High School Students Planning for the FutureThe transition process from high school to future independence is important for all young adults. There are many decisions to be made. Sometimes both excitement and high anxiety about facing new situations and challenges arise.
With support from your family, school guidance counsellors and teachers, you can develop a good transition plan during your high school years. This will help you keep your options open for the future.
High school provides opportunities to experience new settings and to develop work-related job and social skills. This will help you to choose the best path.
Career planning starts in early high school:
- Visit with a school counsellor to talk about your interests and capabilities. A counsellor can help you with vocational assessment and career exploration.
- Join clubs and take part in activities that interest you.
- Use the Internet, books, career fairs, relatives and family friends to find out more about careers that might interest you.
- Take all the required high school courses for entry into the university, college, trade schools or careers that you are interested in.
- Take vocational programs offered in high school if a vocational career interests you.
- Try to get early work experiences such as summer jobs, volunteer jobs or part-time work. This is a great way to gain skills and develop references for future work.
- Keep thinking about your interests and capabilities as you near the end of high school - are you still interested in the same things? If not, re-define your goals.
- Keep a list of any gaps in knowledge or skills that you need to develop to reach your goals.
Support for Post-secondary Education
Dr. Hans Asperger, 1944
You may decide to pursue post-secondary education and training. After you have identified the post-secondary schools (universities, colleges, vocational programs in the community, trade schools, etc.) that offer the training you need, it may be very helpful to visit the school. Speaking with instructors, sitting in on classes and talking with other students will help you to know what accommodations would be helpful to address any special needs you may have. Find out if the educational institution makes, or can make, these accommodations.
Most colleges and universities receive provincial grant funding to provide support services to students with disabilities. The aim is to provide equal access to education and training. Each university or college has an office that assists students with special needs. You can usually locate the office by doing a search for "special needs" or "disability resources" on the university's website. The special needs office can advise you of the specific services that are available, and any constraints that exist.
Classroom accommodations can depend on the individual professor or instructor, so it is not always a consistent situation from one class to the next. Most of the typical accommodations are for people with physical or sensory disabilities. There are a growing number of students with learning disabilities, and so there is increased awareness for new approaches to accommodation in some places.
You may also need to arrange specific accommodations if you are planning to live in residence. Some university residences have a broader scope of supports. It can be very helpful to coordinate the accommodations between academic and residential situations at the university with the help of the university's special needs office.
Adult Special Education (ASE) programs are offered at many post-secondary institutions across the country. ASE programs and courses provide adult students with flexible learning opportunities to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to increase independence, participation and academic success. Some programs are geared toward employment readiness.
Canada Study Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities: If you have a physical or learning disability that limits your physical or mental ability to perform the daily activities necessary to participate fully in post-secondary studies, you may qualify for Canada Study Grants, provided you meet the eligibility criteria for assistance under the Canada Student Loans Program for full-time or part-time study. The Canada Study Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities can provide up to $8,000 per loan year to help pay for exceptional education-related costs associated with your disability. These costs may include tutors, oral or sign interpreters, attendant care for studies, specialized transportation (to and from school only), learning disability assessments, note takers, readers and braillers. To be eligible for this grant, you must need such exceptional education-related services or equipment to perform the daily activities necessary to participate in studies at a post-secondary level. Program information. Inquire: at any post-secondary education institution. Or: contact a Provincial or Territorial Student Assistance Office.
New Technologies can be a great assistance for some of the challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorders in education settings. There may be a need for:
- A laptop computer and specialized software.
- Specialized math software can be obtained in order to accommodate any physical challenge with handwriting.
- There are also programs that transcribe speech, so if there are auditory processing issues, you could record a class on a tape, and then have the computer transcribe the lecture into print for studying. The same is true for dictating written reports.