A Career Is Often Built With Many Small Steps
My next step was to get hired for my first job at a large feedlot construction company. Emil Winnisky, the construction manager, recognized my talents in design. He also served as a third important mentor to force me to conform to a few social rules. He had his secretaries take me out to buy better clothes. At the time I really resented this, but today I realize that he did me a great favor. He also told me bluntly that I had to do certain grooming niceties such as wearing deodorant. I had to change. I was most interested to read this passage in one of Kanners papers about people with autism that make a successful adaptation:
Unlike most other autistic children they become uneasily aware of their peculiarities and they begin to make a conscious effort to do something about them. .
Emil was an eccentric guy himself and that may explain why he hired me. About six months after I was hired, Emil was fired. I continued to work for about a year, and I quit because I was asked to participate in some highly questionable business practices.
While I was at the construction company I learned drafting from Davy, their wonderful draftsman. Davy and I got along, he was a shy loner who drew the most beautiful drawings. From contacts I made at the construction company I started doing freelance design work. I started my independent consulting and design business one job at a time.
Get Extra Support If Your Child Needs It
If your child needs extra support their school does not usually provide, they’ll need an education, health and care plan .
This is a document from your local council. It says what education and health needs your child has and what support they should get.
This can either help:
- the school apply for extra money so they can support your child
- you apply for a place at a school that’s better for your child
Your child does not need to have been diagnosed with autism to get extra support.
Getting A Place At A Special School
To get a place at a special school, your child will usually need an EHC plan.
As part of an EHC plan, you have the right to tell your council what school youd like your child to go to.
The council can only refuse this if they think theres a clear reason why the school is unsuitable.
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Open The Lines Of Communication
A challenge that parents often face is finding the right time to thoroughly explain the diagnosis of autism to their child. Although it depends on your childs level of functioning, the conversation probably should happen during the teen years. Teens with autism should understand their diagnosis and how it affects them so they can advocate for themselves at school and at work.
In school, that might be a request to waive courses or obtain certain accommodations so they can have positive experiences. At work, teens likely will need to learn how to request modifications or support theyve never had to ask for before.
Theres always a possibility for a bias or discrimination if they disclose their diagnosis to a school, program, or employer. However, without this information, peers, teachers, and supervisors might misinterpret a teens behaviors or difficulties.
College Students With Autism Have Low Graduation Rate
The transition from high school to college proves challenging for adults with autism
Photo by Alexa Buechler
Members of ASUs Autistics on Campus meet to discuss their week during a club meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, on the Tempe campus.
The transition between high school and college can prove to be difficult for individuals with autism, and their college retention rates remain low despite resources to help them complete coursework.
Jennifer B, a sophomore with autism studying informatics, said in an email interview that students with autism are as smart as any other college student and have plenty of potential.
But autistics are often given very little support, especially once we become adults, because the focus is on the parents feelings instead of the autistic persons well-being, she said.
The Data Regarding Adults with Autism
Jessica Rast, a research associate at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, helped author the National Autism Indicators Report: Transition into Young Adulthood study.
The study followed students in special education programs through high school and up to eight years after high school.
Rast said that while the numbers increased, these students had an extra two years to complete their degree.
The Stigma Surrounding Autism
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Talk About Sex And Appropriate Social Behaviors
Research suggests that those with autism and intellectual disabilities are at increased risk for negative sexual encounters, such as coercion or assault, due to lack of education about appropriate boundaries. Likewise, young adults with autism might unwittingly make fellow students or co-workers uncomfortable because of their own social behaviors. Parents need to be proactive by educating teens about sex and safety, as well as how to modify or replace their own behaviors to support more positive experiences for themselves and their peers. Autism Speaks provides a Puberty and Adolescence resource that may be a good place to start.
Sensory Santa Helps People With Special Needs And Autism
TREYNOR, Iowa. Sensory Santa gives people with autism the chance to interact with Santa in a calm setting: no loud, bright lights or large crowds.
For the first time, Sensory Santa was brought to Treynor, Iowa at the Community Center.
Karen Beck is the mother of 21-year-old River who has autism and ADHD.
“He’s 21 years old now, but he still likes Santa, he likes going to places where he can see Santa Claus,” Beck said. “I didn’t have to be embarrassed about taking him to see Santa Claus, where it’s all little kids.”
As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” This picture gives River the chance to properly ring in the Christmas spirit.
“It’s just a comfortable thing, without a big crowd,” Karen said. “That made it fun for him, to not be nervous about… to be with a bunch of other strangers.”
People with autism might prefer less stimulation but Santa Claus believes all of us share the same need to be seen, loved and cared for.
“People with autism are more the same than they are different than the general population and it’s just a little more difficult for them to get the pleasure out of life that we all deserve,” Santa Claus said.
The Santa Claus participating in the event has been doing this for 8 years and openly admits he’s getting the most gifts out of it.
“If I have half the strength that these guys have I will be so lucky, and so that’s why it’s important to everybody. And it’s just a lot of fun too,” Santa said.
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Prepare For The Transition To College As Early As Possible
Its never too early to prepare for college. However, while an early start helps, its also never too late to prepare. College-bound students with autism may need years to master certain skills.
Dr. Sush says, Some individuals diagnosed with autism require frequent repetition and practice before consistently and accurately performing a task without assistance.
Fine And Gross Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are critical for writing, drawing, cutting, pasting, and manipulating small objects such as microscope slides and tweezers. Gross motor skills are used for jumping, kicking, throwing, running, and skipping.
Mild to moderate impairment of these skills are common with most children with autism. This includes motor planning in which a child anticipates an action and positions the body to facilitate that movement.
Skills like these are central to meeting the scholastic and social demands of elementary school and high school. Any limitations can not only affect the child’s scholastic achievements but also their daily school life.
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Can Autistic People Go To College
The answer is, yes, absolutely. Higher functioning individuals are completely capable of understanding college level material in areas that involve cold hard facts. They do very well in mathematics, science, engineering, history, and any field that crosses over between two of these. Some high functioning young adults are even very adept at painting exactly what they see, or writing non-fiction. They generally have to follow their gifted areas and where it leads them.
Some of the most famous people in the world who succeeded in music, art, foreign languages and theatre were assumed to be autistic, but because autism wasnt a commonly accepted or diagnosed disorder when they were alive, they were just considered eccentric. Because many adults with high functioning autism have already established careers and families before discovering that they were on the spectrum, it adds to the credibility that many can lead very normal lives, including college.
Its also important to note that many who are now just discovering that they are on the autism spectrum but have graduated from college graduated with degrees in the above specified areas. This suggests that, without prior knowledge that they have a disability, they still choose career paths that are logical to the ways their brains work. They continue to be routine and methodical in their learning and have areas that frustrate them and constrain them, yet they still graduate and become most effective in their chosen careers.
Tools For Staying Organized
Zoe Gross had some sessions with an educational therapist/planning specialist before college but they didnt really help, she says, because I was reluctant to participate due to anxiety around planning. Once at Vassar, she did her best to compensate for her challenges, which she outlines in her chapter for the ASAN college handbook, titled Better Living Through Prosthetic Brain Parts. She writes that her parents always helped her stay organized, right down to reminding her to eat dinner. But in college, if I forget about an appointment, no one will remember it for me.
So Gross devised some practical tools to help her stay on track, including visual timers, planners and multiple alarm clocks. Because there are so many small steps between waking up and walking out the door , she drew a flow chart thats included in the book titled How to Leave the Room. It starts with the question: Do you need a shower?
Those tricks only go so far, she says now.
Autistic students need a way to spend more time in school without it being prohibitively expensive to our families, as college already is for so many, she says. We need a way to work at a different pace and have that be all right. Ideally, many of us would benefit from having personal care aides at college, as a quadriplegic student might have. However, its going to be hard to get supports like these put into place because they cost institutions money.
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Prepping Your Teens For College
Yes, college is a real possibility for many with autism. My daughter is a senior in high school this year and we’ve just begun the hunt for schools and scholarships. First word of advice? Start when your child is in 10th grade! Get to know the school guidance counselors and find out when the deadlines are for tests, clubs and all the other things that makes a child look “well-rounded” on their college applications. Most of the same stuff you’d need for a child without ASD is the same stuff you will need for a child with ASD – grades, letters of recommendations, SAT and ACT results, admissions essays, clubs and leadership experience and money – lots of money!
SAT and ACT tests are necessary for most colleges in the US today but if your child has either an IEP or 504 plan that state he or she can have extra time for test taking in school, you can apply for extended time for the SAT or ACT. Each company has an application and information online to explain the process. Know that just having a diagnosis is NOT enough to qualify. ACT and SAT are not under IDEA so your child has to meet the much stricter criteria of ADA laws – Does your child need accommodations to ACCESS the test? Longer test times to get a higher score are not the same thing. Their criteria is meant only to allow the test taker access to take the test, regardless of their score.
Vocational Trade And Technical Schools
ASD students who aspire to work in a trade may want to choose a vocational or technical school. Enrollees can learn specific vocational skills from trained professionals. This may help them gain employment that aligns with their skills. Students may also learn how to regulate emotions and build social and communication skills.
Parents and students should identify career and life goals to ensure they align with this type of job skills training. Learners should investigate how the school can help with career exploration and transitioning to a job. They may also want to consider how the school can help them manage independent living and career advising.
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Knowing What Supports Are Available
Its absolutely essential that you and your family are as knowledgeable as possible about what your colleges Disability Services can do for you. What kinds of supports and their availability will vary from campus to campus, but regular methods of help include:
- Access to Assistive Technology
- One-to-one learning support and study skills tuition
- Copies of lecturers notes and PowerPoint slides
- Time extensions for assignment deadlines and exams.
You can view a comprehensive list of what common supports are available from colleges around Ireland at the Association of Higher Education Access and Disabilitys website.
Some colleges Disability Services will also offer pastoral supports that are supplementary to academic, often by way of organised social groups for fellow students with similar conditions in the afternoons and evenings during the week. These are entirely voluntary and youre under no obligation to attend, but many autistic students, especially freshers, find them to be a valuable resource for making a successful transition into third level and finding friends. Groups meet at an assigned place on campus at a particular time and may or may not have someone from Disability Services present to make introductions at the first meetings.
Laurie Has Been Offered A Laptop And A Recorder But Said No To A Note Taker Because She Didn’t
Does the university provide you with support?About support
And all of a sudden, you know, you find, you break the barrier, you start thinking well I quite like these people and you know… and you know I mean just for an example like, I made friends with, well basically I met up with this girl on the Sunday night and it was like Freshers week and I suppose it was one of these things where it is almost meant to be a little bit of a fun week and you go out and have a good time and everyone goes out clubbing and I met this girl and it was all going really, really well and I didnt really think anything of it, but I am still going out now. So that has been three years since September, so that was sort of like brilliant.
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Aging Out Of Supports Kids On The Spectrum Struggle
Vassar junior Zoe Gross knows her strengths and weaknesses all too well. So while she gets good grades, the 21-year-old is aware that she does things more slowly than most people, including getting dressed in the morning, transitioning between activities, and writing papers. It makes college an even greater challenge. When you take into account that when Im living on my own it is difficult for me just to keep myself washed, fed and in clean clothes, she says, it means that I cant do the schoolwork as fast as the professors can assign it.
Gross is on the autism spectrum, and her struggles with life skills and executive functionthe mental processes that involve things like planning, time management and multitaskingleave her feeling depressed and anxious. I get sick a lot because my immune system is shot, she says. I got strep and mono in one semester. Of course, this adds to her anxiety and trouble getting things done. Every semester I am absolutely miserable by finals. After finally hitting a serious rocky patch, as she puts it, Gross decided to take a break this semester.
Robots Help Autistic Children Learn Social Skills
Like Petkov, Georgieva works for an IT company, where she transfers information to databases. They both enjoy their jobs, and they like computers. “Autistic people are very good at repetitive, monotonous activities. But they get tired faster,” said Ana Andonova, who runs the Center for Social Rehabilitation and Integration with Priority on the Autistic Spectrum in Sofia. Petkov and Georgieva have been coming here since they were children.
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Simon Became Depressed In His Third Year At College And Found That People Didn’t Respect Each
So I started my last year of college and I had to go through the whole process again of making friends. And it was really difficult for me because I sort of had this sort of friend, and he sort of had been with me for the whole course Ive started off in basically and now hes gone and its like, sort of a bit being left on your own again basically and I found it really, really hard, and that kind of really affected me and another thing was the class I was in was quite a few characters in there and a lot of mixture of people and there were a lot of arguments in the class. A lot of friction because some people in the class disagreed with certain things other people in the class with and most of the time it was just whole lessons with argu arguments basically and one main subject that caused a lot of arguments was the whole fox hunting subject, because there was some in my class who was, worked on a farm, and then there was some people that didnt work on a farm, and they sort of didnt understand that the person working on the farm didnt like the foxes, because theyre killing their crops and stuff, and basically the whole argument, thus, basically what all the argument was about a few people didnt sort of quite respect other peoples views in my class. That caused more problems and that basically all built up together and then yes, I sort of got depressed from it really.