College or not?

Hi everybody. We’ve recently had a lightbulb moment and realised that we think that our daughter is on the autistic spectrum. She went through primary school ok although struggled at times which we put down to extreme shyness. She slowly declined through secondary school with several friendship issues and other difficulties which generally bubbled along below the surface. In her last two years of secondary school her ‘different’ behaviours became more evident and she sank into a deep depression. We have spent two years trying to get help for her but we (and several different GPS) just tried to address her depression which really hasn’t got us very far. She completed her GCSEs with good grades but getting to that point was extremely traumatic for us all. 

She started her A levels last August and we hoped that this new start would help her to move on but within a few weeks it became clear to her that she wasn’t going to cope and she transferred to a BTEC course which we all felt might be more manageable. She’s struggled with this too though and is unhappy and not really coping. Then the lightbulb moment happened and I realised that her behaviours and feelings could point to her being on the autistic spectrum. We wrote everything down, took it to our GP who agreed and we’ve now got a referral to the local mental heath services and are waiting for an initial meeting.

Back to the point of this post, she is really struggling with her college course (first year) and now feels that she doesn’t want to work in this field and is very unhappy. She’s had friendship issues here too which hasn’t helped. I really don’t know whether to encourage her to stick with it and carry on or just to give up and let her drop out. She really isn’t likely to cope with any sort of work at the moment so I’m concerned that is she drops out she’ll have no reason even to get out of bed each day. We could potentially look for her to start a different course next September if we can find something that she feels she can engage with and manage.

Has anybody been in a similar position? Your thought would be appreciated.

Parents
  • Lots of autistic students struggle with change, as well as managing stress. Do you think this applies to your daughter? At university, she would be eligible to apply for a specialist mentor to help her to develop coping strategies. Support in FE can be patchy at best so if you could afford it I'd look at getting her a private mentor to support her with developing coping strategies. I'd also speak to the college's disability support team in case they are able to offer support.

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