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  1. #1

    Default Out of the Box College Ideas

    Ok, I know I am probably looking for something that does not exist but I am going to give this a try anyway.

    My son is autistic, is in 7th grade and I have been homeschooling him since 3rd grade. All things considered, I am happy with our progress. The problem is going to be college. Based on current progress, it is more than probable that we are not going to be ready for standard college at that time. We are also not going to have an impressive CV. Extra-curricula activities and community service and any of those kinds of things are likely to be non-existent; and while my son can write a tech manual if they ask him to, he is likely not going to be able to churn out an impressive narrative essay.

    Background: My son has a ton of splinter skills. His strengths are math and science, especially math. Weaknesses are social, behavioral and life skills. Even a conventional online school is going to be difficult b/c he is not terribly interested in being well-rounded and he hates social studies and does not care for literature or any of the humanities.

    What I would like is to sign him up for something (legitimate) that allows him to front load math and science until he has time to mature in everything else. He wants to be a theoretical mathematician. I don't know how realistic that is going to be, but I want to preserve it as a possibility the best I can.

  2. Global Village Forum Post - Aug2018
  3. #2

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    Hobbit,

    I'm assuming your son has a formal diagnosis? If so, colleges would have to make modifications if necessary. I have two autistic nephews--older one is Asperger's and younger one is not as high functioning. The older one went to University of Indianapolis and earned a BS in political science. He's now at IU-Bloomington getting a Master's degree. In both cases he lived away from home. He doesn't drive, though, so housing was a concern in that it be close to campus.

    The younger one is at IvyTech, Indiana's college system that typically offers two-year degrees in hands-on fields. He's earning an electrician's certificate. He also receives a lot of outside support and lives at home with his parents.

    The only thing extra-curricular both boys did was Boy Scouts.

    You may have to ease into it slowly. While still in high school, could he take a single class at a time at a nearby college in the fields that interest him--like a trial run? He could even audit them if you aren't sure he'd want the credit/grade on record. Can he attend a university nearby and live at home for a year or two, then transfer?

    In the meantime, can you supply his instruction in the "hated" subjects of humanities? Can he do history of science? Biographies of mathematicians? Do technical writing instead of essays about literature or opinions for language arts? Coursera has several options for technical writing courses. If you don't like those, search "technical writing classes," and all sorts of options turn up.

    I'm just brainstorming here. I hope some of it helps.
    Last edited by inmom; 02-12-2018 at 03:33 PM.
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward

    Daughter (21), a University of Iowa senior triple majoring in English with Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son (20), a Purdue University junior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, and history

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by inmom View Post
    Hobbit,

    I'm assuming your son has a formal diagnosis? If so, colleges would have to make modifications if necessary. I have two autistic nephews--older one is Asperger's and younger one is not as high functioning. The older one went to University of Indianapolis and earned a BS in political science. He's now at IU-Bloomington getting a Master's degree. In both cases he lived away from home. He doesn't drive, though, so housing was a concern in that it be close to campus.

    The younger one is at IvyTech, Indiana's college system that typically offers two-year degrees in hands-on fields. He's earning an electrician's certificate. He also receives a lot of outside support and lives at home with his parents.

    The only thing extra-curricular both boys did was Boy Scouts.

    You may have to ease into it slowly. While still in high school, could he take a single class at a time at a nearby college in the fields that interest him--like a trial run? He could even audit them if you aren't sure he'd want the credit/grade on record. Can he attend a university nearby and live at home for a year or two, then transfer?

    In the meantime, can you supply his instruction in the "hated" subjects of humanities? Can he do history of science? Biographies of mathematicians? Do technical writing instead of essays about literature or opinions for language arts? Coursera has several options for technical writing courses. If you don't like those, search "technical writing classes," and all sorts of options turn up.

    I'm just brainstorming here. I hope some of it helps.
    Inmom, thank you so much for posting. He has been diagnosed educationally with the ADOS, but that was years ago, so we probably would have to get him a completely new diagnosis within 3 years of anything that would require modifications of any kind -- even for being allowed to take the SAT in a private room so as not to disturb the other takers. So we know that that is a thing we will need to do at some point, but I don't want to do it too early since it won't be valid if it is older than 3 years. If he were still in public school we could use the modifications/accommodations in his IEP as evidence that he needs modifications -- but no way I am returning him to public school (or even pretending I am) just to get the free testing.

    The other thing is there is no way behaviorally he could tolerate a college (or any) classroom. It is not just the executive function issues of traveling about campus. He literally cannot sit still in a classroom without disrupting other people, and it is too stressful for him to try. That is the main reason I pulled him out of there. Believe me, I know that does not bode well for future employment and it seems pointless on a certain level for me to prep as though we are eventually going to pass over that hurdle, but I have to try.

    So, right now now I guess my main thought is to have him take one-off classes online from maybe a local college, maybe starting with calculus while he is still in HS (Like a homeschooling, dual credit thing)but all the dual credit enrollments around here center around the public schools. There is not any mention on the website about home-schooler dual credit work much less home-schoolers with ASD. At some point I can email them to see -- but I was kind of hoping maybe someone here has had or knows about a similar situation and had some advice.

    I wouldn't be asking for accommodations regarding the academic work, but the concern would be admission standards and anything that would involve him having to test or be in a lecture room with people who would not want to listen to inappropriately timed random monologues about his special interests and that kind of thing.
    Last edited by HobbitinaHobbitHole; 02-12-2018 at 04:57 PM. Reason: Literacy

  5. #4

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    Oh, and I forgot to add: yes, I plan to continue on personally working on him with the non-preferred subjects for eventual readiness as well as the other behavioral things. Unfortunately, one of the downsides with homeschooling is that he knows I am not going to penalize him for talking to himself during tests so he was actually better at those kinds of self-control issues before. We work on self-discipline in other ways like taking him to movies and that kind of thing.

  6. #5

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    I would contact the colleges that you think would be appropriate for your son. Talk with admissions, as well as student disabled services. Ask them how they can help you son and what accommodations they can provide. While all colleges are required to accommodate admitted students, the question is how well, they will provide for them.

    Is he able to take online classes? Taking tests in a testing center is a non-issue and many students do this depending on needs.

    For a student resistant to traditional language arts, there are lots of ways to consider fulfilling the requirements. For writing, you can work on technical writing. He should be able to write an essay, even if it is a factual one. For literature, does he like graphic novels or science fiction or movies? If he is going to a traditional university, there will be humanities requirements.
    A mama, who teaches college writing, as well as help her 10-year-old in
    choosing his own life adventure. Using Global Village School to support our desire to develop a sense of social justice and global awareness.
    I also share free and low-cost educational resources at
    http://chooseourownadventures.blogspot.com

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mariam View Post
    I would contact the colleges that you think would be appropriate for your son. Talk with admissions, as well as student disabled services. Ask them how they can help you son and what accommodations they can provide. While all colleges are required to accommodate admitted students, the question is how well, they will provide for them.

    Is he able to take online classes? Taking tests in a testing center is a non-issue and many students do this depending on needs.

    For a student resistant to traditional language arts, there are lots of ways to consider fulfilling the requirements. For writing, you can work on technical writing. He should be able to write an essay, even if it is a factual one. For literature, does he like graphic novels or science fiction or movies? If he is going to a traditional university, there will be humanities requirements.
    Mariam, thank you for your response. Online classes are actually ideal for us. His tolerance for literature is pretty low, plus he has difficulty parsing social interactions. We have been doing poetry and Harry Potter. He does better with the poetry b/c the subject matter tends to have fewer social components so I am hoping he can take a class in poetry as his lit requirement when the time comes.

    He may not be ready for residential college until grad school, which is fine as long as we can get him to that point. We are not stressing over time frame at all. I am hoping that his life skills will be OK by then, and of course in grad school we won't have to worry about core requirements.

  8. #7

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    I have nothing original to add except to say that my family is in a similar position to yours, and I don't really know what to do either. We've homeschooled our aspie DS16 since he finished 3rd grade. He is a super-mathy dude and any kind of writing causes him to freeze. He also has fairly dramatic social anxiety. He has been taking online math classes at our local community college for a few terms. He takes them one at a time, at this point. Unfortunately, he's running out of online math classes, so our next dilemma is whether the next step is an in-person class or finding an online class in a different discipline. The in-person class has the social problem and the online class has the paper-writing problem. So it's hard to know what to do. There's also the option of contacting the in-person professor in advance and 'introducing' him to my son to explain the social anxiety. But then I start wondering if they're thinking 'if he can't be in class without his mommy's help, maybe he shouldn't be taking college classes.' Blurgh.

    This whole education thing is kind of hard.

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Out of the Box College Ideas