Saturday, April 10, 2010

Trevor Trials & Tribulations

First off, I have to thank Diana, because she's proving its not all me. *sigh*

Trevor has had a tough time with college. After not being very successful at Oregon Institute of Technology (although he absolutely LOVED being there), he came home and started attending our local community college. He has to take the bus, because he isn't driving (with no job, there's no car). He hasn't been as successful here at home as I'd hoped either, even with Lee & I "encouraging" him frequently.

In order to help him try for higher grades, he's been taking the minimum units needed to be full time (vs. Diana, who crams as many classes as she can in, so that she's already considered a Junior in her Sophomore year). This means, however, that if he fails any classes, he no longer has enough grade units to qualify as full-time. In addition, he has to have x-amount of successful units each term to qualify for Free financial aid.

So this last term, he let things slide more than he thought. He kind of lied by omission when we'd ask him if he'd turned in all his homework (this works in his head, somehow). He turned in his assignments incomplete. Or missed the date due, so was docked points, or didn't realize a question on the syllabus was part of the assignment. Stuff like that. Due to this, he got a D in Chem, and a D in CAD. This was his second time taking the Chem class. *sigh*

I really, really don't understand how his brain works.

He gets up in the morning, has to walk through all kinds of weather (in the dark for most of this term), has to sit next to strange people on the bus (who can't drive for whatever reason), and attends all his classes. He had no absences. I think that's the only reason he didn't get F's in those classes.

Somehow, his brain is not getting that the most important thing is to get the work done & in to the instructor on time.

The first Monday of this term, Lee went with Trevor to the college to figure out if anything could be salvaged. I thought it was over, and I just wanted them to figure out what he'd have to do this term to be able to qualify for financial aid next term. Trevor has some money in his bank account (thanks Omi) so he's able to buy books and pay for a couple of classes. We signed him up for an online Sociology class, because I can tutor him through that here at home (so far, he's turned in everything on time for full credit & got 85% on his first quiz).

The first thing Lee discovered is the Special Ed counselor, whom Trevor had tried to visit at her office numerous times at the end of last term, has been out for THREE WEEKS due to her husband dying of cancer. No one had contacted Trevor to help him through the final weeks of last term, or finals or anything. The same sign saying "Be back at 2:30" had been on her door all that time. Again, with Trevor's disability, it never occurred to him to ask anyone else where his counselor was. He'd see the sign, and turn around & leave.

Lee asked someone in the office where the counselor was, and got the story about the dying husband. Then Lee asked who was taking over for the counselor, and was told he'd have to talk to an administrator. Trevor immediately got discouraged because now you're supposed to fill out papers, make an appointment, etc (following the rules), while Lee just went up to the door of the administrator, who looked up and asked, "Can I help you?" (Go Lee!).

Lee let her know about Trevor's situation, and she saw the need for expediency. She let them know who to see next, and what might be done to help Trevor. And small town-wise, this lady is Connor's Sunday School teacher (although they didn't recognize each other at first).

Lee & Trevor next went to see the CAD instructor, and then the Chemistry teacher. The CAD guy said, "Sorry - there's nothing I can do at this point" (which was what I expected). The prayers come through at this next point - for some reason (thank you, Lord), the Chemistry instructor was willing to hand back Trevor's incomplete assignments & labs and give him a couple of weeks to FIX THEM! She said that she had thought Trevor didn't "get" how some of the assignments were set out - so she was okay with him giving them another try.

So - we left him enrolled in the four classes for Spring Term, and he basically worked non-stop on those plus his old Chemistry for a week and a half. Last Wednesday, he met with the Chemistry teacher again. She accepted his old assignments, graded them, and raised his grade to a "C." She then accompanied him to the financial aid office, and helped him file the paperwork necessary to qualify for financial aid again. He should get his disbursement check this week. Thank you Chem teacher!

To insure this scenario doesn't happen again, I am going to be having Trevor review everything with me after his classes every week. I will tutor him with the Sociology, and we'll track everything that gets graded from all his classes, so he knows where he stands on everything.

I feel like we're back in Jr. High. I don't know when the counselor will be back, or if someone has been hired to take over her cases or what. That's the next step. In any case, I'm going to just have to be a lot more involved with Trevor, and hopefully teach him through this where the priorities are in college. I'm not very happy with the college dropping the ball like this on a Special Needs student, and we might have to take this further somehow with them. I'll talk to the administrator after Sunday School (I'm her assistant in the class, after all!!).

He just needs to get the AA and find a job that lets him work in his little cubicle!! He can go back to OIT when he's older and has matured past an immature 16-year-old mentality. It's so weird how he can be so academically bright, and be missing such key common sense parts! Grrrr.

Welcome to Asperger's Syndrome!!


keeka said...

I am guessing in your smallish town that there are no classes or people that you can talk to about how to better figure out how to help Trevor? I mean around here I could go to a college and ask for a specialist in Aspbergers and maybe be directed to a person or class to go to. Have you looked online about books?

keeka said...

I found this today on
Maybe something like this would help?

sorry, that is the url address.
I didn't know how to make a direct link. {:(

Tina said...

Well, the counselor he had was supposed to have been keeping track of his progress. The thing is, college students are treated as adults - even those with disabilities. You CAN ask to be able to see their report cards and stuff *if* the student signs off for you to do that :P

Anyway - like I said, we'll do it this way for the coming term and see if my help in organization makes it easier for him.

Tina said...

I didn't realize this was written by Temple Grandin - I keep trying to get to a conference where she's speaking. That sounds like a great book. Of course, Amazon is sold out right now. Maybe I can see if our ESD has a copy, or the library...

She's the person who said that when she was growing up, she thought adults were talking in adult language, so she didn't bother to listen, which is why it took her so long to learn to talk. :)

Thanks, Sistol!!

timmer said...

there's a story about a director who was really frustrated with the cast. they were just standing around on stage and not acting. someone eventually explained to him they're dancers, not actors. they won't do anything unless you tell them to.

from 1000 miles away... i get the feeling trevor's more like the dancers than the actors.