Autism Parenting Magazine Issue 74 (Member's Dashboard) - Page 32

PARENTAL ADVICE Sensory issues do bother me. I’m especially bothered by irregular, unusual sensory input, like a blinking light or a fan or air conditioner that isn’t working right and is making clicks. I try to soothe myself by distracting myself by focusing on something else. Dr. Moore: That’s interesting. I’ve found that some young adults with autism prefer to live alone. What makes a dorm appealing? They can be noisy, and of course, you have to share your space. Does sensory overload concern you at all? Cosette: I like the idea of being right on campus. It will be easier to get to class. And I think it’s one of the safer options living in the city. Plus, a dorm will have more structure than living on my own. It will be more organized. There will be more rules that will make it easier for me to adapt to a strange city. A roommate shouldn’t be a problem. They have a form you fill out, and you say what type of person you are, and they match you with someone similar. I will say I like to be clean and quiet, go to bed ear- ly, and don’t like to party. I don’t like it when people do stupid stuff like leave their clothes on the floor or smoke weed or do nonsense. They can’t bring a bunch of friends to get drunk. And I like not to have years of dishwashing crud stuck on the sink! Sensory issues do bother me. I’m especially both- ered by irregular, unusual sensory input, like a blink- ing light or a fan or air conditioner that isn’t working right and is making clicks. I try to soothe myself by distracting myself by focusing on something else. If it’s a light, I’ll move and put my back to it. If it’s a noise, I will focus on one voice or maybe a painting on the wall. I also have some sensory habits. I will tap my fingers or rub my elbow. I need tactile input. Dr. Moore: You have a good sense of what will work for you, both with college and with the sensory is- sues. Some parents reading this may have teens who are capable but afraid to try college. Do you have any thoughts about the transition from high school to college? 32 | Autism Parenting Magazine | Issue 74 Cosette: Starting first with community college worked for me. It wasn’t exactly like high school, but it wasn’t like transitioning right to university. Some of the professors were laid back and flexible, but some had you write longer essays or wanted you to study more than in high school. They were more involved in your work and gave you more direction. You couldn’t just sleep through class! Dr. Moore: Did anything about college surprise you? Cossette: College was more complicated than high school, but not by much. The canceling of classes was confusing. There aren’t substitute teachers in college. So sometimes a class is canceled, but you don’t know until you get there! Also, in college so much is online. The quizzes and your homework are all there. And you can schedule your classes yourself, and you can split them up the way you want. You don’t have to go to classes on Fri- days if you don’t want to. I never had to! Dr. Moore: What advice would you give other stu- dents who want to try college but might be nervous? Cosette: I’d tell them to try to make friends—to join clubs at college. The first day, sit in the quad with your Nintendo DS system. Bring a deck of cards and start to play solitaire in the community center and maybe someone will approach you. If you make friends, it will help you smooth through the transition. Dr. Moore: As you know, socializing is hard for some people on the spectrum. How did you learn to do that? Cosette: My mom helped me get a job, and that helped. She saw a job opening, and I applied. I’ve been working since April 2017. I do product demon-