May 19, 2008

Spotlight On: Wrong Planet.net

Wrong Planet, an on-line community for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (and their families), provides various forums dedicated to discussion, education about ASD's, and real-time chat with others who share the diagnosis.

Alex Plank is the owner, developer and host of Wrong Planet. Alex is currently a student at George Mason University, and often speaks publically about his experience on the autism spectrum.

May 15, 2008

Understanding Asperger's Syndrome: A College Professor's Guide

Educating college professors about being a college student living on the autism spectrum can be a challenging experience, particularly when most colleges and universities rely on a "self-advocacy" model of support. This model typically requires students to independently seek out college faculty and staff who could benefit from the information about the syndrome, or who might be in a position to provide some assistance.

This two part video, produced by the Organization for Autism Research (OAR), in cooperation with the Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Project (GRASP) and Pace University in New York City, provides invaluable and easy-to-understand information to college staff that may be useful in that effort.

Part 1:

Part 2:

May 14, 2008

About Marshall University's College Support Program

The College Program for Students with Asperger Syndrome was developed in 2002, by the West Virginia Autism Training Center at Marshall University.

The College Program exists to offer appropriate academic, social and independent living supports to individuals with autism spectrum disorders, so that they may have a successful college experience and learn skills necessary to enter a competitive workforce.

Many individuals with Asperger syndrome or high functioning autism can achieve great success, but most require individualized supports to reach their goals. This innovative , person-centered program is structured to ensure the right supports exist, and are in place.

Through the process of Positive Behavioral Support (a proactive, collaborative and assessment-based process) the ATC College Program staff support students in identifying and reaching their goals for college. Each student, along with his or her family, participates in person-centered planning prior to the first semester, resulting in:

* A PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope), and

* MAP (Making Action Plans)

Plans are developed through a team approach, and provide a framework for supports designed to assist students in reaching goals that may lead to competitive employment and independent living upon graduation.

Faculty, staff, and tutors receive training related to Asperger syndrome, and specific information about the unique characteristics and learning style of the participating student.

Academic supports include:

(a) Course advising, based on the learning strengths, abilities and interests of each student
(b) Students, program staff and team members working together to determine reasonable accommodations beneficial to each student
(c) Individual and small group tutoring, or assistance with organizing and accessing tutoring services
(d) Strategies designed to teach students
organizational skills

(e) Consistent, periodic interaction with professors

Social supports are:

(a) Developed to meet individual needs and interests
(b) Varied, with support staff providing assistance for student involvement in campus organizations, clubs and extra-curricular activities
(c) carried out both in an individual manner, and through The Discovery Group, a skills-building class

Independent living skills are:

(a) Designed to teach effective adaptive living skills
(c) Provided to assist students as they navigate through the day-to-day needs of a college lifestyle
(c) Available for supporting students as they become involved in campus and off-campus communities