After a successful run of the College Readiness Program in June – July 2021, the Office of Learning Support (OLS) hosted the second edition of its College Readiness Program. A 3-part virtual learning series designed exclusively for high school students with specific learning and physical disabilities, this program aimed to equip them with all the necessary skills to gear up for higher education. It spanned across three Saturdays of January 2022, and invited participation from neurodiverse students in high school, their parents and professionals. The idea was to offer an interactive platform to these stakeholders to come together and share ideas and knowledge on disability inclusion in higher education.
The program was divided into three modules, which covered topics such as the importance of self-awareness, navigating college applications, job opportunities, using assistive technology to facilitate higher education journey, accessibility, creating a support system, and the need to self-advocate for one’s needs. The speakers consisted of eminent experts from the field, parents who have supported their wards’ journeys and neurodiverse students who have braved the education system which does not work in their favour. They all came together to conduct specific sessions that addressed questions of other students, parents and professionals who are in the pursuit of higher education, and offered practical strategies to aid their college preparation.
Through this program, the OLS was able to build a safe space for the participants to share their experiences and learn from each other. The program saw active and enthusiastic participation from students, parents and professionals, which made it the huge success that it was. It gave them a forum to build networks and support each other in their journeys, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The OLS is deeply appreciative of the time spent with the participants to learn and understand the situation of students with disabilities in India and move a step further towards preparing neurodiverse learners for higher education. The third edition of this program is scheduled to take place in the summer of 2022.