Parents of special needs children are sometimes referred to as the attack helicopters of helicopter parents, mainly because they have had to be strong advocates for their child to ensure they receive the support they are entitled to. When those children head off to college, the role for parents changes, but the need does not. The Child Mind Institute has an article about helping your child with special needs, whether they are learning or mental health issues, successfully navigate being on their own at college.

When kids hit the college campus, they often shed their high school baggage and start remaking themselves as they explore their newfound independence. Their mental health or learning issues can’t be shed, though, so the article has these recommendations for parents:

  • Let the college know if your child has a mental health or learning issue.
  • Make sure your child has their paperwork in hand.
  • Discuss with your child the need to own their diagnosis and be their own advocate.
  • Make sure your child knows that mental health services and classroom accommodations are a right, not a privilege.
  • Investigate whether your insurance will cover mental health services at your child’s college.
  • Don’t live in denial.

You can find more information on each of these points in the article. In addition, the Child Mind Institute has these resources that might be helpful for you and your child: