Go away to college or stay close to home?

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momofpddnos
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22 May 2013, 1:04 pm

My daughter is PDD-NOS with a generalized anxiety disorder. We are starting to look at at colleges and I am struggling with weather or not I should be encouraging her more to attend a college away from home. She has expressed an interest and has even researched two colleges in Iowa with a "special ed" program. She still struggles with people in general as well as asking for help. Any help would be appreciated.



DW_a_mom
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23 May 2013, 12:15 pm

What do your instincts tell you? This is such a unique decision for each person, that I don't think any of us can answer your question, although some people might have some personal stories to share that you can draw from. So your instincts (combined with hers, of course), are primary.

I will say this: I've learned that a little worry on my part is good. If I never have concern about how my son will do in a situation, I am sheltering him too much, and keeping him from maturing at the rate he is capable of. Parents are supposed to have some anxiety and concern about their kids; that is normal. But when your instincts keep trying to tell you something is just plain wrong for your child, that is another matter. I've never gone wrong listening to those, but have gone wrong listening to other people instead.


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momsparky
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23 May 2013, 1:55 pm

Can you create a Plan B? My son's only in Middle School, but whenever I worry about a situation, I always prepare alternatives so that we have something to fall back on. For instance, if he couldn't handle a full day, our plan was half-day homeschooling.

For instance, I think it's a great idea to visit the colleges in Iowa (which I assume is far from you?) and to also find something nearby. If she decides to go to Iowa and it doesn't work out, she can transfer her credits back to the school near you. (ETA: this isn't what I'm suggesting you do - it's just an example of how you can set a Plan B in place. You should probably review all your options and come up with something that feels right to you.)



TiredMom
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23 May 2013, 2:42 pm

Similar problem coming up soon here. We live in a college town, and my ideal situation would be for my daughter to go to school here (while maybe living in her own apartment to fulfill her need for independence). However, she regularly talks about going to places hundreds of miles away, which fills me with terror. She has lots of anxiety, even more sensory issues than most aspies (she has synesthesia), and still regularly melts down--setting aside all the issues about her vulnerability to scams, etc. How have people whose kids have gone through college coped?



Ravenclawgurl
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23 May 2013, 3:29 pm

personally as someone who stayed at home for community college i say if she can find the right college program out there for her go for it she needs to learn the independent living skills and they teach them at spcialized colleges but once she gets older it will be harder to find a program to teach her living skills for when she eventually moves out the older you are the less programs also to see if she is actually ready alot of these special college programs have summer programs.



Adamantium
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23 May 2013, 5:58 pm

I found the Youtube videos by Emilee Eastes on "My Life with PDD NOS" very informative and thought provoking.

You might be interested in this one with some details about college:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5wnikhphvc

I was on my own in college and found it very difficult. It was hard adjusting to life in New York City after four years of high school in Vermont although I new the City quite well. I found that a few extra stresses (a personal medical crisis and the death of my father) were more than I could handle and each time I had to drop out.

I found friendships difficult, too. I did not enjoy spending time in loud places watching people get drunk or high while looking for sexual partners which seemed to be a primary conception of "fun" for many other students. Not a lot of people wanted to go with me to sit quietly in the Metropolitan Museum on the late night when it is not crowded, looking at the Chinese garden or Temple of Dendur...

I sometimes think that I wish I had gone to the school with a small campus closer to my parents home in New England--I think I might now be a scientist or at least have graduated.

On the other hand, it was while I was having trouble with college in New York that I got married---so if I had done that I would not now have the family I love more than anything.

If you can make it easy to go out but also offer support that would be great. I think I would have done well living at home for Freshman year, then moving into a dorm or apartment for Sophomore year at a college close to home, then transferring to a bigger school and a less supported situation.
I guess a little flexibility and contingency planning is a good idea in any case.

But that's me, thinking about my situation. Good luck with your own!



chris5000
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23 May 2013, 7:16 pm

make sure she is actually ready for collage. I was pushed to go to collage right out of high school and I was not ready. the first term I failed all 4 of my classes the second term I failed 2 out of 3 classes and I was just taking remedial classes.



HisMom
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24 May 2013, 6:37 pm

My son is only in preschool, but here in my input.

Can you do a "best of both worlds" scenario ? She can go to a local college, but then live in a dorm the first semester. Her anxiety will probably be a lot less in this situation, helped ny knowing that her parents are at hand and home is close by, if she needs them

After a semester of this situation, she may consider moving to a college a little further away. By a "little further away", I mean a college that is not too far away, but far enough to make daily home visits impossible. Eventually, she can consider the "college of her dreams", after first successfully experiencing these two scenarios of "independent living".

The "dry run", in my opinion, will go a long way to help her make a smoother transition to eventually attending a college in a dfferent state etc.

JMO.



ASDMommyASDKid
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24 May 2013, 10:49 pm

Based on what you know of her, do you think she will be safe? That would be my main concern. If you are not worried about safety then let her go if she wants. If she fails, she fails; but it feels awful when your family shows a lack of confidence. This is something I try to remember with my 7 yr old son. Anything non-safety related can always be dealt with, and she could always return and do something local or online, if need be.

I am not formally diagnosed, but I have been informally diagnosed with Asperger's by a professional when getting my son diagnosed, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I loved being away at college, and I think it was very good for me. I don;t know if that would be true for your daughter. I was glad to be away and spread my wings. I had issues, that looking back on it now were Aspie issues, but I found a group of misfits to hang with and it was a good experience.