A reader of this blog asked that we provide advice about resources that exist to aid students with ASD as they transition from high school to college. When considering the transition, it is important to recognize several critical elements:


  • It’s never too early for any student to begin planning for the transition, but early planning is critically important for students diagnosed with ASD
  • Practical, on-campus experience is helpful to the process
  • Teaching self-advocacy is vital

Helpful resources I’ve encountered include:

  1. Person-Centered Planning:

Person-centered planning helps establish life goals, ensure individual strengths are recognized and built upon, and identifies skills in which the student must improve. There are several person-centered planning tools available; however, the Organization for Autism Research (OAR) published a free, online tool I believe to be one of the best available.

OAR’s Life Journey through Autism: A Guide for Transition into Adulthood helps teams explore a variety of life paths for students with ASD, including higher education. The tool can be found at this link: http://www.researchautism.org/resources/reading/documents/TransitionGuide.pdf

  1. Improving Self-Advocacy Skills:

Having insight into one’s needs and the ability to seek out help when needed are skills necessary for a successful experience in higher education. To meet that need, Dr. Valerie Paradiz developed The Integrated Self Advocacy ISA Curriculum. This workbook contains lesson plans, worksheets and activities that teach students to scan their environments for sensory and social needs, learn about self-disclosure, learn to recognize and utilize role models, appreciate the history and culture associated with ASD, and develop interests that can be shaped into a career.

You may find this resource at: http://www.autismselfadvocacy.com/index.php/publications/isa-text-book

  1. Interacting with College Faculty:

OAR, The Schwallie Family Foundation, and GRASP joined forces to create a short but insightful video titled “Understanding Asperger’s Syndrome: A College Professor’s Guide.” Produced to help professors understand ASD, this video can also be useful to students as they begin considering how best to interact with college faculty.

At Marshall University we use this video to train faculty how best to teach students we support. The video is free on YouTube, and is divided into two parts.

Part One

Part Two

by Marc Ellison

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