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Getting your teenager prepared for college is a significant undertaking for any parent, but it can be even more so for parents of teenagers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They might not adjust well to change and need more support than the average teenager, leading you to believe they might never be ready for that next life stage. 

How to Know Your Teen With Autism Is Ready for College

However, when you’ve put steps in place to help them prepare for further education, you might be surprised by how ready they are when that time comes. Here are some of the best ways to know your teenager with autism is prepared to start their new educational journey. 

With the right preparation, your autistic child can grow up to have an amazing life and career. Discover How to Know Your Teen With Autism Is Ready for College
Photo by Matt Ragland on Unsplash

They’re Ready for Emergencies

There may come a time when your teenager is overwhelmed with their surroundings to the point where they might be a danger to themselves. If they have a Lifeline medical alert service, which some people describe as the best alternative to Life Assure, you can enjoy peace of mind as a parent, knowing they understand how to seek help. They can use their medical alert pendant to alert an emergency contact, such as yourself, with a medical team on-hand to provide support if they need it. 

They Have Academic Support

You likely want your teenager to succeed in post-secondary education, but you might be worried that a traditional college environment won’t suit their needs. However, if you’ve spent time looking for a program with academic support, accommodations, and tutoring, you know you’ve done everything to help prepare them for college. Your teenager might be more than ready if they have small class sizes, approachable tutors, a living situation that suits their needs, such as a single room, and the freedom to return home if needed. 

They Have Self-Awareness

ASD is a spectrum, and every person with ASD has unique challenges, skills, and coping mechanisms. They can use these to their advantage if they are aware of them. When they know their best skills, they can fine-tune and develop them further, and if they know their challenges, they can predict the situations that would bring these to the surface and use their coping skills to combat them. 

According to studies, people living with ASD who had the most awareness surrounding their developmental disability and knew its influence on their functional and academic skills were better able to manage the challenges associated with college. 

They Have Basic Life Skills

Many teenagers heading off to college have to learn how to live independently. Their parents are no longer there to help with meal preparation, laundry, and money management. Most students learn these skills with time, but you might see the value in teaching such essential life skills before your teenager heads off to college

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Get into the habit of guiding them through the routine of doing their laundry from start to finish, preparing basic meals like pasta, and managing their money to have enough for their daily needs. A great deal of anxiety can be associated with everyday tasks, but repetition and consistency might mean they have the confidence and skills needed to manage them independently. 

How to Know Your Teen With Autism Is Ready for College

As nerve-wracking as it can be to watch your teenager with ASD head off to college, you can take pride as a parent knowing they can thrive. Sometimes, it just takes time, hard work, and patience.

Alicia Trautwein is an Autism advocate, writer, motivational speaker, and dedicated mom of four. Alicia’s desire to advocate for Autism comes from her own autism diagnosis and that of her three children, niece, and brother. Her life’s mission is to educate on autism acceptance and change the world for future generations of autistic individuals.

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2 Comments

  1. Hi there!

    Great article. I went to college and succeeded. I’m now telling my story all around. Thank you for this!

    Louis Scarantino

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

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