Back To School Jitters for a College Student on the Autism Spectrum

This is how my Autism Spectrum Disorder affected my "Back to School" Jitters and how I handled it.

 It is almost that time of year again. That is right..BACK TO SCHOOL FOR THE COLLEGES. Many of us are full of excitement, while many of us are full of nerves.However, when a student has an Autism Specturm Disorder, those "nerves" can be very difficult to deal with. I say this because as someone with an ASD, I too am having tons of nerves about the next step. And let me tell you, it was no picnic in the park.

 This Fall, I was supposed to start my next educational journey to earn my Bachelor's. I already received my Asssociate's back in May. But during the summer, I had what was many of us on the spectrum call "a Shut Down". I started to have trouble concentrating and focusing on what was going on around me in my environment. I would have days that I could not even look at my emails or go on the computer because everything would look "jumbled". I kind of "lost" some of the skills that I had gained throughout my first 3 years at CCRI. At one point, I could hardly talk without my speech sounding jumbled. I also went through some emotional ups and downs, as well. It had finally taken me the whole summer to realize that this was a result of a HUGE change in my life.

   But did I give up? NOPE!! Instead, I am taking things more slower. I am taking time off to transisition myself more easily.Here is how I will do it. Also, I am planning on exploring career options that my degree will allow me to have. This will serve as a "motivation" for me to go back to my schooling with a positive and exciting attitude. Then, in the Spring of 2013 I will be ready to start my next college degree, earning my Bachelor's.

 Here is my advice to anyone who has an ASD or has a family member with an ASD who is about to step into the college world. It is okay that if you or your loved one may need time off or if they are ready to enter college to go part-time and ease into the transition. I know that most already have all of the paperwork and transition stuff done months ago, but sometimes we may need an additional break. That way when we are ready, we will be ready to succeed to the fullest. But remember we all must take that next step to succeed in life, even if it takes a while to get to there. But when you finally get there, it will be all worth it.



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Suzanne Arena August 15, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Balanced, strong, determined and very gifted Maya! I agree with Erin's words and I will be sure to put you on the CURE (Cranston United for Responsible Education) Facebook page and mine. You certainly do inspire us all.
Melynda S August 19, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Congratulations, Maya!
Maya Lincoln August 21, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Thank you all for your wonderful replies. I am very proud to share my experiences with you all. I feel that as someone on the Autism Spectrum, it is important to share my experiences to help all who are going through or who will go through the same things. I hope that this will help everyone out there who may be struggling through the same situation that I am. But I am already on my way to fixing this "bump in the road" and getting back on the path of success. You all are amazing and I wish you and your children good luck with school this year. I am proud of you all.
Carol McKenna August 23, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Hi Maya - thank you for sharing your journey with us! i have a 14 year old son who has Aspergers and will be starting high school next week. He is pretty nervous about it, too. I've heard good things about support services at the high school, so I am hoping that he makes an easy transition. Family, school and community support can make the difference in the life of anyone on the Spectrum. I wish you all the best and look forward to reading more about your life in college.
Lori Grayson August 25, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Hi Maya, as a mother of a 10 year old boy with autism, I have noticed those "shut down" times with my son. He doesnt really have the language to tell me what's going on; Your story is an eye opener. Much continued success for you this Fall. Thank you for sharing! <3


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