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How can I help prepare ASD child for uni?
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mattcockhand · 28/06/2022 07:45

Any top tips please?!
He thinks he is ready and can't wait....I am not so convinced. He can use the washing machine and cook simple meals. He has a p/t job so is used to managing his money.
It is more the academic and social side of things that concerns me. He is quite niave and quite innocent and not good at social cues, friendships etc.
I know he has to be the one to tell uni, seek support etc, but Im worried that he wont.
any advice appreciated, cheers!

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PritiPatelsMaker · 28/06/2022 08:38

Will he be living at home OP or going into accommodation? I think if he wants to live in he might be better asking for a single place rather than a shared flat. Most Uni's have some of these for students with disabilities.

My DF's DS went to Uni but didn't want a single space as he wanted to be with people but actually being around other people in lectures then going back to a shared flat was overwhelming and he transferred to a Uni closer to home so that he could move back in with his DP.

If he struggles to make friends, does he have specific interests abs are there clubs for that interest at the Unis he's looking at?

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lollylo · 28/06/2022 08:46

We had a complete game plan for my child. They wanted to live in halls in a shared flat but definitely to self-cater. I would recommend he joins a couple of societies, makes sure he is on the course group chat, thinks through managing parties in the first few weeks of term (they do settle after this). My child wanted to go but not drink. So we planned out taking some soft drinks to prinks and that 3 drinks in, no-one notices if you are drinking or not. DC did not want to go to clubs, so they haven't. If he doesn't want to go to parties, plan out what he will do instead - noise cancelling headphones might be good if he wants quiet.

With planning and prep he is likely to find his people. There is much more acceptance of neurodiversity. He may wobble in the first month with the change and keep an eye out for him in terms of who to live with in second year. They often decide who to live with in year 2 in about the first month of year 1 (often a bit too hasty) and the kids who take longer to settle and integrate get left out so be prepared to help him with accommodation if needed.

Finally, ensure he takes up ALL the disability support on offer, Better to take it and try it and decide you don't need it, then leave it and start to struggle. Make sure he checks the disabilities box on ucas and looks out for emails from where he is going for early disability support meetings so things are in place for when he starts.

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Ihaveoflate · 28/06/2022 08:50

Register and engage with disability services asap. We run sessions (in person and online) over the summer to help transition. This will also connect you to the support services available and ensure any reasonable adjustments are in place straight away, as well as any DSA funded support (like a specialist mentor).

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HannahDefoesTrenchcoat · 28/06/2022 08:53

Please don’t leave it up to him to seek support when he needs it. There is thread after thread here about autistic students hitting a crisis and the university not being aware of their disability.

my advice would be to apply for DSA (Disabled Student Allowance) and make sure the University Support/Disability office know. DSA will fund equipment but most importantly a specialist mentor. It’s so helpful for them and as a parent to have someone else who gets your young person and is in their corner.

in my experience of supporting ND students in my family it’s not the narrowly academic demands that are the problem. It can be the organisational challenges especially at times of high volume, the strain of masking and managing social demands, the physical demands of walking, shopping, cooking, laundry.

All this can drive up anxiety and lead to exhaustion and “autistic burnout.” It’s easy to underestimate how much is done for you at home and how accommodating your family is.

That sounds really negative sorry! It can also be an amazing chance to find people with similar interests. University can be tricky for young people without any disability so planning is really important.

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HannahDefoesTrenchcoat · 28/06/2022 08:55

myuni.swansea.ac.uk/student-support-services/autistic-spectrum-conditions/

check out what’s available- every university should have a page like this.

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lolil · 28/06/2022 09:00

Mine lives at home, there is no way he would be able to move out. Practical things like doing washing and cooking, fine. The emotional things though, the things he may need to seek help for, it's still me picking up on these. Quite often talking to me once I notice something isn't quite right is enough. Sometimes I have to encourage him to find other ways or seek alternative support, but if I wasn't around he would be in danger of hitting crisis as pp above mentioned. He is doing amazing and has aced first year, but I don't think he would have done it with the huge upheaval of not only moving out but being 'alone'

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LookAtMyCircumstance · 28/06/2022 09:03

With DSA, DS has weekly sessions with 2 different specialist mentors/tutors. He's also been given apps to help plus laptop. The uni disability support have sorted accommodation to suit his needs. We've taught him how to cook a few meals and he can wash and dry his clothes.

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HannahDefoesTrenchcoat · 28/06/2022 09:28

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poetryandwine · 28/06/2022 13:17

I agree that engaging with the Disability Support Office is incredibly important. (It may have different names at different universities.) They are the ones who arrange for the taking of exams in quiet rooms, extra time, and other accommodations to meet students’ needs.

Often ND students feel that university is a fresh start and they want to leave their autism behind. Either as part of this, or picking up on what other students say, they decline help on the grounds that they don’t want special advantages. But as I tell my ND personal tutees (when they bring their autism into a conversation about academic difficulties), the options being offered to them aren’t designed to give advantages, they are designed to level the playing field. If you decline them you are actively disadvantaging yourself. Why would you do that?

The clods grumbling about ‘unfair advantages’ are usually such competitive types that I can persuade my ND tutees they are just jealous.

The DSO is also just a great resource full of nice people. If your DS ever submits a Mitigating Circumstances petition - and as a long time panel member I have the impression that at some point most autistic students do - he might be interested to know that at my uni and others, someone from the DSO attends each meeting. Working with the DSO is an important piece of evidence that you are attempting to manage your health condition; furthermore, the DSO person makes sure their students are being treated well by the Schools. Registration is kept quiet and shared only on a need to know basis.

The other thing is that autism is much less of a barrier than it used to be and your DS can find his people thru hobbies, volunteering, etc. But he will need to be proactive. Making a fairly explicit plan with him ahead of time could be important. I also agree Uni is likely to be more full on than he can imagine, so a living situation that provides some privacy at the end of the day sounds important to me.

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mattcockhand · 28/06/2022 14:40

Thank you so much all of you for taking the time to reply. I am going to print this out t9 show him - minus my bit -& work my way through all the suggestions. Much appreciated x

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DrRuthGalloway · 28/06/2022 14:47

irp-cdn.multiscreensite.com/28303aa1/files/uploaded/Post%2014%20personal%20development%20programme%20final%20%281%29.pdf

This document is incredibly useful in identifying skills gaps and planning to fill them. Obviously doing it all at once would be a bit overwhelming; maybe take a look at the independent living section, see where his gaps are, and identify a few salient priorities for Summer?

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kinggen · 29/06/2022 17:30

What HannahDefoesTrenchcoat said 100%.

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