A national online survey by Understood founding partner National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) found that having an or a wasn’t the most important factor in predicting future success. What mattered most was having strong support from parents, a strong connection to friends and community, and a strong sense of self-confidence.
More than 1,200 young adults participated in the national online “Student Voices” survey. It asked about a number of factors, from grades and hobbies to family structure and the services they received.
Students answered a number of questions. They shared how involved they were in conversations about what they would do after high school. They also shared how satisfied they are with their lives.
As part of its research, NCLD found that students were spread out along a band of success. Some were “navigators,” some were “copers” and others were “strugglers.” Navigators had the most positive outcomes after high school. Copers had a mix of positive and not-so-positive outcomes. And strugglers had the least positive outcomes after high school.
The survey found that navigators had positive mindsets. They’ve also had strong support growing up. But those weren’t the only factors impacting student success. Others findings included:
What can you do to help prepare your child to be a successful navigator?
- Talk with your child about learning and thinking differences.
- Help your child build confidence and learn to stick with it.
- Encourage your child to pursue passions and explore strengths. Afterschool activities are a good place to start. They can boost self-esteem and help kids build positive connections with other kids and the community.
- Work with the IEP team and put together a strong transition plan. Begin the process early (in middle school) and make sure your child is part of the conversation.
- Act early. Request an evaluation or early screening if you think your child is struggling.
- Address negative messages, like teasing or low expectations by teachers.
- Help dispel myths about learning and thinking differences.
- Educate yourself about the services and supports that are available.
- Know that you’re not alone. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Use resources like Understood to engage with experts and connect with other parents in a secure and supportive community.
Learn more about what predicts success for young adults. Visit the Student Voices: A Study of Young Adults With Learning and Thinking Differences report online.
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About the author
About the author
Amanda Morin is the author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education” and the former director of thought leadership at Understood. As an expert and writer, she helped build Understood from its earliest days.