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COLLEGE NAVIGATOR

Easter Seals College Navigator progam identifies barriers, advocates for needs, and creates a supportive environment that will improve outcomes for students with disabilities completing their secondary education.

Target audience: Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and psychiatric disabilities. (Other disabilities are not excluded, but the emphasis is on ASD and Mental Illness)

Environment: College campus

Why: High school students receiving academic accommodations through an IEP or 504 plans often find themselves lost after graduation as they pursue higher education. While the expectation of college is a step in the right direction, the bridge to college life doesn't exist. Most parents of children with disabilities have heard of "the cliff"; the cliff where the student no longer has access to all of the necessary accommodations that were integral to the same academic success that made it possible to get accepted to college. So, the student and their disabilities remain the same, but the landscape of school without similar academic supports now becomes an uphill climb. A climb that is far steeper than their non-disabled peers.

While colleges offer a menu of disability supports, they are hardly individualized and often fall short of what incoming freshman with disabilities require in order to be successful in the least restrictive environment.

Services Offered:
  • Setting personal schedules (time and organizational management)
  • In-depth orientation & mobility (ex. Understanding curriculum, selecting classes, etiquette, etc.)
  • Identify and instruct in use appropriate assistive technology
  • Academic redirection and focus inside/outside (specific instruction)
  • Up front advocacy/education with professors (disclosure, explanation of accommodations, streamlining processes per semester)
  • Integrate assistive technology into daily routine
  • Develop an action plan for the first and second semesters of college
Goals:
  • Help identify potential barriers and problem solve around them with college staff
  • Advocate with the student on identifying their needs and being able to explain them to college staff
  • Create a supportive environment between the college and student to ensure success
  • Improve outcomes for students with disabilities completing higher education
For more info, please contact mmacrae@eastersealsma.org
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