My role as a clinical psychologist is to help young people have reasonable expectations of the post-secondary school experience and to prepare them for what’s to come. Depending on the student, skills that I help them work on include building their confidence and self-esteem, teaching them how to effectively manage their time, and fostering healthy life balance and self-care skills. Often students are away from home for the first time, so we come up with strategies to help them with independent living skills and ways to navigate loneliness.
Every student I’ve worked with can benefit from learning to self-advocate for themselves in regards to managing their disability. If the student I'm helping has a diagnosis of a mental health condition, I also support them in managing their condition so that it minimally interferes with their studies. This may include encouraging a reduced course load and registering with the accessibility/disability office of their college or university.
An updated assessment is usually necessary for access to accommodations in Post-Secondary. Many think that accommodations will be based on previous accommodations or IEPs used in high school, but this is not the case. It is best to have an updated assessment completed prior to starting post-secondary school. An accessibility advisor will take the information from the assessment and will work with you to determine what accommodations you need and are entitled to.
Some tips and suggestions I have for students attending college or university include:
A) Know your strengths and know your limitations. You know who you are better than anyone else. Be proud of what you do well and accept help for what is challenging.
B) Self-care is critical. Don’t underestimate the importance of proper sleep, nutrition and exercise. Be kind to yourself and celebrate your accomplishments, even the small ones.
C) Register with accessibility office and use your accommodations. There is no shame in that. You are not getting any special treatment, you are simply being given access to what you need to understand your curriculum.
D) Know that it will be more challenging for you and be prepared for that challenge. The hard work builds character and pays off, I promise.
A healthy balance of determination, self-care, and a healthy work ethic can take you very far.
- Dr. Rina Gupta, Clinical Psychologist