Preparing for the AANE panel tomorrow

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in community building | Leave a comment

Tomorrow I am speaking at AANE’s panel about college students with Asperger’s. I am one of the parent representatives on the panel.

I am working out what I am going to say (I have eight minutes).

Here’s the key points I want to make:

  • Find a social skill coach. Someone who does not work for the University. This person should take your place as your child’s advocate. It should be someone you can work with, but someone who will be your child’s confidant (in other words, sometimes they may not tell you everything!)
  • Realize that some of the feelings you have when your child goes away are normal “empty nest” feelings.  Now, these feelings may be amplified because all of a sudden you are forced to be out of the loop. I think it’s important to let go, but it’s important to realize there aren’t books or articles or anything to help us (parents with kids on the spectrum) figure out if it’s really time to let go.
  • Take everything the college tells you with a grain of salt. They are so scared of “helicopter parents“. To an administrator who doesn’t understand Asperger’s Syndrome, we may seem like parents who are too interfering.  If you encounter college officials like this, make sure you have the social coach. Let the social coach deal with the college. It will be better for your child if they learn how to rely on someone else.
    Also, call every day if you need to. We were told at orientation not to do that, but my daughter called every day at 9PM. It helped her settle down. I also would go and see her, and stay overnight with her, at least once a month. We stayed in a hotel, out of the dorm, and gave her a chance to settle down a bit. She found coming home a little too much of a schedule and environment change.

I don’t know what else to say tomorrow. Hopefully it will go over well. My daughter will be there to keep me honest. 🙂

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