Congratulations, class of 2023! It's a really big accomplishment how far people come in life, although beyond graduation can be tough for a lot of neurodiverse individuals since everyone's path in life is different. Let me tell you about my experiences growing up:
I attended three schools during my elementary school years. After graduating from Robertsville Elementary School in NJ, I transitioned to attend Marlboro Middle School. It was so exciting to know I would be attending the same school with my older sister. Knowing my older sister was going to be with me made a big difference. Plus, I got a tour of the middle school while I was still in 5th grade before attending school. I was prepared, which made my transition easier.
After graduating from Marlboro Middle School in 2012, I attended Colts Neck High School. It was helpful during 8th grade that I got the choice from my case manager to attend my zoned high school, which was Marlboro High School or Colts Neck High School, where my older sister attended. I chose to attend Colts Neck High School with my older sister. It made things easier knowing my older sister would be there for me as she was before during middle school, but the first month wasn't easy at all. It turned out my IEP was not transferred from middle school to this high school. Luckily, my parents, my case manager in high school, and I resolved the issue. I was able to get my IEP from middle school, and the rest of high school was history. I graduated from Colts Neck High School in 2016.
Summer of 2016 was when I began my college years with Brookdale Community College. I was dealing with being in the hospital most of the time due to my migraine condition, Tulsa Hunt Syndrome. My older sister emailed my professor about ways I can do the work while being in the hospital. Fortunately, I didn't get kicked out of the course because I kept up doing all of my work in the hospital. Fast forward in time, I graduated from Brookdale Community College in 2019 with my Associate's degree in Applied Science in Teacher Assistant.
During the pandemic in 2020 was when I returned to school by attending Purdue University Global. My professional experiences working with an autism self-contained classroom for Middletown Township Public School district pushed me to pursue my Bachelor's degree. It was a lot easier of a transition attending college online because I received my accommodations and modifications very quickly within one day from the college's disability services. As long as I had documentation of my autism diagnosis, I was approved automatically. When I began my first two courses, I attend class live in the evening. I even had weeks that I finished my assignments quickly than others. I loved the pace format, which made things easier for me. In October 2022, I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in Psychology with concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).
Today, I work more than one job, which all have been maintained for over a year now. I'm living in the beautiful state of Florida with my family.
These were my experiences beyond graduation from elementary, middle, high school, and college. Next time, I will dive more in depth about the kinds of paths neurodiverse individuals can take in their life.
What were your experiences beyond any kind of graduation? Share your experiences in the comments section!