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A Family Weekend Retreat for Parents and Students Who Learn Differently in Grades 8-11

May 2-5, 2024 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Orlando Resort

Raising a teenager is hard — and families of college-bound students with dyslexia, ADHD and other learning disabilities say it’s harder than ever. For 35 years, Beacon College has partnered with the families of college-bound students with dyslexia, ADHD and other learning disabilities. They’re telling us that they and their teens need more help than ever — before and during the college search.

From Beacon’s renowned Center for College Readiness comes a new immersive weekend retreat crafted to empower parents and students with the knowledge, skills, and connections needed to confidently navigate the transition to college.

Over this 3-day retreat, parents and guardians connect with like-minded families and begin building their support network while participating in workshops on vital college transition topics. Meanwhile, their students build social connections and develop their interpersonal skills at Orlando theme parks and other destinations.

Attend an Info Session

Learn more and ask questions at a live info session with the program director.

Register Now

Our upcoming May retreat is open to only 70 families, so register now to secure your spot.

Schedule a Chat

Meet one-on-one with the program director to determine if this retreat is right for you!

Key Benefits of EmpowerED Connections

EmpowerED Connections is not just a retreat; it’s a transformative experience. Join us to unlock the path to college success, connect with like-minded families, and build a support network that lasts a lifetime.

For Parents and Guardians

Throughout the retreat, parents and guardians connect with like-minded families and build an ongoing support network while attending workshops on vital college transition topics. Each parent will:

  • Identify relevant IEP goals that support the postsecondary transition.
  • Deepen their understanding of ADA by discussing accommodations in college, roles of disability services, and responsibilities of students.
  • Begin dissecting general education requirements and the rigor of college coursework in comparison to high school norms, especially for those with learning disabilities.
  • Learn best practices in coordinating support services inside and outside of the college or university.
  • Develop a stronger understanding of FERPA and HIPAA so parents understand their support and communication model in college.
  • Prepare for factors that impact college retention, persistence, and completion for individuals with disabilities.

For Students Grades 8-11

In a separate track from their parents, students build social connections and develop their interpersonal skills at Orlando theme parks and other destinations.

  • Build social and emotional confidence designed to help them transition to the independent social environment of college.
  • Be introduced to the social norms of college students through peer mentoring and direct engagement.
  • Develop teamwork, communication, and a sense of belonging in a fun and inclusive environment.
  • Learn key college vocabulary and begin to understand critical aspects of financial aid, academic progress, and privacy laws.
  • Increase their understanding of their responsibilities as a college student by learning more about college policies, rules, and expectations.

Learn how to evaluate college options based on their own needs and preferences.


Help your student with learning differences develop social confidence and connections.


Hear from experts on topics that influence student success in college – and how you can start preparing now.


Establish community with student and parent peers who share your goals and challenges.


Improve communication strategies and collaboration around your student’s education.

Schedule of Events

For three beautiful days, the Rosen Shingle Creek Orlando resort will be your hub for this immersive college readiness experience. Food and beverages are included for lunch and evening events, as well as all student activity tickets and transportation.

Arrival – Thursday, May 2

3:00 PM – Hotel Check-in Begins
5:00 PM – Welcome Dinner
7:00 PM – Family Trivia Night


For Parents – Friday and Saturday

Friday Sessions

  • Family Engagement in College
  • The Family Cycle
  • The Legal Framework
  • Parent Panel
  • Parent Evening Mixer

Saturday Session

  • The Social Landscape of College
  • Navigating College Support Systems
  • The Realities of Mental Health in CollegeParents’ Night Out


For Students – Friday and Saturday

Friday Activities

  • Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure

Saturday Activities

  • Andretti Indoor Carting & Games
  • Top Golf
  • Student Dance & Social


Wrap Up & Departure – Sunday, May 5

8 – 11 AM: Parent and Student Workshop: Evaluating Colleges

11:00 AM: Hotel Check-out (Shuttles to Airport are available)


Who Should Attend?

This 3-day retreat is open to current 8th – 11th grade students with diagnosed learning differences and their parents or guardians. Students should be intending to go to college after high school, but may have not yet made concrete plans or college decisions.

Register Now


To register, create an account through our online application portal and select “EmpowerED Connections” as your program of interest. You will then receive next steps from our team via email.

Register Now


This retreat takes place at the Rosen Shingle Creek Orlando, an independent, full service, luxury hotel with on-site restaurants and recreation – plus proximity to Florida's famous theme parks and destinations.

Check it Out


Do you have a question or need assistance? Get in touch with the Center for College Readiness at summerprogram@beaconcollege.edu or call 855-220-5376 (toll-free).