ASA's 37th National Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders (July 13-15, 2006)
|Thursday, July 13, 2006: 3:15 PM-4:30 PM|
|Providence Ballroom I|
|#2270- Dreams for Today, Success for Tomorrow: Planning for a Successful College Experience for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum|
|This session includes a presentation of Dreams for Today, Success for Tomorrow, a video addressing the special needs of college students with Asperger Syndrome and high functioning autism. This video poignantly presents several students experiences on a college campus with a special program for such individuals. A study of this program and a survey conducted on available supports in colleges across the country are presented within the larger context of transition planning for adulthood. |
|Presenter:||- Lynda Geller, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of Asperger Foundation International and teaches on the faculty of Pace University. She is also a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Manhattan and over 20 years of experience diagnosing and consulting for individuals of all ages on the Autism Spectrum. Dr. Geller has presented at numerous conferences, including Autism Society of America; YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities; the Advocates for Individuals with High-Functioning Autism, Asperger Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorders; New York Bar Association; International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disability and the International Association for Dual Diagnosis.|
This session includes a presentation of Dreams for Today, Success for Tomorrow, a new video I produced addressing the special needs of college students with Asperger Syndrome and high functioning autism. This video poignantly presents several students' experiences on a college campus with a special program for such individuals. They contrast their experiences with those they had in high school and on other college campuses. Parents also speak candidly about their concerns for their youngsters as adulthood looms. Careful and cooperative planning is necessary to optimize the likelihood of success starting college. College attendance as one aspect of the larger transition process is discussed.
Also in this session, the results of a study of this program are presented. The element of having a support group on campus is particularly addressed. The results of the survey on available supports in colleges across the country will be presented and made available.
Issues that need particular consideration in planning for the most successful college experience include Understanding the differences between mandated services within public school and supports that may be offered in college (IDEA versus ADA) Issues of confidentiality and student adulthood as possible barriers to communication with parents Dormitory life, including time management, homework completion and studying, going to class on time, managing noise, dealing with teasing, and maintaining healthy habits Self advocacy and self disclosure Getting along with professors and other students Reasonable accommodations from the college's point of view Necessary supports and who provides them including coaching, scribes, therapy, support groups, and medication Planning for the needs that have been supported by public school, but that now need a different kind of solution Creating knowledge on the college campus about Asperger Syndrome and related conditions Helping parents cope with their child's adulthood, dependency versus independence Personal relationships including friendship, dating, and sexuality Developing personal interests and managing overly intensive interests Dealing with unanticipated emergencies Matching the level of support to the individual's needs
Just as there is wide variety in the manifestation of the autism spectrum, there is also much variability in the support needs for such students on college campuses. Some students need no more than someone to provide social support, others need tremendous help getting organized and submitting work on time, while still others need a protective environment that helps them move toward adult independence. While most colleges have disability support services and counseling centers, there is wide variation as to how willing they may be to support a student on campus with an autism spectrum disorder. There are few specific programs for these students, but there are many schools that have adequate supports in place around which a more specific program may be designed. Most campuses need to educate their faculty and staff about the special needs of students with Asperger Syndrome and related conditions.
Families also need to be realistic about their children's strengths, as do the individuals themselves. Sometimes young adults starting college imagine that they can start a new life and their issues will disappear in a new surrounding with new peers. Unfortunately, this attitude often leads to inadequate planning and unanticipated failure and disappointment. Another misconception is that a college (or even graduate) education will create an independent career that a student with Asperger Syndrome can easily attain. Unless these young adults address their social and emotional issues, their adulthood may well be unfulfilled. The vital importance of work experiences and social support will also be discussed as a critical element to achieving a healthy transition to adulthood.
Learning Objectives Participants will understand the breadth of issues that must be considered for college students with AS and related conditions to be successful and will learn how to put needed supports in place Participants will understand how college attendance fits into the larger plan for life success Participants will learn about evidence-based practice to support college students with AS and related conditions Participants will receive for reference a listing of program supports available for college students with AS and related conditions and learn how to use this information
See more of The ASA's 37th National Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders (July 13-15, 2006)