Then she tried for [name] University. That lasted I think two days. Because the learning support person they put in didn’t understand that she was needed at lunch times and break times and this is when this learning support decided to go off and do her own thing, so Nita was left vulnerable and she walked out of uni. I had to pick her up in the middle of the blinking A12. She was walking down the side of the road in tears and then she went to [name] University again to do a social work course. She got turned down for that. She didn’t pass the interview. As it happens it is a good thing because I don’t think Nita would have made a very good social worker, because she is too involved in her own particular difficulties.
Then she suddenly discovered at age 19, that she had a, 20 maybe, that she had a most wonderful flair for languages which came out of nowhere. She started learning Czech on her own and Russian, two of the most difficult languages you could possibly learn and eventually she decided that she wanted to do that for her life. So we got onto [university]. She went to [university] for an interview and did the whole interview in Czech, on her own. This is what she had learnt, she had learnt, apparently the Czech tutor there, said she had got herself up to A level Czech within six months on her own. So she has this wonderful facility. And she was also doing Russian. She was learning Russian then and she got in on the first, no problem, even though she didn’t technically have enough points, she got in on the interview.
Unfortunately [university] again, did not put in the support she needed, trained Asperger's support. She needed so many things, like the lecture notes written out for her or at least transcribed taped. She needed some, the very, very strong pastoral support but most of all, she needed the social support, someone who would get her an entrée into social groups and be able to facilitate her social communication. And I was told by [university], “Well we can’t make people like her. You can’t make people make like her, you can’t make people make friends with you.” And I said, “Yes, I understand that but, surely you can put her in… and have someone who can actually take her to these coffee groups and these lunch groups and she can just sit with them.” It never happened. And after six weeks, seven weeks may be of being totally isolated she was deeply, deeply depressed and by this time she was so stressed, her hair was actually falling out. You may have heard her mention a wig, she wears wigs now because she has lost about half her hair through stress. It is still going on now. And I had to take her out of [university]. In fact she left [university].
And I was really sad because adored the language. She adored everything she was learning but the social side was what totally let her down. You can imagine, you know that whole thing at university, getting to know people, going out and doing this and that. It is so much a part of the learning process. That was barred to her, from her. She didn’t have these choices. She was left on her own, wandering around campus, basically weeping. And that weeping just turned into anxiety, and then anxiety became fear, and then she became too fearful to go to lectures. So she stopped going. So the whole thing was compounded and the journey up to London was dreadful from home here, because she wouldn’t live in halls. Because she said, “If I live in halls or live in a flat I will be isolated. I will be lonely. And I will know that they are all going out down the pub. I won’t be asked and I will be left on my own and I will feel even more lonely.” And it is that aspect is awful… dragging loneliness.