Social Skills and College for Students with Aspergers Syndrome

Top of the Spectrum News

Social Skills and College for Students with Aspergers Syndrome

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

This edition of Top of the Spectrum New discusses social skills and college for those with Aspergers. 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, Marshall University has successfully supported (and graduated) over 100 students with Aspergers Syndrome.

How is Autism Diagnosed? Part One

So, how is Autism diagnosed?

Psychological therapy

Until recently, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), including Aspergers Syndrome, have been understood as a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders—characterized by social impairments, difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.

Changes in definition have been proposed and accepted by different organizations and groups in the United States and other parts of the world. The changes have been discussed in other posts; meanwhile, I will address how autism is diagnosed.

At the present time, a single test to diagnose autism does not exist. We do know that a biological or single genetic marker has not been identified, thus, autism cannot be diagnosed with a blood test or imaging studies. It is rather a diagnosis that is primarily identified by behavioral and developmental differences.

Preparing the Autistic Driver for the Road: A Look at Motor Skills

Aspergers101 Driving with Autism

Aspergers101 asks the experts about driving safely with Autism. In this blog we focus especially on preparing to drive with motor skill challenges.

Dr. Berenice de la Cruz, Training and Research Director at the Autism Community Network, offers a great overview into the differences of the Autistic brain and how those differences affect the skills it takes to drive.


Dr. Berenice de la Cruz/Training and Research Director/Autism Community Network

Asperger Syndrome, Employment, & Social Security Benefits

Asperger Syndrome (AS) is such a recent diagnostic category in the U.S. that most of the individuals who carry it are children or adolescents. We are only now developing a fund of experience that can anticipate and meet schoolchildren’s needs; we know even less about the typical vocational functioning and other needs of adults with AS.

Employment, Social Security

Since most children with AS appear to require some interventions, supports, or modifications to enable them to succeed in school, it seems reasonable to assume that many adults with AS will require at least some supports or special conditions in the workplace.

One of the most common concerns adults report to AANE is work failure.

Although many men and women with AS are succeeding in the workplace, many others have a history of being unable to get and hold on to jobs.

Ultimate Guide: Understanding High-Functioning Autism & Aspergers Syndrome

 The following is an excerpt taken from the documentary: Coping to Excelling: Solutions for School-age Children Diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism or Aspergers SyndromeMedical reports reveal a profound discovery in the brain of those with High-Functioning Autism. Studies with MRI imaging document an actual physical difference in some areas of the autistic brain verses that of a neuro-typical brain.

Neurological pathways fire differently in Asperger patients than that of a typical brain function. It has become clear that individuals who are diagnosed as High-Functioning Autistic or Aspergers receive their gifts and struggles from a physical medical basis not behavioral, as you may have been pressured to believe. Once we understand exactly how the challenges occur, we can begin to lead our loved ones with Aspergers on the path from coping to excelling.

We interviewed experts in the field of Autism to offer you a quick read on understanding High-Functioning Autism and Aspergers Syndrome.

Hope, Perseverance, and Raising a Son on the Spectrum

Dr. Amy Mulholland Reflects on Raising her 23-year-old Son

In addition to being a wife and the mother of three sons (and 2 dogs), Dr. Amy Mulholland has 20 years experience as an educator. Her middle son is on the spectrum and in an effort to figure out his life and learning experiences she sought to understand the emotional, social and educational needs of children that learn differently.

Amy taught preschoolers, middle schoolers and college students. Additionally, she worked as a parent educator, helping parents understand the unique needs of their children.

Amy received her Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (Social Education) from the University of Houston in 2009. Most recently, Amy works and volunteers for several local nonprofits that advocate for vulnerable children. We are ecstatic to announce Dr. Mulholland as a new contributor to Aspergers101! Below is Dr. Mulholland’s reflections on raising her son after receiving the happy news that he had been given his first full-time job offer.

Reflections on Raising a Son on the Spectrum

We had great news last week. Daniel, our 23-year son who is on the spectrum, received a job offer. We were so proud when he graduated from Trinity University in May of last year, and anxious during his many month of interviewing, and thrilled in January when he started a paid internship with a large local business.

Tips for the Aspergers Driver When Being Pulled Over by an Officer

AS101 Driving with Autism

For many with Autism a fear of driving stems from anxiety that can result from being pulled over by an officer of the law. In some cases, fear of just that very scenario is the reason many never pursue obtaining their driver’s license.

pull over, police officer

Good communication skills and actions are key to making an already stressful situation go without incident for anyone, but with the diagnosis of autism, Aspergers, or speech impediments misinterpretation is almost a certainty. Dr. Louise O’Donnell, who specializes in Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology at UT Health Science Center in San Antonio Texas, offers suggestions to make a ‘pull-over’ go without incident.

Sensory Processing Disorder Explained

Our bodies take in information from the world around us through our sensory systems. As this information comes in, our brain filters and processes it for use. This process, called “sensory processing”, all happens automatically and simultaneously without us realizing that it.Depositphotos_37852017_sWhen all of these systems work correctly, we are able to perform our daily activities smoothly and without a problem. When these systems don’t work as well as they should a person may be disorganized, clumsy, have attention difficulties, and become over responsive or under responsive. Individuals with this issue might just have trouble functioning day to day as well as they should.

This is called Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

Asperger Syndrome: Independent Living

Recorded livestream broadcast

Discover helpful tools that assist with independent living. Join Aspergers101’s Jennifer Allen and son Samuel Allen to look at life after high school including driving and transportation, choices in higher education, employment and living options. Guest panel of doctors, educators and therapists answer viewer questions at the end of broadcast. Special Guest(s) Julie Coy Manier and son Eco-Artist Grant Manier.

(Recorded from San Antonio Public Library’s livestream broadcast on Tuesday August 8th 2017/Sinclair Broadcasting)

You may download our full presentation, with templates, resources and links below.

AS101 Summer Series – Independent Living Presentation

Autism and My Path Through Life: Presented by Dr. Temple Grandin

A Gift for You!

Do we have a big gift for you! Dr. Temple Grandin has graciously given her permission to offer, for a limited time, access to her talk at the Aspergers101 recent event in San Antonio, “Unlocking the Potential: An Evening with Dr. Temple Grandin”. You’ll have a front row seat to her speech: “Autism and My Path Through Life” recorded April 19th 2018 at the San Antonio Pearl Stable. The runtime 48:54 and we feel certain you will want to view it more than once!

(Click anywhere on this banner to view Dr. Grandin Speech)

Thursday, April 19th was a resounding success…an evening that truly made a difference!

“It felt very intimate, as if she truly knew that so many people in the audience were either relating to her speech or appreciating her wisdom. You could hear a pin drop and that entire audience (including myself) was absolutely spellbound.” -Dr. Jane Lynch/UTHSC

We Hope You Enjoy Viewing Our Powerful Production of the Inspirational Dr. Temple Grandin! With your kind donation Aspergers101 (501c3 non-profit) will be able to continue providing free daily content from pioneers blazing the autism trail in medicine, education, policies and on the homefront.

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