Noah made it!  He made it through his first semester in college.  This is a huge accomplishment.  Noah lives on campus.  One of his accommodations is a single room with out any roommates.  The Disabled Student Services felt that kids on the spectrum do much better the first year with this accommodation.  However, there is a slight draw back to this accommodation, which I will discuss later.

The entire family was nervous about Noah leaving home to attend college.  He would have to do is own laundry, clean his room, and organize his own work load with out support from me, his unofficial assistant to help with executive functioning.  He did it!  There were many hiccups but he pulled through.  One hiccup he had was checking his emails.

Noah has a personal email and a school email account.  I helped him put both on his phone but he would forget to check them. He often became agitated when checking because he didn’t understand about the two separate systems.  Noah missed several emails from a professor who was worried about his performance in the class.  Luckily, on a weekly breakfast outing, I asked him if he had been checking emails.  He thought about it and realized he should check them.  That’s when he found the several emails from his professors.  This continues to be an issue but he has set up a system where he checks the emails at least twice a day for both accounts.  It’s a work in progress.

Noah had to master planning out study time and homework.  He struggled with executive functioning.  He would become overwhelmed.   He wouldn’t know where to start or how to start his assignments.  He is fortunate enough to be at a college that has academic advisors to assist with helping plan out study time.  He would meet with the advisor once a week.  Every now and then, Noah would call me with an anxious tone.  We would have a conversation about going to the Disabled student services and his academic advisor to discuss his issues.  My goal was to teach him to reach out and use the school resources and not rely on me as much anymore.  It’s not that I didn’t want to help, it’s just that I needed him to help himself with the support at his college.  Noah finds it difficult to ask for help.  He is like many Aspie kids.  This opened the door to a conversation about huge corporations where the CEO and CFO’s need support in order to move the company forward. Moreover, many people need a strong support team in order to have a successful work environment.   This is an ongoing conversation but we are making head way.

A few years before Noah left for school, I taught him how to wash his clothes.  I stopped washing his laundry.  I made him wash his own clothes all by himself.  I started this a few years early so that it became the “norm” since he was going to be thrown into an environment that was so new and confusing.  Well, it worked!  He washes his clothes, sheets, towels, and even folds them and puts them away.  Shocking!

Noah survived.  He had some bumps in the road, but he overcame them on his own.  I am so proud of him.  I send him texts every now and then letting him know how proud we are about his hard work. I text him messages that are positive and uplifting reminding him that he can do anything he puts his mind to.

College is scary but finding the right college and empowering your child will help to promote a successful transition.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Your family is such a great inspiration for so many of us. I constantly worry about my son going to college. At this point we’re just trying to make it through 10th grade. But college isn’t that far off and time seems to go pretty fast.
    What is Noah studying?

    I love your idea of teaching him how to do his own laundry. I will definitely follow your lead with that plan.

    It’s funny because my son is exactly the same as Noah in so many ways. OMG what is it about not checking Emails? LOL

    I’m so happy for you and especially for Noah. Thank you again for sharing your story and providing encouragement and hope for so many of us.

    Peace,
    Kevin

    1. Hi Kevin,
      10th grade was tough. We weren’t able to even mention the word college. We had to go to a family counselor just to get him to open up about college. It was the summer before 11th grade when I took Noah out for lunch (that always get him to open up). We had friends of ours whose son went to a small college near by. They really recommended it. So, when 11th grade came around we toured this college campus. He loved it! The aura around him was electrifying. I had never seen him like this. We applied to several colleges, including the college we toured. In twelfth grade we scheduled 2 sleep overs at two different colleges that he was accepted at. They match the your child up with another student. Noah was able to eat dinner, breakfast and lunch with the students and got to sit in a couple of classes.
      We were fortunate enough to find the right small college for him.
      I think it is so important to look ahead and find programs that will help build that skill. The school systems really don’t do much in that respect. We wanted Noah to feel comfortable not sleeping at home, so we sent him to a counselor in leadership training for 3 weeks each summer. He had to learn to live with others, work with others, and take care of himself in a safe environment. If you look ahead, you can find camps and programs that will help build confidence and provide the skills set he needs.
      Best,
      Marie

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