We’re excited to continue Beacon’s free informational webinar series built on more than 30 years of experience working exclusively with students who learn differently. Each topic is designed to help parents and educators understand the unique challenges facing students entering college with learning differences and equip you with key strategies to support these students on their journey.
Below are descriptions and schedules for each session — you may choose to attend any number of events! There is no fee to attend, but registration is required.
PLEASE NOTE: Each webinar will be recorded. If you register for the live session, but cannot make it we will email you the recorded webinar.
- October 12, 2021 at 6 p.m. EST – Issues Impacting the Retention & Persistence of College Students with Learning Disabilities & Other Challenges
Students who learn differently often have lower retention and persistence rates at colleges across the United States, yet little research has been done to fully explore the reasons why. While we know stigmatization is a cause, there are new perspectives on what drives the experience of students with learning differences in colleges. What other information may be useful to better understand issues related to retention? What should other colleges, teachers, parents, and students be more aware of as they navigate this milestone? This session will focus on leading theories behind issues related to retention, with suggestions about how to combat many of these challenges to ensure post-secondary success rates for students who learn differently.
- November 9, 2021 at 6 p.m. EST – What Does It Mean To Be Covered Under ADA? Accommodations, Parent Communication, and Other Policies for College Students
When students leave high school, they depart a system that provides significant built-in holistic support services. As students – and their parents – enter college, they enter a new legal system that shifts methods of accessing support, communication with families, and responsibilities of professionals. These policy changes can be difficult to understand and daunting to initiate. By focusing on issues related to accessing accommodations, understanding how to utilize those accommodations, dissecting policies including FERPA and HIPAA, and other unspoken policies in college, attendees will gain a better understanding of how the educational environment changes from high school to university.
- December 14, 2021 at 6 p.m. EST – Determining Fit: Evaluating a College Based on Supports Offered
A major shift in colleges has been the introduction of more supportive resources for students who learn differently. With more programs popping up, it can often be confusing about how to evaluate services, compare them to other colleges, and align them with student need. In this session, participants will be introduced to a rubric system to help rank services based on the intensity and depth of resources at colleges, while also learning specific questions to ask universities to ensure support matches the profile of the student.
- January 11, 2022 at 6 p.m. EST – Mental Health & College: Student & Family Needs and Available College Resources
Emotional health, especially given the COVID pandemic, is the largest trend in higher education today. Even before COVID, mental health is a leading cause of attrition at colleges. Yet clinical services are often overlooked or misunderstood when exploring post-secondary transitions, college fit, and resources necessary to graduate. By critically examining how to dissect clinical services at colleges, participants will gain a fresh perspective on how better to address mental health needs for students planning or enrolled in colleges, while also developing an understanding of how to evaluate services based on a variety of variables.
- February 8, 2022 at 6 p.m. EST – Financial Considerations for College Students with Learning Differences: Cost of Attendance, Financial Aid, and Navigating Vocational Rehabilitation
Considering the cost of special education, and then the average graduate rate of students with learning differences, many families are unaware of the financial burdens that come with college. Cost of attendance for a student with AD/HD, Dyslexia, or Autism could include at-cost programs, private tutors, executive functioning coaches, and other support resources that could add significant amounts to room, board, and tuition. For some families, navigating financial aid can be a scary process, especially for those obtaining financial support from vocational rehabilitation services. This session will provide participants an overview of how to initiate the steps of receiving aid, evaluate unspoken costs in higher education, and how to take advantage of financial resources for families.
- March 8, 2022 at 6 p.m. EST – Practical College Readiness Benchmarks: Considerations When Choosing Post-Secondary Placements
What does it mean to be college-ready? This broad question is something that has been critically looked at, researched, and talked about since the inception of college. For students who learn differently, identifying concrete benchmarks may be difficult due to the individualized programming often provided through special education. More so, schools, parents, and students need to look beyond traditional academic benchmarks and explore areas such as self-awareness, executive functioning, emotional regulation, and independent living skills. This session will provide a theory around the steps suggested to adjust to college life, while also providing clear benchmarks to evaluate holistic readiness.
- April 12, 2022 at 6 p.m. EST – Preventing Skill Regression: Practical Considerations for Summer Programming for Students who Learn Differently
Summer often leads to skill regression for many students who learn differently, especially due to limited programming options available for older students. Structure changes, support services fall away, and parents are often left needing to fill days to ensure students are progressing towards their goals. With limited choices for students, choosing appropriate programs may be difficult. This final session will explore the unstructured summer months and how to connect student strengths and weaknesses with potential options during the break from school.
Previous Session Recordings
Last year, we hosted more than 800 parents and educators across our various Virtual Learning Series webinars. The recordings are still available to those who are interested in revisiting these topics.
- Parent Series – The College Match: Determining Student Fit based on College Supports
When exploring colleges, students and families are inundated with information that complicates comparing and contrasting schools as well as supportive resources for students who learn differently. Using the “College Match Scale,” participants will explore methods of evaluating college services based on intensity of support, quality of resources, and perceived student need to guide more informed post-secondary decisions.
- Parent Series – College Search during COVID: Alternative Options & Considerations for Students with Learning Differences
COVID has impacted every aspect of the college transition process, most importantly, how families physically can visit, explore, and assess college fit for a student who learns differently. In relying heavily on virtual visits, families often complete the process with unanswered questions prior to entry. This session explores methods of evaluating marketing materials and essential questions families should consider when exploring colleges during the age of COVID.
- Parent Series – Financial AID & Navigating the Vocational Rehabilitation Process
College affordability ranks of one of parents’ biggest concerns. Parents often perceive the financial aid process as daunting and many are unfamiliar with other supportive resources including Vocational Rehabilitation / Department of Rehabilitation Services. This session explores the financial aid process, and provides a timeline to understand deadlines and navigation tips.
- Parent Series – Understanding the Legal Changes from IDEA to ADA
College disability services professionals often discuss the difficulties parents have in relinquishing their role as their child’s lead advocate when the student enters college. Often, parents learn “this is the law” without a full explanation of the differences between college and high school policies. This session explores the major differences between IDEA and ADA, and describes common policies, including FERPA, to enhance parent understanding of the collegiate legal landscape.
- Parent Series – Ensuring a Successful IEP / Final Transitional Meeting: Understanding Your Rights
Parents often are uninformed about their rights during final years of high school, especially as it pertains to transition planning, evaluations, and support. This sometimes leaves families unsure of the best post-secondary track, or in other cases, without necessary documentation to ensure post-secondary success. This session focuses on best practices associated with closing out relationships with secondary schools, whether that be through annual IEP meetings or transitional conferences.
- Educator Series – Dissecting College Services for Students with Learning Differences: Understanding Options For Different Profiles
Students with learning differences are encouraged to utilize support systems in college to find academic success; however, they sometimes struggle with deciphering essential information about resources, making it difficult to provide authentic recommendations. This session explores the college accommodations-seeking process and provides professionals a tool for comparing and contrasting post-secondary services in college environments.
- Educator Series – College in the Time of COVID: The Impact on Student Transitional & Mental Health Needs
Mental health weighs heavily in retention and persistence on college campuses. The COVID pandemic has heightened concerns about the overall emotional health of collegians. Learn about key considerations involved with supporting students more vulnerable to mental health issues as they transition to a college campus during the pandemic.
- Educator Series – Supporting Student Athletes with Learning Differences: Key Considerations & Best Practices for Future Success
Student-athletes must abide by strict guidelines regarding academic performance; however, it sometimes is difficult to manage an intensive training/competition schedule and full coursework. Without their accustomed high school support, these students are vulnerable to increased academic struggles.
- Educator Series – The Parent & Student Dynamic: Successful Collaboration with Families of Students with Learning Differences
Parents often take an active role in the education and future planning of students with learning differences. Consequently, parents and children can clash over differing opinions of student needs. This session will review fundamentals of family systems for students who learn differently and interventions schools professionals can employ to increase partnerships.
- Educator Series – Increasing Student Engagement in IEP & Transitional Meetings
Students with learning differences often are required to attend annual IEP meetings or transition sessions with secondary support professionals. Yet, many students miss out on this critical support. This session will highlight intervention methods, strategies, and best practices to boost student participation in required educational meetings.
Why Beacon College?
Founded in 1989 by parents seeking a better option for students who learn differently, Beacon College was the first in the nation accredited to award bachelor degrees exclusively to students with learning disabilities and ADHD. The College has grown significantly over the years, but one thing that hasn’t changed is its commitment to student success – evidenced by its recognition as a national leader in education: