My Autistic Daughter is Headed to Cal!!

We are beyond proud!  My 18-year-old daughter is graduating from high school and community college all at the same time.  Actually the truth is, I’m not sure how to feel about it. I’m both excited for her, and a little anxious too. My daughter is extremely bright and very talented. She has become quite a capable young woman. But I am still concerned. 

My daughter is on the spectrum.  She was diagnosed at 4 years old with AS (Asperger Syndrome) and has overcome a lot in her 18 years.  Although she’s not my biological daughter, I have raised her from the time she was 6 years old and watched her grow to become a beautiful and smart young woman. I have tried to teach her to be independent and assertive, though it’s not in her nature to do so.  However, I still have fears about what she might encounter at UC Berkeley.  She does not do well in chaotic situations, and I worry that Cal might be a little challenging for her. I’m sure she will be just fine, and that’s just me being “that” mom.  

I worry that sometimes she struggles with social awareness and I don’t want her to, but I know that will be a part of the challenges she will face. I probably need to stop worrying. After all, she carries a 4.9 GPA, is the Valedictorian of her class, Vice President of her HS class, Vice President of Rotary Life, and is an up-and-coming molecular and cell biologist.  Did I mention that she started a tutoring business during the pandemic to teach calculus and trig and other scary kinds of math? 

Up until now I’ve been able to protect her from things. Where she attended school was relatively small, with a cohort of about 60 students. I know that it’s going to be very different at UC Berkeley in terms of the amount of people that she will have in class and in her dorms. Nevertheless, I’m very excited for her, and I’m thrilled for her future! I just hope we’ve given her enough tools and resources to navigate her future life in a way where she can be productive and have fun. 

Congratulations, Annelise Prince!  You did it!

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Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia is a Mother, Grandmother, former Middle School Teacher, former Member of a School Board of Education and an Education Advocate for hundreds of parents and students in the Inland Empire. Having become a mother at 15, Leticia knows what it’s like to be a single mother trying to navigate the education system. Leticia received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and Public Administration from California Baptist University and a Masters’ Degree in Education Technology from Cal State Fullerton in her 30’s. Leticia has used her knowledge and experience to help hundreds of families as an Education Advocate in the Inland Empire and currently works as an Education Specialist.

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