The idea of college and postsecondary education can be very intimidating to families with children who have attention and learning differences. Parents will learn strategies for success at a Thursday, Feb. 26 parent education event sponsored by Parents Education Network (PEN) Phoenix.
“College is absolutely accessible,” says Simon Crawford, director of academic services at NorthBridge College Success Program in Scottsdale. “It just takes a calculated, careful approach.”
Crawford is the presenting speaker at “What’s After High School: Successful Transition to College and the Workplace,” which includes a panel discussion featuring representatives from The University of Arizona’s Strategic Alternative Learning Techiques (SALT) Center, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and Paradise Valley Community College.
Crawford has worked in the field of special education for the last 16 years. He has a master’s degree in special education from the University of Phoenix and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in special education at ASU. His focus of his thesis is transition and special education. NorthBridge specializes in helping students with dyslexia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders and autism spectrum disorders through the transitions of postsecondary education.
The biggest challenge for these students is that they age out of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP), which protects students with disabilities throughout the school years, Crawford says. “The IEP has become this very powerful support system that has guided every piece of their high school experience, but it no longer applies at the college level.”
And when children reach the age of 18, their parents are no longer legally in charge of decisions regarding their education.
“You shift from the high school system, which is all-encompassing—parents, staff, students—and move to a system that’s very much student driven,” Crawford says. “Parents don’t have the authority they once did. Students have to visit the disability services office, do the paperwork, meet with the counselor, explain their challenges and what they need. If they haven’t been prepared, or they have communication or social challenges, imagine how intimidating that might be. We want students to be self-advocates—but with support.”
Crawford will give an overview of successful transition strategies; then he and the panelists will answer parents’ questions and describe the learning accommodations and support systems available to postsecondary students in Arizona.
“For students with learning difference, college is actually more accessible than ever,” says Crawford.
What you need to know:
- Date: Thursday, Feb. 26
- Time: 6:15-8pm (doors open at 6pm; Simon presentation at 6:15pm, followed by panel discussion)
- Location: Paradise Valley Community College, 18401 N 32nd St, Phoenix
- Admission: $10 ($5 for PEN Phoenix members). Limited scholarships available; contact heather@PEN-phoenix.org for more information
- More info: PEN-Phoenix.org