College and Autism – Is It Possible?

Jan 24, 2017 | Resources for Adults | 0 comments

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Some parents don’t believe their child will ever go to college once they have been diagnosed as being on the Autism spectrum. College is stressful enough for any kid, but when your child lacks social skills and cannot function independently, college seems a step too far. However, whilst autistic students do struggle with college, many colleges are introducing education programs specifically designed for students on the autism spectrum.

Special thanks to ILS for their help in providing this resource.

Autistic students are far less likely to go to college than other students are. They may be academically skilled, but the college environment is not conducive to kids with autism, even higher functioning students. They are often smarter than their peers, but navigating the complex social and academic problems presented by life at college derail them. As a result, all too many autistic kids end up working in minimum wage jobs or dependent on their parents or public assistance.

Studying for a College Degree

There is a wealth of options for students who want to study for a college degree. Online courses have become increasingly popular, so if your child is interested in history, he could apply to do an online military history degree at Norwich University. However, whilst there are many benefits to studying an online MMH degree, this won’t teach an autistic child the social skills they need to progress into adult life.

Teaching autistic children social skills is vital if they are to integrate into college life. Even when kids are on the lower end of the autistic spectrum, they are apt to miss social triggers, which can lead to misunderstandings and all kinds of problems. Autistic students also find it hard to cope with the organization required to live independently on campus. Simple tasks that other students take for granted, such as shopping in the local Walmart, are beyond many autistic students.

Managing everyday life: meeting assignment deadlines, eating healthy food, maintaining personal hygiene and making friends is overwhelming for autistic students. The problem is that autism is an invisible disability, with very little support available for older students.

Autism Support Programs

Autism support programs offered by some colleges help students transition from high school to college. It’s often the small things that cause a student to feel overwhelmed. Things that other students take for granted, such as eating in a busy cafeteria, sharing a dorm room and preparing meals. Autistic students find it hard to cope, so they are much more likely to drop out before graduation. However, with the right level of support, autistic students can surpass the expectations of their parents and tutors.

Learning Vital Skills

Autism support programs can help students learn the skills they need to move through college and into employment. Tutors and mentors teach social skills, how to cope with job interviews, and even issues related to dating and sex.

Just because your child is on the autism spectrum, it doesn’t mean a college education is out of their reach. Support programs are available, and with their help, your child could exceed everyone’s expectations.


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