, that you should be aware of that will help you with your transition.