Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => All In A Day's Work => Topic started by: shadowfox79 on September 11, 2011, 04:49:53 AM

Title: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: I give up
Post by: shadowfox79 on September 11, 2011, 04:49:53 AM
I am a course admin for several postgraduate courses in a university. Last September a student, who I will call "Nazir", joined one of my courses. He failed to attend a lot of his lectures in semester one, missed all his exams and coursework hand-ins, and in semester two disappeared completely. This is not uncommon with international students, so the fact that we couldn't get hold of him by email or phone was no surprise.

However, halfway through semester two (around March of this year) he appeared with his older brother, who said Nazir was having problems with his timetable. By this point it was far too late for him to start attending, and I went outside (they were waiting in our seating area) to deal with them both.

From the moment I met them I had a good idea of what had happened. The older brother, "Tariq", was a lawyer and Ph.D, and extremely articulate. Nazir, on the other hand, was staring at the floor and refused to speak to me. It was explained that he was both autistic and dyslexic, and it became clear that he was not especially high-functioning - at one point his brother asked him why he hadn't attended his exams, and the response was "Uh, they gave me some books..." He had been unable to manage his online timetable, which meant his semester one classes had not shown up properly and he hadn't been able to bring up his semester two classes at all; similarly he had been unable to understand the student online portal so had not found the listings with deadlines and exam dates. He also couldn't work his student email or the voicemail on his phone.

The conversation didn't go well. The older brother was obviously looking for someone to blame and I suspect was also projecting his feelings onto me and getting angry that I didn't share them - "So you just left him to it? You just abandoned him?" I did try to explain that we have plenty of support for students but it has to be asked for and that postgraduate students don't receive the same level of immediate care as undergrads as they tend to be older, at which point he accused me of insensitivity to his embarrassment. In the end my manager sorted it out and the issue was referred to the Dean.

Nazir will be returning this year to start again with a clean slate, having had his fees from last year wiped. This is not something we normally do, but his mother is on the Board of Directors and his brother is, as I said, a lawyer. The course leader and the older brother have agreed a contract with Disability Support which essentially means Nazir will be shepherded from room to room to ensure he attends all his classes.

Is there anything extra I should do on his return to make things easier for him and to ensure we don't have a repeat of last year, either with him or with his brother?
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Hollanda on September 11, 2011, 05:04:13 AM
It sounds as though Nazir needs an awful lot of help and support in life, and it does make me question whether University is an appropriate setting for him. As a high-functioning Aspie myself, I can understand his desire to fit in with other people and do what "normal" (I hate that word) people do, but some things are just out of one's reach. As much as I would have loved to have gone to Uni with my friends, I can see now that it would have been a bad idea at the time since I had so many issues adjusting to college. 

Is there a Student Support system available to assist Nazir? OP, you sound compassionate and willing to help in any way you can, but unfortunately, unless someone is willing to work 1:1 with him every single day of every single semester, I cannot see how he can receive the level of support he seems to need. :(

Please keep us updated on this!
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Steve on September 11, 2011, 05:36:36 AM
Hi Shadowfox,

It probably is not your responsibility to solve the issues, but you could just keep your eyes open and let the people that do help him out know if there is something going on. Any difference you can make for him will probably have a profound impact.
It sounds like an excellent opportunity to 'do good' in a meaningfull way. I would suggest you be pro-active and ask him and his counsellors if there is anything you can do for him though, they would know better than we do.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: ShadesOfGrey on September 11, 2011, 06:32:14 AM
I wouldnt do anything extra for him except find the right person to communicate with about his progress.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: shadowfox79 on September 11, 2011, 06:49:14 AM
It sounds as though Nazir needs an awful lot of help and support in life, and it does make me question whether University is an appropriate setting for him.

He apparently managed to complete a bachelor's degree (while living at home), so I'm guessing his family thought he could cope just as easily with a masters. However, postgraduate students are expected to be much more independent, which he wasn't prepared for.

We have a lot of support available, both from Disability Support and the Student Union. Unfortunately I'm worried there won't be a great deal else I can do. I can keep in contact with his various support staff but my primary mode of contact with students is by email and phone - if he hasn't managed to get the hang of his email yet then he could be floundering and I'd never know.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Knitterly on September 11, 2011, 12:29:03 PM
It is not your responsibility to babysit one student, no matter what their disability is. 

I would ensure that he is properly referred to the Disability Services department and ensure that contact has been established.  Disability Services will ensure that his needs are met and that proper accomodations are made for him.

Beyond that, it is inappropriate for anyone to expect you to take on the additional work of ensuring one particular student succeeds.  It is not in your job description and you are not appropriately trained to do so.  I think expecting you to constantly lean over his shoulder is unreasonable.  You have, I presume, plenty of other students who also require your attention. 
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: shadowfox79 on September 11, 2011, 01:06:58 PM
Knitterly - yes, I do. The reason everyone is so earnest about this student is his family. With a mother on the Board and a brother who is both a lawyer and a nasty piece of work (I wasn't present for the meetings with the Dean, but my course leader was, and he was threatening lawsuits the whole time) everybody is terrified this student will crash and burn and we'll all be held responsible.

Disability Support are aware of him, so hopefully they will take the brunt of the work.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Onyx_TKD on September 11, 2011, 01:50:57 PM
I have no experience dealing with autism, so take this with a grain of salt, but this is an idea I'd consider.

From what I've heard, people with Aspergers or Autism tend to be very rule-oriented. Maybe Nazir and his family should receive packets spelling out how to get in touch with Disability services for various issues, so that he knows exactly what the "rules" are for how to deal with a problem:
E.g. At the beginning of the semester, talk to this PersonsName at [contact info]; they will make sure that you have access to your class schedules, have your books, and answer any other questions you have. If you need special accommodations for a class or exam, call [Phone#] or go to [Office]. For advice on time management, contact [Office]. If you need help with something else, go to [Office] and they will figure out who can help you.

Make sure you have a record that Nazir, his mother, and his brother have all received this information and know that if he needs help, he needs to contact Disability Services ASAP using the contact information he was given. Emphasize that you want to make sure he gets the help he needs, but they cannot help him if he doesn't contact them about the problem. Then, if the mother and brother throw a fit about him not getting help, the first question to ask will be "Did he contact Disability Services?...No? Well, let's get in touch with them and see what they can do. Do you need another packet with the contact information? Remember, it's very important that you contact them when Nazir needs help; the sooner they can help him, the less it will disrupt his learning."
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: LadyL on September 11, 2011, 04:15:53 PM
I used to tutor students via Disability Services at my college. Definitely arrange a contract for him to sign agreeing to a minimum # of tutoring hours/other assistance before the start of the semester. Then lawyerzilla will have no one to blame at the school if his brother continues to no show.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Balletmom on September 11, 2011, 05:29:04 PM
I used to tutor students via Disability Services at my college. Definitely arrange a contract for him to sign agreeing to a minimum # of tutoring hours/other assistance before the start of the semester. Then lawyerzilla will have no one to blame at the school if his brother continues to no show.

This, exactly. Spell out in writing what Nazir is expected to do, and the level of responsibility that is required of him. Have the person(s) in charge of overseeing this, email the family with weekly updates. Get the family to sign on to what Nazir is expected to do as well, and what will not be done by the University.

The key word here is "ownership." Nazir needs to take "ownership" of his scholastic responsibilities. I've found that a magic phrase in dealing with people like this.

Good luck. Document everything!
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: blarg314 on September 11, 2011, 07:55:15 PM

He apparently managed to complete a bachelor's degree (while living at home), so I'm guessing his family thought he could cope just as easily with a masters. However, postgraduate students are expected to be much more independent, which he wasn't prepared for.


Ooh, this is a *graduate* program?  And he can't figure out when his classes are without someone to personally escort him?

I think it's a good idea to cover your bases and be as helpful as possible. That way when he does crash and burn (which I can pretty much guarantee will happen) at least you won't be blamed.  In classes, have a printed sheet with the assignments/expected reading listed on them, and the date and time of the next class, and give to him personally.   Document *everything*, and all communications. Don't be afraid to go to higher ups if you find yourself being threatened or bullied by the family.

I have a suspicion that he did his undergrad with serious help from home - a family member to take him to his classes every day, and tell him to do his homework, and when to study. I also suspect that if you talk to his undergraduate professors and admin, you'd find the same pattern - bullying and threatening of lawsuits until they gave in and spoon fed him his degree.

Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: SPuck on September 11, 2011, 08:41:09 PM
Autism or Asperger's syndrome ultimately comes down to the individual and if they can handle there own problems. As an individual with high functioning Asperger's syndrome I can handle an educational setting. I attend a support group where there are people who could not handle an education, but at the same time they also admit to it. The school is doing him disservice by putting him in a "normal" school setting when he clearly can't handle it.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Erich L-ster on September 11, 2011, 09:18:13 PM
Is there a counseling department that could do these services for him? It really seems that would fall more under their heading than yours.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: azteach3821 on September 11, 2011, 09:34:33 PM
It sounds as though Nazir needs an awful lot of help and support in life, and it does make me question whether University is an appropriate setting for him.

He apparently managed to complete a bachelor's degree (while living at home), so I'm guessing his family thought he could cope just as easily with a masters. However, postgraduate students are expected to be much more independent, which he wasn't prepared for.

As a PhD candidate myself, and auntie to three aspie/autistic sweeties, I wonder how much of his undergrad degree he actually completed on his own. Just playing devil's advocate,  but it's conceivable that his overinvolved family gave him a great deal of "assistance" in writing papers, homework, etc.  Tests could have posed a problem, but I know at my university there are extensive disability services which include testing modification. 
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: JoyinVirginia on September 11, 2011, 09:57:41 PM
So how many months was this student not attending classes or doing work before his family notices? That would be my question to the family. I agree with other posters who recommend careful documentation of every communication with the student and family. Document recommendations and referrals to counseling or assistance services. It is up to the student to take advantage of the services or not.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: KimberlyRose on September 11, 2011, 10:00:32 PM
It sounds as though Nazir needs an awful lot of help and support in life, and it does make me question whether University is an appropriate setting for him.

He apparently managed to complete a bachelor's degree (while living at home), so I'm guessing his family thought he could cope just as easily with a masters. However, postgraduate students are expected to be much more independent, which he wasn't prepared for.

As a PhD candidate myself, and auntie to three aspie/autistic sweeties, I wonder how much of his undergrad degree he actually completed on his own. Just playing devil's advocate,  but it's conceivable that his overinvolved family gave him a great deal of "assistance" in writing papers, homework, etc.  Tests could have posed a problem, but I know at my university there are extensive disability services which include testing modification.

I don't know if you are actually playing devil's advocate.  This was my first thought, too.  If he can't even handle his schedule, then I doubt he got his undergrad degree on his own.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: TychaBrahe on September 11, 2011, 10:30:58 PM
It depends on the subject matter.  I wouldn't expect someone on the spectrum to do well in literature or languages or any of the social sciences.  But engineering or computer programming or something solid like chemistry?  I imagine they'd do very well.   I heard of one person who was handed a Ph.D. in economics for developing a computer program that mimicked the European market (circa 20-25 years).  He had coded it because he was interested in the problem.  That is classic Aspie behavior.

The problem is that in graduate studies so much of the work is done outside of class.  Someone who needs rules and structure can't function well like that.  However, it is not the business of the department to provide that.  The whole purpose of a graduate program is to work outside the existing structure, paving the way for new structures, if you will.

The office of students with disability might help, but ultimately if his family thinks he needs his hand held, they will have to hold it.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: ChiGirl on September 11, 2011, 10:51:16 PM

The conversation didn't go well. The older brother was obviously looking for someone to blame and I suspect was also projecting his feelings onto me and getting angry that I didn't share them - "So you just left him to it? You just abandoned him?" I did try to explain that we have plenty of support for students but it has to be asked for and that postgraduate students don't receive the same level of immediate care as undergrads as they tend to be older, at which point he accused me of insensitivity to his embarrassment. In the end my manager sorted it out and the issue was referred to the Dean.


The brother's quite the piece of work, isn't he?  Did he mean Nazir's embarassment, or his own?

I agree there is something fishy about this...the family knows that Nazir has these diagnoses, and if he's old enough for a grad program then this can't be the first time he's had problems.  Why did it take them 1.5 semesters to realize Nazir had effectively dropped out of school?  I wonder what he was telling them all year.

It sounds like the school has arranged assistance for him, so I don't think there's anything else you need to do, OP.  But if you have any contact with Nazir I'd document it to death.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Giggity on September 12, 2011, 07:31:36 AM
Avoid any interaction with him. If you HAVE to interact with him, have a witness and document. That family is looking for someone to take the fall.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: shadowfox79 on September 12, 2011, 08:17:18 AM
So how many months was this student not attending classes or doing work before his family notices? That would be my question to the family.

I think that was why the brother kept accusing me of "abandoning" him. From what the course leader said later, once the brother had managed to get his way with the Dean, he softened enough to admit he felt the family had failed him by not noticing sooner - in other words, they had abandoned him.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: shadowfox79 on September 12, 2011, 08:18:24 AM
It depends on the subject matter.  I wouldn't expect someone on the spectrum to do well in literature or languages or any of the social sciences.  But engineering or computer programming or something solid like chemistry?  I imagine they'd do very well. 

It's a management course. I've no idea how that ties in with autism.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Spoder on September 12, 2011, 08:20:56 AM
Avoid any interaction with him. If you HAVE to interact with him, have a witness and document. That family is looking for someone to take the fall.

This, oh so very much. I feel deeply sorry for Nazir, but you need to cover yourself.

Mother on the board? Lawyerzilla brother? These people are going to bully and threaten their way through Nazir's life because they don't want to admit that he is different. Don't be caught in the crosshairs when they're eventually forced to face reality, and the proverbial hits the fan.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: shadowfox79 on September 12, 2011, 08:21:56 AM
Avoid any interaction with him. If you HAVE to interact with him, have a witness and document. That family is looking for someone to take the fall.

This advice I will definitely take. I hope to leave the in-person meetings to the course leader and just deal with him by email if I can.

ChiGirl, he meant his own embarrassment. To be honest, I'm not sure what happened with his family. It was filtered back to me that Nazir had been asked what was going on and he "seemed to think that the course had stopped running", which suggests to me that the virtually uncommunicative student I met is like that all the time. Obviously this is when the highly articulate brother stepped in to sort it out.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: LadyL on September 12, 2011, 08:22:21 AM
It depends on the subject matter.  I wouldn't expect someone on the spectrum to do well in literature or languages or any of the social sciences.  But engineering or computer programming or something solid like chemistry?  I imagine they'd do very well. 

It's a management course. I've no idea how that ties in with autism.

Wow. Management is pretty heavy on the soft skills and that's basically the exact opposite of what most Aspies are good at  ???.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Winterlight on September 12, 2011, 09:32:53 AM
Wow, what a quagmire.

OK, first I'd definitely take Juana's advice.

Second, please do not take on any guilt here. It is unwarranted. If he has family on the board then they should have known about and been contacting Student Services from the beginning. You are his professor, not his mommy. I would also be wary about getting too involved in assisting him. That could rapidly go south on you.

Third, I am also wondering how much home "help" he received to get through undergrad.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: wolfie on September 12, 2011, 09:38:53 AM
Someone who can't figure out how his phone or email works doesn't sound like they are ready for grad school. Makes me wonder how he got accepted into the program.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Spoder on September 12, 2011, 09:47:03 AM
Someone who can't figure out how his phone or email works doesn't sound like they are ready for grad school. Makes me wonder how he got accepted into the program.

Well, exactly. Much less a management position. I don't think his family, or the university, are doing him any favours really.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: shadowfox79 on September 12, 2011, 10:20:34 AM
Someone who can't figure out how his phone or email works doesn't sound like they are ready for grad school. Makes me wonder how he got accepted into the program.

Well, exactly. Much less a management position. I don't think his family, or the university, are doing him any favours really.

As far as that goes, sadly we don't get much say in the matter. Admissions is handled centrally, and on many occasions we've had students show up who couldn't speak English, were wanting months off on maternity leave because they were already five months pregnant, or who had been offered places on courses that don't run any more. I spend a lot of time on the phone to Admissions trying to figure out what on earth they think they're doing, since we can't do anything once the student's here - our every suggestion that they might not be suited for the course is met with "Well, YOU offered me a place!"
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: bopper on September 12, 2011, 10:44:09 AM
I guess the only other thing you can do is contact the professors after a little while and ask if Nazir is going to class and completing assignments? 
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: jaxsue on September 12, 2011, 11:23:35 AM
Someone who can't figure out how his phone or email works doesn't sound like they are ready for grad school. Makes me wonder how he got accepted into the program.

Well, exactly. Much less a management position. I don't think his family, or the university, are doing him any favours really.

POD to both. DS #1, who's 23, has autism. I'd never put him, or others, in this position. The family sounds quite SS.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Balletmom on September 12, 2011, 06:25:32 PM
The real issue here, is that the family hasn't come to terms with the limits of Nazir's abilities, and the impact of his disabilities. They didn't notice he wasn't going to class, and expected the university to call them. "That is not appropriate at this level of education" is the correct response. They have unrealistic expectations.

Graduate school, sadly, seems to the point at which this revelation will have to occur. Document and put the ball back in Lawyerzilla's court. He obviously cares about his brother and wants him to do well. He obviously feels guilty that he's not doing more to help his brother, although it's not really help.

A key question might be to ask: "What does Nazir really want? We cannot do more for him than he wants to do for himself. If he is not able or willing to come to class, or seek out tutoring, then we cannot force that on him. He is an adult, and capable of knowing what he wants. This needs to be about his goals, and what he wants to do."

Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: blarg314 on September 13, 2011, 01:55:31 AM
It depends on the subject matter.  I wouldn't expect someone on the spectrum to do well in literature or languages or any of the social sciences.  But engineering or computer programming or something solid like chemistry?  I imagine they'd do very well. 

I'm not sure about that.

I've got a PhD in the physical sciences, and and awkward social skills or weird mannerisms are not that big a problem.  But students absolutely need to be able to function independently.  If a student can't function outside of an very structured environment, where they are told what to do and when to do it, and led through things carefully, they aren't going to make it to the end of the program, no matter how brilliant they are at the subject material.

If someone came up with a really brilliant project on their own, but couldn't handle the rest of the surrounding stuff, it would be tricky.  It's just possible that they might be given the degree, but it would be difficult to get past the university if they, for example, didn't have the coursework properly completed, or had foundered on the qualifying exam a year into the program and were asked to leave, or did brilliant work that wasn't written up properly. IN other words, ground-breaking genius level work might be let past the rules, but not merely excellent work.

Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: immadz on September 13, 2011, 03:13:19 AM
While I feel sorry for you and Nazir, I also feel sorry for Tariq. Being responsible for Nazir's grades is not an enviable position to be in, given Nazir's disabilities.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: shadowfox79 on September 13, 2011, 04:44:33 AM
Oh, it gets better.

I've just spoken to the course leader, who had a meeting scheduled with them, the Dean and reps from our disability and counselling groups. Tariq showed up with his mother but not Nazir, and when asked why he wasn't there, replied that he didn't want to come. Not a great start.

Not only that, but as Nazir apparently can't handle presentations, deadlines or group work, it was suggested (but not agreed, so far) that maybe the module team could write separate assignments just for him.  ::) He's already getting a separate induction, and his brother asked to be copied in to all emails sent to him (which the course leader said could only be done with Nazir's written consent, although I imagine it will be Tariq who writes it).

This is going to be a disaster.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Spoder on September 13, 2011, 05:08:00 AM
Oh, it gets better.

I've just spoken to the course leader, who had a meeting scheduled with them, the Dean and reps from our disability and counselling groups. Tariq showed up with his mother but not Nazir, and when asked why he wasn't there, replied that he didn't want to come. Not a great start.

Not only that, but as Nazir apparently can't handle presentations, deadlines or group work, it was suggested (but not agreed, so far) that maybe the module team could write separate assignments just for him.  ::) He's already getting a separate induction, and his brother asked to be copied in to all emails sent to him (which the course leader said could only be done with Nazir's written consent, although I imagine it will be Tariq who writes it).

This is going to be a disaster.

This is utterly ridiculous. Clearly, money talks in this place, in a big way. Otherwise, I'm assuming they would have used some common sense and called off the meeting when Nazir didn't even show up.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: shadowfox79 on September 13, 2011, 06:48:29 AM
Not so much money as clout. With a mother on the Board and a lawyer brother to speak for him, there was no way they'd be cancelling the meeting.

I doubt he will actually get separate assignments, but you never know. As far as I know, any module involving presentations also has a written component, so he might be able to just take that component to cover the whole assessment. And he wouldn't be the first student to do a group assignment on his own.

How they plan to handle the deadline problem I don't know.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Winterlight on September 13, 2011, 10:40:29 AM
Oh, it gets better.

I've just spoken to the course leader, who had a meeting scheduled with them, the Dean and reps from our disability and counselling groups. Tariq showed up with his mother but not Nazir, and when asked why he wasn't there, replied that he didn't want to come. Not a great start.

Not only that, but as Nazir apparently can't handle presentations, deadlines or group work, it was suggested (but not agreed, so far) that maybe the module team could write separate assignments just for him.  ::) He's already getting a separate induction, and his brother asked to be copied in to all emails sent to him (which the course leader said could only be done with Nazir's written consent, although I imagine it will be Tariq who writes it).

This is going to be a disaster.

Hoboy. This is definitely not going to end well. Document, document, document. And have a witness!
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: TychaBrahe on September 13, 2011, 11:23:21 AM
It depends on the subject matter.  I wouldn't expect someone on the spectrum to do well in literature or languages or any of the social sciences.  But engineering or computer programming or something solid like chemistry?  I imagine they'd do very well. 

It's a management course. I've no idea how that ties in with autism.

He's wasting his time.  He's going to be useless at management.  How can someone who doesn't understand normal human interactions and social cues lead, motivate, or discipline people?  I learned that about myself the hard way.  (And frankly, he's just proven he can't even successfully manage himself.)

The first thing I thought of here was the old Star Fleet regulation that a Vulcan cannot command a ship unless its crew is entirely Vulcan. 
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: TychaBrahe on September 13, 2011, 11:29:19 AM
It depends on the subject matter.  I wouldn't expect someone on the spectrum to do well in literature or languages or any of the social sciences.  But engineering or computer programming or something solid like chemistry?  I imagine they'd do very well. 

I'm not sure about that.

I've got a PhD in the physical sciences, and and awkward social skills or weird mannerisms are not that big a problem.  But students absolutely need to be able to function independently.  If a student can't function outside of an very structured environment, where they are told what to do and when to do it, and led through things carefully, they aren't going to make it to the end of the program, no matter how brilliant they are at the subject material.

If someone came up with a really brilliant project on their own, but couldn't handle the rest of the surrounding stuff, it would be tricky.  It's just possible that they might be given the degree, but it would be difficult to get past the university if they, for example, didn't have the coursework properly completed, or had foundered on the qualifying exam a year into the program and were asked to leave, or did brilliant work that wasn't written up properly. IN other words, ground-breaking genius level work might be let past the rules, but not merely excellent work.

By "physical sciences" it sounds like you mean something like chemistry or physics.  And I agree, Aspies would do well there.  They are all about rules and structure, and there is one answer.  F = (G * m1 * m2) / r^2 forever and ever and always.  You can write legislation to make pi = 22/7 or 3, but you can't change the fundamental workings of the Universe.

It's things like psychology and sociology and I would argue even some aspects of biology that I think Aspies would have trouble with. 
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Elfmama on September 13, 2011, 01:06:06 PM
Not only document, but get signatures all the way down the line.  "I have received my schedule and class assignments." Nazir Whosis  (You'd probably have to put it in legalese.)
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: KimberlyRose on September 13, 2011, 03:26:45 PM
Not so much money as clout. With a mother on the Board and a lawyer brother to speak for him, there was no way they'd be cancelling the meeting.

But couldn't they have at least told them, "in that case, we'll need to reschedule for a time when Nazir can be present," instead of just going ahead?
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Onyx_TKD on September 13, 2011, 06:41:10 PM
Oh, it gets better.

I've just spoken to the course leader, who had a meeting scheduled with them, the Dean and reps from our disability and counselling groups. Tariq showed up with his mother but not Nazir, and when asked why he wasn't there, replied that he didn't want to come. Not a great start.

Not only that, but as Nazir apparently can't handle presentations, deadlines or group work, it was suggested (but not agreed, so far) that maybe the module team could write separate assignments just for him.  ::) He's already getting a separate induction, and his brother asked to be copied in to all emails sent to him (which the course leader said could only be done with Nazir's written consent, although I imagine it will be Tariq who writes it).

This is going to be a disaster.

RE: the bolded
Thank all that is good and holy that he "can't handle group work" because I would weep for the poor students assigned to his group. There are already enough students who flake out of responsibilities and meetings in group work without adding a student who skips out on meetings scheduled purely for his benefit because "he didn't want to come" and can't even handle his own schedule without help. Add the fact that it would be incredibly difficult to ask for him to booted from the group without risking accusations of being insensitive to his disability, and it would be pure [place of fiery torment] for his teammates.

However, it does bring up the question of what he is going to "manage" if he can't work with groups.  ??? I don't think that leading a group of one generally requires a graduate management degree (and I really hope "can't handle group work" doesn't mean that he can only deal with groups if he's in charge  :-\).
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Twik on September 13, 2011, 07:05:29 PM
So, if Nazir cannot handle presentations, deadlines, group work, or even getting to class, what will he be able to do once he graduates? I'm afraid this family is trying to pretend to themslves that Nazir is going to be able to go out, get a job (even a prestigious one) and live independently, and he is not in any state where he currently could do so. He needs intensive therapy and training in managing his own life, before he starts trying to manage others.

It's a tragedy for Nazir, really. He needs support, not people turning a blind eye to his problems.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: blarg314 on September 13, 2011, 09:13:53 PM
I think your department needs to start talking with higher levels at the university, to maintain its own professional integrity.

Right now they are being bullied into basically giving someone a meaningless degree. It's a management degree, and they want him exempt from presentations, deadlines, group work, getting to class by himself, and communicating with the faculty by email, voice or phone.

So he's going to get a graduate degree based on solo written assignments with no deadline, and someone else to handle basic communications and make him get to work. If he goes out and gets a job based on this, your department is going to look incompetent and/or unethical.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: blarg314 on September 13, 2011, 09:20:25 PM

By "physical sciences" it sounds like you mean something like chemistry or physics.  And I agree, Aspies would do well there.  They are all about rules and structure, and there is one answer.  F = (G * m1 * m2) / r^2 forever and ever and always.  You can write legislation to make pi = 22/7 or 3, but you can't change the fundamental workings of the Universe.


You'd be surprised.  At an undergrad level, sure, but when you hit grad school you learn that what you were taught in undergrad is not necessarily true.

Take F = (G*m1*m2)/r^2, the Newtonian gravitational law. I spent a full year in a master's level relativity course learning that this law is actually *not* generally true; it's only true in certain, special circumstances.  However, you need to learn tensor calculus before you can even approach Einstein's General Theory.

One of the courses I took as an undergrad  was completely invalid within a few years of graduating.  Basically, I took a course on solar system astronomy. The next year, solar systems outside of our own were discovered, and we found out that most of the theories of solar system formation we had were totally wrong.  If I taught that course now, the material would be completely different.

A student who insisted that what they learned in undergrad *had* to be true, even when presented with evidence to the contrary, wouldn't make it past the course work, let alone the qualifier, and would be completely incompetent at original research.  They'd probably be fine applying current, well accepted theories to practical applications, but that's not what's involved in the PhD.

Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Balletmom on September 13, 2011, 09:32:53 PM
So, if Nazir cannot handle presentations, deadlines, group work, or even getting to class, what will he be able to do once he graduates? I'm afraid this family is trying to pretend to themslves that Nazir is going to be able to go out, get a job (even a prestigious one) and live independently, and he is not in any state where he currently could do so. He needs intensive therapy and training in managing his own life, before he starts trying to manage others.

It's a tragedy for Nazir, really. He needs support, not people turning a blind eye to his problems.

I agree. This is a family that can't accept one child being different. What part of the grad school program IS Nazir able to handle? '

He cannot meet the basic academic requirements on his own. The essential question is, "what can Nazir do to make this degree meaningful."

Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: shadowfox79 on September 14, 2011, 03:25:53 AM
I think your department needs to start talking with higher levels at the university, to maintain its own professional integrity.

Right now they are being bullied into basically giving someone a meaningless degree. It's a management degree, and they want him exempt from presentations, deadlines, group work, getting to class by himself, and communicating with the faculty by email, voice or phone.

So he's going to get a graduate degree based on solo written assignments with no deadline, and someone else to handle basic communications and make him get to work. If he goes out and gets a job based on this, your department is going to look incompetent and/or unethical.

Yup. However, I'm not sure what they can do. The meeting included the Dean of the faculty - going higher than her essentially means the VC, who I don't know personally but I doubt she'll want to annoy members of the Board, especially when it relates to a learning-disabled son.

Frankly, I don't see how he's going to get his degree anyway, unless his brother does the assignments for him. It's all going to be pointless if he fails all his coursework.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Spoder on September 14, 2011, 03:28:29 AM
I think your department needs to start talking with higher levels at the university, to maintain its own professional integrity.

Right now they are being bullied into basically giving someone a meaningless degree. It's a management degree, and they want him exempt from presentations, deadlines, group work, getting to class by himself, and communicating with the faculty by email, voice or phone.

So he's going to get a graduate degree based on solo written assignments with no deadline, and someone else to handle basic communications and make him get to work. If he goes out and gets a job based on this, your department is going to look incompetent and/or unethical.

Yup. However, I'm not sure what they can do. The meeting included the Dean of the faculty - going higher than her essentially means the VC, who I don't know personally but I doubt she'll want to annoy members of the Board, especially when it relates to a learning-disabled son.

Frankly, I don't see how he's going to get his degree anyway, unless his brother does the assignments for him. It's all going to be pointless if he fails all his coursework.

I just shudder to think how much drama, frustration and extra work he's going to create for everyone else (read: university faculty/staff) along the way.  >:( All because his mother and brother refuse to live in the real world with the rest of us.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: TychaBrahe on September 14, 2011, 03:00:47 PM
Take F = (G*m1*m2)/r^2, the Newtonian gravitational law. I spent a full year in a master's level relativity course learning that this law is actually *not* generally true; it's only true in certain, special circumstances.  However, you need to learn tensor calculus before you can even approach Einstein's General Theory.

One of the courses I took as an undergrad  was completely invalid within a few years of graduating.  Basically, I took a course on solar system astronomy. The next year, solar systems outside of our own were discovered, and we found out that most of the theories of solar system formation we had were totally wrong.  If I taught that course now, the material would be completely different.

This reminds me of something a few years ago.  I audited a course at one of the local seminaries on "Creation" from a scientific and religious purview.  The science part fascinated me.  We started with the Big Bang and ended up somewhere around ardipithecus, which discovery had just been announced the week prior to our lecture.  (The religion part I didn't understand at all.  I stopped going to class when they were discussing how the meaning of Jesus had changed between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.)

Anyway, when the lecturer on extrasolar planets spoke, I asked her about Bode's law.  I'd learned it in high school astronomy.  The only reference I'd read about it since was in a Heinlein novel.  Except that I couldn't remember the name.  I kept coming up with Boyle's Law, which has to do with the pressure and volume of gases.  And she knew exactly what I was talking about, told me that it was considered an accident of our solar system, since it hadn't been observed anywhere else (and 500+ planets is a lot of non-observation), and she couldn't remember the name either, since it had been so long since it was disproven.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: newbiePA on September 14, 2011, 04:20:30 PM
I am not a lawyer, but I am a former grad student. Something else your university has to consider is the fallout if this student does enroll, and ends up in classes. I assume the program rejected sone students, and academia is a small world.  If I was not accepted into your program, and I found out about this arrangement, I would NOT be happy. This could have long term implications for your university's program. Admin. should tread very carefully.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: NutMeg on September 14, 2011, 08:35:14 PM
As someone who is desperately trying to get into her dream graduate program, the OP is so depressing. If you can't do the job, then you can't do the job. In my opinion a reasonable accommodation is if you can change a non-essential part that will make it easier for the individual with a disability, that still captures the essence of the original task. If you can't handle the essence of the task, then you have no business pretending that you do.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Spoder on September 14, 2011, 09:23:21 PM
As someone who is desperately trying to get into her dream graduate program, the OP is so depressing. If you can't do the job, then you can't do the job. In my opinion a reasonable accommodation is if you can change a non-essential part that will make it easier for the individual with a disability, that still captures the essence of the original task. If you can't handle the essence of the task, then you have no business pretending that you do.

I completely agree.

I will also say, at the risk of sounding selfish, that it ticks me off when substandard students are allowed to graduate from a course when they really haven't been able to fulfil the requirements. It's unfair to the other students. I don't want these people graduating from the same institution, with the same degree, as I have. It downgrades the value of *my* qualification if the university is clearly handing them out to anyone who can wheedle/finagle/bully their way into passing.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Lisbeth on September 14, 2011, 09:39:54 PM
Oh, brother.

I think that in addition to documenting everything involving Nazir, the university is also going to have to have its own legal counsel standing by to deal with all the crap Tariq and his mother are going to throw at it-all because they won't face reality and admit that Nazir can't handle the requirements of graduate school.

It makes me wonder how he got that bachelor's degree-did Tariq bully the school that issued it with legal threats?
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Spoder on September 14, 2011, 09:48:23 PM
Oh, brother.

I think that in addition to documenting everything involving Nazir, the university is also going to have to have its own legal counsel standing by to deal with all the crap Tariq and his mother are going to throw at it-all because they won't face reality and admit that Nazir can't handle the requirements of graduate school.

It makes me wonder how he got that bachelor's degree-did Tariq bully the school that issued it with legal threats?

Heck yeah.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: KimberlyRose on September 14, 2011, 09:48:49 PM
It makes me wonder how he got that bachelor's degree-did Tariq bully the school that issued it with legal threats?

That was probably part of it, but since Nazir was living with his family at the time, they probably "helped" him a LOT.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Spoder on September 14, 2011, 09:57:01 PM
It makes me wonder how he got that bachelor's degree-did Tariq bully the school that issued it with legal threats?

That was probably part of it, but since Nazir was living with his family at the time, they probably "helped" him a LOT.

And this is one of the reasons that assessments at university are so exam-heavy. Not because exams are the best way of testing in-depth understanding of the topic (they're often not), but because exams are the only way they can be sure that students are actually doing the work themselves.

Because, y'know, it would be so useful to get a degree on the basis of work that was actually done by your brother / your mother / your tutor / some random person off the internet.  ::)
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: shadowfox79 on September 15, 2011, 01:42:51 AM
I am not a lawyer, but I am a former grad student. Something else your university has to consider is the fallout if this student does enroll, and ends up in classes. I assume the program rejected sone students, and academia is a small world.  If I was not accepted into your program, and I found out about this arrangement, I would NOT be happy. This could have long term implications for your university's program. Admin. should tread very carefully.

On this one we're safe, because this particular course is always under-recruited, although I see your point. It may be more likely to get negative feedback from the students on the course if it becomes obvious that Nazir is being coddled.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Gyburc on September 15, 2011, 05:16:43 AM
Shadowfox, I'm in a very similar job to yours, and I have to say I relaxed quite a bit as soon as I heard that you had got the Dean and the other higher-ups involved. That was going to be my first and most urgent piece of advice.

I agree with the PPs - document absolutely everything - and more than that, make sure that you inform the 'chain of command' of everything that happens. This sounds like an absolute nightmare.

I'm horribly cynical, but I rather think that Nazir's family are expecting either someone else to do his work for him, or your university to hand him his degree on the grounds of no work at all.

Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Twik on September 15, 2011, 08:56:58 AM
Oh, brother.

I think that in addition to documenting everything involving Nazir, the university is also going to have to have its own legal counsel standing by to deal with all the crap Tariq and his mother are going to throw at it-all because they won't face reality and admit that Nazir can't handle the requirements of graduate school.

It makes me wonder how he got that bachelor's degree-did Tariq bully the school that issued it with legal threats?

Yes. What struck me is that Nazir does not seem able currently to cope with what he'd need to do to get and keep a job, even if he is handed a degree. His family should be concentrating on therapy to enable him to be more self-sufficient, without worrying at this time about him getting a degree that he probably would not be able to use. I sense that the family is in deep denial about his level of functionality.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: shadowfox79 on September 15, 2011, 02:59:21 PM
Yes. What struck me is that Nazir does not seem able currently to cope with what he'd need to do to get and keep a job, even if he is handed a degree. His family should be concentrating on therapy to enable him to be more self-sufficient, without worrying at this time about him getting a degree that he probably would not be able to use. I sense that the family is in deep denial about his level of functionality.

Given that the few family members I've met include a woman on the Board of Governors and a Ph.D lawyer, I suspect he comes from a family of over-achievers who refuse to accept that his upper limits may not be the same as theirs.

Although I do wonder, given the amount of help they must have given him during his first degree, why they allowed him to get into such a state with his masters. I'd have thought they'd at least have asked him about his coursework.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: RegionMom on September 15, 2011, 03:05:24 PM
Does Nazir drive?  Has he ever held a job? 
If he basically home-schooled his way to a college degree, then maybe he has not really dealt with the real world.  Now is the time for the training wheels to be loosened, and see if they could ever truly come off!

How would he handle a job interview?  Let alone, arranging said interview, and developing the skills needed to present oneself before a review board? 

Looking good on paper is only one part of getting a job. 

Again, document, document, document.  Grad students are adults, and should be treated as such.  Yes, make accommodations for special needs.  That does not mean treat like a pre-schooler. 

This could get interesting!
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Spoder on September 16, 2011, 12:21:00 AM
Does Nazir drive?  Has he ever held a job? 
If he basically home-schooled his way to a college degree, then maybe he has not really dealt with the real world.  Now is the time for the training wheels to be loosened, and see if they could ever truly come off!

How would he handle a job interview?  Let alone, arranging said interview, and developing the skills needed to present oneself before a review board? 

Looking good on paper is only one part of getting a job. 
Again, document, document, document.  Grad students are adults, and should be treated as such.  Yes, make accommodations for special needs.  That does not mean treat like a pre-schooler. 

This could get interesting!

I'm seriously dubious whether his family ever expect Nazir to get an actual job. I'm betting they know he's low-functioning, but they want him to have some fancy bits of paper to prove he's an intelligent eccentric, or some such thing, for prestige reasons.

I'm doing an awful lot of assuming here, but I've taught in university settings and met similar families. Makes me sad/angry.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Winterlight on September 16, 2011, 08:28:51 AM
Does Nazir drive?  Has he ever held a job? 
If he basically home-schooled his way to a college degree, then maybe he has not really dealt with the real world.  Now is the time for the training wheels to be loosened, and see if they could ever truly come off!

How would he handle a job interview?  Let alone, arranging said interview, and developing the skills needed to present oneself before a review board? 

Looking good on paper is only one part of getting a job. 
Again, document, document, document.  Grad students are adults, and should be treated as such.  Yes, make accommodations for special needs.  That does not mean treat like a pre-schooler. 

This could get interesting!

I'm seriously dubious whether his family ever expect Nazir to get an actual job. I'm betting they know he's low-functioning, but they want him to have some fancy bits of paper to prove he's an intelligent eccentric, or some such thing, for prestige reasons.

I'm doing an awful lot of assuming here, but I've taught in university settings and met similar families. Makes me sad/angry.

I was coming to the same conclusions. "Oh, Nazir has an MBA," with no mention of what he's doing careerwise. I feel kind of sorry for him- it sounds like they aren't willing to deal with the situation as it exists. 
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Twik on September 16, 2011, 08:42:53 AM
I think Spoder is right. It sounds like this is very painful for them - if the rest of the family values education highly, they may feel that Nazir *has* to achieve something in the academic field, somehow. Perhaps they can keep him in classes long enough that they can say, "Oh, Nazir? No, he's not employed yet - he's a perpetual student, don't you know? But we're so proud of the degrees he's got."
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: yokozbornak on September 16, 2011, 02:52:40 PM
Do they have power of attorney over Nazir?  When I was in college, no one would have entertained my parents' questions about me and they certainly would not have discussed my grades and academic performance without me being there since I was legally an adult.  I find it bewildering that you and others are meeting and discussing a student with his mother and brother especially without him being present.  That seems like a huge confidentiality breach.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Winterlight on September 16, 2011, 03:19:20 PM
Do they have power of attorney over Nazir?  When I was in college, no one would have entertained my parents questions about me and they certainly would not have discussed my grades and academic performance without me being their since I was legally an adult.  I find it bewildering that you and others are meeting and discussing a student with his mother and brother especially without him being present.  That seems like a huge confidentiality breach.

I'm guessing they do- he doesn't really sound like he could live on his own.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Balletmom on September 16, 2011, 11:26:00 PM
Does Nazir drive?  Has he ever held a job? 
If he basically home-schooled his way to a college degree, then maybe he has not really dealt with the real world.  Now is the time for the training wheels to be loosened, and see if they could ever truly come off!

How would he handle a job interview?  Let alone, arranging said interview, and developing the skills needed to present oneself before a review board? 

Looking good on paper is only one part of getting a job. 

Again, document, document, document.  Grad students are adults, and should be treated as such.  Yes, make accommodations for special needs.  That does not mean treat like a pre-schooler. 

This could get interesting!

Yeah. The fact that Brother is so overly involved in making it everyone else's responsibility shows that the family is only interested in a diploma for pride's sake for Nazir. It's not about him. It's about the family reputation and sense of shame.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: shadowfox79 on September 17, 2011, 02:02:36 AM
Do they have power of attorney over Nazir?  When I was in college, no one would have entertained my parents' questions about me and they certainly would not have discussed my grades and academic performance without me being there since I was legally an adult.  I find it bewildering that you and others are meeting and discussing a student with his mother and brother especially without him being present.  That seems like a huge confidentiality breach.

Since it's the Dean who's been handling most of this, I assume this was checked. Again, I suspect that when faced with a lawyer and a Board member nobody wanted to start quoting confidentiality laws at them, but I would guess the Dean knew what needed to be done.

But as Winterlight said, I very much doubt he could live on his own, and I expect they make all the decisions for him.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: jackmanifesto on September 19, 2011, 08:36:44 AM
You know, I've said it before and I'll say it again-

Some students DO. NOT. BELONG. IN. UNIVERSITY. How cruel is it for that student's family to push him through school and a) not ensure that he has the proper support when they KNOW that he needs it, and b) do so in favor of getting him into a program geared towards helping students like himself become more high functioning.

He can't use the voice mail on his phone and they want him to figure out assignments and an exam schedule??????? Something is wrong there, and it goes deep.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: shadowfox79 on September 19, 2011, 08:43:52 AM
I agree.

His induction is on Wednesday. I'm not looking forward to it. I don't expect for a moment that he'll come alone.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: shadowfox79 on September 22, 2011, 01:54:21 AM
Well, he did come alone after all. Frankly, it was a good thing I knew he was autistic, because he spent the entire induction with arms folded, head tossing and eyes rolling like a bored teenager. I don't think he took in a single word of it.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Gyburc on September 22, 2011, 05:36:39 AM
Oh dear...

I am sticking to the (cynical) thoughts I expressed in my previous post.

Just keep documenting everything, including exactly what you told him at his induction...

Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
Post by: Stormtreader on September 22, 2011, 06:52:06 AM
Im guessing that his family dont want him held to deadlines because sometimes Tariq is going to be too busy to do the work in time?
They really should just give the degree to Tariq...
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Agh!
Post by: shadowfox79 on November 22, 2011, 10:11:01 AM
Nazir came to my office earlier with his support worker, who incidentally is a student himself - they employ volunteers.

I was on the phone at the time so it was my colleague Dinah he spoke to, and when I say "he", I mean the support worker, because Nazir refused to speak. They were trying to submit a mitigating circumstances form. Nazir has failed to submit some group work for a module (his group handed in without him) and hasn't finished some coursework for another module which was due in two weeks ago. The support worker made it clear that he had been doing a lot of the work for him and that even with the standard two week extension he didn't think Nazir would be able to get it finished.

The lawyerzilla brother may have some leverage here, sadly, because Nazir had to be evaluated before his support worker could be assigned, which meant for the first five weeks of the course he didn't have one. Apparently the diagnosis of dyslexia has been proven wrong (I don't think they're arguing about the autism) but they think he has other learning disabilities that they haven't pinpointed yet.

I've handed this one over to the course leader to manage. This is a disaster.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Agh!
Post by: LEMon on November 22, 2011, 03:46:59 PM
I feel sorry for the situation you are in, the college is in, the other students in his groups are in, yet I also feel sorry for him.

I wish someone could find out what he wants and be his advocate.  Wonder if he loves math or physics or ...   But a MBA is a prestigious degree, so the family wants that.  He could probably do so much more if he was actually interested.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Agh!
Post by: Balletmom on November 22, 2011, 05:18:46 PM
What a train wreck.

He refuses to speak, because he is either so low functioning he's frustrated, or he's learned he doesn't have to speak.

Ditto with the work.

Of course he has other learning disabilities. He has whatever it takes to get him through.

A good friend's son is on the spectrum; she mentioned once that he could get into university with accommodations, but she felt he probably wouldn't be able to handle it. That was a huge, huge step as a parent, since she was a die-hard supporter of her college. She made it all about her son and not her own dream.

My guess is Nazir is rebelling by refusing to do anything.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Agh!
Post by: blarg314 on November 23, 2011, 08:31:18 PM

A good friend's son is on the spectrum; she mentioned once that he could get into university with accommodations, but she felt he probably wouldn't be able to handle it. That was a huge, huge step as a parent, since she was a die-hard supporter of her college. She made it all about her son and not her own dream.


That's a good point. I've seen this with kids who don't have any disabilities as well - they just don't want to be in university, or studying X, or don't have the skills or inclination to do well, or be anything but miserable, and are being pressured into it by their parents.

For a kid with a disability, getting through university means that they need to be personally motivated and dedicated, even more so than for the other students, because it's going to take a lot of work and effort and frustration, even with the accommodations. A kid who doesn't really want to be there, *and* has a serious disability that needs a lot of accommodation, is going to be miserable.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Agh!
Post by: shadowfox79 on November 24, 2011, 05:51:40 AM
Nazir is meeting with the course leader and our student liaison officer today, and the CL is trying to set up a meeting with Tariq next week.

I would hope that a mutually satisfactory resolution will be reached, but I think that would be pointless. Short of handing him a degree we're never going to make his family happy.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Agh!
Post by: Petticoats on November 24, 2011, 07:34:52 AM
Ugh, what a mess. Please keep us updated, OP, and I hope that the outcome will be a pleasant surprise. :)
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Agh!
Post by: JenJay on November 26, 2011, 09:32:47 PM
I doubt his family really cares what he gets a degree in or what he does with it, so long as they can puff up their chests and say that he has one just like everyone else in the family. I wish you weren't having to deal with this, shadowfox.  :-\
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Agh!
Post by: a on December 07, 2011, 05:13:59 AM
Have lurked but am really curious about updates... you're doing to right thing to stay out of it!
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Agh!
Post by: shadowfox79 on December 07, 2011, 06:20:33 AM
Not much to say at the moment. He's been put in a new group for one piece of group work and given a new deadline - this new group consists of people who couldn't work in other groups, basically, so will probably spontaneously combust. The other piece of work is still up in the air as no-one's been able to get a straight answer out of the module leader.

I gather the brother hasn't been involved so far, which is good.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Agh!
Post by: strangetimes on December 07, 2011, 06:31:53 AM
As frustrating as this situation seems to us, children of wealthy donors get into programs they don't deserve to be in all. the. time.

A good friend of mine worked herself to the bone all through high school and got into an ivy. She totally deserved it- she is brilliant and a hard worker. She used to complain to me about all of the students who got there through family money or connections and would never have been within spitting distance otherwise.

Shadowfox- I hope, for your sake, that this student either manages his course work somehow, or flames out so epically that the family won't be able to blame anyone else.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Agh!
Post by: Elfmama on December 07, 2011, 10:46:27 AM
No, if/when he flames out, the school will be TOTALLY at fault. ::)  They didn't give him enough help, you see, or bend over backward far enough.  There will be threat of a lawsuit, and the school will hand him his diploma rather than pay a multi-million dollar judgement.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Agh!
Post by: shadowfox79 on December 07, 2011, 03:48:24 PM
No, if/when he flames out, the school will be TOTALLY at fault. ::)  They didn't give him enough help, you see, or bend over backward far enough.  There will be threat of a lawsuit, and the school will hand him his diploma rather than pay a multi-million dollar judgement.

I'd love to know how they'd do that from an admin point of view, I have to admit. Our boards can use their own judgment in the cases of severely ill or terminal students, but I've never seen it done for "lawsuit-happy family".
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Agh!
Post by: Calypso on December 07, 2011, 03:58:49 PM
No, if/when he flames out, the school will be TOTALLY at fault. ::)  They didn't give him enough help, you see, or bend over backward far enough.  There will be threat of a lawsuit, and the school will hand him his diploma rather than pay a multi-million dollar judgement.

I get the feeling Nazir's family expect that he should get a degree for doing nothing---they paid tuition! Now give him A's and a diploma!
What makes me sad are the mediocre (or worse) "connections" students lord their "academic credentials" over other people with far more arrogance than the students who actually, you know, EARNED their degrees. Sigh.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Agh!
Post by: Flora Louise on December 07, 2011, 04:28:47 PM
No, if/when he flames out, the school will be TOTALLY at fault. ::)  They didn't give him enough help, you see, or bend over backward far enough.  There will be threat of a lawsuit, and the school will hand him his diploma rather than pay a multi-million dollar judgement.

Do you think? I'd love to see that tested in court. I really wish people would stop caving at the mere threat of legal action and say, "Bring it." I know how I'd react if I were on a jury resolving this case.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Agh!
Post by: shadowfox79 on December 08, 2011, 01:39:19 AM
Do you think? I'd love to see that tested in court. I really wish people would stop caving at the mere threat of legal action and say, "Bring it." I know how I'd react if I were on a jury resolving this case.

So would I. I get very tired of telling students that no, they can't have an extra 2% on their dissertation only for the higher-ups to say "Oh, just give it to him, he's threatening a lawsuit." If it was up to me I'd tell Nazir's family to go right ahead.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Agh!
Post by: JenJay on December 08, 2011, 07:05:16 AM
Do you think? I'd love to see that tested in court. I really wish people would stop caving at the mere threat of legal action and say, "Bring it." I know how I'd react if I were on a jury resolving this case.

So would I. I get very tired of telling students that no, they can't have an extra 2% on their dissertation only for the higher-ups to say "Oh, just give it to him, he's threatening a lawsuit." If it was up to me I'd tell Nazir's family to go right ahead.

In a perfect world every threat of "Gimmee what I want or I'm going to sue you!" would be met with "In that case all further communication needs to be made through our attorney, and please know that if the lawsuit is found in our favor we will be counter-suing for attorney's fees. Here is his card."  ;D
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Oh, for the love of...
Post by: shadowfox79 on December 08, 2011, 07:39:42 AM
We just had an email from another of his module tutors, who incidentally doesn't know Nazir is autistic - I'm not sure why this wasn't made known to the tutors but it's not my place to do it.

Apparently he isn't engaging in the module at all - she had a one-to-one meeting with him and he clearly has no idea what he's doing. He also admitted he didn't know why he was doing the course, and hasn't even started the assignment that is due next week (he was supposed to put in a draft this week). She mentioned that he spends the class sitting "smiling to himself" and that a couple of the students had told her they thought he was "special".  >:(

I've made the course leader aware of it, but this is just terrible. I'm actually feeling sorry for him.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Oh, for the love of...
Post by: Nora on December 08, 2011, 08:45:21 AM
So sad.  :(
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Oh, for the love of...
Post by: JenJay on December 08, 2011, 09:13:00 AM
This poor man. Why can't his family help him find something within his abilities that he can enjoy and be proud of? I can't begin to imagine looking at my child and seeing nothing but how they contribute to the image I'm trying to maintain.  :(
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Oh, for the love of...
Post by: blue2000 on December 08, 2011, 12:51:39 PM
Oh dear.

Well it sounds like he's happy enough sitting around and twiddling his thumbs. But he's clearly not getting anything from the course. I hope for his sake that his family comes to their senses and steers him into other things.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Oh, for the love of...
Post by: JoyinVirginia on December 08, 2011, 01:15:15 PM
So admin met with him, heard from family, and did not inform all instructors who would be working with the student?  What were they thinking?
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Oh, for the love of...
Post by: shadowfox79 on December 08, 2011, 01:24:49 PM
Admin didn't meet them - I'm admin. It was senior management and the course leader, and I have no idea why they didn't pass it on, but I don't have the authority.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Oh, for the love of...
Post by: JoyinVirginia on December 08, 2011, 03:26:12 PM
what I meant was senior administration, management, I remembered they had been involved earlier
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Oh, for the love of...
Post by: kareng57 on December 08, 2011, 08:28:59 PM
We just had an email from another of his module tutors, who incidentally doesn't know Nazir is autistic - I'm not sure why this wasn't made known to the tutors but it's not my place to do it.

Apparently he isn't engaging in the module at all - she had a one-to-one meeting with him and he clearly has no idea what he's doing. He also admitted he didn't know why he was doing the course, and hasn't even started the assignment that is due next week (he was supposed to put in a draft this week). She mentioned that he spends the class sitting "smiling to himself" and that a couple of the students had told her they thought he was "special".  >:(

I've made the course leader aware of it, but this is just terrible. I'm actually feeling sorry for him.


It makes you wonder what the family really wants, besides the diploma.  From what you've said, is there any expectation that this student, in the future, would be able to live on his own  - even without the income from a job?
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: Oh, for the love of...
Post by: shadowfox79 on December 09, 2011, 12:57:30 AM

It makes you wonder what the family really wants, besides the diploma.  From what you've said, is there any expectation that this student, in the future, would be able to live on his own  - even without the income from a job?

I'd have said no, but then if his family think he can get this degree, maybe they also think he can live on his own.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: I give up
Post by: shadowfox79 on February 25, 2012, 03:31:05 AM
We're getting the marks back from the semester one exams now.

I received a phone call from a woman who runs a module in, shall we say, Statistics. It is a module on Nazir's course, but not one he'll have done yet - he'll be doing it in semester two. She had found an answer book with "Marketing" written on the cover instead of Statistics and had looked into the situation.

Turns out that Nazir, apparently under the impression that he was at his Marketing exam (which wasn't even on the same day), showed up to the Statistics exam instead. He missed the fact that it said Statistics on the paper, missed the announcement at the start of the exam welcoming students to the Statistics exam, and sat there for two and a half hours attempting one question. He never made it to the Marketing exam.

I don't even want to know what his family are going to make of that. I'm leaving it to the course leader to sort out.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: I give up
Post by: Nora on February 25, 2012, 03:35:19 AM
I hope they get it after this, but I doubt it.  :-\
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: I give up
Post by: Mental Magpie on February 25, 2012, 05:06:09 AM
I hope they get it after this, but I doubt it.  :-\

This...and highly doubt it.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: I give up
Post by: JoyinVirginia on February 25, 2012, 07:13:22 AM
Oh... My. What can you say at this point? It is worse than watching a train wreck.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: I give up
Post by: Animala on February 25, 2012, 11:27:12 AM
I don't suppose you could just suggest the buy him a degree from a degree mill?
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: I give up
Post by: ChiGirl on February 25, 2012, 04:51:57 PM
Wow.  I wonder if he's engaging in passive resistance: "my family can make me go to grad school, but they can't make me try!"
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: I give up
Post by: shadowfox79 on February 26, 2012, 09:44:41 AM
They're probably going to claim we should have frogmarched him to every one of his exams. Although how we can be expected to prevent him showing up for an exam he wasn't even due to take is beyond me.

I'm expecting hell as soon as they get his semester one marks, which are likely to be a collection of fails and non-submissions.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: I give up
Post by: Amara on February 26, 2012, 11:45:31 AM
Thank goodness it's only temporary, OP. It doesn't make it any better, but at some point he'll be out of there (unless *shudder* his family gets him a job there after he "graduates"). Then it's someone else's problem. His family is doing him no favors and I am thinking it will come back to bite them.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: I give up
Post by: Winterlight on July 09, 2013, 01:29:14 PM
OP, has this ever been resolved?
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: I give up
Post by: shadowfox79 on July 10, 2013, 01:46:32 AM
I'm in a different office now, but I did check up on this student.

He was removed from the course late last year after having failed everything and only completed reassessments for about half (which he also failed).
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: I give up
Post by: eltf177 on July 10, 2013, 07:46:36 AM
Was there any fallout from the family?
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: I give up
Post by: shadowfox79 on July 10, 2013, 08:29:23 AM
None that I'm aware of. The administrator who took over was asking me for guidance for quite a long time afterwards and it never came up. I'm guessing they finally accepted that it wasn't happening.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: I give up
Post by: Winterlight on July 10, 2013, 09:28:18 AM
Glad there was no fallout. I'm sorry for Nazir, as well as the people dealing with him- and his family!
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: I give up
Post by: Twik on July 10, 2013, 04:06:29 PM
Well, perhaps (I say as an eternal optimist) his family realized that trying to force Nazir into a particular slot that he wasn't suited for was a bad idea, and will try to find him something that he *will* be comfortable with. They certainly seem to have both personal will and financial resources that could be used for good, if they choose to do so.
Title: Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: I give up
Post by: shadowfox79 on July 15, 2013, 04:39:25 AM
Well, perhaps (I say as an eternal optimist) his family realized that trying to force Nazir into a particular slot that he wasn't suited for was a bad idea, and will try to find him something that he *will* be comfortable with. They certainly seem to have both personal will and financial resources that could be used for good, if they choose to do so.

I hope so. When I left the office, the situation had become ridiculous - his disability helper was basically doing all the work for him and was having to drive him to his exams to make sure he got there. We had also noticed that his family were dropping him off every morning with no reference to his timetable, so most days he spent just wandering around the building if he didn't have a class. I only hope they haven't simply dumped him at a different university.