Self-Determination in College Success

The Autism Society (formerly the Autism Society of America) held its annual conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. As is more common in recent years, several break-out sessions of the conference were focused on the support of students with ASD in higher education.

Beautiful female graduate

Dena Gassner (Adelphi University), Dr. Lorna Timmerman (Ball State University), and Jackie Clark and Rebecca Hansen (Marshall University) carried out a panel discussion on the topic, titled “Is College for Me.” Panel members discussed challenges related to success for students with ASD in higher education, and best-practice support strategies that can help overcome challenges.

Priming: A Method of Preparation

Last week, we reviewed strategies for solving math word problems. One of the comprehensive strategies noted was priming. This week, we will take a closer look at this strategies in order to apply it across subject areas and grade levels.

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Priming is a method of preparing a student with ASD for an activity that he or she will be expected to complete by allowing the student to preview the activity before it is presented for completion.

Priming helps to:

Moving on…When Childhood Friends Out Grow Each Other

kgfamily            I don’t know if telling this story will date me, but I guess it doesn’t matter that I grew up in the sixties. I remember as a child, that song/story of Puff the Magic Dragon. The special friendship he and Christopher Robbins had together, but then the boy grows up and Puff hangs his head and cries. (Or was the Tom Dooley and Winnie the Pooh? LOL) Anyway, my kids have been best of friends since the beginning of time and long before that. They have a sort of love for each other that I pray every day never ends. They even have a secret language and I often hear them babbling away together and cracking each other up with their private jokes. My son looks at his sister and her funny little ways and I can see it in his eyes that she brightens his day and he her’s.

Reading Emotions: Appreciation

Gus has just been reminded of one of his favourite products and he looks down and smiles to himself, nodding approval.

(Note: The silent video for “Appreciation” comes second after “Sadness”)

You see the smile staying on his face as he thinks about the brand. Then he looks up and gives a direct look and smile, sharing his positive feelings.

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How I Feel Living with Autism

“I painted this abstract picture to show neurotypicals what it feels like to have Aspergers Syndrome. At the time, I was enrolled in Art Appreciation I at Northeast Lakeview College. One day after class, I was at home and suddenly felt like painting, so I got some brushes, a canvas, and some acrylic paint and began to paint while envisioning the picture and its message in my mind. The black and white background represents how aspies tend to see the world in a black-and-white perspective and that we tend to act monotonous. The colors inside the head represent how our minds are bursting with extraordinary ideas. The white lines above the head represent how when we try to say what’s on our minds, it tends to get distorted by our social awkwardness.”

by: Samuel Allen

Choosing Not to Disclose

In the last few entries we have discussed full disclosure of your disability, partial disclosure of your disability and different ways to go about deciding whether or not you should disclose. Last week we talked about the SODAS method for disclosing. One of the options was to not disclose it all.

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Some individuals that I work with feel like like this is the best route to go when they start a new job. If you choose not to disclose, as I have said before, it is a personal decision and should be carefully considered . . .

Skills For Residence Hall Success

Many colleges and universities require undergraduates to live on campus, especially during their freshman and sophomore years. “Residence life” (calling on-campus living environments “dorms” is considered a faux pas in higher education these days) requires students to live as a member of a small, interactive society.

Brick Building on University Campus

To be an effective and successful member of an on-campus living environment, one is expected to understand and conform to social norms within residence halls, and to pull one’s own weight –socially, and in regard to independent living – in their dorms.

Students diagnosed with ASD are sometimes challenged in independent living skill development.

Strategies for Solving Math Word Problems

Depending on the grade level of your student or child, a math word problem may involve simple addition to complex rate problems, and everything in between. This week’s blog will explore as many different resources as possible to support word problems in a comprehensive way.

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We will begin with several instructional strategies that are relevant for any content area:

A Day with the great Eustacia Cutler!

Occasionally in life, if you are lucky, you brush alongside greatness. Not celebrity, but greatness. A person truly inspired to invent, revolutionize, and create with the added momentum to actually implement their gift toward worldwide betterment.

I was blessed to have been afforded many hours with such greatness.

Eustacia Cutler was born into a privilege that most only have viewed actress Grace Kelly portray on film. Her book, A Thorn in My Pocket, depicts her life in a nostalgia that few today can even begin to imagine. Her Cotillion, the Dedham Polo Club, times at the Vineyard, life at Cambridge, Harvard, and stories of shared company of notables such as Winston Churchill, George Gershwin and Robert Frost. Talk more with Eustacia, and you will learn of her father’s invention of the gyro-compass revolutionizing flight. However, all of this is not the sum of the greatness of Ms Cutler. You’ve heard the statement not everything that glitters is gold? You see, Eustacia was married and had 4 children, one of whom had Autism.

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In the 50s the pressure to institutionalize such a child came from doctors and family members. But when the pressure came from her husband, she went completely against the grain for the sake of her child, Temple.

Yes, as most of you know Eustacia Cutler is the mother of Dr. Temple Grandin. Dr. Grandin who went on to revolutionize the cattle industry as well as turn the world’s perception of Autism on its ear. Most of this information you probably already know, but the part you do not know is the day I was afforded time alongside Eustacia Cutler.

The 23rd Annual Texas Autism Conference was held in Corpus Christi this past week, and Sam and I had been asked to speak at one of the break-out sessions. The keynote speaker was Eustacia Cutler, who at the age of 88 offered such valuable and insightful information to the thirsty crowd of educators, parents and professionals, they were brought to their feet more than once. Her clarity, concern and connection with all in the room (primarily the mothers) intrigued my autistic son, Sam who was one of 4 to jump at the chance when the offer came to come up to the podium alongside her for a personal Q & A. When Sam (one of very few males in attendance) approached her and announced his name, and that he had Aspergers Syndrome the applause resonated with acceptance. Sam poised the question if Ms. Cutler was familiar with Moore’s Law which states that technology will grow at an exponential rate and if so, how does she perceive it will affect people with aspergers? Without missing a beat and looking my son straight in the eye she stated we, as humans, have a challenge ahead of us. Technology is essential, but perhaps Sam could be a forerunner bearing the seemingly impossible task of keeping the human factor within the technology field.

Her mind ever-sharp and in the moment allowed for many ‘ahh’ moments to walk away with. Here are just a few: