to disclose or not to disclose: starting college this fall

Page 1 of 2 [ 25 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

shoshiedude
Emu Egg
Emu Egg

User avatar

Joined: 14 Jul 2008
Gender: Female
Posts: 1

28 Apr 2009, 11:17 am

Note: a Mom here. Wondering what you all think about this. My excellent son is starting college this fall. He does not want to disclose anything to anybody, and really wants to just "do it all normal, like everybody else". I have no doubt he COULD, but I think he would be making his life harder than it needs to be. And I think he should celebrate the wonky, strange parts of himself at least as much as the typical.

In particular he doesn't want to do anything special re: housing (that means a random roommate in close proximity in a small double on a very noisy quad. No privacy. No silence.) Nor does he want to talk to disability services about acdemic accomodation, particularly re; handwriting. This means the possibility of taking most exams in handwriting, bluebook style. His handwriting looks like that of a very charming lower primate. On drugs. (He is an excellent keyboardist and hasn't had to write anything but illegible phone msgs in years.)

I wondered what you college kids out there think about this. I'm going to tell him I posted here; no secrets. Obviously he'll do what he wants to do about this; it is, at this point, his life. Actually, it always has been. But I thought he could use some thoughtful discussion on this topic from people who are not named "Mama" and "Papa."

Eagerly awaiting replies.



Kangoogle
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 3 Jan 2009
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Posts: 903

28 Apr 2009, 11:47 am

Personally I think he is heading for a fall if he takes that approach - I would encourage him to take some help with at least the exam concessions. With housing he is probably more right, if he takes the exam concessions etc from the university then he has time to deal with the rest of the social consequences. I regret not going for a double room myself, it makes friendmaking etc an awful lot easier. Though he should tell the college about AS so he gets put with a suitable roommate.



whipstitches
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

User avatar

Joined: 12 Feb 2009
Age: 46
Gender: Female
Posts: 323
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada

28 Apr 2009, 12:30 pm

If I had been able to do so, I would have liked to disclose on a "need to know" basis. There were several situations that I was able to find coping mechanisms to deal with. There were few that I would have really needed specials arrangements for.



Learning2Survive
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 Feb 2009
Age: 32
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,777

28 Apr 2009, 12:32 pm

why is he going to college?
how much are the yearly bills?
he should live at home.
do his hw, get a job, go to social events classes, join the asperger's group at the college without disclosing anything officially.


_________________
Some of the threads I started are really long - yeay!


Zsazsa
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,141
Location: Upstate New York, USA

28 Apr 2009, 12:40 pm

Your son is certainly setting himself up for failure if he truly goes without any kind of assistance at college.

In today's college environment, there are many students receiving some kind of service from Student Disability Offices...some with physical disabilities, mental/emotional disabilities, learning disabilities, blind individuals...and now, colleges and universities are creating more services to
address the needs of students with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome. A student only needs to accept what help he/she may need...

As for living in a dorm, many college students are being placed with a student from their own graduating high school classmate, if one happens to be
attending the same college. They do that in the State University of New York System where S.U.N.Y colleges and universities exist throughout New
York State... like where I live.

Living with another individual is not easy. I have a family member who is not disabled and in her first year of college, she went through three roommates! It is best to let housing know of your son unique needs so that they can make a good attempt in placing your son with someone less
likely to create problems for him. If you son is quiet and studious, then he would find a person who likes to party all the time very challenging to
live with.

Also, after your son starts school and it becomes apparent that he and his roommate do not get along, speak to the Housing Administrator and ask
for a change. Colleges and universities are always willing to address problems and make housing changes if truly necessary and space is available.
My niece graduated from the University at Pittsburgh with a Nursing Degree; yet, when she began as a freshman student, she found her roommate to be a spoiled "brat," who loved to party all the time, never attended her classes and even made a death threat directed towards her in an e-mail. It didn't take long for that roommate situation to change...and within a few months, her former roommate was kicked out of school.

College is a great experience and by his willingness to accept as little or as much assistance as he wants, he will surely graduate with happy memories.



zeichner
Supporting Member
Supporting Member

User avatar

Joined: 10 Sep 2008
Age: 61
Gender: Male
Posts: 739
Location: Red Wing, MN

28 Apr 2009, 1:11 pm

I went to college without the benefit of knowing why I was "different." There was no possibility of my disclosing anything, since there was no name for it back then to disclose.

That said, here's how I handled it:

* I lived at home (went to college in the town where I grew up.) I loved living at home - it was great to have that constant in my life. Also, it was a haven - where I could decompress in solitude after a stressful day.

* I printed everything (no cursive writing, except for my signature) - started doing this in jr. high school & no one ever complained.

If I had had the choice of disclosing my AS in order to get assistance, I don't think I would have. However, I might have chosen to disclose to my friends - since social support is what I needed, not academic support. Take away, or minimize, the stresses of socialization & it would have put me in a much better emotional position to succeed in my classes.

Anyway, that's my opinion as a person who had to blunder his way (successfully, by the way) through a college education - while struggling with undiagnosed AS.


_________________
"I am likely to miss the main event, if I stop to cry & complain again.
So I will keep a deliberate pace - Let the damn breeze dry my face."
- Fiona Apple - "Better Version of Me"


Zoonic
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Age: 36
Gender: Male
Posts: 572

28 Apr 2009, 1:29 pm

I think there are both advantages and disadvantages to his approach. The main disadvantages being those already mentioned, of course.

However, the disadvantages of disclosing and recieving special assistance are obvious, unfortunately most parents never really see things from this perspective.
First of all, very few people are open-minded and insightful enough to really respect an asperger as an individual, no matter how many books on the subject they may have read (it's not uncommon for the more educated to be the most ignorant and generalizing). In the worst cases this can lead to increased alienation because of people involved, sometimes subconsciously, tend to divide people into "the normal ones" and "the asperger guy" and when this happens it's more a rule than an exception that this spills over onto all forms of social life in school. The prolonged effect might be as bad as what would be the case with an aspie trying to face college all by himself without telling anyone of his condition. It could result in a damaged self-image and the feeling that society is "closed" to him, because no one will see him for who he is but instead refer to him by the book. People will soon start associating his entire personality with some imagined "abnormity".

I don't understand why most parents seem to think it's a great thing for teachers and school-officials to take a crash course in AS and then base their relation to the AS-person on that. In many cases it causes more harm than good.

Even though many parents and people working with AS think it's cool to refer to individuals with AS as "wonderfully unique, special and quirky people in their own little wonderful aspie way" this can sometimes also be a violation to the independent mind. A labeling. In my oppinion this kind of attitude can work as psychological castration and have a very negative impact when it comes to developing a strong, independent self-image for adult life.



Katie_WPG
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 7 Sep 2008
Age: 33
Gender: Female
Posts: 509
Location: Winnipeg, MB, Canada

28 Apr 2009, 1:50 pm

In the end, it's his decision to get accomodations. I wouldn't try to discourage him from going it alone, because he needs you to be supportive of his decisions.

He might have had bad experiences from accomodations in high school, or he might realize that the real world doesn't make accomodations for AS, so he better get used to it. Maybe he just wants to prove that he's just as academically capable as all of the other students.



JerryHatake
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 1 Jul 2006
Age: 31
Gender: Male
Posts: 11,120
Location: Woodbridge, VA

28 Apr 2009, 1:54 pm

shoshiedude wrote:
Note: a Mom here. Wondering what you all think about this. My excellent son is starting college this fall. He does not want to disclose anything to anybody, and really wants to just "do it all normal, like everybody else". I have no doubt he COULD, but I think he would be making his life harder than it needs to be. And I think he should celebrate the wonky, strange parts of himself at least as much as the typical.

In particular he doesn't want to do anything special re: housing (that means a random roommate in close proximity in a small double on a very noisy quad. No privacy. No silence.) Nor does he want to talk to disability services about acdemic accomodation, particularly re; handwriting. This means the possibility of taking most exams in handwriting, bluebook style. His handwriting looks like that of a very charming lower primate. On drugs. (He is an excellent keyboardist and hasn't had to write anything but illegible phone msgs in years.)

I wondered what you college kids out there think about this. I'm going to tell him I posted here; no secrets. Obviously he'll do what he wants to do about this; it is, at this point, his life. Actually, it always has been. But I thought he could use some thoughtful discussion on this topic from people who are not named "Mama" and "Papa."

Eagerly awaiting replies.


Actually since I am file with Mason's ODS. I have no issues of being normal at all. The room accommodation are usually single (one person per room). A good amount of the accommodations I have are good since they helped with exams and tests. The note taker is helpful for me since I have a hard time writing and listening at the same time in class.


_________________
"You are the stars and the world is watching you. By your presence you send a message to every village, every city, every nation. A message of hope. A message of victory."- Eunice Kennedy Shriver


Orwell
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 8 Aug 2007
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Posts: 13,765
Location: Room 101

28 Apr 2009, 2:45 pm

He should disclose. There is no real reason not to, and honestly I've yet to meet anyone who thinks less of someone for getting help at the disability services office. Now, the tricky part is actually getting them to help, but that's another story and is probably worse where I am than where he's going.


_________________
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH


MONKEY
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 3 Jan 2009
Age: 27
Gender: Female
Posts: 9,896
Location: Stoke, England (sometimes :P)

28 Apr 2009, 2:54 pm

I'd say disclose it, but any help he does get don't make it obvious because he might be embarrassed, I know I would be. So he could have regular meetings with a mentor where his peers aren't there so it won't make it as noticable that he's different or something like that.
I'm doing that when I start college this year, I didn't want to disclose it at first but my mum made me, and it makes sense though because who knows what might happen in college, it's nothing like school.


_________________
What film do atheists watch on Christmas?
Coincidence on 34th street.


zeichner
Supporting Member
Supporting Member

User avatar

Joined: 10 Sep 2008
Age: 61
Gender: Male
Posts: 739
Location: Red Wing, MN

28 Apr 2009, 3:00 pm

I've been reading Asperger's From the Inside Out & it has a pretty good section on the subject of disclosure - and also references this book - Coming Out Asperger - which looks to be much more detailed.

The way I see it is that disclosure affects both parties - the person with AS & the person being told. It will definitely change the way the two parties interact. I think it's important to remember that whoever is being told will need time to absorb the information. Also, the way in which they are told will have a bearing on their initial reaction.

It's definitely not something to take lightly.


_________________
"I am likely to miss the main event, if I stop to cry & complain again.
So I will keep a deliberate pace - Let the damn breeze dry my face."
- Fiona Apple - "Better Version of Me"


Cyanide
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 24 Sep 2006
Age: 31
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,267
Location: The Pacific Northwest

28 Apr 2009, 10:58 pm

I'm almost at the end of my sophomore year of college, and I haven't disclosed it. Besides trying to battle my extreme ennui induced by the hatred of the education system and my fellow students, I've gotten along fine for the most part. Plus, I think it would be bad for me to have a bunch of assistance. The real world won't cater to me, so I'd better learn to defeat this "NT" system that I've been placed into.

What I think your son should worry about more, shoshiedude, are bad professors. Not only those though, but idiotic graduate students. I have had a lot of problems with the grad students (if you want me to go into more detail about that stuff, feel free to PM me or ask me on here).



happypuff
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 17 May 2008
Age: 31
Gender: Female
Posts: 238
Location: Australia

29 Apr 2009, 1:32 am

Remember there is always the option of not disclosing anything initially, and then later if needed, you could do so.

That's how I'm personally going through it anyway. Not disclosed to anyone official yet, will stay that way unless it will be largely beneficial due to a change in circumstance



androol
Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

User avatar

Joined: 24 Apr 2009
Age: 33
Gender: Male
Posts: 147
Location: Vancouver, Canada

01 May 2009, 12:17 am

It wouldn't be a good idea to disclose his condition to everyone. Certainly not every prof has (or even wants) to learn about each student before any significant problem occurs. You could send a letter to a school official such as the departmental dean to inquire information regarding special arrangements available to the student. Don’t request them in the beginning, but keep your options open.

The son has to be aware of where he stands, and take action when a problem occurs, which I suppose a parent can regularly check up on him. When interacting with professors however, the parents should not intervene. It has to be between the profs and him.

To the hand writing problem, most assignments can be done on a computer. Exams are a little tricky. If his hand writing is not at all comprehensible, the school’s disability center will definitely offer an alternative mechanism. Once this is done, perhaps a week or two into the semester, your son can send an fyi email to the profs that require significant hand written work.

Living in rez? If you’re special and have the papers to prove it, you can request a single room all to yourself. I wouldn’t know the details of dorm life since I live with my mum throughout.

Personally, I find difficulties primarily in social situations and presentations. These are really things that nobody else can help.

A question to others, does your school have an Aspies support group? Mine certainly doesn’t.