1) Your son or daughter should be able to communicate a preferred learning style. Is he a visual learner, or does he need to hear the material in order to comprehend? Does she prefer to sit closer to the front of the room, so that she will have less distractions, or should she sit in the back, in case she needs to get up and pace quietly to work off nervous energy? There are several excellent learning style inventories. Try the free Learning Styles Quiz in the Homework section of Ask.com.http://www.ask.com It's a quick 9-question quiz, where the questions are presented one at the time.
2) Encourage your son or daughter to make an appointment to talk to his or her current teachers about learning preferences. Please note that we are not saying that Mom or Dad makes the appointment, or has the conversation. It is important that the discussion is initiated by your son or daughter. You CAN help at home by working together to come up with a list of questions, roleplaying the conversation, and celebrating when this important advocacy exercise has been accomplished.
3) Become comfortable speaking with your son or daughter about the nature of their disability. This may involve some work on your part. Examine your feelings. Does the self-critical voice in your head blame you or shame you? This is a false voice, and you should ignore it. State the truth to yourself: everyone has challenges, and facing our challenges makes us stronger. If your College-Bound son or daughter can articulate WHY they struggle, as in, "I have Down Syndrome. I have trouble reading very fast, and it is hard for me to write." but then are able to go on and say, "I do better when I can hear material and type answers on a computer." then they become powerful. Knowledge is power.
Parents who encourage their young adults to advocate for themselves are building that Powerful Voice. Young adults with a Powerful Voice have a limitless future. Claim yours today.