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:
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
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
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.
by Marc Ellison
After an extensive career broadcast marketing, Jennifer and her husband searched for answers when their oldest son hit the kinder years with great difficultly. After finally learning that their oldest son had Aspergers Syndrome, she left her career in television and became a full time mother to both of her sons. Jennifer elicited the participation of her sons and together they produced several independent programs including a children’s animated series titled Ameriquest Kids (now distributed by Landmark Media) as well as her documentary and book titled, Coping to Excelling: Solutions for school-age children diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism or Aspergers Syndrome.
The need for more information encouraged Jennifer to elicit a team of autism experts to provide weekly, original content to a website free to anyone seeking to live their best under the diagnosis of High-Functioning Autism/Aspergers Syndrome… appropriately titled: Aspergers101.com.