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Help! I don't know where to turn to help daughter who failed at Uni!

(17 Posts)
Jackofall57 Fri 10-Apr-15 17:12:51

Hi everyone
I'm really stuck. My daughter has a long term medical condition and also diagnosed recently with APD. she has given up on Uni after getting no proper support to help with her needs.
I just don't know what to do for her now to get her motivated into going back to studying something else at college. She is very bright but has subtle differences socially emotionally and physically. Also visually impaired. Has anyone experienced this predicament and what did you do?

J52 Fri 10-Apr-15 17:23:36

Not personally, but have friends with a brilliant child who just couldn't hack Uni. They even tried one in their home city, still couldn't get into the required mind set, despite being a A* student. A bit of ASD probably was a factor.

They now have been working in the same job for 10 years, no degree required, very happy. In a long term relationship and have their own home.

Support her and let her find what she really wants to do in time, put no pressure on to return to study or feel a failure if she doesn't want to.

Best wishes and good luck. It's hard being a parent. I"m sure others will have good advice as x

hildajenniJ Fri 10-Apr-15 17:49:18

My son stuck it out at uni. but didn't get his degree. He has been very happily employed in a small country pub/hotel since finishing uni. He is now head of housekeeping, and lives in as he is also the breakfast cook. He is 30 now, no wife or girlfriend, but he is happy. There is employment out there if you can find it.

NotTooOld Fri 10-Apr-15 18:24:12

Do you have a College of Further Education near you, Jackofall? They offer vocational courses such as Catering, Hair and Beauty, Business Studies, Information Technology and many others that may suit your daughter better. She would have a personal tutor and the pastoral care is usually very good. Worth investigating perhaps?

Mishap Fri 10-Apr-15 18:36:22

My DD did one of her A-levels at home under the Open College system. I winder if OU or something similar might suit her better.

SueD Fri 10-Apr-15 18:52:00

Our youngest daughter dipped out of uni. We supported her for a month all the while insisting she got a job. She ended up working in a women's secure hospital and loved it! She was an advocate for the ladies and even took two of them (with help) to lobby their MP at Westminster. She now has a partner and a child and works part time in a similar field.

SueD Fri 10-Apr-15 18:54:39

Forgot to add that our daughter studied part time at the Open University whilst working and got a qualification to support her work. Still no degree but she's happy.

granjura Fri 10-Apr-15 19:46:01

Perhaps she can feel that you think she should go to Uni, or should study- and that you are disappointed in her. Uni is not for everyone, even if very bright. Our DD2 gave up uni after 1 year, as it just was not for her, and that was fine. Your daughter needs support to know she has NOT failed, and that there are other totally valid and dignified ways for her to find her way in life. Uni is not the be all and end all.

trisher Fri 10-Apr-15 20:18:56

I think this is so difficult for parents- children with special needs who are technically adults but who still need support and someone to fight their corner. I wonder how old your daughter is, the latest legislation means local authorities have a responsibility for children with special needs from birth to 25. If she is under 25 it might be worth contacting your LEA and asking for advice, they may even be willing to take up your daughter's case with the university. I hope she finds somewhere where she fits in and her abilities are fully nurtured and developed.

Mishap Fri 10-Apr-15 21:58:40

I do so agree with granjura - university is not the only route to a satisfying career and a happy life, so she needs to shed the "failure" idea.

I can see that if she feels she has failed she will be demotivated to try some other means of study; and it may do her no harm to get a bit of time out while she licks her wounds. Pressing her too hard might have the opposite effect. What about the National Citizen Service?

Have you thought of looking into apprenticeships? - presumably she has good A-levels.

However I would be inclined to and make a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator ( about the absence of support as she clearly had special needs that were not accounted for or met. Maybe she could get a fees refund, or at the very least a complaint might improve things for future students.

Leticia Fri 10-Apr-15 22:30:19

I agree with granjura.
I also agree with Mishap that you should complain about the lack of support.

Jackofall57 Fri 10-Apr-15 22:32:07

Dear mishap, trisher, sarajura, sueD, NotTooOld, HildajenniJ and J52
Thank you so much for your kindness replies. I'm so grateful for the listening ears.
I will take on board all you have said. It' quite difficult once our children reach adulthood. My daughter will not sign a disclosure form for me to fight her corner and support her. It hurts to see her not getting the support she clearly needs. I've always encouraged independence and now she feels a failure. It seems to me that once you are an adult it's more of a fight to get the help that should be in place. Especially when they are not wanting to be in the special needs or with disabilities brackets. I feel at a loss as to what to do.
I can only tell her that she still can do what ever she wants to in life and things won't always be so harsh. It's painful to watch someone you love look so crushed.
Thank you once again for your support.

Jackofall57 Fri 10-Apr-15 22:36:04

Re: complaining! I did privately send two emails with very heart felt words regarding them actually failing my daughter. Guess what? Not even an acknowledgement. Wow! That stung!

Eloethan Sat 11-Apr-15 00:52:26

I'm not sure how useful my contribution is on this because I didn't go to university and neither of my children did. However, my son has been in the same company now for 17 years, is well paid and enjoys his work. My daughter had no interest in formal education but is knowledgeable and creative and although she is by no means well off, she has forged a path with which she is content. University isn't the be all and end all of everything. As you will have read in the previous posts, many people lead happy and satisfying lives without finishing - or even starting - university, and some people who get degrees find it does not necessarily guarantee happiness.

I suppose the issue for your daughter is that she started at university and now feels a failure that she was unable to continue. You are naturally concerned but I think it is important that you don't convey to her any sense of anxiety about what has happened. I think that as long as you don't see this as a disaster (which it isn't) and remain cheerful and positive, hopefully in time she will come to realise that there will be other opportunities for her out there somewhere.

I don't know what your daughter was studying at university but for the time being she might find it liberating to do something just for pure interest and enjoyment or to learn a skill, rather than to acquire a qualification. It's important to have interests and goals but they don't necessarily have to be tied up with formal qualifications - at least not at this point. I have read about people who have almost by accident found something that interests them and have gone on to develop skills that have led to career opportunities. Also, as someone else said, OU might be another option. I started work at 17 but in later years did a foundation course and several modules. I found the whole experience very enjoyable and the learning material and tutor support were excellent. There is more flexibility and less pressure when you can build up learning (and, if you want, qualifications) over a longer period of time.

I do hope that she gradually starts to relax and feel more positive about the future. It will take a little time but I'm sure, with your love and care, things will soon look brighter.

(When you say you sent two e-mails, I assume you mean to the university. I think, as Mishap said, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator is probably who you should take the matter to, particularly as you did not receive the courtesy of a reply to your e-mails.)

FlicketyB Sat 11-Apr-15 09:57:47

Jackofall57 I think you need to forget about education for the time being and concentrate on getting help and assistance for your daughter with her sensory problems. A diagnosis of APD must be both a relief and an added burden when she already has other sensory problems.

I would speak to your GP about referral to special counselling services to help your daughter to adjust to her additional problem and also to specialist vocational assessment systems, if they exist.

There is an APD support group. Their web address they should at least put you in touch with other people with similar problems and groups like this can be a real resource for information and advice.

I understand your concern to keep her in education, but it is much more important currently to help her build up her confidence. Does she have friends she can socialise with or a special interest or hobby where she can join a local group or a leisure class, where she can explain her problems and get support within a small group.

As others have suggested the Open University may well offer an alternative way forward. They do short courses on a huge range of subjects and perhaps she could be motivated to follow a short course there on something that interested her and from there be motivated to consider a degree. My own DD did a short OU course a few years ago. Shortly afterwards she was seriously injured in a road accident which has left her with a mild disability which has limited her current work options. As a result of having done the short course she decided to study for an OU degree that will help expand her employment opportunities.

trisher Sat 11-Apr-15 10:00:02

Oh Jackofal57 what a difficult position you are in. I know universities will not communicate with you when your child is over 18 unless the student has given permission. On a brighter note accepting hidden disabilities can be tremendously difficult, but I think children do become more accepting as they mature. My son is dyslexic and didn't start university until he was in his 20s, by then he had come to accept his disability and was prepared to ask for help. In fact he is now very demanding that provision should be made for disabilities. Hopefully as your daughter gets older she might be willing to accept help and ready to take up a university course.

Nelliemoser Sun 12-Apr-15 09:31:42

I fully agree with not pushing them into university education.

Let her look for something she is interested in and try it out. If she is bright enough to get into university she will probably manage in a very interesting job that has no speciic requirement of a degree.

It always amazes me how so many people who do a degree get to work in a completely unrelated career.
If someone is really not happy in a university environment They might just lose confidence and feel they have failed when they could have been doing something they come to enjoy.

I suspect a lot of schools push those children who seem able enough to get a university degree, because more pupils in university ups the prestige of the school.