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.

Microsoft Recruiting Employees With Autism

The launch of a new pilot program positions Microsoft as the latest corporate giant looking to tap the employment potential of those on the spectrum.

The company says plans are underway to hire individuals with autism for full-time positions at its Redmond, Wash. headquarters.

Microsoft says it will hire people with autism for full-time positions in Redmond, Wash. through a new pilot program. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Microsoft says it will hire people with autism for full-time positions in Redmond, Wash. through a new pilot program. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Microsoft said it will work with Specialisterne, a nonprofit that focuses on helping people with the developmental disorder apply their talents to work in the technology field, to facilitate the hiring effort.

Initially, the program is expected to include about 10 people with autism, a Microsoft spokeswoman told Disability Scoop.

“Microsoft is stronger when we expand opportunity and we have a diverse workforce that represents our customers,” wrote Mary Ellen Smith, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of worldwide operations, in a blog post announcing the pilot program. “People with autism bring strengths that we need at Microsoft, each individual is different, some have amazing ability to retain information, think at a level of detail and depth or excel in math or code.”

Star opens up about son’s Aspergers Syndrome

We are re-posting a portion of a Disability Scoop interview with  ‘Covert Affairs’ Star Christopher Gorham whose son has Aspergers Syndrome. This Hollywood actor has been in such TV programs as  Ugly Betty, Popular, Odyssey 5, Jake 2.0, Medical Investigation, Out of Practice, Harper’s Island and Covert Affairs. Gorham is currently working on his next project “Justice League: Throne of Atlantis,” where he provides the voice of the Flash.

Disability Scoop: Personally speaking, your son was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome not too long ago. What was that like?

Christopher Gorham: We got a diagnosis fairly late. He was 9-years-old, which is kind of the blessing and the curse of that diagnosis. Because he’s very high functioning we didn’t really know that something was off until later. It’s upsetting to hear that something is wrong with your child. At the same time, it’s a relief to know what’s wrong with your child because if you know what’s wrong then you can start to take steps to help them.

Disability Scoop: When did you first notice that something might not be right?

 (Photo: Courtesy of Robert Ascroft/USA Network)

(Photo: Courtesy of Robert Ascroft/USA Network)

Christopher Gorham: Second grade was when we really knew we needed to start investigating and finding help. What we were doing didn’t seem to be working and things were getting worse and he was just getting further and further away from his peers. (He was) not understanding the subtleties of socializing, not getting sarcasm, not understanding the difference between someone who’s really being nice to you and someone who’s actually making fun of you, not understanding that all attention isn’t positive. It’s really hard for a parent when your son comes home and tells you that his best friends are the two or three kids who are actually the meanest to him.

Disability Scoop: How has this new diagnosis changed your family’s day-to-day life?

Christopher Gorham: You get the diagnosis and then instead of just taking the kids to Taekwondo after school, now suddenly you’ve got occupational therapy and you’ve got speech therapy and you’ve got the psychologist and you’ve got the behavioral specialist. Your week is filled with therapies to help support him and it becomes so hard to find the balance.

Disability Scoop: How do you manage it all while shooting the show?

Asperger Syndrome explained perfectly on “Arthur”

In a little over 2 minutes, this episode of the childrens animated program, Arthur, explains Aspergers Syndrome in a way that even judgmental adults can understand! Great way to have your visiting relatives and holiday guests understand your Asperger child’s actions and reactions during a lengthy stay.

“Asperger’s High” actress/writer meets with Sam

If you haven’t seen it, here is “Asperger’s High”, a mock drama situated around a fictitious sitcom as seen on youtube.

Sam and Jennifer interview it’s very talented co-writer and actress, Leslie Tsina, below.  Tsina talks about the making of the mock drama “Aspergers High” with some behind-the-scene tidbits, reactions from the autism community and her future projects within this Top of the Spectrum segment.

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