You have championed and advocated for your child, in most cases, throughout their entire life. You have become educated and learned problem-solving skills. The journey has been filled with accomplishments, setbacks, and hurdles.

College is the time when your adult child builds the skills needed for lifelong self-advocacy. It is important that your adult child start doing for themselves what you have been doing all along. In most cases, your child is not fully aware of all that has been done for him/her.

Make sure your child knows what you have learned about his/her disability. Share what you did in past situations to solve problems. Don't intervene in situations where self-advocacy is needed. If your child reaches a hurdle, coach them. If your child suffers a setback, encourage them. Over time your child will learn the skills they need to be their own best advocate.

Self-Advocacy is important for the parent and the student

Self-advocacy is crucial for individuals with disabilities at the post-secondary level. The student with disabilities is responsible for seeking resources needed, starting with initiating services and later talking with instructors about accommodation.

Encourage your child to practice advocacy skills in high school so they learn problem solving strategies and communication skills. Look at how post-secondary institutions provide accommodations. For example, your high school student may get audio books as an accommodation. NIU converts text to electronic format so the student can use a screen reader or text-to-speech software. Help your student become familiar with typical accommodations used at post-secondary institutions.


If your child is college bound, the Transitional IEP should include goals for documentation for a post-secondary institution. The Summary of Performance and/or the entire IEP may not provide enough information. DRC are happy to discuss with parents and high school students what documentation is helpful when transitioning to NIU.