If he could begin his freshman year over, Taylor says he would access services and accommodations available to students with learning differences. Taylor is part of a growing population of students with autism who have the grades and intellectual capability to secure acceptance into a university, but lack the social and problem-solving skills to transition to college life.
And while colleges and universities offers accommodations like extra time on tests and tutoring for students with documented learning and physical disabilities, very few offer specific programs tailored to students with autism.
“What we find is that many students need more support than the accommodations they may be entitled to at a typical university, as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act,” says Diane Adreon, associate director of the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism Related Disabilities (UM-NSU CARD). [Also note section 504 accommodation plans. --ed.]
More than 20 colleges and universities offer programs specifically geared toward students on the autism spectrum, according to Jane Thierfeld Brown, Ph.D, co-founder of College Autism Spectrum, an organization that provides support and training for students, parents and professionals. Brown, director of student services at the University of Connecticut School of Law, is co-author of The Parent’s Guide to College for Students on the Autism Spectrum.