Many autistic teens out there have the brains to make higher education a breeze, but are lacking in some of the social, time management and organizational skills they’ll need to make the grades they deserve. Luckily, there is a wide range of colleges out there stepping up to offer support and help for students with autism spectrum conditions. Here are the growing number of colleges that can be a good choice for students with autism, as they can provide support groups, assistance with courses, special classes and all the information students need to get a degree.
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Preparing for the college transition
Center for Online Education www.onlinecolleges.net/for-students/students-with-disabilities
Online resource sharing an overview of the legal rights of students with disabilities, advice and next steps when considering which college to attend and links to other resources.
Eastern Michigan University http://www.emich.edu/acc/about/
A program at EMU is helping students with autism navigate college life. It's part of the university's Autism Collaboration Center. The center helps people with autism of all ages. It provides support in every aspect of college life and will help students to steadily improve both academically and in socially throughout their time in school. Help from the ACC can range from nutrition therapy to academic support, and students will not only be able to interact with staff, but also a large number of autistic students from the college and the surrounding community.
Oakland Community College http://www.oaklandcc.edu
The following Counseling courses are available:
Orientation to College (CNS 1100)
Enhancing Self-Esteem (CNS 1120)
Career Planning (CNS 1150)
Personal Assertiveness (CNS 1160)
Career Portfolio Development (CNS 1900)
In addition, individual and group counseling, academic skills assessment, vocational interest assessment, computer-assisted career information programs and academic advisement are offered and designed to meet the needs of a diverse student population and to assist students in attaining their optimal, individualized development. The Counseling faculty coordinates a guidance program enabling each OCC student to help achieve academic, vocational and social success.
Oakland University http://www.oakland.edu/
Oakland has an on-campus program called OUCARES which integrates academic course work, knowledge and research with hands-on work in the community to prepare professionals to be leaders in the autism community. Through these academic and service programs, Oakland University also provides supportive individual and family programs. OUCARES, housed in the School of Education and Human Services, encourages the exchange of ideas relating to the education and support of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as provides services and support needed to improve daily living.
Out of State options:
Drexel University Autism Support Program http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~fdh23/daspProject_faq.html
Drexel has one of the most comprehensive autism support programs out there for college students today, aiming to create a more diverse experience that includes those with not only cultural differences, but neurological ones as well. Through the DASP, students can find peer mentor training, support from advisors, as well classes and programs to help them better adapt to life in college. Additionally, students can work to become advocates for the condition on campus and eventually pay their help forward by supporting successors.
Rutgers Developmental Disabilities Center
Autistic students at Rutgers are offered several options that can improve their college experience. From getting a single dorm with no roomies to accommodations that can help in the classroom, the school is taking a serious look at ways they can attract and assist students with autism spectrum disorders. Students can check out the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center for additional help from other students, psychologists and other professionals, or enroll in the Asperger’s Disorder College Program – which provides goal development, meetings with team members, orientations to campus life and helpful guidance for socializing and studying.
Mercyhurst College AIM Program
Students at Mercyhurst who have an autism disorder never need to feel alone on campus. The school offers a program designed to help students with autism called the Asperger’s Initiative at Mercyhurst, offering support in the academic and social aspects of attending college alike. Students enrolled in the program will get group and individual help with building communication skills, researching and writing papers, developing social skills and other aspects of college with which many students struggle. The program is in its third year and still going strong, making Mercyhurst a strong contender for students who have an autism spectrum disorder.
Midwestern State University
With so many students being diagnosed with autism these days, this school thought it was wise to help them meet their college goals by creating a support program. Through it, students with a range of autism disorders can find help from counselors and peers. They may live in a special house on campus along with two peer mentors, where they will gain the skills they need to learn to live independently and become a successful college student. Additionally, they will receive help from staff members with any problems they may face in adjusting to their new life. While the program is doing well, it still needs additionally financing to help it continue through 2012.
St. Joseph’s University Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support
While not as comprehensive as some of the other autism programs, students at St. Joseph’s will still find some great resources through the Kinney Center that make getting a higher education a little less daunting. The Center not only reaches out to the larger community to promote autism advocacy, but also helps students with learning more about the disorders and how to live on campus. Additionally, they organize events and courses that can be of great interest to those with autism and can help individuals get out and make new friends.
Boston University Supported Education Services
Free to anyone attending BU, this program offers individualized assistance with building academic skills and supporting students with autism disorders during their time in college. It can be a great way for them to get help in adapting to college life and finding the motivation to seek out social interactions. Additionally, BU is a great place to follow the latest research being done on autism today, and students in the life sciences may even be able to take part in making discoveries that could change how the medical field sees the spectrum.
University of Alabama College Transition and Support Program
Through this college program, students will get help improving their study skills and other academics while also learning about what will help them better interact with peers, teachers and others on campus. Founded in 2006, the program works with a few students each year, providing them with support from faculty, clinical psychologists and graduate students. The creators hope it will help students gain the skills they’ll need to not only succeed in college, but live as an independent adult and work in their chosen career field as well.
University of Connecticut SEAD Program
The goal of this program is to help students and their families make the transition to college a smooth one, assisting the former in learning more about their disability and how to function as an independent adult. It is open to any student accepted to the university with an autism spectrum disorder and is available at varying levels of intensity. Participants reveive access to support from staff, weekly meetings and a range of materials that can make the college experience a whole lot less intimidating.
Marshall University Autism Training Center http://www.marshall.edu/coe/atc/about_us/philosophy_and_mission/default.asp
Students who choose to attend Marshall will have access to its Autism Training Center. This organization offers a number of programs that can help college students learn to better manage their classroom assignments, make new friends and learn to live independently. They’ll also receive support from advisors on a daily or weekly basis, meet with professors and get help finding social activities on campus. Parents and students should be aware, however, that this support doesn’t come cheaply and can run as much as $3,200 a semester– a price that many are willing to pay to get the help and guidance they need.