college? not sure what to do

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Frieda, Apr 14, 2017.

  1. Frieda

    Frieda New Member

    I am really worried about messing this up and hope that someone with a kid similar to mine has some input:
    My son has one year of high school left. He has Aspergers and Anxiety and is social-emotionally a lot younger than his peer. He could never work in anything requiring good social skills and group work is a real challenge. He has no friends. He has compensated for his social challenges by thinking he is smarter than anyone and he is not shy to tell people that he thinks he is superior (charming , I know). But (good news) he has been doing well in school. He gets As and Bs and has taking AP classes. His ACT came back at 31 (31 is composite score, STEM part is 34)
    So he needs to go to college. His IEP team qualified him for transition services until he is 21 to work on life skills and he could take some classes at the community college through the transition program. We do not have college savings (still paying off on our degrees as it is) but he might qualify for some college scholarship money based on ACT/grades.
    If he goes to college right out of high school, do we risk him falling apart because of his anxiety and lack of social skills? If he goes to a transition program until he is 21, will he loose out on opportunities for college? Where does one go for advice for a twice exceptional child who might be gifted in one area but struggles in another?
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    This is my opinion. I have a high functioning autistic son.

    Your son is very smart and probably would enjoy college, now or later. But he is socially chaallenged a lot and that wont change for a long time, maybe he will never understand socializing.

    I'd sign him up at a college near you home so he can commute back and forth. A dorm situation would likely be a disaster for him. He could be bullied or some meaner kids may try to get him to drink or do drugs. My own autistic son is 23 but still very innocent and too willing to try to please others and isnt always sure when he is being made fun of.

    Dorms can be hard for young adults who are not on the spectrum, let alone those who are.

    Id let him enjoy his learning, but let him come home every day. His mental health and the reality of what he can and cant do trump in my opinion the level of the prestige of the college he goes to. So...

    Whether you sign him up for college now or at 21, Id aim for a school close to home. Dont force him to live in the world of parties and some mean young adults.

    Good luck!!!
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2017
  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Is there a community college nearby? He could live at home, for at least the first year or two, and see how it goes, then make a decision about the next two years. It would also be much cheaper to take the core requirements.
  4. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    I don't have any experience with Aspergers students, but I definitely think a community college would be better than a large university. Being home in the evenings would ease his anxiety. There isn't a big social atmosphere at a community college. You could talk to an advisor at the community college about it. His credits will probably transfer to a university if he decides to go beyond the associates degree. A community college is definitely cheaper.
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  5. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    Frieda, I know our local community college understands autism and has supports for young people with autism. I agree that contacting the college is a good idea.

    Ferb has a good friend on the spectrum who is not as smart as your son. The friend is going to attend a very small private college and is excited about it. I suspect the smaller college will be easier for him to handle with his social challenges.

    I think you and your son will find a good place for him.
  6. Frieda

    Frieda New Member

    I think you are right, he will need to stay close so he can have the consistency of home and we can keep an eye on him. We do have a community college close by and there are also several small colleges close by (though I am not sure we could afford them). He has never been a kid whose anxiety takes the form of flight, he usually lashes out when anxious. We just had a relative stay for a few days in our guest room and even though he was quiet and not in my son's space and we had the same routines as usual and my son had advance warning of the visit, my son was all over the place emotionally. It went as far as bursting in the guest room at night (while relative was sleeping) and yelling "you are not welcome here!". It was a sad reminder of his social challenges and his need for sameness or he will go of the rails. It is ironic that someone so academically capable struggles so in the real world. I just want him to have a measure of independence and happiness as an adult. For my sake as much as his.
    Thank you all for your input and confirming what I probably knew.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Please be aware that many 4 year universities have great supports for students with challenges IF they ask for them. Also, DO NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT go to a for profit university EVER. They will promise you loans and jobs and make it sound like you are guaranteed a great job after you get your degree. They are a scam. The degree you get from these schools is not worth the paper it is printed on. I don't mean to offend anyone here, but they have been investigated by Congress and many reputable groups and it is shown that you can pretty much get a job working fast food with a job from one of these for profit colleges. Plus you will be left with debt that will be greater than if you went to a private 4 year university. Yes, you could go to ANY state university and get a useful degree for half of these diploma mill colleges and you could actually get a job.

    So for your son, you can have him go to a university and have an IEP if there is a university near you. State run universities have IEPs and services to help students with problems like your son has. My mom was a professor and worked with retention studies for years (figuring out how to keep kids from dropping out of college) and I learned a lot listening to her talk over the dinner table. You have to go and ask the advisors and the dean's office and even at the health center for help when it is needed, but there is help available.

    I do agree that life in the dorm might not be the right thing at first. Unless he is very high functioning it might not be a good thing. Dorm life isn't for everyone, personally I could never see what it was supposed to teach you about life in the 'real world'. Unless the real world consisted of living with a bunch of idiots who peed on the carpet every weekend. I lived in a coed dorm and on one floor the guys would get drunk and pee all over the carpet and walls and the bathroom from the ceiling down. It was truly the most disgusting thing ever. So what dorm life and real life had in common, I have no idea. But my parents had this idea that they should have made my son go live in a dorm when he started college. Until I reminded them of this. And of my brother's experience in the dorm. All he did was drink and gamble. Literally. He got really good at both. Oh, he played pool too. Flunked out of college, but he was good at those 3 things. Pool, drinking and gambling.

    My mother stopped making noises about sending Wiz off to live in a dorm. At least to me.
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