There can be a lot of anxiety surrounding college. For parents of children with autism one of the biggest questions is, can their child handle this new found independence? What can they do to prevent them from getting overwhelmed? If you are worried about finding yourself in a similar position, this walkthrough of the Inquisitor’s guide will help you learn what you can do while your child is in highschool to prepare.

One of the first step’s recommended by the Inquisitor’s guide is making sure you have all of the necessary documentation on hand to provide the college with the information they need regarding your child’s diagnosis. This allows the college to help their disability services see what kind of accommodation plan they can come up with.  

The second action recommended in the guide is encouraging your child to practice self-advocacy. In college they will be finding themselves in a much more independent environment, and thus will be expected to actively communicate their concerns with teachers whenever possible.

You should also prepare your child for the independence of college life by having them practice certain life skills while in high school. For example, it might be a good idea to get your child in the habit for scheduling their own doctor’s appointments, doing their own laundry, and planning out a budget.

The Inquisitor’s guide also stresses that you should be willing to let your child make their own mistakes. Mistakes offer an opportunity for discovery for children, and dealing with these mistakes allows them to grow and develop. Confidence in your own capabilities and limits also puts you in a strong position when dealing with the new challenges and obstacles your children might encounter in college.

One final important tip is to reach out. Connecting with other parents in a similar situation to yourself through social media is a good way of building a support group. You may quickly find yourself surrounded by a group of people you can ask for advice, stay informed with, and bond over personal stories.

As always, we at the American Autism Association encourage any of you who are looking for help or additional advice to contact us through our Autism Help Hotline via email at [email protected].

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