College Autism Spectrum: Providing support for students on the autism spectrum and the schools and colleges they attend

Providing college-level support and training
for students, parents, & professionals
involved with the autism spectrum community

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    Students with ASD often have unique needs for support in areas that colleges are not mandated to provide. In depth understanding of a student's strengths and challenges and an institution's ability to support them is essential in facilitating a successful experience. Jane, Lisa and Lorraine have over 75 years of combined experience in disability service provision in a variety of college environments, including 4 year, public, private and professional institutions of higher education as well as 2 year community college and technical schools.

    As long-time members of our respective state and national professional organizations, we have links to colleges and programs throughout the country. We will help you locate an appropriate college setting for your son or daughter with ASD by:

    • Supporting students and families through the application and admission process
    • Assessing services and accommodations needed by the student and determining college's abilities to provide needed services
    • Determine appropriate colleges and/or programs
    • Reviewing student's past and current documentation
    • Critique of college essay

    Students with autism spectrum disorders often have no trouble meeting the entrance criteria to the college of their choice, yet once there, have extreme difficulty navigating the academic and social complexities inherent in the college experience. Many lack the self- management skills needed to independently organize and integrate all aspects of college life. Stress of transition can inhibit a student's ability to know who and when to ask for help.

    CAS consultants can provide a link between the enrolled student and the system through coaching, supported education, and strategic education targeting. These include:
    • Transitioning from home to campus life
    • Introducing student to appropriate college resources
    • Managing time and scheduling skills
    • Teaching self-advocacy
    • Teaching stress management
    • Developing scripts and role-playing
    • Setting goals: academic and co-curricular

    Colleges and Universities: The increasing numbers of students on the autism spectrum entering post-secondary education present higher education institutions with challenges previously not at issue. Impacts outside of the academic realm may be unique for DS providers to consider. Academic and student affairs offices are sometimes faced with behavior management and conduct issues, sensory and stress management issues. Students with autism spectrum disorders sometimes do not disclose until there is a problem: therefore pro-active, campus wide training and awareness is critical for a successful interface between the institution and student. A major thrust of our work is providing training to professional staff and faculty on campus. Based on each college's unique environment, we provide:
    • Individualized, advanced training for college personnel:
    • Disability providers, administrators, academic and student affairs offices
    • Modules on how to work with students with AS on college campuses
    • Education on developing accommodations and support services
    • Understanding academic and non-academic issues for students on the spectrum
    • Assistance in working with challenging behaviors
    • Understanding how to work with parents of students with AS
    • Development and implementation of programs

    Transitioning from high school to the postsecondary world is difficult for all students. This is more prevalent for students with ASD, because the symptoms of the condition may not be fully realized or addressed in the secondary environment. Secondary systems and the families they serve are largely unaware of the all encompassing differences between high school and college as well as the impact these differences can have on the student if not prepared well in advance. College Autism Spectrum professionals have extensive K12 experience and provide workshops for high school educators and administrators, vocational rehabilitation counselors, and other interagency supports targeting:
    • How to prepare students on the spectrum for the college option
    • Developing self advocacy skills
    • Understanding documentation requirements needed at the post-secondary level
    • How to assist parents in supporting the transition process
    • How to help individuals with ASD gain insight into their disability and the ways in which it affects areas of functioning in higher education settings
    • Differences in legislation of IDEA and ADA

    U.S. News & World Report
    "Families: Learn How to Find Autism-Friendly Colleges" - U.S. News & World Report

    Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education
    "Universal Design and Students With Autism" -

    The New York Times
    "Along the Autism Spectrum, a Path Through Campus Life" -

    Students in Connecticut With Autism Adapting Better at College
    "Students in Connecticut With Autism Adapting Better at College" - WNPR News More Colleges Expanding Programs For Students On Autism Spectrum
    "More Colleges Expanding Programs For Students On Autism Spectrum" - Forbes

    The Village Voice: With Autism Diagnoses on the Rise, New York universities Offer Students Help
    "With Autism Diagnoses on the Rise, New York universities Offer Students Help" - The Village Voice

    Autistic, And College-Bound on Vermont Edition of NPR
    "Autistic, And College-Bound" - NPR

    CBS News story on Autism awareness: College programs for students on the spectrum
    "Autism awareness: College programs for students on the spectrum" - CBS News

    USA Today College : Autistic college students navigate the hidden curriculum
    "Autistic college students navigate the hidden curriculum" - USA Today

    NPR - All Things Considered
    "Autistic Kids Learn To Survive, And Thrive, In College" - NPR

    Download materials availableDownload materials in our Media Center.
    Books and Publications

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