Thursday, February 3, 2011

Getting A College Education With Autism

College students have a lot to worry about. In addition to a 15- or 18-credit hour course load, students work, play sports and participate in extracurricular activities. What about those with a disorder on the Autism Spectrum? How can students maneuver around the stigma and continue with their education without worrying about a disorder?

According to Maureen Johnson, Ph.D., a health education instructor at Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville, students need to establish with the institution they attend, or the institution they wish to attend, that they do in fact, have a disorder. Educational institutions are prohibited to discriminate based on disability. Students should then work with mental health services center on campus so that they can be provided with the necessary care and accommodations they need  to maintain class performance.

Given that a student with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may not share this condition with many of their college peers, students should have a medical care provider near campus. This will ease any concern regarding the inability to get any care needed in a time-sensitive situation.

Lastly, students with ASD should get a head start on pursuing a career. They should get career counseling as soon as possible, as is it especially difficult for students with this type of disorder to get a job after graduation. However, if the student focuses on his/her strengths outside of the classroom, this will provide a counselor adequate information to find a suitable position or internship opportunity.

For support needed by any parents of students or students themselves, see

Gianna Canevari

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