Nothing for us, without us.
I found this statement in some of my research. This means that people with autism need to be involved with the services and decisions made to assist them. At work, we always involve the student in any decision we make for accommodations. It’s important for students to learn to advocate for themselves and we expect them to be involved and responsible for their education. This starts in the K-12 system if they receive education services through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The students and parents are involved with the a meeting to discuss how the school can serve students’ educational needs.
During my research, I found authors of an article, Scott Michael Robertson and Ari D. Ne’eman describing the importance of including people with autism in conversations and research. Both of the authors are autistic persons. One of the articles I discovered specifically described autistic acceptance on college campuses. I particularly interested in the article’s discussion of supporting and accommodating challenges in higher education.
The article talks about how executive functioning is difficult for students with autism (pg. 4). This including planning and organizing. Every college student need these skills to succeed. How can we accommodate this and support these students?
The article strongly supports information technology solutions (pg. 5) such as personal assistant devices (PDAs), this would also include smart phones and tablets. In another post I will explore the variety of apps available for these devices. The article also discusses the importance of mental health supports as students with autism generally “have a higher rate of depression, generalized anxiety and social anxiety than non-autistic people” (pg. 6). Mental health practitioners can also be supportive of organization and time management goals.
Other solutions stated were organizing student-run community service organization, students participating in creating awareness about helpful teaching strategies and participating in general campus awareness. On campus housing often poses a challenge for students with autism. It is recommended that resident assistance and other support staff attend training and even create peer mentoring (pg. 7).
Autistic Acceptance, the College Campus, and Technology: Growth of Neurodiversity in Society and Academia, Disability Studies Quarterly, 2008, Volume 28, No. 4. Retrieved from: http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/1069/1234
Here are some additional resources cited in the article: