Social Skills and College for those with Aspergers Syndrome

Social Skills and College for those with Aspergers Syndrome

Guest(s): Dr. Marc Ellison/Executive Director of the West Virginia Autism Training Center

Social Skills and College are discussed in this edition of Top of the Spectrum News. Dr. Marc Ellison, who has successfully created a wing for those with Autism at the Marshall University West Virginia Autism Training Center, offers insights for college preparation. Since 2002, the college has successfully supported (and graduated) over 100 students with Aspergers Syndrome.

 

Acceptance

We don’t go through life strongly agreeing or disagreeing with what our friends or colleagues tell us. More often we simply accept what is said. In fact among friends, in particular, simple acceptance is the normal response.

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So this first expression of emotion is a good place to begin. It’s an example of something subtle and commonplace, but nevertheless important to read. For example, if you want to run through a plan for when to do a chore today, or what to buy for dinner. How can you tell when someone accepts what you are saying? We will see later in this series when someone looks actively interested, but this example is more subtle.

It’s when someone is saying, “Yes, sure I’ll buy that” or “Yes, I’ve thought about it and it’s okay”.

Job Fairs

Job fairs: This can be very daunting for anyone at any stage in the job search, but job fairs are a great way to get to see the companies in your area. You can see what positions are available without having to apply or call anyone, if you aren’t ready for that.

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As I have previously talked about, informational interviewing is a tool to use in order to get to know a company, and talk to individuals about how they have gotten to where they are. A job fair is one great way to attain that informational interview.

Letter From the Editor: New Blog Schedule!

Is there a favorite blog that you follow? Do you have a favorite topic on Aspergers101?

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Starting this week you can now follow the Aspergers101 blogs on a daily posting schedule! Visit Aspergers101.org on one of the specified days below to catch the newest post from your favorite bloggers.

  • Sunday: Education K-12 with Lisa Rogers
  • Monday: Education College with Marc Ellison
  • Tuesday: Medical with the doctors of the Autism Community Network
  • Wednesday: Top of the Spectrum News and Employment with Maggie Cromeens
  • Thursday: Social Development with John Habershon
  • Friday: Autistically Speaking/Autalkz and Family with Katherine Goodsell and Jennifer Allen

-Brie Lemos, Senior Editor

The Flip Card

A flip card is a quick and easy visual strategy that highlights one behavior, and clarifies through graphics and words when certain behaviors are acceptable, and when they are not. Place a visual that indicates that it is O.K. to engage in the target behavior on one side of the paper. Place a different visual that indicates it is not O.K. to engage in the specific behavior at this time.

Think of it as a version of an “Open” and “Closed” sign in a store window. The sign, or flip card, gets turned around to indicate when it is O.K. to enter and when it is not. Much the same, the flip card will tell the student when it is O.K. to do a particular behavior and when it is no longer appropriate. Of course, not every behavior lends itself to this strategy. It is only for behaviors that are acceptable some of the time.

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I had the pleasure of working with a young man at a Middle School campus as he attended a general education art class. The art teacher began each class with about 10 minutes of whole class lecture where she would explain the project and expectations for the day. It was this first part of the class that posed most problematic for Samuel. Samuel found great pleasure in singing and talking to himself . . . constantly.

Introduction to the Reading Emotions series on Aspergers101

John-Habershon-editing2We all appreciate how useful it is to understand how other people are feeling, yet it’s a skill which is very much taken for granted. For those on the autism spectrum it is not always a natural ability. To help in learning and practice I have compiled a number of examples of people showing emotions – both in real time and slow motion.

These are not actors and nor are the emotions simple and necessarily easy to detect as sometimes done by actors. This reflects the real world in which we often see a mixture of emotions. After all, we can be puzzled by something and annoyed at the same time, or find something funny, but also embarrassing.

Those Kind of Days

Some days I wake up and feel truly blessed. I mean it. When I look back on the early days, I remember being so very overwhelmed. These days, those kind of days, are few and far between. If I could tell my younger self a few golden words of wisdom, I would tell her: “You Got This!”

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At the time, it felt insurmountable. It felt like a bad joke that these littles were placed into my care. Like there were so many other factors that made my life difficult, why would God want to put them into our lives. Well…I guess it was so I could grow. A seed grows better with a little manure.

I remember times when my kids would have meltdowns in the middle of the market.

National Disability Employment Awareness

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and as an employment specialist who strives for equal employment for everyone I work with, this is a great month to celebrate how far we’ve come. Although the numbers are not where they should be in regards to equal employment…things are changing.

I hope that the blogs leading up to this one have helped, or can help you in the future as you strive toward employment. Let us celebrate our unique and wonderful capabilities. Instead of letting our difference hold us back, let it be something that, in the words of Samuel Allen, “Gives us wings.”

Here is a great website that talks more about this month:

http://www.whatcanyoudocampaign.org/blog/index.php/ndeam/

-Maggie Cromeens

College and Aspergers Syndrome

Top of the Spectrum News: College and Aspergers Syndrome

Guest(s): Dr. Marc Ellison/Executive Director of the West Virginia Autism Training Center 

Dr. Marc Ellison and his staff have created a template most colleges dream about…a successful program whereas a person diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism have a support team living in the dorm with them ensuring success. In this first, in a three-part series with Dr. Ellison, Jennifer and her Asperger diagnosed son Sam discuss how you can ensure college success if you are on the spectrum.

 Note: Dr. Marc Ellison blogs weekly for Aspergers101 and you can read his content in our Education-College blog tab at the top of our website. Dr. Ellison is a Professor and recently named Executive Director of the West Virginia Autism Training Center at Marshall University.

A Beautiful Mind

IMG_6909In 2001 Film Director Ron Howard released “A Beautiful Mind” to the public, and I was one of the first to attend. After all, actor Russell Crowe portrayed the great Nobel Peace Prize winner John Nash, and I knew I was in for a great film.

By the time the second scene rolled out I was painfully frozen as the character (portrayed to perfection) John Nash was so strikingly similar to my son Sam, in both action and peer reaction.

The tears began to flow.