Who Manages Your Accommodations?
There are communication and access supports available to you in high school and in post-secondary, but there will be some key differences between the two and how they are managed. Understanding these differences will enable you to be prepared for the changes and plan for your success.
Comparing High School & Post-Secondary Education supports
When you start college or university, your support system will change. One of the biggest changes is that YOU will now become the coordinator of your support system. You will have to ask for the supports you need and be part of planning process because in post-secondary, nobody will know your needs unless you tell them.
It may seem like a lot to be responsible for your own access needs, but there are people in place to assist you. Let’s take a look at how the people in your support system will be different from high school to college or university.
Parents and Guardians help you in many ways. They will call the school to notify them if you are sick, sign permission forms, attend parent and teacher interviews, participate in your Individualized Education Plan (IEP) sessions, and discuss your access accommodations. They might wake you up in the morning, make your lunch, and even drive you to school.
- All of those responsibilities change once you are in college or university. Your parents or guardians will no longer be directly involved with the school; instead of your parents managing all those tasks, it will be up to you, the student, to arrange for everything that you need! You will be in charge of contacting your access advisor to arrange for your accommodations, communicate with your instructors and interpreters or transcribers
Teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (TDHH) are also one of your greatest supports! You may not realize how much they manage on your behalf, just as your parents do. They manage your communication access supports, check that equipment is working, help arrange interpreting services, ensure that you are seated in the best possible place in the classroom, and that you understand your hearing loss. Important reminder: in your final year, remember to get a copy of your Individualized Education Plan (IEP) from your TDHH.
- In high school, your teacher may have arranged for a Sound field System/speaker unit to be set up in your classrooms or your personal FM device that the teacher uses to transmit their voice directly into your hearing aids. This equipment does not go with you when you move on to post-secondary. Perhaps you are thinking “great, I finally get to ditch the equipment,” but we encourage you to think again! The post-secondary classrooms can be very large, which can make hearing your instructor and classmates more challenging.
- Most students’ current Audiologist/Audiology Clinic is likely one that the student has been at since childhood. In British Columbia, children are typically seen at a Public Health Unit where, there are often minimal costs for services. In most cases, once you exit Grade 12, you need to find a new Audiologist at a private clinic (with the exception of those who have Cochlear Implants). It is important to let the Public Health Audiologist know that you are thinking about post-secondary studies so that the appropriate paperwork is prepared Sample Audiogram, Report and Appendix 8. Also, ask if they can recommend a new Audiologist in the area and if they can send your file to them.
High school is like a small community. The teachers, principal and other support staff all know your communication needs and take responsibility for making sure you have what you need. At college or university, instead of your teachers, parents or audiologists assisting with reminders and monitoring your progress, you will now be responsible for all of your own organizing. There are supports and services available to you, but you have to plan for and request them and prepare for them independently.