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    Hi
    I am struggling to know how to advise my daughter who will be 20 soon , is not very wordly and uses a wheelchair. She has a place at uni for september but is terrified of living away from home but would have to as the uni is 50 miles away. She has just had a very dull gap year that would be unwise to repeat, it is likley to be hard to get a job, and local colleges do not offer the course /subject she is interested in. She is in a dilemma and getting very upset. Any advise either for her or me would be welcome.
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    (Original post by RDewhurst)
    Hi
    I am struggling to know how to advise my daughter who will be 20 soon , is not very wordly and uses a wheelchair. She has a place at uni for september but is terrified of living away from home but would have to as the uni is 50 miles away. She has just had a very dull gap year that would be unwise to repeat, it is likley to be hard to get a job, and local colleges do not offer the course /subject she is interested in. She is in a dilemma and getting very upset. Any advise either for her or me would be welcome.
    I'm very sorry to hear of your daughter's problems. I haven't got much advice to offer, but you might find that a look in the disabled students' forum will give you some help. Universities are very geared up towards helping disabled students and there will be a lot of help available. I'm going to move this thread to that forum and change the title so that you get a bit more exposure - the parents' thread tends to be a bit quiet.
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    I'm assuming that because she needs a wheelchair she and you will be liaising with the Uni accommodation office quite closely? Explain any concerns to them and they should be able to advise you as to the best halls of res or whatever to apply to. If she is a quiet kind of person quite often certain halls tend to be favoured by different socialising types ie party animals can gravitate to some halls home birds to another.

    Is she going catered or self catered? There are pluses and minuses to both and a lot will depend on what she is most anxious about. In terms of the practicalities of food shopping many students order online from supermarkets and have stuff delivered to the halls of res

    My younger son wasn't terribly worldly either but got in a flat with a bunch of largely like minded people who prefer the quiet life and he did fine. He will be sharing a house with some of them next year.
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    (Original post by carnationlilyrose)
    I'm very sorry to hear of your daughter's problems. I haven't got much advice to offer, but you might find that a look in the disabled students' forum will give you some help. Universities are very geared up towards helping disabled students and there will be a lot of help available. I'm going to move this thread to that forum and change the title so that you get a bit more exposure - the parents' thread tends to be a bit quiet.
    lol though I think you were right to move this I kind of disproved you a bit
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    (Original post by Folion)
    lol though I think you were right to move this I kind of disproved you a bit
    True, and very quickly, but it had been unanswered for a day and sometimes weeks go by without anyone posting in there.
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    (Original post by RDewhurst)
    Hi
    I am struggling to know how to advise my daughter who will be 20 soon , is not very wordly and uses a wheelchair. She has a place at uni for september but is terrified of living away from home but would have to as the uni is 50 miles away. She has just had a very dull gap year that would be unwise to repeat, it is likley to be hard to get a job, and local colleges do not offer the course /subject she is interested in. She is in a dilemma and getting very upset. Any advise either for her or me would be welcome.
    I feel like I could give you more advice if I understood better what, exactly, worries your daughter about living away from home. Is it related to bring a wheelchair user, or to the social aspects of half, or something else? Do you feel able to explain a bit more, so we can give some more specific advice?
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    (Original post by Persipan)
    I feel like I could give you more advice if I understood better what, exactly, worries your daughter about living away from home. Is it related to bring a wheelchair user, or to the social aspects of half, or something else? Do you feel able to explain a bit more, so we can give some more specific advice?
    It's all of the above and more. She has never been away from home without a family member . She was only able to go on one School residential trip and I went with her(school requirement), we have tried other ways to get this experienece but as she needs some personal help and can not manage stairs this has been difficult. She doesn't want to leave home. If we lived a few miles form the uni there would not be a problem. She is also worried that se will not make friends and that everyobne else will be drinking and clubbing.
    Thanks for everyones help.
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    (Original post by RDewhurst)
    It's all of the above and more. She has never been away from home without a family member . She was only able to go on one School residential trip and I went with her(school requirement), we have tried other ways to get this experienece but as she needs some personal help and can not manage stairs this has been difficult. She doesn't want to leave home. If we lived a few miles form the uni there would not be a problem. She is also worried that se will not make friends and that everyobne else will be drinking and clubbing.
    Thanks for everyones help.
    OK, well, let's break down the two sides of that.

    Firstly, the social side. If you spend any amount of time at all on here, you'll see hundreds of people every year worrying that they won't make friends, that everyone else will only want to get drunk, etc. Those worries are very common - and actually, on one level, they're very healthy. Students who head off to uni secure in the belief that they're going to have the best, most epic time of their lives and that everything will be constantly awesome, often have go through a very tough adjustment period as they realise that it's not actually possible to feel like that all the time, and that actually it can be quite challenging to start uni. Whereas, people who were really concerned about it often find the experience much better than they feared it would be. Either way, it's absolutely normal (especially during the first term) to sometimes be worried that everyone else seems to be having a great time and to have made lots of friends, while you aren't and haven't. If your daughter feels that too, it's not surprising.

    In reality, yes, lots of people will want to drink and go clubbing. But also, there will be people who want to play games, knit, write, sing, discuss third-wave feminism... there'll be a lot of people there, with a lot of different interests. Your daughter may need to do a bit of work to find them, but they're there. Now would be a good time for her to start thinking about what societies at her uni appeal to her - there will probably be loads, often representing really particular interests. If your daughter doesn't have any burning interests, then it's still a good idea to join some societies a way to meet people. Good things to go for, if she feels at all awkward about meeting new people, are things where there is some level of output involved i.e. something to do, like helping to edit the student newspaper, or joining an acapella group, or whatever. If she tries stuff, she'll meet people and eventually find friends there.

    Regarding her other concerns, now would be a really good time for her to have a short initial experience of staying away from home, to help her gain confidence and see how she feels about it in practice, versus worries about it. Can you work out a way for her to get that? Yes, there are logistical issues around her wheelchair and her personal care needs, but they aren't entirely insurmountable. Could you and she sit down and plan a weekend away for her (doing something she'd really enjoy, and backed by the appropriate level of personal care which I'm sure can be set up either through a trusted friend or a professional service) sometime maybe next month? It sounds from your description as though she may be worried about her ability to cope, and frankly that's not surprising given that she's never been that position. Again, it's very normal for all students to have concerns about how they'll manage, and your daughter has some very real factors that complicate things for her - but again, it's something you find a way through.

    It may also be worth talking (or better yet, your daughter talking) to the disability support team at her soon-to-be uni about how she's feeling. They may be able to offer practical suggestions and reassurance which could help her feel more able to cope when she arrives - and some unis are able to arrange a pre-arrival orientation taster for students with disabilities, which can be a confidence boost. Also, many unis offer bed and breakfast accommodation in their halls of residence over the summer - is it possible she could spend a night there sometime soon?

    I think she may find the experience of starting uni a lot more positive than she's expecting, and I definitely think it's worth her trying it. But, if she really can't face it or finds it isn't for her, have you and she looked into distance learning? It might offer an alternative route to her goals?

    Best of luck to your daughter - I hope she has a fantastic time.
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    I'd second everything Persipan has said. My experience so far of the universities is that they are pretty helpful these days. I know some do a trial if you have a disability where you can spend a weekend in uni accommodation and see how it works for you for example - definitely could be worth exploring. We've just had a meeting with Disability Services at the uni my son will be attending, and it was so reassuring. I'd try to get one set up for you and your daughter to attend ASAP. We now have a draft student support agreement that lays out exactly what the uni/dept/accommodation services are expected to provide. I'm assuming you've applied for DSA etc to fund everything. If you ask, perhaps the uni can also put you in touch with someone who has similar issues and is in the 2nd or 3rd year - always good to talk to someone who has been through it. Or she could register on here and voice her own concerns - I'm sure she'd get lots of positive and helpful replies.

    On a practical level, hopefully you've been doing the same as us and teaching your child to do whatever she is capable of doing with regards to looking after herself/living on her own. My son doesn't have severe issues but has struggled to learn life skills in the same way as his peers, so focussing this year on the basics of cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping etc has made a very positive change in the way he's approaching going to university - he's now just scared rather than scared rigid! As he puts it ... "I don't think I'm going to die any more!" Don't expect it gets much better than that for kids with difficulties as it's a pretty scary prospect for most kids.

    We've also visited the university as many times as we can and will continue even through the summer. Every time we visit my son gets just a bit more confident about going away - we find things on campus, do the journey from the accommodation to campus, check out which restaurants have food he likes to eat, visit the library, attend the open days (lots of unis have days at the end of the summer) etc etc. It's just making it seem familiar and reducing the stress. Even the journey doesn't seem so bad for him now - the better you know a route the nearer the destination seems. Disability Services have told us we should get the timetable before he starts so we'll go back again and work out routes between buildings and see what's most accessible, find the nearest toilets etc etc - all things that are extra concerns when you're already trying to cope with a disability. I'm working on the principle that the more we reduce the unknowns (for him and us!), the less there is to worry about. Don't forget that your worrying can be infectious too, so watch that one

    Don't forget online familiarity too. As your daughter has done a gap year she probably has an unconditional offer like my son. We've been given the opportunity to register now so that he can find his way around the university's virtual learning environment etc before he has to cope with the additional stress of starting university. We're also using online shopping so he knows how that works and trying to teach him to organise himself better with calendars/reminders/alarms etc. There's lots you can do to reduce the fear/stress of what's to come I think.

    Making sure your daughter is as prepared and supported as she possibly can be will hopefully help reassure her - and with skype etc it's better than just being on the end of a phone. Plus try to convince her that 50 miles isn't so far - you're not that far away if she really needs you.

    I hope you can help your daughter get to the point where she can look forward without too much trepidation to starting. I'm sure she can enjoy it and succeed. Best of luck.
 
 
 
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