By Patty Pacelli
This is Patty, Trevor's mom. Trevor spent the two years after high school living at home and attending our local community college. He received his AA, and we all decided Trevor was ready to go away to a university and get his Bachelor's degree. In March of 2013, after creating extensive charts and mathematical rating systems to aid in his decision, he chose Arizona State University in Tempe. Thus began the preparations, like any student would make, plus a few additional concerns due to the autism factor. His dad and I spent a lot of time discussing everything we could think of with Trevor, and he was full of questions.
We knew that a single dorm room was an option at this university, because we had asked about it on our campus tour earlier that year. Trevor had also applied to ASU's Disability Resource Center (DRC) so that he could receive any accommodations needed. He was assigned a counselor and asked if he would like to attend the university's Early Start Program, which would give him more time to adjust to campus with fewer students around. We all agreed that would be a great help to him, so we booked our flights for August 1.
We stayed with family members for a few days and moved Trevor into his room on August 4. We stayed in town a few days and left on August 7. We took him out to dinner the night before we left and gave him our last bits of advice, then dropped him off at his dorm room and said goodbye. It was a little sad, and Trevor was watching me closely to see if I was going to cry. I got a little watery, but was OK.
After coming home to Seattle, his dad and I were thrilled to see photos of Trevor on Facebook, and new Facebook friends added. We talked to him about a week after he had been there, and he said he didn't really miss home because, "I just love being on my own so much." I was not surprised by this, because on the day we were helping him move in, I could tell he was very anxious for us to leave him alone in his new home.
He has been calling us once a week, and has had some loneliness, but overall is having no trouble living on his own and handling college life. He has started attending a church, taken the bus to a shopping center, tried several clubs, and eaten out with a few people. Friendships will be the most difficult thing for him, so we hope he meets some students with whom he can form a bond. It's going well so far!
Inspiration for Life with Autism
This blog has a variety of articles about people living life with autism, and topics and ideas that can help in the journey. Guest bloggers are welcome. Inspired by Trevor, a young adult film critic, photographer and college graduate on the autism spectrum.