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Janeway

ASD and college

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Hi again!! I said a few days ago I would make a separate post to ask, so here goes.

Son has high enough functioning ASD that he got through much of high school in a very challenging brick and mortar school without us disclosing his ASD. No one guessed it. I did disclose it though, after he missed two weeks due to a Latin conference followed by illness. 

His dream college is on the other side of the country. And I cannot help but feel like there are some other schools that could be an excellent fit, but are far away. I feel like so little near us would be a good fit. My husband nixed Trinity University for personal reasons and I did feel like that could be a good fit. 

 

Question is..should I simply exclude any college that is not within a certain driving radius of our home?

Edited by Janeway
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How does your son feel about it?  Our ds with ASD was three hours away by car  but would have been okay being across the country once he was comfortable navigating the airport and everything involved with that.  Other than the moving in process, he didn't need us to be physically close during his time at school. 

 

 

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I don’t know about ASD but I do have a kid that is over 500 miles from home. 

How do you think your ds would roll with travel disruptions and inconveniences?  My ds flew back to school last weekend. First flight was delayed several hours. He was able to schedule a later connection but that flight was also pushed back and didn’t take off until almost 2:00 am. We were looking for a hotel for him in case it got cancelled and they were all sold out. He did get off but landed around 3:30 am and then had to get an Uber, etc. He was supposed to be back at his apartment around 6:00 pm and it was almost 4:00 am before he made it. Alls well that ends well but it was a long and frustrating day. How will your ds handle that sort of thing?

I will say a lot comes up with the distance. It is working out but it is a big pain and requires extra patience and resourcefulness beyond what would be required if he was a couple hours drive away. 

I really prefer for my kids to stay closer. The distance does complicate things. It just does. Not a deal breaker for us but it is a negative. I would not discount the complication of distance at all. 

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5 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

 

I will say a lot comes up with the distance. It is working out but it is a big pain and requires extra patience and resourcefulness beyond what would be required if he was a couple hours drive away. 

 

I don't mean to derail the thread so soon but my dd's first choice school for now is 1200 miles away and I am concerned about how it will all work out.  My older children all attended a university that was a three hour drive away.  

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Our son with ASD went to school 90 minutes away, but he didn't come home hardly at all. I think it is very individual. Have you taught him enough life skills that you feel he can handle himself without too much direct intervention? There is always video calling and such for support. 

FWIW, 😏 as a mom with ASD, I'm thousands of miles away from my kids now. It is harder on me! 

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I really think it depends on the individual kid (and that's true even for NT kids). DS20 is on the spectrum and is at school about 90 minutes from us, but he really hasn't needed us for anything that wasn't easily handled by text or phone call. And he's had plenty of travel experience, so I'm sure he would have done fine an airplane ride away.

Edited by Pawz4me
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Not ASD but we have an ADHD kid on the other side of the country.  It was hard, then got a little better, then got really bad (all last year)... Then this year was better, and just this week everything is hitting the fan and we are pretty concerned.  So all of these ups and downs (many were social, more recent are her extracurricular) are happening where we can only give advice over the phone.  It's not ideal and we worry a lot.  

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I started out 45 minutes from home, but then my parents moved half way round the world...  But my mom flew back to help me when I had a major crisis.  So 1) is your relationship such that you will be able to detect a crisis remotely?  2) Can you travel if necessary?

I think these factors apply to all kids, but unfortunately the risk of going off the rails is higher with an ASD college student.  Undergrad is not the time to step back and see how they fly.  From my personal experience, it’s just not developmentally appropriate with ASD. 

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My ASD kiddo went to school just 45 minutes from home. I'm really glad he was close. There were times he needed to have a weekend here to decompress or destress. I was able to pull him out of spirals where he wasn't eating or sleeping well. No one at school ever knew he was ASD.

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I think this is very individual.  I've watched a few friend's college have some serious college start up struggles, both with NT teens and teens with quirks.  My thought has always been what if there is an emergency situation?  Can the budget handle extra travel that first year for a kid feeling homesick or needing support?  Is your kid good at communication with you as a parent?  The launch to college is SO many changes all at once, I think even with success there can be hiccups during the adjustment period.  

My NT but a bit quirky senior is heading to a school about 4 hours from home this fall.  We're prepared to do some extra back and forth this first year especially.  I'm also encouraging the kid to plug into some communities there that I think will be a good it for him.  Having a decent social peer group out of the gate could make the world of difference for this kid.  I am someone who transferred after my first year of college.  That would have/could have made a world of difference to me.   I do think colleges are doing a better job at helping students create community than I went.  

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There isn't going to be a single answer to your question bc no 2 individuals with ASD are going to be equivalent in level of functioning.  My Aspie first attended college with a fabulous on-campus autism support system (to the point that he had a person who would go to professors' offices with him if he had a question.  The person's role was to help him stay calm and cope with his anxiety and to ensure that they were communicating in a way he understood, not to ask questions for him.)  He dropped out after a yr. 

At 26, he finally decided he wanted to go back. He just completed his 2nd yr and has decided to drop out again.  He currently has something like a 3.9 GPA.  It isn't b/c he can succeed in college classes.  It is that he can't succeed in convincing himself that he can or wants to actually succeed in the career at the other end.

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Just depends on your kid.  My kid needed the closest school with his major that had a good program.  He found one 4 hours away.  That is where he is.  When he has an issue and needs us, we can be there in 4 hours.

I would not send mine across the country.  He wouldn't make it.

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I will speak to the distance aspect only: when looking at away schools, check out the airport, flight cost, and flight frequency. It can sometimes be just as easy or easier to get home (or visit) from a college that is far away as opposed to a middling distance. My dd is a 7-hour drive away. They do have an international airport, but flights TO HERE are inconvenient and expensive so we drive. She's only flown home once. 

If she had done the same distance to a different city, flying would be a much easier proposition with more and cheaper flights. The same for going even farther away, there are cities where she could fly for about the cost of us driving (she hasn't had a car at school, so it's 7 hours for me to go get her, 7 hours for us to get home, then reverse the procedure). 

She loves her school, but I feel a little silly that I missed such an obvious point and we wrote off schools because of it. 

Edited by katilac

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One more thought: does he have a typical ASD love of routine and familiarity? If so, how possible is it to visit a far away college either more than once, or for a fairly long visit? Like enough time to at least figure out where everything is, what the buildings and dorms look like, what food places are nearby, and so forth. 

My dd is NT but I know that making several visits to the school beforehand went a long way toward increasing her comfort level. We drove up for preview day (full day visit with department presentations), admitted students day, optional honors interview and meeting with departments, the honors reception for incoming students, then overnight early orientation once she committed. All of which let her meet people and become more familiar with campus. And yeah, it was a lot, but it's how my kids process and what they needed. Every school on the short list got visited at least twice (some long-ish drives but no flights). That's not doable for everyone or every situation, but it really helped us. 

There are kids who can evaluate a school on paper and step foot on campus the first day of class, but those kids are definitely not my kids, lol. 

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