University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

Colter's Story

At age 18, our son Colter was looking forward to starting his first day of college. Colter has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism. During his high school years, he had some issues with executive functioning skills, interpersonal communication, and self-advocacy. But with the help of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and 504 Plan, Colter successfully attended and graduated from a private, parochial high school.

In planning for our son’s transition to college, we took a tour of campus before classes started and Colter was assigned a tutor. After the first few weeks of the semester, Colter said he was doing fine, but was in fact failing all his classes. He was confused about turning in assignments and was missing tests because they were scheduled outside of his regular class times. There was definitely a missing piece of the puzzle to help Colter be successful. 

We reached out to Beth, a Family Navigator with Child Health Specialty Clinics. Beth came to our meeting with the college president and suggested that we find a “helper” for Colter to help him navigate his classes and advocate with his teachers. We applied for a grant to pay for Colter’s helper, and were able to start a new plan at the beginning of the second semester. Colter is now enjoying his classes and with the assistance of his helper he is staying organized and on top of his classes.