Boy One is now in sixth year and working very hard towards an impressive batch of exams. In fact, his results would probably be enough to get him into further education without too much effort.
I’m very proud of him, he’s doing so much better than anyone could have predicted. He’s an Explorer Scout, he’s participating in the Saltire Awards scheme and he’s even got a social life.
His next challenge is finding the right university or college course for him.
It’s all changed since I was an undergraduate and, in any case, my further ed decision-making wasn’t very strong – it was, in part, based on somewhere that would accept me at 17 so I could leave school and somewhere that was quite a long way from home. Barely older than Boy One and I thought I knew it all.
To my son’s credit, he understands that there’s a lot he doesn’t know – most pressingly, what he might like to do when he grows up. I can’t be too hard on him as I’m still not sure what I want to do when I grow up. However, until he works it out, he has to do something.
Does he pursue his passion – history – but run the risk of ending up not especially employable? Or should he study artificial intelligence in universities where I’m lead to believe there’s lots of opportunity?
Add to that the challenges he has in imagining a life outside his experience? For example, he can’t begin to understand how it would feel to, say, a lawyer, a dentist or an accountant. Work experience is a great idea, but might not be so practical. Maybe there’s a gap in the market for speed-dating style work experience.
The marvellous National Autistic Society’s Moving Forward scheme has been extremely helpful. I’ve roped in long-suffering friends to talk to the Boy about their jobs, but I wonder if there’s anything else I should be doing?
Have you helped your teenager choose their college course? What’s best – following their passion, or something more sensible?
UPDATE: Boy One has been to one open day and talked sensibly and persuasively about why he should do his first choice degree and I am inclined to agree with him. It’s his life after all.