Most teens with autism spectrum disorder do not go to college after high school. In fact, many of them struggle to complete their high school education. Parents of children with autism are often overwhelmed by their children’s deficits and disabilities and give up on college education, but they should prepare their children for higher levels of education and help them complete their college education successfully. If you have a child living with autism spectrum disorder, here are some tips on how to prepare your child for college:
1. Start Planning EarlyYou must determine from the start that your child will achieve the highest level of education possible. Start preparing him or her for college as soon as he or she joins high school. Children with autism can take longer to learn important life skills such as organization, communication, and social skills. Your child needs such skills to go through college successfully. Start helping your child to acquire the skills early enough instead of trying to catch up when your child is already enrolled in college.
2. Focus on your Child’s StrengthsChildren with autism can achieve the same results as other children if they are raised in a supportive environment. Many parents pay attention to the disabilities or deficiencies of their children with autsim and forget their strengths. While the weaknesses cannot be ignored, parents should identify and build on their children’s strengths.
For instance, if your child is good at reading and writing, encourage him or her to pursue a career in line with those skills. Some top careers for MBA grads demand good analytical skills, which some autistic children are very good at. According to this paper by the University of Maryland, marketing is one of the top careers with an MBA at the moment, and is a field that demands out-of-the-box thinking, which is also great for children with autism.
3. Utilize TechnologyTechnology has made it easier for children with autism spectrum disorder to live and learn independently. Start teaching your child to use his or her smartphone or tablet to set reminders for his lessons and assignments while still in high school. Children with autism that struggle with communication and social skills can use emails, texts, or social media to interact with other children effectively. The secret is to teach your child to use modern technology as early as you can.
4. Encourage your Child to be IndependentYour child needs to be independent if you want them to pursue their education like other children. You may sympathize with your child’s deficits and be tempted to do everything for him or her to make life easier. Unfortunately, that will only make his or her college life harder. You can train your child to be independent by assigning simple tasks such as cooking, shopping, and doing laundry. Take several trips away from home and see how your child responds to a new environment.
You can make your autistic child’s life in college easier by preparing him or her early enough. Train your child to use technology, socialize, communicate, and be independent while he or she is still in high school.