How Can We Help Our Daughter Transition to College?

Preparing teenagers for their transition to college is a demanding process for most parents and even more challenging when your child has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Although the complexities are significant, they’re not insurmountable.

To start, consider taking an inventory of the tasks that still require your assistance – but that your daughter will need to take care of independently at college. Keep in mind that learning these skills takes time. Ideally, you want to start teaching them in middle-school and early high-school years. Also keep in mind that skills are best learned in an environment similar to that where the skills will be used. For example, I suggest teaching hygiene tasks at the appropriate times – say when your teen is getting ready for school or bed. The following questions can help you focus on the skills you’ll need to help her master.

* Does your daughter set an alarm without reminders and independently get out of bed when it rings?

* Is she able to keep her living space functional? Does your daughter know how to create environments that are optimal for study and those that help her calm?

* Does she know how to fix simple meals? Would she eat nutritious meals if you didn’t remind her to come to the table?

* Does she know how to keep her body, clothes and possessions clean?

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