While in secondary school, students who require it have access to an individualized learning plan if they qualify due to a documented reason. This individualized educational plan, or IEP, is guaranteed by law for students in middle school and high school. But what happens afterward? There are several options and pathways that are suitable for students who had IEPs and are now approaching high school graduation.

Life Skills Programs or College: Which Is Better?

The proper path to take after high school depends entirely on the individual student. Success looks different for each person, and what is suitable for one might not be the same for another—even if they both had IEPs in secondary school for the same diagnosis. Going to a life skills program is a great option for students who have more severe needs and who struggle academically. For students who cope well with their diagnosis and want to pursue a career that requires higher education, college is not out of reach. Many programs are perfectly suitable for adults who qualified for IEPs as adolescents, and accommodations can be provided when a diagnosis can be documented.

Look for Options With Individualized Attention

Regardless of which path you pursue, individualized attention is key. Look for teachers who are proactive about their lesson plans and colleges that value smaller class sizes. Even after high school, you will find that limited class sizes can maximize individual attention. If a school touts smaller class sizes, the teachers who run the courses will be better able to deliver individualized curriculums to the students who need them.

Make an Informed Decision

It is always a good idea to look through all of the available options. It is also wise to consult individuals who are knowledgeable about options for students who had IEPs in school. Meeting with someone who is trained to help students transition after school is a great way to ensure you are thoroughly informed and aware of every possible avenue prior to making a decision.

There really is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to schooling after the IEP ends.

Being mindful of the student’s individual needs and personal goals is necessary. In order for the student who formerly had an IEP to achieve success, they must first define what that success looks like to them and then pursue a pathway that will lead to it.

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