Mar 04, 2013 0 Share

Life Long Learning

Illustration of students in front of community college in silhouette.

I recently attended yet another information session pertaining to Transition. This one was held at Cameron’s school and was conducted by the “local” community college. I say “local” because the school is close to Cameron’s school, but it’s considered out-of-state for Cameron based on our residence. But before I let myself dwell on the rhyme or reason of paying out-of-state tuition for community college, I wanted to assess the programs this school offered and determine whether or not there might be a postsecondary option tucked neatly away in our not-so-local community college.

I must admit, as I listened to the description of the options afforded students with learning disabilities, I felt myself being swept up in the excitement of what lies ahead. There are countless options with open enrollment courses geared toward lifelong learning. There is a non-credit certificate program for students with learning disabilities consisting of courses designed to help students transition from secondary to postsecondary life, modeled after the credit program at the college. There are courses designed to prepare students for successfully passing the test required to enroll in credit courses. There seems to be something for everyone.

Or is there? With all these options available, what can I expect in terms of outcomes for Cameron? With the exception of the non-credit program modeled after the credit program—which includes job coaching and internships—there didn’t seem to be a lot of afterlife beyond coursework. I don’t mean to sound as if I’m poo-pooing the entire community college offering, but I find it so disheartening to feel myself becoming excited about a potential program for Cameron, only to then be deflated by the realization that at the end of the “exciting” programming, Cameron may be no better off than he was at the beginning of programming. Do I really only need something to fill his day? Well, maybe. But I hope there’s more out there for him than busy work and minimum wage employment.

And then there’s this federal government sequestration situation. It couldn’t have happened at a more inconvenient time. Right when I need to call Social Security Administration to schedule an appointment for Cameron’s SSI application, the public has been advised of the likelihood of longer hold times and difficulty scheduling appointments. As if the 35-minute hold time on a good day wasn’t annoying enough. I’m just relieved Cameron isn’t graduating this year, and that I have another year under the blanket of public education before he must face the “real world.” I think facing the issues of turning 18 in addition to figuring out what comes next in terms of education (and life!) might be too much for me to bear.  

What life after high school holds for Cameron may not be an answer I need to have within the next 90 days, but it is a question that needs answering. I’m just not the most patient person, and I certainly don’t like it when I don’t feel like I have control over a situation. I now realize Cameron isn’t the only one seeking lifelong learning.