I cannot imagine what it is like to have a child with a disability, but as a parent I have had chronically ill children who need extra care and that probably gave me a .2 percent taste of the difficulties the parents and the children have in living a mainstream life. What is even more difficult to consider is having an adult child with a disability and sending them off to college.
Once again I was perusing Amber’s college’s website and happened upon an article about a young lady, with a visual impairment, who is graduating from GCSU. The article “Graduating Senior Navigates Her Way through Life” tells about ShaQuantaey “Taey” Mack who has earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and criminal justice.
The article got me to thinking: What do students with disabilities need to be successful on campus?
At GCSU there’s an Institutional Equity and Diversity for Disability Services program that helped Taey navigate her four years of college. Therefore it makes sense that when looking for an institute of higher learning there should already be a similar program in place. For Taey, anything she needed for class she was assisted with. For instance, ensuring the software that allows her laptop to print Braille was working properly, etc. Taey was even able to go on a study-abroad trip; she’ll continue her education to get a graduate degree and will be spending about nine months at an organization to learn more advanced skills so she can be even more independent.
Of course elements need to be in place where students with disabilities are going, but – what stood out to me – was the tenacity and drive of this young lady. It got me to thinking that ultimately what all students need to be successful on campus is overall support. Had Taey not had the support of her family as well as individuals and programs on campus she may not have been as successful.
We – as parents and caregivers – can be the difference between the success and failure of our children. That’s IMHO. There may be a fine line between helicopter parent and hands-off parent, but it’s our duty to find the balance. What have you done lately to ensure your child’s success?
First-time college mom