Postsecondary Education & Autism

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In today's podcast I speak with a director of a college disability office, a college student with learning differences who receives services from the college, and, finally, a 3rd grade girl who reflects on her experience in 1st and 2nd grade with a boy with autism.
Larry Welkowitz
A condition such as AS highlights the conscious and unconscious barriers to learning that students can face from lecturers who might have a stereotypical profile of their students - unwilling to accommodate those who transcend the norm
Gary Bunt
Q: I am a college student. There is an autistic man in my biology class. What can I expect? A: The only way this person can 'cause any problem' for you, is if you treat him as a lesser human being, which he is not.
The right tool to help high school students identify, collect and organize the documents required in the college application process -- and those that highlight their accomplishments to give them an edge in applying to the college of their choice.
In today's podcast I interview two college professors who discuss their experience with having a student with high functioning autism in their classes. Both confessed their nervousness about how this would work out, and both come to similar conclusions: That their classroom experience was enriched by the presence of this student.
Larry Welkowitz
I believe there is a need for a recognition that diversity of learning style and neurodiversity are forms of diversity that need to be respected. Many things considered learning disabilities are actually only learning differences.
This is a selective list of colleges taken from a variety of sources. Some take students as young as 15 years but all take students over 19 years.
Our son was ready to declare his independence more than I realized. He has thoroughly enjoyed being on his own.
Dan Coulter
You're in college now. It's your chance to make a fresh start. People in college are often more socially accepting than high school students. So, take a deep breath and get ready for the next challenge and the time of your life!
Stephen Rothenberg
Among the recommendations: Colleges should consider Asperger syndrome specific courses, 'open-learning' or outreach courses to assist those who find traditional provision prevents them from learning.
Andrew Powell
Post-secondary education can be difficult for any student, but when a demanding workload is compounded with a neurological disorder such as autism, learning can be even more trying.
Laura Tiffany
This research establishes a correlation between peer influence and postsecondary engagement. However, the research cannot establish a causal relationship. Rather than peers pushing individuals to attend college, it could be that individuals interested in postsecondary education seek out peers with similar values. This research does not examine how such positive peer support develops or why the interaction between peer support and college enrollment exists.
Dan Laitsch
Do you disclose? Know yourself and your illness. Identify your strengths. Identify areas where you may need assistance. Plan ahead.
Robert Schweitzer
Independent specialist college for people with Asperger Syndrome
There are those students who are able to enter college, the world of work and with support can do well. Some desire to do the same but cannot sustain the effort and need a lot more support. Many, as we realise, are never offered the chance.
Sheila Coates
Our son was ready to declare his independence more than I realized. He has thoroughly enjoyed being on his own.
Julie Coulter
Educators who build community in their classrooms begin with a view of each student as a person having value and worth. Effective teachers don't assume they understand disability: They ask the other person to describe his or her world.
Linda Treloar
Only about twelve similar schools exist in the country. Minnesota Life College (MLC) is the only one in the Upper Midwest; its urban apartment campus distinguishes it from all others. "We teach them skills in the environment they'll use them," said Amy Steele, the school's director of admissions and marketing. "It's a 24-hour program, seven days a week."
Darlene Pois, Star Tribune
Includes section, "Supporting a student with Asperger's Syndrome," by Dr. Lucy Sargisson, School of Politics, University of Nottingham.
Margaret Herrington, Dawn Simpson
I would highly recommend any NLD students planning to attend college to disclose their learning disability. I would look for colleges that will make the necessary accommodations for the student to be successful.
Al Vadon
Depending on their ability, some may be able access mainstream services, possibly with additional help, whilst others will require courses specifically designed for those with special needs.
National Autistic Society
Because I was only diagnosed halfway through my undergraduate degree, it took me a while to have the courage of my convictions and adapt my learning methods to my own abilities, instead of trying to work and revise in the way I thought I was supposed to.
Characteristics that may be particularly important for students on the autism spectrum include a clearly structured academic program, a good disabilities services program (or its equivalent), willingness to provide modifications and support for learning needs, and a counseling center with support services.
Gladys Williams, Ann Palmer
For many high functioning individuals on the autistic spectrum, college can be about as close as you can get to Heaven on Earth (and, let's face it, for the time being, the latter is where most of us are stuck!)
Lars Perner
I am very autistic and all the information I had been absorbing over the years was all mixed up in my head. When I started typing it began to become organized... I am sure autism prevented me from thinking or being aware of what was around me.
Sue Rubin
The key to successful post-secondary educational experiences is that individuals with autism spectrum disorders become acutely aware and knowledgeable about their own accommodation needs.
Marci Wheeler, Nancy Kalina
Some of the things in it may be useful in developing accommodations for other autistic people. However, it is important to remember that each autistic person is unique, and what works for me might not be helpful for someone else.
Jim Sinclair
Conference presentation
Mike Blamires, Sarah Gee
Links to mental health information prepared by university counseling services throughout the United States. Covers a wide range of topics, including study skills and test-taking.
University of Chicago
These notes are intended as a basic guide to the difficulties likely to be experienced by students with Asperger syndrome and to the possible ways in which tutors and lecturers can help to minimise the impact of such difficulties on their studies.
Anglia Polytechnic University
My concern about Portland State University is all the greater once I realized that many of its disabled students come from local community colleges and other two year institutions where the quality of disabled student service support is vastly superior to their much larger relative, PSU. On the one hand, the community colleges and feeder institutions prepare their disabled students for full independence with accommodations and appropriate access and assistive technology. On the other, disabled student counselors at those feeder institutions see the receiving institution--PSU--ignoring student needs, providing clear signals that it is only a "sink or swim" environment that offers no support and providing no program of faculty and staff education and sensitivity to disabilities and to the different learning styles and reasonable accommodations and educational alternatives possible for an increasingly diverse student body.
Roger N. Meyer
Chapter from Asperger's Syndrome: Intervening in Schools Clinics and Communities, by L.Baker and L. Welkowitz (Eds.)
Larry Welkowitz
In terms of student empowerment this particular situation was effective in helping students develop as reflecting problem solvers. It might be seen to serve as an exemplar of the operation of a 'cognitive curriculum'.
Melanie Nind, Stuart Powell
As social interaction is so intrinsic to the way that most teaching and learning takes place, students with Asperger syndrome may find the experience of further and higher education daunting.
Lynne Moxon
University can offer a great deal to people with HFA/AS, but coping with the non-academic environment can be tough. None of these problems are insuperable, but they're much easier to handle if you are prepared for them in advance.
Focuses on study strategies that deal with the impact of the condition on learning. The booklet is based on students' experience in tertiary institutions to bring together relevant resources and strategies
University of Melbourne
As autistic students, our internal needs and motivations are often at odds with the physical environment and many of the social and emotional demands of a college.
Dawn Prince-Hughes
The disabled student knows more about his own limitations as well as strengths, and doesn't need anyone else to "attest" to the extent of his disability, or to verify his needs or to negotiate as the student's absentee proxy as to how those needs should be met. This is the individual's responsibility, and if the individual is of legal age, he should find it impermissibly offensive to be spoken of in the third person, as this form does.
Roger N. Meyer
It's possible to have the intellectual and verbal skills necessary for university-level academic work, and at the same time to experience the social handicaps and other problems that characterize the autistic spectrum.
About autism, high-functioning autism, Asperger's syndrome; diagnostic criteria; autistic people at university; number of students with HFA/AS; benefits of university education for students with AS; special needs of HFA/AS students.

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This page was last updated on 5 November 2008, 3:48 pm
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