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iggy

Exams and university/further education

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iggy

So, to protect the topic of electronics from being overrun, I'll start on school and things here.

I go to an ordinary school which does 11-18 year olds. I take the school bus which stops 5 mins walk from my house, so that's ok. My school is slightly supportive about Aspergers, I had some support lessons with some people with dyslexia (they did different things to me) instead of a few English lessons. Some of the teachers aren't so understanding but none have yelled at me about Aspergers.

In England when we are 16 (year 11) we take GCSEs, a set of exams then anyone older than me can finish their education but my year and below now do more exams as mandatory. I want to take A levels and I would like to do a course in some sort of animal science or similar, because I want a job with animals in the future.

I know most if not all of you have already finished school, so how was it for you? What age did you finish, do you think you did play despite your difficulties and did your school help at all?

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Sofi

Yes - sometimes on other threads it get side-tracked and it strays away from that topic and I feel bad if I mention something that isn't relevant to that topic. You made a good decision. 

 

It is a bit different for me because I went to a special school for children 5-18 with different learning disabilities although I often felt more high-functioning than most others. My school didn't let me do some external exams because they said I would have no chance of passing them so there was no point. I didn't even get a chance to try, but I wanted to try. So I have often felt like I am not capable of achieving anything.  I left school when I was 17 (that is just because I was young in my year, most others in my year group would be 18) and they sent me to a college to do a course called 'get ready for work' for people with learning disabilities mostly too, where we did some life skills. But, it is a bit useless as I am unable to leave the house on my own to do a job anyway. I have recently done an online course with Biology, mainly for general interest. 

 

Nowadays, I wish I had went to a mainstream school like you and I feel I would have been given more opportunities to do exams with the right support. As well as more interaction with mainstream peers and socialisation, maybe I would have more social skills now. My special school felt, now in hindsight, like an isolation from 'everyone else' which doesn't help people on the spectrum like me.

You have got a lot of opportunities at your school, with the right support. What subjects are you studying for this year? 

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iggy

Yes, I think I am quite lucky with my school. It is one of the few schools which covers 11-18 year old, most change to a college after year 9 so you have to learn all the teachers and your way around again. I study English (lit and lang) and maths compulsory, physics, chemistry, biology, geography, textiles, french and food and nutrition (that's a half course so I get random certificates instead of a GCSE)

I think in my school people are quite friendly to people with disabilities, not like some places where they shove you out to the outskirts. Obviously there are people who pick on people, but they aren't "in power" controlling everyone around them like you hear about from others experience of schools.

I think someone needs to make it a requirement for every student to take at least foundation level in some subjects, maybe minimum of 2 in special schools, so that people like you (Sofi) can take as many exams as you think you can, and those lower functioning than you can take just a couple of exams which they can focus on something that interests them or find easy.

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Sofi
Yes, I think I am quite lucky with my school. It is one of the few schools which covers 11-18 year old, most change to a college after year 9 so you have to learn all the teachers and your way around again. I study English (lit and lang) and maths compulsory, physics, chemistry, biology, geography, textiles, french and food and nutrition (that's a half course so I get random certificates instead of a GCSE) I think in my school people are quite friendly to people with disabilities, not like some places where they shove you out to the outskirts. Obviously there are people who pick on people, but they aren't "in power" controlling everyone around them like you hear about from others experience of schools. I think someone needs to make it a requirement for every student to take at least foundation level in some subjects, maybe minimum of 2 in special schools, so that people like you (Sofi) can take as many exams as you think you can, and those lower functioning than you can take just a couple of exams which they can focus on something that interests them or find easy.

 

That sounds good, and do you still attend support classes for having Aspergers? I did 2 very low level classes which didn't have an exam for, but I did a test with someone sitting with me and I passed them, but they are very low level and probably not recognised by anyone. I live in Scotland and they don't do GCSE anyway, it's called something different. I am good at science and I am sure I would have been able to pass a much higher level of science exams if I had been given the chance. I have learnt most of my knowledge about science in my own time though. I also think if I was a child nowadays and just been diagnosed with autism, I wouldn't have been sent straight to a special school as nowadays they prefer children to integrate as much as possible with their mainstream peers, but when I was diagnosed and started school, it was nearly 20 years ago and things were different even then. 

How is it with other people in your school? Do you have friends? 

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iggy

No, I stopped going to the support group at the end of year 9. I don't think I was gaining a great deal from them at that point anyway. I have a few people who I think count as friends. My best friend lives over an hour away and we communicate by texts and Facebook which works well. I usually see her two or three times per year. In school there is two groups of girls, really girly girls and less so. I'm friends with two people from the less so, so I get hi's from the others in the group and sometimes they talk to me in classes or if we have to do group work then I feel comfortable going to them to be in their group.

I think because I had already done most of primary school before I was diagnosed I was "integrated" as you say. That is easier, I believe.

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Sofi

I see, that does makes it easier. You already had friends before you were diagnosed. I didn't have friends at my school as it was a bit difficult when most of the others were lower functioning, there was 2 boys my age and about the same level who I spoke to. And of course, most of the other pupils were boys. At one point, there was only 3 girls in the high school part of the school! 

Would you  like to study Zoology?

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iggy

Possibly something like zoology, I'm not sure. I think I'll get it sorted over this summer, give myself a few options and stuff to look at.

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Sofi

Good luck with that. you have a lot of opportunities 

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Willow

I went to mainstream schools - I was always singled out and bullied, but not so much that it bothered me, until high school. I wasn't diagnosed with ASD until I was around 15 (and then specifically Aspergers when I was 17) so I didn't get any help. I was very intelligent and the teachers always picked my work to go on display or be shown to ofstead as an example etc. I had a few friends on and off - I usually flitted between a few groups of girls, falling out with one and drifting to the other alternately. High school was horrible because when I started I wasn't friends with anyone that had come to the school with me from my previous school. I did make a friend but a year and a half into high school she fell out with me and spread a lot of rumours and my entire year seemed to pick on me. I left this school and started a new one in time to start my GCSE's - ended up getting bullied again and left. Then I had to go to a college to do some low level education, where even I knew more than my tutor, which was insulting so I left. Then I was out of school for about a year and a half crying in my bedroom for the most part - nervous breakdown etc.

Then, I got my diagnosis and I went back to school to start my GCSE's again, so I was with younger people than myself and I actually got a bit of support, only with things like having somewhere to go if I was panicking etc, not with the work, as despite missing a lot of school, I knew everything quite well and still got the best grades. Anyway, we got a new headteacher who wouldn't allow me to wear the jumper I'd been wearing because I didn't like the uniform, so I had to leave and didn't get all of my qualifications (only 2 GCSE's, so not enough to get more education or a good job). 


THEN, me and Chris somehow managed to get the sixth form (where you do A Levels) to let me start a course there, to do the full amount of A Levels, and Chris joined me, despite already having qualifications at this level. But, I begin to panic about going and I was finding the work too easy, and I wasn't happy with the way I was treated by the staff, so we gave up and started our own business, which is still forming, despite it being over 2 years ago since we first had the idea.

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Heather

School was alright for me.  I was really quiet in school, I got average - above average grades usually.. I finished at age 17, as my birthday is in the summer, most kids would be 17/18.  My school had a pretty supportive learning assistance team, at least when it came to me.. I don't know why, it seemed they liked me.  Because a lot of people in my grade didn't like our counsellor that was there for our last two years of high school, but she helped me a lot and we had sessions together.. and I think that it was my school that helped me find out that I had AS.  I think they helped pay for me to see this therapist but that was a long ways away and then I saw some other people who helped me with anxiety and also I had meetings with some people who did test-type things with me and I had to go to Vancouver to see a psychologist I think who gave me the diagnosis... one of the ladies from the school learning assistance department came with my mom and I when we went there. 

 

I don't know why, I guess someone noticed I was different.. and I would also cry in class sometimes.. which is kind of inappropriate for a teenager really.. sometimes I just got overwhelmed and didn't know how to express myself properly so I'd cry.  I also wouldn't like to raise my hand or talk in class ever really.. I sometimes raised my hand but usually it took me awhile to work out what to say and get up the courage to ask it and by that time it's too late.. so I didn't usually.  I felt most of the teachers were nice to me.  But then I always like to see the best in people so I had no problems with most people..

 

I did have a really hard time with deciding what to do after high school though.  I've always had a hard time with decisions.  I took a bunch of random courses "general studies" when I first graduated.. at a local university.. and then I took time off, visited my boyfriend for the first time, and then I tried out an online course, but there were a bunch of things that I ended up not liking about the course, so I stopped with that one.. and now I've finally figured it out.. I applied and got accepted for a BSc in Applied Biology, and I'm planning on majoring in Food & the Environment, with a focus of organic farming.. and it's something I can use towards working with my boyfriend in the future, and it's something I've become extremely excited about in the past couple years especially.  So I'm starting that this coming September after I come back from visiting my boyfriend again.  I'm going to get some help from their disability department hopefully.. though really at this moment I feel I  just want to know who I can talk to when I run into problems because I'm not sure which ones I will have and my main problem is anxiety.  They also have a mentoring program at the university which I will probably be participating in, which could be really helpful for me.

 

Anyways sorry for rambling on.. I hope that made sense.

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