Author Topic: S/O Aspergers - autistic student - UPDATE: I give up  (Read 28238 times)

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KimberlyRose

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Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2011, 11:00:32 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.

TychaBrahe

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Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2011, 11:30:58 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.
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ChiGirl

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Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2011, 11:51:16 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.

Giggity

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Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2011, 08:31:36 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.
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shadowfox79

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Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2011, 09:17:18 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.

shadowfox79

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Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2011, 09:18:24 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.

Spoder

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Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2011, 09:20:56 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.

shadowfox79

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Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2011, 09:21:56 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.

LadyL

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Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2011, 09:22:21 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  ???.

Winterlight

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Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2011, 10:32:53 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.
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wolfie

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Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
« Reply #25 on: September 12, 2011, 10:38:53 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.

Spoder

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Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
« Reply #26 on: September 12, 2011, 10:47:03 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.

shadowfox79

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Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
« Reply #27 on: September 12, 2011, 11:20:34 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!"

bopper

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Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
« Reply #28 on: September 12, 2011, 11:44:09 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? 

jaxsue

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Re: S/O Aspergers - autistic student
« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2011, 12:23:35 PM »
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.