College + Autism…is this an equation that can it be solved? Yes!
The New York Times just published an article titled Along the Autism Spectrum, a Path Through Campus Life, highlighting college life for folks on the spectrum (http://nyti.ms/2eRz6eb).
This important article highlights the path from high school to college, and the accompanying social challenges found during the college years. Much attention has been paid to the “early years” and when those interventions work well (and they do!), we send students off to college. Then what?
It appears that several colleges and universities have created services for folks on the spectrum, and services vary widely by institution. Some services are academic: extra time for tests, tests in a quiet location. Other services are housed in mental health: coping with anxiety. Some programs get an A++ as they offer a structured support, regular meetings with college peer mentors, and outings. Naturally, it is up to your student to actually apply for these services, and then show up for the interventions. (Many students choose not to disclose that they have a diagnosis on the spectrum. Fair enough. But we do have services available!)
As you prepare your child for life, please consider what skills he or she will need to survive. Many of these skills (organization, planning, asking for help, money management, novel problem solving, and manners) can be practiced now, at home, and again at college or in the world of work. As noted in the article, “The goal is not necessarily a college degree but becoming an independent, successful adult. And a bachelor’s degree doesn’t guarantee that.”
Consider now how you can start promoting those necessary skills. It just so happens that Ms. Griffith and I have a book coming out in 2017 that will address some of these very concerns. We will keep you posted as the release date is established.