The best advice one can receive about effective support for college students diagnosed with ASD comes from, of course, students themselves. Kristopher Kirk graduated from Marshall University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering (with an emphasis in Civil Engineering) in early December, 2014. At a university-sponsored Parent Weekend event, Kristopher – who has received supports from MU’s college support program during his four years at the school – provided these insights about his college experience.
Kristopher advises college students living on the spectrum:
“Your rest and relaxation is just as important as your studies.”
Kristopher suggests one should focus on overcoming perfectionistic tendencies in order to allow more balance to exist in one’s life. He added: “The road to perfection is, metaphorically, a one-way road to burn-out.”
“Don’t ever lose sight of who you are, don’t abandon your hobbies. Just take it easy on yourself when you are first embarking on your college journeys.”
One of the ways Kristopher suggests achieving balance is to develop a reliable, available social network.
“College life comes with the inevitability of hardship and emotional strife.
Recognize and utilize on-campus resources available to you in order to transform challenges into opportunity.
by Marc Ellison
Marc Ellison, Ed.D. is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and an approved Licensed Professional supervisor (ALPS) who has worked nearly 30 years to provide person-centered support, services and advocacy to individuals who live with autism spectrum disorders, their families and those who support them. He has supported individuals with ASD throughout their lifespan, as they moved to the community from state-supported institutions, searched for and obtained employment, entered into relationships, and transitioned into college. Dr. Ellison is the Executive Director of the West Virginia Autism Training Center, and a part-time professor at Marshall University.