College Success For Students on the Autistic Spectrum

For a student with learning disabilities, it is important to note that Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) end with the senior year of high school. It is therefore essential that students develop self-determination and self-advocacy traits. In college, there is no “higher authority” looking after a student’s best interests, or making sure that he or she gets what is needed. That is now solely the student’s responsibility. (Note – sometimes students enrolled in structured disability support programs can obtain assistance with this from disability support personnel.)

Most colleges take autistic students, whether they know it or not. My younger son found himself living with an autistic suite-mate at George Washington University. The boy and my son shared a passion for sports and history, and both were enrolled in the Eliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University. The boy was an excellent student – history was his strong academic interest. The “geeks,” science buffs, musicians and actors, even historians, are often high-functioning autistics or have Asperger’s Syndrome. They do so well because they are working in the field of their obsession. It is important for those students to transition to an appropriate work environment in post-college life. These students must determine whether they are capable of working in an environment that requires interaction or whether they are better off working solo. If the job doesn’t meet the “social” requirements of the student, life after college can prove to be very disappointing.

Colleges that are known to provide good support to students with Asperger’s Syndrome are Muskingham College, Clark University, Curry College, Guilford College, and University of Iowa. Begin your search with these to get a sense of the full range of services available. You can then decide which services your teen will need to thrive. At that point, you may want to explore other schools that offer the services you are seeking, preferably small colleges that can devote time to your teen.

Source by Joan Azarva

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