Questions for students to answer about their transition to adulthood

  • Where do I want to be living in 5 years? 10 years?
  • How much education do I want to have completed?
  • Do I see myself starting a family?
  • What kind of career would I have (takes into account education, living, and family goals)?
  • Other hopes and dreams (travel, big car, etc.)

Core skills needed for a successful transition to adulthood

  • Time management
  • Communication skills
  • Self-advocacy - know what your learning needs are and how to access accommodations
  • Problem solving skills
  • Organization
  • Goal setting and achievement
  • Basic reading and math skills

Click here to access the Life Skills Assessment

Accommodations in the workplace and in college

IEP/Service Plan - expires upon graduation

accommodations can stay in place during college

or the workplace but not guaranteed

504 plan - covers the lifespan, details accommodations - colleges and workplaces follow this, but not all accommodations are guaranteed

Must ask for accommodations!

Work experience in high school

  • Students can begin working at age 15
  • Recommended for summer at least
  • Credit granted through Work Internship Program (also for long term volunteering)
  • Work permits available through the school
  • Zingerman’s - special relationship - let us know if application is turned in
  • Meijer’s, TJ Maxx, York, Noodles & Co., Linden Square are good places
  • Always looking for more options

College or career after high school?

Employment percentage of 25- to 64-year-olds with and without disabilities, by educational attainment: 2015 - National Center for Education Statistics

Our graduates

  • 90% go to college - tends to take 7 - 10 years to complete an undergraduate degree
  • A certificate from WCC or another college may be the most practical option - sound design, computer tech, early childhood education, auto repair, etc.
  • Apprenticeship in a trade may be an option, as may the military
  • We have teachers, a pilot, a lawyer, retail workers, cooks, dishwashers, health care providers, auto mechanics, construction managers, and more

Keys to college success (from NCLD)

  • Take a rigorous college prep high school program, one that's challenging but one in which you can succeed.
  • Become familiar with all of your evaluations, IEPs, 504 Plans. Know who you are, what works for you, and what you'll need.
  • Make sure your documentation is current. When requesting accommodations at college, you must have documentation (testing) from within the last three years.

Keys to college success (cont.)

  • Research colleges not just by whether they have a "program" or not but also by whether or not you would be going there if you didn't need a program.
  • Be ready to work! College is going to be a challenge. It gets harder, faster.
  • Relax. Thousands have gone before you and succeeded. You can too!

Source: National Center for Learning Disabilities

Why community college first?

  • No ACT/SAT admissions requirements
  • Small class sizes and faculty devoted to teaching
  • Can enroll part time – students do best if they start with one or two classes per semester for their first year
  • Opportunities for working, extracurriculars, etc.
  • Associate’s degree, certificate, or transfer to 4 year college are all options

Washtenaw Community College

  • Need to apply, then complete the online and in person orientations (
  • You must take the placement test or use ACT scores to show college readiness
  • If scores indicate a lack of college readiness, you will need to take remedial classes to prepare you for college level work

WCC Disability Services

Services offered:

Tutoring by peer and professional tutors is available to all enrolled WCC students.  Tutoring assists students in further understanding concepts presented by instructors.

Information sessions for students with disabilities on using support services

Academic accommodations for students with disabilities

Academic advising and counseling

Use of Assistive Technology


Schoolcraft College

  • Known for culinary arts program and technology programs
  • more flexible for dual enrollment
  • Less expensive to Wayne County residents
  • Learning Assistance Center offers support for students with learning disabilities:
  • LAC phone number is 734-462-4436

Accessing help in college

  • Find the Learning or Disability Support Services office and get to know them well
  • Find out what services and accommodations they can offer
  • See if they can recommend professors that are known for being good for students who learn differently
  • The student is in the driver’s seat – they will need to request accommodations and advocate for themselves
  • Accommodations are based on the IEP or 504, but are not required to be the same
  • Bring your most recent IEP and evaluation, or 504, to the meeting with support services

Dual Enrollment - college classes for students still in high school

Summer Pre-College Programs

Summer pre-college programs (cont.)

Some four year colleges we recommend

  • Eastern Michigan University (especially with the Autism Support Program)
  • University of Arizona (SALT Program) - LD, ADHD
  • Beacon College, Florida - LD, ADHD
  • Curry College, Boston - LD, ADHD
  • Mercyhurst College, Pennsylvania - LD, ADHD, ASD
  • Muskingum University, Ohio - LD, ADHD
  • Defiance College, Ohio - ASD
  • Notre Dame College, Ohio - LD, ADHD, ASD
  • We do not recommend for-profit colleges such as Baker, Davenport, University of Phoenix, or the Art Institutes.

Standardized Testing - what you need to know

  • We give the ACT - request accommodations for all of our students via IEP or 504
  • Test registration is through the ACT website - will prompt you to let Meredith know to request accommodations
  • Do not test on national testing days if most accommodations received - test in one of 6 three week windows throughout the year
  • Can file request for SAT accommodations - more complicated situation

Timeline for college applications

Grade 10 - look for summer opportunities for college camp experiences

Grade 11 - look at colleges, meet with Meredith about choices, take the ACT or SAT (should take a prep course first)

Summer before senior year - visit prospective colleges

Grade 12 - retake ACT/SAT if needed (by October), apply to colleges (recommend by November 1), visit learning support centers at the colleges you get into before you make your final decision

Finding Financial Aid for College

Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS)

- Call to set an appointment to open a case during junior year

- If the student lives in Washtenaw County, call 677-7505 (

  • If in another county, go to and use the office locator to find an office in your county
  • Bring most recent IEP and MET, or 504 plan to your initial visit
  • MRS is the gateway to MCTI, MCTI Summer Career Assessment Camp, and Michigan Ability Partners

Michigan Career and Technical Institute (MCTI)

  • State run career training center for Michigan residents with disabilities – free!
  • Many programs available – culinary, woodworking, nurse assistant, printing, janitorial services
  • Residential setting just north of Kalamazoo
  • Training programs are usually 6 weeks to 3 months
  • Accessible only through Michigan Rehabilitation Services

Washtenaw Association for Community Advocacy

  • Helps individuals with disabilities to obtain and maintain benefits, including Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and the Michigan Family Support Subsidy
  • Helps individuals with disabilities and their families to plan for the future through person-centered planning, estate planning and alternatives to guardianship
  • 734-662-1256

Thirteenth Year Program at

Ann Arbor Academy

  • Transitional program for students who have graduated but need a bridge to the next step
  • Very individualized - can focus on academics, life skills, or both
  • Full or half days
  • Contact Meredith for more information

What the family can do to help with a successful transition to adulthood

  • Start talking about goals and plans early, and talk about them often
  • Enable your child to volunteer or to get a job during the summer
  • Make driving a priority, if appropriate – if not, help support the student learning to ride the bus
  • Household chores help students to understand basic work skills
  • Teenagers should order their own food at restaurants, figure the tip, grocery shop, etc. as often as possible

Housing and social support throughout the lifespan

  • Intentional Communities of Washtenaw
  • Living and Learning Center, Northville
  • Michigan Ability Partners
  • Camp Zip
  • Center for Independent Living, Ann Arbor

Finding a college that’s right for you

Driver’s Education

- A & A Driving School (specifically for students with special needs):

- Real Skills Academy (specifically for students with special needs):

Resources for transitions

High school transitions general information - Google Slides