Checklist for families of youth who are deaf or hard of hearing going to colleges or universities

  • Help your son/daughter know what choices he/she has (see useful career assessments)
  • Visit programs, talk to other students/families, watch videos, etc
  • Set post-secondary education and career goals through the use of various online self assessment tools (see career assessments and best practices in transition planning)
  • Ensure that your son/daughter is enrolled in academic courses throughout high school, which will prepare him/her for college or university courses
  • Encourage your daughter/son to participate in and, if possible, lead┬átheir own Individual Education Plan (IEP) in high school, particularly with regards to transition planning
  • Help your son/daughter learn to advocate for him/herself while in high school, which will prepare him/her for when it needs to be done in college or university
  • Obtain college or university catalogue(s) and review them carefully with your son/daughter and with the support from high school staff (i.e. itinerant teacher)
  • Visit the colleges or universities you are interested in while in high school
  • Ensure that documentation of your son or daughter's disability is up-to-date. This may be required by the college or university for accommodation needs
  • Discuss with your son/daughter the nature of their hearing loss and how it affects their school work. Practice how they refer to their hearing loss and identify what supports they need
  • Encourage teachers to document what accommodations and technology your son/daughter uses now and what they may need in college or university (i.e. peer notetaker, computerized notetaker, real-time captioning, Signed Language/English interpreter, speech-to-text software, tape recorder, FM system, etc.). Create a list of these accommodations and supports
  • Visit college(s) or university(ies) together so that your son/daughter has good information to make a final choice
  • Your son/daughter should meet with college or university Disability Services Office staff to learn about how accommodations are provided. Make sure that your accommodation needs will actually be there and be committed to you
  • Discuss goals, learning needs, and know how to access specific accommodations, including academic supports that are available for all students (i.e. tutoring, writing support) with your son/daughter and Disability Service Office staff before classes begin
  • If there is a specific program on the campus for students who are deaf or hard of hearing and have another disability, arrange to meet with the staff. Find out how participants in the program participate in general college and university life and academics
  • Figure out and set-up transportation prior to the start of school (i.e. driving, car-pooling, learning to use public transit, travel vouchers)
  • Be aware of financial aid resources available to your family and make sure that funding for all costs are arranged before school starts (e.g., tuition, books, fees, transportation). See "Financing your training".
  • Identify how financial support your child may receive impacts other benefits (i.e. ODSP, family supports, etc)
  • Know what and where services are available through adult human service agencies (i.e. The Canadian Hearing Society, Employment Ontario, One-Stop Career Centres, Development Disability agencies). Representatives from these groups should meet those involved with the transition IEP, etc. Your son/daughter should have the phone numbers for relevant agencies in their cell phone
  • Be prepared for the fact that you, the family member, will need written consent from the student to obtain access to their records at the college or university level

Adapted with references: Pathways for Success, Ontario Ministry of Education

Passport to Prosperity, Ontario Ministry of Education

Transition Planning: A Resource Guide, Ontario Ministry of Education

Choosing your course for life after High School, Ontario Ministry of Education

Transition, Links for Parents, PEPNet (

Youth Dynamic: An Employment Services Guide for Working with Deaf, Deafened and Hard of Hearing Youth