Articles, Blog

You Can’t Be Autistic Because. . . You Went to University

February 14, 2020

whoa hi guys so this week’s you can’t be
autistic because video is because you went to university or because you went
to college this one I’ve actually seen people
sharing a lot on Twitter and then someone really wanted me to do this
topic. They sent me a private message about it and I said, you know, there really is a
lot of people saying this so I did want to talk about this
there are many autistic people that actually thrive in the educational
environment – I, personally, was not someone who really was thriving in education and
because of that I did not go on to university but I know lots of autistic
people who did very well in school and you know made even straight A’s and a
lot of autistic people have also shared that you know college was actually easier for
them than, you know, you know – elementary school middle school in high school ever was just because of the way it was things were set up I had a lot of
difficulty with school and with teachers and you know the problem I think with
schools, oftentimes, is school is really only made to teach one type of learner
and I have a learning difference that was unknown to me and to my teachers and
everyone around me you know the entire time I was in school uh and because you
know nobody really understood what was going on with me I didn’t have any help
or supports or any kind of accommodation to my learning in school and you know
one thing that I you know struggle with is what would technically be called you
know like the the working verbal memory and you know executive functioning and
you know that is you know when everything everything in school a lot of
times is being taught through the teacher just kind of giving a spoken
presentation you just sit and listen and take it in and that’s just not how I
learn and so that you know is not helpful to me and often times that put
me to sleep or, you know, I would try to draw or something to stay awake and then
I would get in trouble for drawing but it was actually helping me listen and so
I just, I – you know, by the time I was done with school I had just had enough of it
and I couldn’t even you know imagine paying to continue to go on with the
abuse because you know for me it was just really frustrating because I you
know once I got out of school I actually learned that I love learning things and
I really, you know, if I if I’m interested in something I can teach myself almost
anything it doesn’t matter, you know, if it’s complicated or not – like – if I want
to learn it and I’m interested I can learn it but school made me, you know – not
made – me but you know school. . . I felt like I was just completely incompetent and
just a garbage- my brain was garbage and I just felt like garbage just because
you know that’s the way school just catered to one type of learner and I
wasn’t that person so, you know, I didn’t go on to university because I just, you
know, I just couldn’t imagine enduring more of that. Moving forward now knowing
what I know knowing more about my brain knowing about my needs I you know might
consider taking you know maybe online university classes in the future
I don’t think I would ever go to a university setting but that’s just me
personally but you know that’s that’s just my experience with it but like I
said there are lots and lots of autistic people that have said that they’ve gone
to university they’ve graduated they’ve got degrees they have loved University. I
can think of a couple easily on top of my head who have you know PhDs
so that’s absolutely, you know, not true every you know everyone’s experience is
different so those are my thoughts this week Anyway guys if you like
this video – let me know – give me a thumbs up and I’ll keep doing more if you have
a video idea let me know in the comments below I’m always open to suggestions I
will talk to you guys next Wednesday Bye!


  • Reply TheArtyYvonne Mixed Media Artist October 10, 2018 at 6:12 pm

    I was diagnosed aspie while at university. I left school due to bullying and other issues like school refusal etc had big issues, and didn’t go straight to uni. I took time out and went back in my 20’s. I got the highest amount of credits ever too by any student in 30 yrs which is why they realised my brain worked differently, I learned differently.

  • Reply Talia Dawn October 10, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    I was diagnosed at age 19, after BARELY graduating high school and struggling in community college. I definitely relate to struggling because no one knew what was going on – I was absolutely pegged as the "super smart but incredibly lazy" kid. Even after my diagnosis, the school wasn't supportive at all, and I had to leave.
    I just this year went back to school, but to a different one. I'm doing an online program, and even though I don't have to deal with the sensory environment of the classroom anymore, I'm working my ass off to manage my executive functions.
    It has taken so, so long to learn how I learn, you know? And It's taken even longer to accept that maybe school is going okay (I'm still waiting for it to go wrong just because I've never had it go right!).

  • Reply J T October 11, 2018 at 12:00 am

    What about autistic folks in the military?

  • Reply J T October 11, 2018 at 12:02 am

    As a result of ADD I barely made it out of high school. I went on to a university after a few years of seeing many of my friends move away and start taking classes at a university. I eventually accumulated credits from 3 different universities and got my degree.Now I work as a Senior Systems Engineer in support of the US military worldwide. I've traveled everywhere, I am of the same mindset like you, if I am interested in something I will master it – this has applied to guitar, music, Asian women (my wife!), etc. 🙂

  • Reply J T October 11, 2018 at 12:05 am

    I also gave guitar lessons while attending a university. I taught students from 5 to 60 years old. It opened my mind to the way that people learn and how I could present information to them so that they could more effectively learn. In turn, it also made me reflect on myself and the way I learned.

  • Reply Cyber October 11, 2018 at 12:32 am

    Hey, love your vids and tweets.

  • Reply Brooke Lynn October 11, 2018 at 2:16 am

    Thanks for sharing! I hope online courses prove successful for you. I tend to like them, but I'm better at in classroom hands on and audio learning.
    What made university easier for me was that I could pick my own schedule and focus on topics of interest to me. The teachers actually taught rather than doing class room management. It was a tiny bit easier to get to know people.
    I used to think I wouldn't be able to graduate because of things like generals,my interest used to be extremely narrow, but my interests got piqued and expanded. Also I was motivated seeing so many people and hearing about their goals, I got serious about assessing the reasons behind my difficulties. After failing 3 algebra classes,I finally got a diagnosis and accomodation for my dyscalculia and memory issues, so I wasn't required to take math. It also helps to plan out your university, I chose a tiny campus but with a good reputation, private liberal arts university, the general classes had just been revamped to be interest focused. Learning Chem. through baking, math for artists, English classes just on vampires and other specialised topics. I'm in my final semester, and yes there are still challenges like deadlines and time frames to get work done, and difficult people at times, and burn out,but it wasn't a nightmare like the k-12 system.

  • Reply Sitano Moto October 11, 2018 at 3:28 am

    You just earned yourself a subscriber!
    I'm a high functioning autistic individual, (Aspergers Syndrome) and I actually get a lot of these.

  • Reply AC Keeble October 11, 2018 at 3:32 am

    I have had several problems with the education that I have in secondary school and university. The problem I have is that no accommodation is made for my needs and I am undermined by people who are more interested in pushing grades rather than being intellectually friendly. At the moment I have another dispute with my university and they refused to allow me to go through to the second year because of my grades from the first year. They put me at a disadvantage by not giving me enough direction or organising the modules properly. It was mentally unbearable that I got frequently stressed and anxious. Now because of time constraints I have had to take a year out and wait for a resit and that is unfair judgement on my performance when they played badly in teaching me.

  • Reply A.J. Joers October 11, 2018 at 6:43 am

    Thanks for making this video! I get this all the time from family and most recently a therapist because i graduated from college and am now getting my masters. The same person said she doesnt believe im disabled at all. But whatevs.

    Just throwing it out there but if you experience school the way Neuro Rebel does but you want to go to school and you can teach yourself something you are interested in then look into colleges like Goddard college – no grades, small schools, no predesigned majors, you control your semester work, you create your own major. And its a tiny school so not big crowds. Oh and plus you are only ever at school for a week a semester then it is done all from home.

  • Reply conscience aginBlackadder October 11, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    School was created as an arrogant machine, assuming non-existence or disciplinary suppressability of learning differences. Its entire rationale is wrong.

  • Reply FiftyyearStim October 11, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    I failed in primary and secondary school. I was graded as average intelligence, and a well behaved student. But I had difficulty with the classroom situation, huge anxieties etc,. I did not excel at all in school. Failed the state exam at 18. But then I got to university at 24. Got first class honors through to masters degree, was awarded a gold medal for academic excellence by the university. So upon reflection, standard Primary education of the 1980’s and Neuro diverse students was an appalling combination. Perhaps things have improved. But still, we need to recognize that the Autistic child will most likely thrive at university, with supports, and a specialist subject to research. Perhaps unlike the many students who succeed at childhood primary education but yet have no ability to proceed to a university education. I am now middle aged and will seek a diagnosis as soon as I can afford it and find a professional suitably experienced with adults on the spectrum and can recognize masking.

  • Reply John Aggett October 11, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    My expirence of school was that, primary (the UK version of elementary) school was ok, secondary school (the UK version of high school) was very difficult, this was because they seemed to think they where good at helping disabled students, but where not. University was hard but the support was good.

  • Reply Kylie Andrade October 12, 2018 at 6:05 am

    That is interesting and insightful. Sounds like a tough experience, but like you've gained a lot of insight from your experiences. Public school and high-school were tough for me, with kids not paying attention in class, and the chaos of it I was able to make it through with support, but definitely thrived more once I enrolled in College, and found that the students there were more focus and determined to learn. Also, I was able to get accomodations and work from a modified time table to help with the course load and assignment management. Reflecting back, I guess I was lucky to receive such support and success in the Post Secondary years.

  • Reply Olive aka Olivia the lupus patient! October 14, 2018 at 8:03 am

    Great segment.

  • Reply Purple Theo October 15, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    I went to university but did not get diagnosed as autistic until much later after. My experiences at university provided some specific and helpful insights into me which without I am not sure I would have ever discovered my ASD.

  • Reply David Mitchell October 15, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    I will me and my girlfriend we both have autism and my girlfriend in College

  • Reply rask004 November 9, 2018 at 5:26 am

    University was a mixed experience for me. I attended as a mature student part time, so pressure wasn't an issue and I had some life skills to manage the first 2 years well. But in the last 2 years, due to the nature of team projects, the younger students relying on me to 'daddy' them, and an arbitrary year limited forcing me to take on more courses, I burned out. Class and material wise, my subjects could be covered with extra curricular material (sometimes more current!) And attendance wasn't mandatory, but otherwise it was very rote and sometimes lecturers actually didn't know the material they were teaching. Approaching lecturers was intimidating.

    I later dropped out and transferred to a technical school. This was more hands on and lecturers took a more mentor approach. My experience was much better, apart from a course or two with inexperienced lecturers.

  • Reply Oren Franz December 8, 2018 at 8:49 am

    If people say and / or ask these things, their basically very stupid and ignorent, because it is very hurtful to say that with medical diagnosis, it's just wrong!

  • Reply Nature Girl December 8, 2019 at 11:31 am

    Great video! I’m autistic and I’m currently a freshman at RPI majoring in environmental engineering. College is actually easier for me than k-12 because I get to focus on a topic that is super interesting to me. I’ve always been super passionate about protecting the environment and now I get to take lots of sustainability classes.

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