Continuing our occasional theme of listening to the advice of college students who have “been there and done that,” please join me in listening to recommendations provided by four graduates of Marshall University.
Bradley, Nathan, Stephen, and Brian, each 2013 graduates of the university, responded to questions about personal goals, their experience with support programs, what they liked about campus, etc. But it is the final question I’d like to focus on for this essay.
What advice would you give the freshman “you,” if you could talk with your younger self prior to entering college?
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.
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.
First, let’s have sensory processing disorder explained by someone with a personal experience with it. Watch this video of Amythest Schaber, a person living with an autism spectrum disorder.
Differences in auditory processing are one of the more commonly reported sensory processing impairments. In one chart review of developmental patterns in 200 cases with autism 100% of the participants demonstrated difficulties with auditory responding.
Heather smiles gently as she watches the video about a celebration in Africa. To be fascinated by something means that it captures your imagination and you want to give it your full attention. Heather leans forward (always a sign of interest) towards the TV screen.
She stares intently at the screen, following the action with her eyes. Active thinking is a central part of fascination. We can see thinking going on in the way she strokes her lip with her little finger. We get the sense that she is ‘in the moment’, giving her complete attention to the screen.
In a split second when she’s intensely interested her eyes close a little and then widen. If you look carefully you will also see an intake of breath.
In the last blog we looked at more than one emotion on the face (Disbelief/Irritation). This week one overwhelming and strong emotion is showing through: discomfort.
Benjamin is watching a somewhat controversial TV ad and although he sits quite still we can see several signs which point to his discomfort.
He takes a deep breath and quickly shifts the direction of his gaze, attempting not to focus too sharply on what he’s been asked to watch. He breathes out and closes his eyes for a second (too long to be a blink) in an effort to shut out the scene on the TV.
When we look at something which we find disturbing (or even think of something we find uncomfortable) we often close our eyes, as if that will give us a moment of respite.
Benjamin continues watching, but with a blank stare, his mouth tightly closed.
The best advice one can receive about effective support for college students diagnosed with ASD comes from, of course, students themselves.
Kristopher Kirk will graduate from Marshall University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering (with an emphasis in Civil Engineering) in early December, 2014.
At a recent university-sponsored Parent Weekend event, Kristopher – who has received supports from MU’s college support program during his four years at the school – provided these insights about his college experience.
Kristopher advises college students living on the spectrum:
Colleague and friend Andrew Nelson, a coordinator in the West Virginia Autism Training Center’s Family Focus Positive Behavior Support program, supports individuals with ASD in their transition to college as part of his day-to-day duties. In his work, Andrew began to notice similar questions and issues were being raised by various students. Many of the questions were about basic procedures of higher education, such as how one applies to and gets into a university. Other questions – like “Do I have to do my own laundry?” – were about campus living.
To help answer these questions, Andrew went straight to the experts: college students on the spectrum!
In his video interview with three Marshall University students, Andrew explores in brief the topics of: college admission, financial aid, effective support strategies, independent living, and the importance of building on-campus relationships.
All in under 6 minutes!
Important advice from students who have “been there and done that” include:
As part of our continued segment on Employment in partnership with ASTEP, today we bring you a sample of ASTEP’s training offerings for Employers. Seeking employment is a crucial topic for those with Aspergers and High Functioning Autism. ASTEP offers critical tools, tips, and training for both employers hiring potential employees with Aspergers, and for those on the spectrum searching for employment.
It is important to prepare yourself for the workplace, and the initial interview. By understanding the view of the employer, you can collect a set of skills and information that will help you become a desirable employee to the place of work you are applying, and a successful sustained work-life.
It is also crucial for employers to have the knowledge and tools necessary in fully utilizing and incorporating their employees with Aspergers or High Functioning Autism.
Click on the video below to view a sample of ASTEP’s training offerings:
After training, ASTEP will guide you through the recruitment process of job candidates with AS/HFA. ASTEP’s partnerships with programs and service providers nationwide will allow your company to find candidates most suited for your workplace.
To learn more about training opportunities with ASTEP, contact us at 212-839-0030, or email email@example.com.