Careful planning, thorough preparation and tapping into the right resources are the keys to helping students with autism transition to college life successfully. The following tips will help students who have autism effectively prepare for a rewarding college experience:

1. If your child has an IEP, incorporate college planning into your child’s IEP as soon as possible.
2. Make developing the academic, social and independent living skills necessary to succeed in college part of your child’s transition plan.
3. Discuss college and career options with your child early and often.
4. Play an active role in helping your child choose a college.
5. Prepare thoroughly for visits to prospective colleges with your child. You will want to inform admissions counselors about your child’s unique individuals needs, arrange to sit in on classes and spend the night in a dorm, inquire about the availability of peer mentoring and determine what services and supports the institution is prepared to provide in order to meet your child’s needs.
6. Learn about resources that can help make your child’s transition to college life smoother.

Michelle McFarland-McDaniels is the mom of two beautiful preteen girls who have autism. She is also a wife, writer, blogger and teacher. She publishes the Autism Assistance Resources and Information blog. She is also the publisher of Funding Autism Treatment and College Resources for Students with Autism.

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