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How to Prepare a Student with a Learning Disability Transition into Higher Education?

When should I start to prepare my child for Middle School? Is it too late to start preparing for high school? How do we get ready for university?  In one way or another parents are often asking me questions in regards to transitioning and getting their child ready for the next academic milestone.  It does not matter if your child is in grade 3, or 8 the present moment is the perfect time to start preparing students for transitioning..


Supporting an individual with a learning disability, requires more that academic support. It requires being proactive and planning ahead.

Incorporate Colour- Colour code notebooks for each subject. Ex. Math red, English Blue Science Yellow etc. If notes are stored electronically students can colour code folders as well. But colour coding materials help to add one extra visual cue.

Write a title, subheadings, date and page number, when taking notes either off the board of from a text book. Write the heading of the chapter, date and number each page of notes that are taken

Make use of an agenda. It does not matter if its hard copy or electronic utilize calendars. Plan study time for each subject, time to complete homework, and most importantly time for fun.  I always suggest to plan to finish 5 days before the actual due date.


Academic versus Applied - In Ontario high school  students are required to select course either academic or applied level, which ever level is selected usually set students up on a path that will determine their post-secondary options. For example, all university programs require students to have a grade 12 academic English. It is important to know which courses student will need for the future. Certain programs requires a specific level of math, or sciences and a perquisite. Although, you may think it is too early to think of what post-secondary, a lot of the course in high school set the foundation for the path after high school.

Money Management.  Financial management is key at any stage but if you have a child that is moving away for university or college maintaining a budget can be even more critical. Tuition, Books,  transportation, and housing etc. are costly especially on a student budget (which is some case is zero). Helping students to understand how to make a budget, how to stick to it when they are living away from home or taking on more responsibility.

Make a budget

How to save emergency and large expenses

How to use credit wisely


Talk About It. Just as this can be a new and nerve racking experience for a parent, its is also nerve racking for your child. Often adults are so focus on planning and preparing for the next step that it is easy to forget to ask the student how are they feeling or what do they need. Encourage an open dialogue that helps students to talk about the emotions, thoughts and even concerns surrounding this new transition in their academic career. Resist the temptation to give advice rather listen and agree to work together on a solution.

It’s a new year, new decade and a new start to school year. Although it can be a struggle getting back into the school routine, take this slow period to help prepare for what is going to happen next.  Be proactive and prepare now for the next stage. It is your child future and education, and there are no learning limits to what they can achieve

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