The Great Unknown: What Happens To Special Education Kids After High School?

Excerpt from “The Great Leap” newsletter

When my older son was a junior in high school, we started preparing him for college. Nearly 90 percent of the students at his school goes to a four-year college, so there was a huge formal and informal support system to guide us through the SATs, applications, and all that. I didn’t need too much help, but if I did have a question, his guidance counselor could find an answer. 

Jonah is now a senior at Rutgers finishing off the last of his requirements for a major in political science. He had some rough moments and missed opportunities due to the pandemic, but he’s back on track. When he’s done, he’ll get a job, move into an apartment with friends, and eventually get married. He’s on the middle class moving train. Of course, I worry about him from time to time. He still needs some guidance and will certainly face obstacles and hardships of some sorts in the future, because that’s how life works, but his future is mapped out, and it’s all good. 

My younger son, Ian, has high functioning autism, which means that he has average to superior cognitive abilities, but poor social skills. He also struggles with reading comprehension. Ian can’t go directly to college, like his older brother, because he might interrupt a programming class to inform his professor of a grammar error, he couldn’t handle the chaos of a dorm, and he would be very overwhelmed. 

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