Suggestions for Colleges or J.R. Colleges

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grizmt
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29 Dec 2009, 9:56 am

I'm sure this has been touched on "somewhere" in this forum but I'm kind of in a hurry to get this info before spring sign ups. We have an 18 yr old boy with A.S. who has spent about a year and a half in a J.C. in our home state. Unfortunately this school was clueless about A.S. and it was a bad esperience for him and us.
We're now able to go anywhere in the U.S. for him to go to school and his interests are Virginia,Tenn, North Carolina and Georgia. Since we'll have to live somewhere "near" him Virginia would be our top pick, prefer north east Virginia since we have at least a few friends there.

Thanks in advance!



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29 Dec 2009, 11:46 am

Well, generally you pick colleges by setting up a list of qualities that you are concerned about, and then trying to evaluate each college. For example:

cost
quality of teachers
quality of living conditions
quality of campus
quality of tutors or other help
quality of the local area (malls, crime rate, etc.)
reputation of the college (how good it will look on a resume)
etc.

What criteria you use is up to you and your son, but just make sure you consider all applicable factors.
Once that is done, you sit down and compare to see if one college is better then the others.

I am curious though what you are looking for in a college in terms of AS support. I hate to sound cold and uncaring, but while you may get some help in college, you wont get any help once you enter the working field. Perhaps if you better explained the difficulty it would help.



grizmt
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29 Dec 2009, 4:49 pm

Well if you take marshall for example, they have specific departments set up to provide services/accomodations to A.S. students. Things like private dorm rooms for the same cost as a 2 person room, A.S. groups and peer counseling etc.



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29 Dec 2009, 9:21 pm

I have an 18-year-old AS son. He is attending Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) here in Charlotte, NC. If you are interested in a community college, CPCC handles students in a completely different manner than a major university would. My son's experience has been such that everyone has been more than helpful. For instance, if he asks for help in the wrong place, they will find out where he needs to go and give him the name of the person and the room number. They seem to have counseling and assistance for every conceivable situation. I have been quite impressed.

I should point out that the college has many unique programs of study: fire protection technology, automotive sports technology (Hey, it's Charlotte, NC!), to name two.

My son finished his first semester and did well. He has found the college to be a very user-friendly place and he is looking forward to continuing. For the record, five months ago we didn't think he would ever come out of his room.

As a community college, it does not provide housing. Nevertheless, rental houses are a dime a dozen in this area right now, and CPCC has five or six campuses. So you could live on the north, south, east, or west side of Charlotte. Below is a link to the site.

http://www.cpcc.edu/

Also, the college has specific curricula so that a student can transfer directly into the University System of NC. This is what my son is doing. It provides a less stressful, more linear progression into a four-year college simply because CPCC is more attentive to a student's needs. I don't mean to imply that it is easy academically. It's not.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) is here also, and it does provide special needs housing. However, it is a university of about 22,000 students. As an alumnus, I can tell you that a student is pretty much on their own for finding their way around. UNCC does provide plenty of counseling and assistance services, but it is within a more bureaucratic atmosphere.

Nevertheless, it is an excellent college that has been ranked in the top five undergraduate engineering colleges in the nation, several times. In fact, year by year, this relatively unheard of gem trades places for the most patents held with MIT, Cal Tech, etc.

If I can answer more specific questions, please feel free to ask.



grizmt
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30 Dec 2009, 7:30 am

Thank you very much Climber! I guess it'd help if I explain the situation a bit. He wasn't diagnosed Aspie until he was 17 but was diagnosed adhd since about 6yrs old. He was having so much trouble in High School with his peers (being beaten up etc.) and some of his teachers were telling him that adhd was a myth, that it was either bad parenting or his lack of control or both so they were very hard on him as well.
It was so bad that by the time he got diagnosed aspie the doctor who diagnosed told us "get him away from that school as fast as you can, and while he's there limit his time there as much as you can because it's killing him".
We got him into the running start program at the local J.C. where he did the culinary course for a year and a half. The J.C. was well aware of his diagnosis and promised us they'd work with him but it turned out to be H.S. all over again only this time the "instructor" threatened to call the police on him because he wanted to finish his cake and wouldn't leave the walk in refer until he did (he was almost done btw) not to mention that a fellow student tried to run him off the road and threatened to beat him up several times.
I guess we should've know something was up when at our first meeting the "instructor" asked us if he was on meds and if not put him on them. When we told him yes he was he said "can you increase the dose?" We told him no it was at the max and he said "well can you ask his doctor if you can go higher"? So I guess we ought to have gotten a clue that this guy was clueless.

So finally after many meetings (and 7k in tuition) with their "supposed" special ed counsler who knew NOTHING about aspies we were told that his "teachers" didn't want him back in the class and in fact were not "teachers" at all but just people who'd worked as a chef and hired to teach the class with no training or experience at teaching at all.
So we want to avoid this type of experience again, not only was it a waste of $$$$ but yet another hit to his self esteem.



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30 Dec 2009, 11:28 am

Grizmt,

My son also had an ADHD diagnosis from about age 6. He wasn't diagnosed AS until he was 13. Public school was an absolute, inexcusable disaster, and the psychological group that evaluated him (he was suicidal) told us to get him out. The trauma of bullying caused our son to attempt to avoid all social contact. The following years were a mix of homeschool and attempts at private schools. Through homeschooling, he got his GED.

He wanted to attend college, but he was still terribly afraid of social situations. That's where CPCC has worked out very well for him. It is a big school (@18,000 students) and it operates just like a university. I reinforced to him that he would only have to attend classes for the day and then leave. He didn't have to talk to other students. He didn't have to try to make friends. I also directed him away from any classes that I knew would make him "look bad." For instance, any type of PE class would have made a mockery of him. He is very smart, but he has zero coordination (on everything but the piano). I can tell you right now - my son would be a disaster in a culinary class.

Anyway, the lack of social expectations I think has made all the difference in the world. It gave him time to feel comfortable with the environment first, and then he could approach others as he wished. Now, he's even made friends.

Our son does not receive any special assistance at CPCC. They do not officially know he is Aspergers. As far as the school is concerned, he's just another student. But then, that's where he wants to be - unnoticed.

On the other hand, he does not hide his diagnosis. I have always taught him to talk about it just as freely as we talk about his brother's diabetes. That has helped tremendously. When people understand that he is Aspergers, most are accepting of his differences. In many cases, he stims right there in front of everyone, and they know what it's all about. There are no "weirdo" looks or comments.

I'm not implying that any of this would work for your son; I don't know. But hopefully it gives you some worthwhile comparison.

Good luck with everything. I hope 2010 is the year your son begins to "find his footing" and enjoy life.